ECA News Briefs

Montgomery County Council Approves $5.7 Million Budget for the Arts and Humanities

The Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC) is pleased to announce a $5,707,506 FY22 annual budget appropriation for AHCMC grants and administration and an additional $408,000 for the Public Arts Trust. The $5.7M appropriation was unanimously approved by the Montgomery County Council and represents County Executive Marc Elrich’s recommendation of a 1.5% increase over the FY21 budget and flat funding for public art.

“We are extraordinarily grateful to receive a slight increase in funding for FY22,” says Dana Pauley, Board Chair for the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County. “The pandemic devastated our county and caused catastrophic damage to the creative economy and many other industries; yet, despite the limited funding available, the County Executive and Montgomery County Council held steadfast in their support of our arts and humanities sector.”

“While we are especially thankful for this funding, we also recognize that additional support is needed,” states Suzan Jenkins, CEO of the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County. “The various COVID-19 restrictions and business closures have not given the arts and humanities an opportunity to recover or recoup financial losses since the initial shutdown in March 2020. As a result, AHCMC’s recent financial impact survey shows a projected loss of $81 million for Montgomery County’s creative sector by the end of June 30, 2021.”

Data from additional surveys to the field also demonstrate a 12% increase in demand for FY22 in the cultural sector. This increase reflects the supplementary needs of an expanded FY20 and FY21 grant pool due to COVID emergency relief and outreach initiatives. “From direct funding to innovative integration, the creative sector must be given an equitable opportunity to recuperate and meet our community needs,” says Jenkins. “As Montgomery County Government considers strong economic rebound strategies for the hospitality, restaurant, and hotel industries, it is critical that they also include the creative sector in those discussions.”

The Arts and Humanities Council will award $5,066,424 of the FY22 appropriation in grants that support the arts and humanities sector. Grant funding is available for general operating support, creative project support, and capacity building projects. All funding will be distributed through AHCMC’s existing grant channels, which supports cultural institutions and individual artists and scholars across the entire county. The FY22 budget will go into effect on July 1.

For a breakdown of the full appropriation, please click here.

(Source: AHCMC press release)