News from the Somerset County Board of County Commissioners

Shanel Y. Robinson, Commissioner Director | Sara Sooy, Commissioner Deputy Director

Melonie Marano, Commissioner | Paul Drake, Commissioner | Doug Singleterry, Commissioner


July 20, 2021


Nominations Sought for 2021 Excellence in the Arts Awards

Deadline is August 20

SOMERVILLE – The Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission is accepting nominations for the 2021 Excellence in the Arts Awards, which honor individuals and organizations that demonstrate exemplary leadership in and dedication to fostering the fine and performing arts in Somerset County. Nominations can be submitted online at The deadline is Friday, Aug. 20.

“The arts are important for many reasons, and even more so during this past year,” said Commissioner Melonie Marano, Cultural & Heritage liaison.  “We ask people to submit nominations so we can recognize those who went above and beyond to keep the arts alive, to help others express themselves in creative ways and to make a positive impact in the community.”

The Somerset County Excellence in the Arts Program:

  • Increases public awareness of the fine and performing arts and arts education in Somerset County.
  • Highlights models of innovative and successful business partnerships, educational programming, volunteerism and outreach for the fine and performing arts for other organizations.
  • Promotes excellence in the fine and performing arts.
  • Celebrates exemplary individuals, organizations and corporations.

Nomination Categories and Criteria

2021 Excellence in the Arts Award nominations are open to all county residents and those whose work in or for the arts primarily benefits the residents of Somerset County. Nominees for the Aspiring Young Artist category must reside in Somerset County, but may be attending an institution out of Somerset County or the State of New Jersey.

  • Self-nominations will not be accepted.
  • The nominee must be aware of and agreeable to the nomination and to subsequent public recognition.

Nomination Categories:

Arts in Education

Awarded to an educator, instructor or education affiliate (PTA, Board of Education, Performing Arts/Music School) making outstanding contributions to the enhancement of arts education by consistently inspiring and encouraging the fine or performing arts in their students.

Arts in Community

Awarded to an individual, corporation or local organization demonstrating exemplary dedication to inspiring and encouraging the fine or performing arts in a Somerset County community or in the County overall in one of the following areas:

  • Innovative, Inclusive and Inspiring Arts
  • Programming
  • Outstanding Vision and Leadership
  • Dedication to Arts Access and Outreach
  • Exemplary Partnership(s) serving the Arts
  • Volunteerism and Philanthropy

Aspiring Young Artist

Awarded to a Somerset County high school or college student who has consistently demonstrated  excellence in and a commitment to the fine or performing arts, aspires to a career in the fine or performing arts and is a role model of good citizenship to their peers. One young artist will be selected to receive a $500 scholarship from the Friends of Somerset County Cultural & Heritage, Inc.


Excellence in the Arts is sponsored by the Somerset County Board of County CommissionersSomerset County Cultural and Heritage Commission and Friends of Somerset County Cultural & Heritage, Inc. The program is administered by an awards committee comprised of individuals appointed by the Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission.

For more information, contact Cultural & Heritage staff at (908)231-7021 or


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