1 Percent for Art Initiative Passes in Morristown

Economic development and public art will go hand-in-hand in Morristown

(May 15, 2015)– MORRISTOWN, NJ – Economic development and public art will go hand-in-hand in Morristown thanks to a new One Percent for Art program established by the Town of Morristown in partnership with Morris Arts.

Under the initiative introduced by Morristown Mayor Timothy P. Dougherty, one percent of capital costs up to $100,000 for new redevelopment projects will be designated for installation and maintenance of exterior Public Art on, or adjacent to, the property being developed. This is part of a larger effort by the mayor’s office to maintain Morristown’s thriving economic development area while maintaining the rich culture of the town.

“Morristown is not just about development,” Mayor Dougherty has said on several occasions. “It is a top priority for us to improve Morristown’s existing environment and infrastructure in order to elevate the overall quality of life for all of its citizens. This One Percent for Art program adds to that mission and our overall vision to become the most welcoming, beautiful, healthy, resilient, and sustainable place to live, work, and play in New Jersey.”

Under the new program, a $1 million project would generate $10,000 in artwork. The first project to be included is a mixed-use development at Market and Bank streets to be built by Hampshire Companies. Philadelphia-based Fox Rothschild law firm, which is relocating its Morristown offices, has already signed a lease for the property. The deal was approved at the Morristown Redevelopment Council Meeting on Thursday.

“Morristown has been a leader in New Jersey by successfully creating a vibrant downtown and now will be recognized as a model for its commitment to cultivating a climate rich in arts and culture,” said Kadie Dempsey, Morris Arts’ Director of Arts in Community/Creative Placemaking. “Morristown joins some of the great American towns and cities that understand on a deep level how arts and culture increase livability, and economic development which in turn creates safe and interesting communities.”

Similar One Percent for Art programs have been implemented on the state level, but Morristown will be among the first municipalities in New Jersey to institute the principle. Town officials believe Morristown’s plan will serve as a model for other municipalities.

The Town of Morristown, and its arts and business communities have partnered through other initiatives such as the process for Morristown’s recently adopted master plan; Meet Me in Morristown, an arts festival that draws thousands to downtown Morristown on the last Thursdays of the month May through August; and through Art Pride New Jersey’s Art Matters campaign, a documentary on the Town’s vibrant arts and restaurant scene.

“Morristown’s new One Percent for Arts program recognizes that the Arts are incredible economic drivers and opportunities for civic engagement in our communities,” said Chris Daggett, president and CEO of the Morristown-based Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. “It is creative placemaking in action, and the funding will enable Morris Arts to do the kind of community building that results in more creative, sustainable and engaged places.”


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