The Maryland Department of Commerce today announced that the City of Crisfield in Somerset County has been designated as Maryland’s 26th Arts & Entertainment (A&E) District. The designation will take effect July 1, and is the county’s first Arts & Entertainment District. The program is administered by the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC), an agency of Maryland Commerce.
“Maryland’s Arts and Entertainment Districts are significant contributors to the state’s economy, supporting more than 8,500 jobs and generating $855 million toward our GDP,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “These districts serve an important role in revitalizing communities across Maryland and give artists and creative enterprises the opportunity to develop unique arts experiences that attract residents and visitors alike.”
Maryland’s Arts & Entertainment Districts Program was established in 2001 to encourage community engagement, tourism, and revitalization. The designation makes available a set of tax credits and incentives meant to encourage economic development through the arts. These benefits include property tax credits for development that supports spaces for arts enterprises and artist housing; income tax credits for Maryland artists who work and sell within any of the state’s 26 A&E Districts; and exemptions from the admissions and amusement tax for eligible enterprises located within district boundaries.
Crisfield’s A&E District designation is the result of a grassroots effort on the part of the city’s artists and community members who worked in cooperation with city government to conceive and plan for a district that aims to use the arts as a positive force for economic development and revitalization. The district comprises just over 98 acres from the downtown commercial area on the waterfront to the uptown area, a historically black district that was once a thriving area with many small local businesses and entertainment venues. A newly created 501(c)(3) organization will manage the district, building on already successful 4th Saturday Bay Strolls and other arts-centered events to build the identity of Crisfield as a destination for creatives as well as tourists.
A&E Districts are designated for 10 years. Along with Crisfield’s new designation, the Annapolis A&E District has been redesignated for an additional ten-year period, and Havre de Grace’s A&E District has been redesignated and approved for an expansion. The Havre de Grace district will now include waterfront event and festival space as well as new museums. The Annapolis district aims to continue its work with community and business leaders.
About the Maryland State Arts Council
Founded in 1967, the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) is an agency of the State of Maryland Department of Commerce, Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts, and encourages and invests in the advancement of the arts for all Marylanders. Its grants and programs support artists and arts organizations in their pursuit of artistic excellence, ensure the accessibility of the arts to all citizens, and promote statewide awareness of arts resources and opportunities. MSAC awards grants to not-for-profit, tax-exempt organizations and individual artists, and provides technical and advisory assistance to individuals and groups. The agency is funded by an annual appropriation from the State of Maryland and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. MSAC may also receive contributions from private, non-governmental sources. For more information, go to msac.org.
About Maryland Commerce
The Maryland Department of Commerce stimulates private investment and creates jobs by attracting new businesses, encouraging the expansion and retention of existing companies, and providing financial assistance to Maryland companies. The Department promotes the State’s many economic advantages and markets local products and services at home and abroad to spur economic development and international investment, trade and tourism. Because they are major economic generators, the Department also supports the Arts, film production, sports and other special events. For more information, visit commerce.maryland.gov
(via Maryland State Arts Council. Photo via wikimedia commons with attribution and copyright credit to Acroterion)