Local residents form non-profit organization to support SOMA’s art and music education

From MAEP, Inc.:

If you’ve ever hung art created by your children, or attended a school play, or attended a student choral concert, you’ve seen the power of art for students.

music and arts education planning corp. (MAEP) is a new 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in the Maplewood/South Orange community dedicated to advocating for the inclusion and expansion of arts and music for our students and community. Founded in October 2023, we believe it is critical to support our school district, work to influence policy and budget, and unite with parents and other residents to advocate for more arts opportunities for our students and community.

Our public launch now comes at a time when the community is coming to terms with recent severe borough-wide cuts to arts and music. We will help strengthen the arts education ecosystem that schools value and promote the importance of arts education overall.

MAEP is looking to assist in filling financial gaps for the 24-25 school year, working with district administration and teachers to find ways to restore art supplies, and help fund specific teacher initiatives to create more opportunities for students and the community.

We need your support: through donations, donating your time, actively participating in student arts events, and helping to raise visibility and awareness.


What is MAEP:

  • A federally recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, which means donations are tax deductible.
  • This is where we can use our strength in numbers to create impact.
  • Organized by experienced local residents of our area.
  • Willing to support all students and teachers in their quest to improve arts education.
  • MAEP is the foundation 501(c)(3) organization for Maplewoodstock and other events to be announced in the future.

MAEP is not:

  • It is not a long-term substitute for proper school music and arts budgets.
  • No single type of arts or music education is supported.

Who is MAEP:

MAEP is organized by committed people with strong ties and experience to our region and community:

  • Brad Goldman, President
  • Anthony Mazzocchi, Vice President
  • Susan Rogers, Secretary
  • Tom Kerns, Treasurer
  • Kerry Miller, Board Member
  • Tarquin Roeder, Board Member
  • Jamie Ross, Board Member

Arts education is more than just learning to draw or play an instrument. Arts education contributes to many aspects of children’s academic, social and emotional development. The impact of these programs has been widely documented, producing positive self-esteem, increasing self-confidence, and improving overall mental health. A June 2019 study from the University of Chicago School Research Alliance examined more than 200 studies on the impact of arts education and found that “arts education is widely believed to contribute to the social-emotional development of children and adolescents.” This comes amid a pandemic impacting this generation before the child and their social-emotional development. (https://consortium.uchicago.edu/publications/arts-education-and-social-emotional-learning-outcomes)

Recent research by Daniel Bowen and Brian Kisida found that “students with greater experience in arts education showed improvements in writing scores, affective and cognitive empathy, school engagement, and higher education aspirations, as well as higher rates of disciplinary infractions.” Low. (https://www.nytimes.com/2023/05/02/arts/design/arts-education-necessary.html)

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