ArtPride New Jersey
"The value is incredible…."
Why do the arts matter? In addition to promoting how the arts enrich a community’s cultural environment and quality of life, ArtPride New Jersey makes a convincing case that the arts can boost a region’s economic and business development, enhance education and workforce readiness, encourage civic engagement, and improve health and wellness for all. These messages are embedded within the dual purposes of the organization, incorporated in 1986 to advance the arts in New Jersey through both promotion and legislative advocacy. While many states and communities have either arts services or arts advocacy organizations, ArtPride is unusual in having both functions as its mission. ArtPride is the state’s voice for the arts, leveraging support on local and national levels while increasing awareness of the arts, promoting the economic impact of the arts, and connecting audiences to the arts community.
Today, with ongoing threats to eliminate funding for the arts, ArtPride is a powerful force in the Garden State with more than 200 members in the creative industries, including galleries, museums, theaters, orchestras, cultural attractions, film festivals, and local arts centers. Additionally, ArtPride reaches more than 45,000 individuals in its support for the producing and presenting arts.
When Adam Perle was named President & CEO in January 2015, the Board of Trustees had recently brought in Your Part-Time Controller in a capacity-building initiative to shore up ArtPride’s financial strength. YPTC rapidly began an organizational transformation that addressed what Perle today calls “a perfect storm of fiscal issues.” All YPTC did in those early days was: change the fiscal year; merge two organizations into one; create a new chart of accounts; switch the accounting system from cash to accrual; and jettison a separate organization that ArtPride was fiscally managing. “And all that was just in the first six months!” he exclaims.
Fast-forward to today, when YPTC is performing more routine maintenance services, with a part-time account manager and a part-time controller. Perle appreciates the support, particularly since it costs a lot less than if he had to hire staff – and without the headaches and additional expenses of payroll taxes and health insurance.
“I look at the level of service that I get, with people who have significant nonprofit experience,” he says. “There’s not much in nonprofit accounting that they haven’t seen before. You’ll never find that level of expertise and professionalism for that dollar amount elsewhere,” he adds. “The value is incredible.
“On top of that, I feel that there’s value in the YPTC team that I have. Even though YPTC personnel have changed over the past few years, whoever has come in has taken the time to learn our organization and our business model, and has become invested.”
When a new issue arises, Perle appreciates that his YPTC part-timers can draw on the expertise of their co-workers. “Even if they don’t know the answer immediately, they have a whole library of resources that they can go back to. They check with other people in their office and come up with a solution.”
Perle is especially impressed with YPTC’s collaborative approach. “They’re always presenting us with guidance, inputs and options. They never tell us what we have to do. They’re always willing to work with us to achieve what we want to do.
“They look at everything. They figure out solutions that make sense and are affordable, with minimal changes on our end.”