Young Audiences Honors Students & Leaders at the 39th Annual Governor’s Awards in Arts Education

Young Audiences Arts for Learning Honors Students & Leaders for their Creativity, Talent and Leadership at the 39th Annual Governor’s Awards in Arts Education

Image of Lorenzo DiAndrea

Lorenzo DiAndrea

TRENTON— April 23, 2019 –Nominations have been announced for the 39thAnnual Governor’s Awards in Arts Education. The Awards are hailed as the highest honor in arts education in the state by national and statewide arts organizations.Initiated in 1980 to promote awareness and appreciation of the arts, the awards recognize the creativity, talent and leadership of those impacting arts education in the region.

Director of the Annual NJ Governor’s Awards in Arts Education, Priscilla Hopkins-Smith, emphasizes that this event is truly one of a kind. “Other states may have their own Governor’s Awards but no other state focuses on arts educations and our students like we do. The array of distinguished awards in visual arts, music, theatre and dance span the state and truly emphasize the diverse talent that is being cultivated here.”

Not only will 110 students be receiving awards, parents and leaders throughout the state will be recognized for their exceptional work in keeping arts education alive in New Jersey.

Image of Hua Hua Zhang

Hua Hua Zhang

“Young Audiences is grateful to Arts Ed NJ for recognizing and honoring outstanding young artists and educators with New Jersey Governor’s Awards in Arts Education,” shared Michele Russo, YA’s President & CEO. “The Governor’s Awards provide a venue for Young Audiences to honor master teaching artists, and both individual and corporate leaders for their distinguished service to provide equal access to the arts for all students.”

Young Audiences Arts for Learning Nominees include:

  • Corporate Philanthropy Award
    • Stacy Mattia on behalf of the Meta A. and William S. Griffith Foundation
  • Distinguished Service Award
    • David Harrell, Teaching Artist
    • Barbara Coe, Young Audiences Trustee
    • Principal Barbara Panfilli and the Staff of G.E. Wilson Elementary School
    • Hua Hua Zhang, Teaching Artist
  • Arts Education Award
    • Lorenzo DiAndrea, Student Artist
Image of Daiv Harrell

David Harrell

Winners will receive their awards at 4:30pm on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 in the Patriot’s Theatre at the War Memorial in Trenton, New Jersey. The event will feature special guest speakers, a visual arts exhibit and 8 performances from nominated students. There will be a reception immediately following the award ceremony.

This is a free event that is open to the public. Please register to attend at This year’s awards are being sponsored by the Jay & Linda Grunin Foundation, Appel Farms Arts & Music Center, and Young Audiences New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania. This program is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a founding agency of Arts Ed NJ.

The Governor’s Awards event is a partnership of the Arts Ed NJ, the Department of Education, Art Pride New Jersey Foundation, the Department of State and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Additional support is provided by: the Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics; Art Educators of New Jersey; Art Administrators of New Jersey; Dance New Jersey; New Jersey Council of Teachers of English; New Jersey Speech and Debate League; New Jersey Music Educators Association; New Jersey Performing Arts Center; Writer’s Theatre of New Jersey; Speech and Theatre Association of New Jersey, and New Jersey Thespians.

Image of Barbara Coe

Barbara Coe

The cooperating organizations, award sponsors and individual members of the planning council dedicate their time to make sure that excellence in the arts is rewarded, and work tirelessly throughout the year to plan this special event. The Governor’s Awards in Arts Education ceremony is a major collaborative effort of the arts, education, and state government.


Denyce Mylson

Director of Marketing & PR

Young Audiences Arts for Learning

609-243-9000 x202

[email protected]

Priscilla Hopkins-Smith

Programs and Communications Manager

Arts Ed NJ


[email protected]


Find the Awards Online:

Twitter: @NJGAAE
Instagram: @njgovawardsartsed

Find a list of all the winners at

About Arts Ed NJ

Arts Ed NJ is the unified voice for arts education in New Jersey. Arts Ed NJ (previously the New Jersey Arts Education Partnership) was originally founded in 2007 as a cosponsored program of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, with additional support from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, New Jersey Department of Education and Music for All Foundation. Additional support has been provided by the Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation, ArtPride New Jersey Foundation and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. The mission of Arts Ed NJ is to provide a unified voice for a diverse group of constituents who agree on the educational benefits and impact of the arts, specifically the contribution they make to student achievement and a civilized, sustainable society. Additional information is available at
#ArtsEdNow Join the Campaign @

Founded in 1973, Young Audiences New Jersey & Eastern Pennsylvania is the premier arts-in-education resource in the region, providing high-quality performances and artist-in-residence programs to over 400 schools each year. Young Audiences’ extensive professional artist roster represents all art forms—from dance and theater to music, language and visual arts. The organization annually reaches nearly 300,000 children pre-kindergarten through grade 12.

A not-for-profit organization, Young Audiences’ programs are accessible to all socio-economic, cultural, and geographic communities, and are designed to strengthen the arts in schools, meet local and state curriculum standards, involve families in arts activities, and enrich cultural life in New Jersey and Pennsylvania communities.

Young Audiences New Jersey & Eastern Pennsylvania is the first arts education organization designated as a major service organization by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and, as part of the national network of Young Audiences, Inc., was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Clinton. Young Audiences programs are made possible in part through a grant from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State and Pennsylvania Council of the Arts. Additional funding comes from foundations, corporations and generous individuals. To learn more, visit To be “social” with us, join us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @YANJEPA and on Instagram @young_audiences_njepa.