Our Wonderful State-Designated Arts Districts

Maryland is home to 22 wonderful state-designated arts districts administered by the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC). In the Baltimore region alone there are districts in Annapolis, Bel Air, Havre de Grace, and three in Baltimore City including Station North, Highlandtown and Bromo Tower.  Have you ever wondered what it means to be an arts district and how the districts work to “develop and promote community involvement, tourism and revitalization through tax-related incentives that attract artists, arts organizations and other creative enterprises.” (MSAC)?
 
Rebecca Chan, Program Manager for Station North Arts and Entertainment, Inc., has a great overview in the most recent Create Equity blog post. Among the things Rebecca discusses: “naturally occurring” versus purely designated arts districts, benefits, and the extent to which artists and cultural businesses are actually availing themselves of these benefits.  Through recent advocacy by Maryland Citizens for the Arts (MCA) and support from Governor O’Malley, Maryland appears to be ahead of the curve in increasing the value of these benefits to working artists.
 
Recent legislation expands the definition of a “qualified residing artist” under the state’s Arts & Entertainment (A&E) District law. Previously, the law restricted the income tax subtraction modification benefit to only artists who lived in the county/city where the A&E district was located, and could only be applied to art created and sold in that same district. Now ANY Maryland resident may take advantage of this credit on work created and sold in ANY of Maryland’s 22 A&E districts. This should be a great boost for all of the A&E districts for further revitalization and certainly helps working artists from all over Maryland who may now choose to create and sell their art in any A&E district in the state (MCA).
 
Good news for artists and great news for communities.
 
Happy Tuesday,
Jeannie

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