Over the past 25 years, the South Jersey Cultural Alliance has honored more than 250 of South Jersey’s Cultural Champions. From volunteers to advocates of arts and culture and from legislators to community leaders, the Encore Awards are a chance for the cultural community to come together and celebrate the exceptional efforts of these dedicated individuals who have contributed to the vibrancy of the diverse arts, history, and cultural programming. The event not only recognizes individuals and their efforts, but also increases community awareness of South Jersey’s vibrant arts, history, and cultural organizations, which contribute to the quality of life and economic revitalization of our South Jersey communities.



The late Paul Aiken was a recognized leader in New Jersey’s arts community and in particular, the southern New Jersey region. Firmly committed to seeing the arts flourish, he worked to build strong organizations, to have them speak with a unified voice, and to increase participation in the arts by residents, visitors, performers, and audiences. In keeping with the spirit of service and commitment represented by Paul Aiken, the Aiken Encore Awards honor individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions in support of the arts, culture, and history communities in South Jersey.

Through this award, SJCA members have a chance to publicly recognize the cultural champions who help support, inspire, and facilitate the vital work of their organizations. Each Encore Award recipient receives a handmade blown glass award crafted by artisans from Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center, recognition on the SJCA website, and participation in the awards celebration event, hosted by SJCA at various cultural venues throughout South Jersey.

Look back at Encore 2019


The Standing Ovation award is named for the late Lillian Levy, former chair of the State Council of the Arts, as well as a talented musician and artist. Levy devoted her life to the arts and was an unrelenting arts advocate. She was an active member of the South Jersey arts and culture community and instrumental in the development of the South Jersey Cultural Alliance.

This year, SJCA Board is also proud to present its highest honor, the Lillian Levy Standing Ovation Award, to Kimberly Camp.  As a native of Camden, Camp pursued a dual career as an artist and administrator, putting her ideas about the role art plays in democracy, social equity, and diversity into practice. Through her distinguished career, spanning almost 40 years, she has given generously to her hometown of Camden and to the entire South Jersey region as a leader and changemaker all along the way.



In 2020, SJCA will present two new awards designed to recognize South Jersey’s innovators and artist-activists.  These awards honor the creativity and tireless efforts recipients put forth to improve South Jersey’s communities through arts, culture, and history, making our region rich with great places to live, work, and visit.

This year’s SJCA Innovation Award will be awarded to Historic Cold Spring Village (HCSV) for the creation of New Jersey’s only nonprofit brewery, formed specifically to help financially support HCSV with all profits going to the Historic Cold Spring Village Foundation.

The 2020 SJCA Artist Activist Award goes to Kenneth Leap for his efforts to promote the public value of the arts in education, tourism, economic and community development, and health and wellness for over 25 years.



The 25th Annual Paul Aiken Encore Awards scheduled for May 18, 2020, has been cancelled. 


South Jersey Cultural Alliance is committed to making all its programs and services fully accessible to assure a positive experience for all participants. Persons requiring special accommodations of any kind should contact SJCA at (609) 626-3630 at least two weeks before an event.