The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation has granted $50,000 to support the opening and artistic needs for Rahway’s new Hamilton Stage for the Performing Arts ($40,000), and the work of Arts Guild of New Jersey ($10,000), according to Sondra Fishinger, President of Union County Arts Center Inc., the non-profit corporation that will govern and operate Hamilton Stage as part of its Union County Performing Arts Center campus.
“Through creativity and collaboration, those who have built the Hamilton Stage have challenged old models, fostered new partnerships, and reaffirmed core values to sustain programs and serve your community,” said Christopher J. Daggett, president and CEO of the Dodge Foundation. “The approval of this grant is a testament to the quality and impact of your work, and we are grateful for all that you do to imagine and create a better New Jersey.” Daggett called Hamilton Stage “a beautiful and intimate new theater that will serve as a home for a variety of artists and resident theater and dance companies.”
The new Hamilton Stage is located at 360 Hamilton Street, just around the corner from UC PAC in the Rahway Arts District. Construction of the Hamilton Stage is expected to be complete in early June. The public can have its first look inside this beautiful purpose-built theater during a special Open House Preview on Saturday, May 19, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, May 20, noon to 4 p.m. The formal grand opening of Hamilton Stage will occur in September 2012.
“All eyes rightfully will be on Rahway over the coming months,” Dagget said.
As previously announced, the acclaimed Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company will take a primary role as Hamilton Stage’s Artistic Engagement Partner. The company’s first offering, the Nai-Ni Chen Signature Dance Camp (beginning July 17) will anchor Hamilton Stage’s pre-opening youth and community programs. Five more performing arts companies from New Jersey and New York will soon be named as Hamilton Stage Artistic Affiliates. Combined, these companies will offer more than 100 performances during Hamilton Stage’s Inaugural Season, September 2012 to June 2013 — including musical and spoken theater, classic and contemporary dance, children’s theater, and more. A portion of the Dodge funding will be used to help Artistic Affiliates with audience development, stability, and technical needs related to their move to Rahway.
Through this grant, the Dodge Foundation has also endorsed and supported the work of Arts Guild New Jersey, Lawrence Cappiello, executive director. This year the Guild will begin several new projects aimed at expanded outreach, deepening participation by artists (and visitors) and providing new educational outreach opportunities. Most importantly, the Guild will begin a long-planned expansion of its Art Education program utilizing newly prepared space in a second city-owned property at which it aims to triple or quadruple its current art class program for adults and children within the next five years.
Hamilton Stage is located in Union County at 360 Hamilton Street in Rahway. For more information, visit http://www.hamiltonstage.org/ or call the UC PAC/Hamilton Stage Box Office at 732-499-8226.
Arts Guild New Jersey is located at 1670 Irving Street, Rahway. For more information, visit agnj.org, or call 732-381-7511.