Rutgers University–Newark and NJPAC Unveil Groundbreaking Teaching Artist Certificate Program

by Tom Lavecchia
Rutgers Newark

In a landmark partnership that bridges the worlds of performing arts and academia, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) and Rutgers University–Newark School of Arts and Sciences (SASN) are delighted to announce the launch of a pioneering Teaching Artist Certificate program. This innovative collaboration aims to equip teaching artists with the necessary skills and knowledge to thrive in various settings, including education, community, healthcare, and the corporate sector.

Marking the first collaboration of its kind between a performing arts center and a research university, this program signifies a monumental step forward in arts education. Jennifer Tsukayama, Vice President of Arts Education at NJPAC, emphasized the shared commitment to culturally-responsive, trauma-informed, and justice-oriented educational philosophies between NJPAC and Rutgers University–Newark. “This collaboration will enable us to advance the profession and prepare future teaching artists to lead arts engagements that are equitable and inclusive,” Tsukayama stated.

The curriculum, developed and delivered by faculty from Rutgers University–Newark’s Urban Education Department and the Department of Arts, Culture & Media, alongside nationally acclaimed experts like Eric Booth, promises a comprehensive educational experience. The program is a key component of NJPAC’s Colton Institute for Training and Research in the Arts, which also offers extensive professional development opportunities for teaching artists.

Highlighting the partnership’s benefits, Lynnette Mawhinney, Sr. Associate Dean at SASN, remarked, “This collaboration not only creates more avenues for aspiring teaching artists but also supports their entrepreneurial efforts within the arts sector.” Jacqueline Mattis, Dean of SASN, further noted the initiative’s alignment with the school’s commitment to the arts as a conduit for social good, underscoring the synergistic potential of combining NJPAC’s and Rutgers University–Newark’s strengths.

The announcement of the Teaching Artist Certificate program was made at a press event hosted at NJPAC on March 26, featuring prominent figures from both institutions and Eric Booth, a leading voice in teaching artistry.

Set to commence with an eight-week summer intensive from June 10 to August 2, 2024, the program will be held across the campuses of Rutgers University–Newark and NJPAC’s Center for Arts Education. Aimed at college students, individuals seeking a career change, and artists looking to deepen their business acumen and pedagogical skills, the program is priced at $3,500. Prospective participants are encouraged to apply by the priority deadline of April 30, with applications accepted on a rolling basis until all seats are filled.

This initiative not only stands as a testament to the transformative power of the arts in fostering social and emotional development but also serves as a model for future collaborations between educational institutions and the performing arts sector. For more information and to apply, click here. 


The New Jersey Performing Arts Center, a cornerstone of New Jersey’s cultural life, enriches the community not just with world-class entertainment but also with its commitment to education and outreach. As a major force in the revitalization of Newark, NJPAC has welcomed over 11 million guests since its inception in 1997.

About Rutgers University–Newark

Rutgers University–Newark stands as a beacon of diversity and innovation in New Jersey’s cultural capital. Known for its impactful scholarship and as an engine of social mobility, RU-N is deeply engaged in addressing the challenges and opportunities of our urbanizing world, making significant contributions through a diverse and dynamic community of students, faculty, staff, and partners.

About the Author/s

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Tom is a lifelong New Jersey resident, Rutgers and FDU alumni and the publisher of The Digest.

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