New Jersey Students and Leaders to Be Recognized with Prestigious Governor’s Awards in Arts Education

New Jersey Governor’s Awards in Arts Education

“We are so delighted to be back in person at the breathtaking War Memorial in Trenton, NJ recognizing these students and leaders for their achievements.” – Priscilla Hopkins-Smith, Governor’s Awards program director

A partnership of Arts Ed NJ, the Department of Education, Art Pride New Jersey Foundation, the Department of State and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the New Jersey Governor’s Awards represent the state’s highest honor in the arts field and have recognized more than 5,000 students and educators for their exceptional work in keeping arts education alive in New Jersey.

Later this month, approximately 100 New Jersey students and 15 educators will earn the spotlight at the 42nd annual Governor’s Awards in Arts Education ceremony.

Held the past two years virtually, this year’s ceremony will be back in-person on Thursday, May 26, 2022, at the Patriot’s Theatre at the War Memorial in Trenton, beginning at 4 pm. A reception will immediately follow the award ceremony. This event is free and open to the public and will continue to be offered virtually, enabling more people to join the festivities and celebrate the arts.

Students will perform in the arts disciplines for which they are being honored throughout the ceremony. Guests expected to attend include the Commissioner of Education, State Board of Education members, and the Secretary of State, who will each share their support of the arts. A presentation of award-winning artwork will also be available to guests before and after the ceremony.

Malcolm Miles Young and Ricky Persaud, Jr., both Governor’s Awards alums, will be the special guest speakers at this year’s ceremony.

Born and raised in New Jersey, Malcolm is a dancer, choreographer, and performer, having graduated last May with a BFA in Dance and a minor in Business Entertainment, Media, and Technology from New York University. He most recently fulfilled his dream by joining the cast of Disney’s “The Lion King” on Broadway.

Ricky is a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, composer and producer, and an alum of the NJPAC/Wells Fargo Teen Jazz Ensemble and the George Wein Scholars Ensemble. In May, he will graduate summa cum laude from Berklee College of Music, having received a full, four-year scholarship. He performed at Carnegie Hall this past month and plans to release his new album by mid-year.

Wendy Liscow, also a past Governor’s Award recipient for her work with the Geraldine R Dodge Foundation, was recently named the new Executive Director of Arts Ed NJ, one of the Award partners.

“Forty-two years ago, we set out on a mission to publicly recognize a select group of students and adult leaders for their achievements in arts education,” said Priscilla Hopkins-Smith, Governor’s Awards program director. “The goal was to increase public awareness of the high level of excellence in arts education in New Jersey and the state organizations supporting and recognizing high-quality arts education. The arts have created a sense of community and inspiration through this pandemic as we deal with a health crisis and a continued social justice crisis. Our students have reminded us time and time again that through the arts, we can heal, transform and envision a new, just world. We are so delighted to be back in person at the breathtaking War Memorial in Trenton, NJ recognizing these students and leaders for their achievements.”

Additional support for the Governor’s Awards in Arts Education is provided by: the Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics Program; Art Educators of New Jersey; Art Administrators of New Jersey; Dance New Jersey; New Jersey Council of Teachers of English; New Jersey Speech and Debate League; New Jersey Music Educators Association; New Jersey Performing Arts Center; Speech and Theatre Association of New Jersey; Young Audiences New Jersey & Eastern Pennsylvania; New Jersey Thespians; Appel Farm Music and Arts Center; Gallery Aferro; and Newark Symphony Orchestra.

To learn more about the Governor’s Awards in Arts Education and how to attend, please visit

For more information about Arts Ed NJ, please visit


About Arts Ed NJ
Arts Ed NJ is the unified voice for arts education in New Jersey. The mission of Arts Ed NJ is to create the proper conditions for arts learning to take place in New Jersey. Formerly the New Jersey Arts Education Partnership, Arts Ed NJ was founded in 2007 by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, New Jersey Department of Education and Music for All Foundation. Additional support has been provided by the Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation, ArtPride New Jersey Foundation, and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Further information is available at

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