Who is SJCA?
Collaboration, Resources, and Shared Experience
More than twenty-five years ago, the South Jersey Cultural Alliance was formed by a small group of cultural leaders challenging the state to address the inequitable distribution of funding and resources in the eight southern counties. The group lobbied for and secured an annual 25% allocation of the state arts funds for South Jersey. They achieved their initial goal, but the work was not done; a membership organization was formed to support arts and history nonprofits in the region. SJCA has been serving the arts & cultural community ever since.
In the past, SJCA focused on creating cooperative/subsidized marketing opportunities, professional development workshops, and cultural tourism initiatives in South Jersey. The organization also provided arts-in-health collaborations, cultural award events, and arts education initiatives. SJCA also spurred creative placemaking projects across the region. While these programs were vital to a thriving cultural sector, SJCA's membership model only represented a small portion of the cultural community. As a result, we began to rethink how we might shift our focus to have a more significant impact and serve the full spectrum of arts and culture in South Jersey. It was clear that we were missing the perspectives of individual artists and creative professionals, tradition bearers, and historically excluded and oppressed communities. Specifically, those who self-identify as Black, LatinX, Asian Pacific Islander, Indigenous, and/or a People of Color, LGBTQ+, and People with Disabilities. Building a stronger and more inclusive cultural community requires that everyone has a seat at the table. To understand the perspectives of the broader arts & culture community, SJCA shifted its focus to finding connections with more South Jersey artists, organizations, and cultural community groups.
For the past two years, SJCA has provided artists, arts and history organizations, tradition bearers, community groups, and cross-sectoral partners with opportunities to collaborate, communicate, and convene with each other and with SJCA. Through the South Jersey Cultural Asset Map Project, we have grown our network of cultural assets to almost 1000, and we are adding more every day. SJ CAMP allows SJCA to foster a robust communication network to disseminate information widely and equitably into the field and receive information directly from the field. With this reciprocal communication network at its core, SJCA obtains a holistic view of the South Jersey cultural community, its challenges, and its strengths. This perspective helps SJCA develop relevant resources, broker collaborations across sectors, and collectively advocate for South Jersey-specific needs.
In addition to creating an interactive GIS map of cultural assets, the data on cultural assets is also used to promote and connect artists, administrators, cultural tourists, schools, and others interested in arts and culture programs. The combination of SJCA's community outreach, tools & resources, and the South Jersey Cultural Asset Map’s searchable directory, provide a powerful engine driving the creation of a more inclusive and thriving South Jersey.
The South Jersey Cultural Alliance unites cultural community members to create the synergy needed for an inclusive, thriving sector. We connect arts, history, cultural organizations, artists, and tradition bearers to each other and their communities, linking them to the resources and opportunities they need to flourish in the eight southern counties of New Jersey.
SJCA is incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Art for All
SJCA is committed to making its programs and services fully accessible to ensure all participants' positive experiences. Persons requiring special accommodations should contact SJCA at (609) 626-3630 as soon as possible before an event.
SJCA is an equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate against any individual regardless of sex, race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or disability.