The application window for this program is closed.

The New Jersey Arts and Innovation Festival Challenge Grant will provide one (1) award of $2,000,000 of seed funding for an innovative art and technology festival based in New Jersey that will position State as a premier location for innovation and arts creatives, entrepreneurs, and researchers to live, work, and play.


The NJ Arts and Innovation Festival Grant will support the planning and execution of an arts and innovation festival.

The challenge grant will provide a single award of up to $2,000,000 to a business or nonprofit with experience organizing large-scale events. The selected entity will use this funding, plus additional funds they raise independently of the EDA, to produce a festival to be held over two or more days.

The funding source for the grant is an appropriation from the 2022 Appropriations Act which will be deposited into the Economic Recovery Fund


Any public or private entity, including all 501(c) non-profit organizations, that can demonstrate as applicable:

  • Registered for business in New Jersey or holding a valid NJ Charitable Registration,
  • Demonstrated experience organizing and executing at least one (1) event with an attendance of 5,000 or more in the last 7 years,
  • Applicants may add a strategic partner or partners whose experience, knowledge, skills and ability may provide an advantage in the production, management, and/or marketing of the festival.
  • Strategic partners are distinct from contractors in that they will not be contracted for specific services, but instead will partner with the grant recipient to plan the festival and oversee spending of grant funds received.
  • Strategic partnership must be recognized by a memorandum of understanding or a written agreement between the partner and the applicant and be included in the application.
  • Strategic partner or partners’ prior experience will be considered for the purposes of awarding the grant.
  • Applicant must be in good standing with New Jersey Department of Labor

Grant funding can only be used for costs associated with a New Jersey Arts and Innovation Festival that are projected to be after the date of grant execution. These costs include:

  • Booking costs:
    • Funds required to secure contracts for the time and performance of individuals or groups who are identified by the grantee as major performers, presenters, or speakers at the proposed event or
    • Funds required to secure contracts for use of a specific venue or venues, in a New Jersey municipality, where speaking events, arts, and/ innovation presentations, or artistic performance or support services will be held as part of the NJ Arts and Innovation Festival
  • Operating costs:
    • Contract fees, contract payments, venue and/or equipment deposits, inventory, supplies, salaries, costs related to professional services, costs related to governmental fees, utilities payments, and other customary costs related to operations.
  • Normal and Customary costs:
    • Costs associated with the production and management of the festival that may not be traditionally associated with operating costs.


The challenge grant will provide a single award of up to $2,000,000 to a business or nonprofit with experience organizing large-scale events.


Division of Taxation Tax Clearance Certificate required.  Certificates may be requested through the State of New Jersey’s Premier Business Services (PBS) portal online.

  • Under the Tax & Revenue Center, select Tax Services, then select Business Incentive Tax Clearance.
  • If the applicant’s account is in compliance with its tax obligations and no liabilities exist, the Business Incentive Tax Clearance can be printed directly through PBS.