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Arts Ed NJ Executive Director Robert Morrison Stepping Down

Christian Wissmuller • News • January 12, 2022

Arts Ed NJ, the statewide voice for arts education, has announced that its co-founder, former board chair, and current Executive Director, Robert Morrison, will be stepping down effective June 30, 2022, following nearly two decades at the helm.

Morrison, an acclaimed music and arts education advocate, social entrepreneur and businessman, participated in the launch of Arts Ed NJ as the New Jersey Arts Education Partnership in 2006 following years of planning and input by arts and education leaders statewide to create the proper conditions for arts learning to take place for the 1.4 million students attending more than 2,400 schools in the state.

Through his leadership and with the help of strategic partnerships throughout the arts community, New Jersey has emerged as a leading state for arts education in the country. In 2019, Governor Phil Murphy announced that New Jersey became the first state to provide universal access to arts education for all public-school students.

Morrison previously served as managing partner for the groundbreaking 2006 NJ Arts Education Census Project, completing the first statewide census for arts education in every school building in the nation. As a leader of Arts Ed NJ, Morrison implemented the report’s recommendations to improve the status of arts education in New Jersey, now hailed as a model for statewide arts education research.

Most recently, Morrison and Arts Ed NJ released groundbreaking reports and support materials, including the “September Ready: Fall 2020 Guidance for Arts Education Report,” which is used by states across the nation to assist in the safe return of visual and performing arts in schools during the COVID pandemic.

In January 2021, Arts Ed NJ was designated as the official performing arts affiliate for the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), In March 2021, the organization launched the Center for Arts Education and Social Emotional Learning as the national resource for this critical topic.

“Bob is a visionary leader in arts education in our state and throughout the nation,” said Dr. Mary Reece, Arts Ed NJ board chair. “Together with key stakeholders, Bob initiated the design and implementation of the NJ Arts Education Partnership – now Arts Ed NJ. Our field is much stronger as a result of Bob’s stewardship of important initiatives in arts education over the past two decades. On behalf of the members of the Arts Ed NJ Board, I express our gratitude and appreciation for Bob’s many years of service and dedication on behalf of arts educators and education.”

Morrison has a long history as a supporter of music and arts education and is widely recognized as one of the nation’s leading researchers and advocates for arts education. He is also the founder of Music for All, was the founding CEO of the Save The Music Foundation, served as the Director of Market Development for the NAMM, where he helped create the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation and was recognized for his work adding the arts as a core subject to the nation’s education goals.

Concurrent with his Executive Director role of Arts Ed NJ, Morrison is the founder and CEO of Quadrant Research, the nation’s preeminent arts education data analytics and market research firm. Morrison and Quadrant Research are recognized as pioneers in state arts education data reporting including the creation of the national Arts Education Data Project, which provides arts education data for 30 states covering 74 percent of the student population nationwide.

“I’ve had a very successful run with Arts Ed NJ, and I will be forever grateful to the New Jersey arts education community, which has come together in unprecedented ways to collectively impact arts education in our state,” said Morrison. “At the same time, the field will benefit from a fresh voice and a new perspective. The Arts Education Data Project is growing exponentially and needs my full time and complete attention. After successfully navigating the most challenging aspects of the COVID19 pandemic, and with a fantastic staff and board in place, this is a good time for new leadership of Arts Ed NJ as it continues to successfully move into the future.”

The Arts Ed NJ Board of Directors has begun an active search for a new Executive Director. Qualified candidates who wish to apply for the position may submit a letter of application and resume to jaclyn@gruninfoundation.org. The deadline for submission is February 11, 2022. The job description may be found at: https://www.artsednj.org/executive-director-search/

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