IMLS Awards Grant to the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey
to Partner with Elizabeth Public Schools & CALTA21

IMLS LogoSummit, NJ (September 28, 2022)—The Institute of Museum and Library Sciences (IMLS) recently awarded the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey (VACNJ) a $50,760 Museums for America grant to partner with the Elizabeth Public School system and Cultures and Literacies Through Art for the 21st Century (CALTA21). This grant will enable the expansion of the CALTA21 curriculum for 9th– and 10th-grade social studies students in bilingual classrooms. The program will design a curriculum that meets New Jersey Student Learning Standards for New Jersey’s Amistad Law. The Amistad Law calls public schools to implement materials and texts that integrate the history and contributions of African Americans and descendants of the African Diaspora. In addition, because of their large diverse student community, the curriculum design will be widened to include more inclusive content in EPS’s US I and World History curriculum.

“The Art Center is committed to inclusivity,” said Sarah Walko, Director of Education and Community Engagement. “We welcome and value and celebrate diverse backgrounds and viewpoints, and constantly work to nurture an environment that is open and supportive. This new initiative that we’re undertaking with longtime partners in the Elizabeth Public Schools and CALTA21 is another step towards that goal. It is an initiative that links the Art Center to the school district and classrooms to create supportive environments that allow students to feel welcome, seen, and heard. The program takes a culturally and socially responsive approach that has learning at its core and is based on principles of inclusion, equity, and social justice.”

This grant was one of 120 awarded and will cover a two-year period, with planning to take place in FY23 and implementation to occur in FY24. In total, Museums for America awarded more than $29 million dollars in grants in this year’s program, supporting projects that strengthen the ability of individual museums to benefit the public by providing high-quality, inclusive learning experiences, maximizing resources to address community needs through partnerships and collaborations, and by preserving and providing access to the collections entrusted to their care. For more information about the IMLS visit