Valuable Designations: Arts & Entertainment Districts

Last Updated on Oct 27, 2017 at 11:24am | Arts & Culture

Article courtesy of NCWV Media - The Republican.  Editor: Mary Sincell McEwen.
Garrett County has a rich population of artistic people. We have painters, sculptors, writers, photographers, fiber and glass artists, actors, poets, musicians, and so many others. Perhaps the mountaintop environment is inviting to people of talent. That combined with the local enthusiasm for all things art makes this area possibly richer than most in that valuable area.
With that in mind, all artists and fans of artists should take the opportunity to learn about Grantsville’s and Oakland’s Arts & Entertainment District designations. Both towns have achieved that status, which is no easy task, requiring a great deal of application work by folks in the know. Leaders in both towns, assisted both times by the Garrett County Arts Council’s executive director Karen Reckner, wished to obtain the designation and worked hard to get it.
There will be an informational session about what it means to be designated as an A&E District Nov. 7, at Penn Alps in Grantsville, beginning at 6 p.m. Reckner will be there to help explain the valuable benefits of the program, and all interested people should try to attend. There are benefits to be had, especially among the artists of the area, and all should take the time and make the effort to learn about them.
Grantsville and Oakland are two of 25 areas across Maryland with A&E Districts, which help promote community involvement, tourism and revitalization through tax-related incentives that attract artists, arts organizations and other creative enterprises. The Maryland State Arts Council program began in 2001. According to information included on our arts page today, Maryland’s A&E Districts support over 6,000 jobs, $571 million in state GDP, and $39 million in state and local tax revenue. That is a significant contribution to our state’s economy, to say the least.
The benefits offered to designated districts include property tax credits for new construction or renovation of buildings that create live-work space for artists, or space for arts and entertainment enterprises. An income tax subtraction is available to artists who work and sell within the district. And an exemption from the Admissions and Amusement tax to an arts-related businesses or qualifying residing artists is available through the 10 years of the designation. Reckner said that through these incentives, Maryland is creating a structure for “creative place-making.”
Short-term and extended goals for the Grantsville A&E District have been established by volunteers working to create a real vision in the town. Oakland’s revitalization efforts will soon include such goals as well. In all, the district designation is offering a great deal to anyone with art to create, to market, to exhibit, and to share. Now we need our artists to come to the table and join the discussion. Once there, artists will most likely find that the prospects are exciting, energizing, and inspiring.
Art is valued in Maryland. Art is valued in Garrett County. The Garrett County Arts Council is a hard-working, mostly volunteer group of people who wish to foster and promote every artistic endeavor in the county, and Karen Reckner is a successful and determined leader. Come hear the presentation and learn more about the arts community, a vital and important part of our unique mountaintop home.