Vanguard Theater Awarded $37,500 by the NJ Arts & Culture Recovery Fund

Montclair, N.J. – Vanguard Theater Company has been awarded a $37,500 grant from the New Jersey Arts & Culture Recovery Fund of the Princeton Area Community Foundation to support continuing renovations at their new theater at 180 Bloomfield Avenue, in Montclair, NJ. The New Jersey Arts and Culture Recovery Fund was established to ensure the survival and strength of the state’s arts, cultural and historical sector during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first phase of the NJACRF closed in January 2021, awarding $2.6 million to 100 NJ-based non-profits statewide. The second phase began accepting applications on March 1st with a deadline of April 12, 2021.

“We are so grateful for the NJACRF’s support,” says Janeece Freeman Clark, Founding Artistic Director of Vanguard Theater Company. “We see it as affirmation of our mission to change the narrative through theater dedicated to DREAM: Diversity, Reciprocity, Education, Activism & Mentorship. Because of the NJACRF’s support, we are able to focus our other resources to creating artistic programs that intersect with social justice, such as our most recent Black History Month video and panel discussion about the history of Minstrelsy and Musical Theater.”

Up next for Vanguard is a Women’s History Month celebration of Beautiful Women, with Women from Beautiful on Broadway. A combination of performances, stories, trivia, and history, this hour will feature three actresses from the Broadway show, and is by donation on March 25 from 8 – 9PM.

On March 1, 2020, Vanguard signed a lease for what was formerly the Old Mogul Theatre, the oldest proscenium theater in Montclair. This was a critical step toward creating a community-cultural hub in a highly diverse area and eliminating the costs and logistical burdens of renting various sites. VTC chose to set down roots in Montclair’s Fourth Ward, consistent with Vanguard’s mission of changing the narrative through theater dedicated to DREAM: Diversity, Reciprocity, Education, Activism & Mentorship. The timing of Vanguard’s move coincided with the onset of the pandemic, halting renovation plans, and leaving the space empty for months, while earned income stalled and bills accumulated. This grant will help VTC install a state of the art HVAC and air filtration system, enhanced sanitization, and purchase a fogging anti-bacterial machine.

Town council members had a hard hat tour of theater in 2020.

Vanguard Theater Company is planning a ribbon-cutting ceremony the weekend of April 23, 2021. Sponsorship and naming opportunities are still available! Vanguard Theater Company welcomes all inquiries about its space at info@dreamvtc.org.

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