New Jersey Theatre Alliance and its Executive Director John McEwen (of Asbury Park) will be honored with the Byrne Kean Arts Advocate Award at Paper Mill Playhouse's annual fundraising Gala on May 4th at the Hilton Short Hills. The Byrne Kean Arts Advocate Award is presented to organizations and individuals for their passionate work on behalf of New Jersey's arts community.
"We are thrilled to present John McEwen and the New Jersey Theatre Alliance with the Byrne Kean Arts Advocate Award," said Todd Schmidt, Paper Mill Playhouse's Managing Director. "John is a steadfast supporter of New Jersey's professional theater community and a champion arts advocate."
McEwen will be honored along with acclaimed stage, film and television actress Lorna Luft and Charles Pascarella, founding partner of the Pascarella Wealth Management Group of Wells Fargo at the fundraising event. Luft will receive the Frank Carrington Excellence in the Arts Award – given to an artist who has been a member of the Paper Mill family and also accomplished great things in the entertainment industry – and Pascarella will receive the Antoinette Scudder Patron of the Arts Award – named for Paper Mill's co-founder and awarded to a patron of the arts.
As Executive Director of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, John McEwen founded the Cultural Access Network Project – a co-sponsored project with the New Jersey State Council of the Arts – that has been nationally recognized for its services to assist the state's cultural organizations as they make their programs and facilities accessible to people with disabilities. He also spearheaded the development of the nation's first statewide online discount ticketing program for the performing arts-njArtsTix.org.
The Theatre Alliance supports a thriving professional theatre community in New Jersey – including Paper Mill Playhouse. As the first statewide service organization in the United States devoted to professional not-for-profit theatre, the Alliance provides innovative, collaborative and engaging programming and resources for theatres and their diverse audiences.
Prior to the Alliance, John served as VP for Development of the New Jersey Network Foundation and Director of Development for Paper Mill Playhouse. John is Vice President of ArtPRIDE, and a Trustee of Partnership in Philanthropy, the New Jersey Fund for the Blind, and Montclair State University's School of the Arts.
"I spent many years as the Director of Development at Paper Mill Playhouse earlier in my career," says McEwen, "so I'm particularly honored that they have chosen to recognize the work that we've done at the Alliance to support theatres and engage audiences statewide with the Byrne Kean Advocacy Award."