Get to know us…
In 2014, The Jay & Linda Grunin Foundation announced a $5.75 million donation to Ocean County College to establish The Jay & Linda Grunin Center for the Arts on the College’s Main Campus in Toms River.
So who are Jay and Linda Grunin, and why did they want to start an arts center here?
Jay and Linda met and fell in love as two promising law students at NYU in the sixties. They established a thriving law practice right here in Toms River, NJ, and decades later chose to pursue one of their lifelong passions: philanthropy. Thus their foundation was born.
The Jay & Linda Grunin Foundation is a family-run philanthropic fund with three distinct areas of focus: healthcare, education, and the arts. As long time residents of the Jersey Shore, Jay and Linda knew it was the natural destination for their philanthropic endeavors. Their desire is to make Toms River “the regional template for quality of life and strong economic health.” To that end, the main campus at Ocean County College was considered the perfect location for the arts center, due to its centrality and significance within the Ocean County community.
A Cultural Hub is Born
The center is built on the belief that a thriving arts culture is vital for community involvement and economic opportunity. It includes a 464 seat theatre, as well as an additional 90 seat black-box theatre, and is home to a variety of inspiring and entertaining performances and lectures season after season. In 2017 it was announced that a 53,000 square foot performing arts high school would be built adjacent to the theatre on the Ocean County College campus administered by the Ocean County Vocational Technical School system. The performing arts high school is expected to open in 2019 and is poised to become one of the best performing arts academies in the country, where students can earn associates degrees alongside their diplomas.
There are so many ways that we at the Grunin Center work to keep the arts alive and thriving at the Jersey Shore. Here are just a few of the highlights of our 2017-2018 season:
- The world renowned Vienna Boys Choir
- An Evening with Todd Frazier, Major League Baseball player and hometown hero
- Chrissy Metz, Golden Globe and Emmy-nominated star of critically acclaimed This Is Us
- Two-time Grammy winner Rickie Lee Jones
We are also pleased to provide quality programming through our “Schools ‘n Stage” initiative, geared specifically toward providing educational and engaging experiences for local students, and we are proud supporters and hosts to both the Ocean County and New Jersey Teen Arts Festivals. At The Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts, we are committed to nurturing a love of arts and entertainment not only in our own generation but in those to come.
We hope you feel as though you can get to know “us,” and in future posts will be sharing even more about our staff, outreach programs, venue, and more!