Explore 50 years of history


Governor's Arts Awards established

The Governor's Arts Awards at ArtSalute, implemented by MCA Foundation, honors more than 30 of Maryland's leading artists, arts educators, patrons and visionaries and continues on a biennial basis until being turned, in 2007, into Maryland’s annual, and highly successful, Arts Day.


Governor's Commission on the Future of the Arts in Maryland

Governor William Donald Schaefer appoints the Governor’s Commission on the Future of the Arts in Maryland, bringing together leaders from business, philanthropic and government sectors. A significant policy outcome of the 1992 report is the formal adoption of the goal of providing state funding of 10% of qualifying arts organizations’ budgets. During the Schaefer administration, funding of the Maryland State Arts Council reaches its highest level to date as a percentage of arts organization budgets.  


Arts Education in Maryland Schools founded

“The arts and culture are a vital part of a young person’s life and a powerful teaching technique when integrated into the learning process.” (AEMS Core Values statement). The early years of the 1990s continue a trend of diminishing emphasis on the arts nationwide. In fact, the National Center for Education Statistics Condition of Education report tor 1992 does not mention any of the arts, while prominently discussing math and sciences. In response to this crisis, MSAC, together with the Maryland Department of Education, establishes the Arts Education in Maryland Schools (AEMS) as a program dedicated to advocacy, facilitation, technical assistance, and cooperation among a wide array of government and educational institutions.   In 1997, AEMS becomes a separate non-profit organization, and in the decades since, has gained national recognition for its work ensuring the strength of arts education in Maryland schools. 


MSAC Slide registry established

The Maryland State Arts Council Slide Registry begins as a collection of 1,200 slides of visual art, organized by Maryland Art Place.  Over time, the collection grows into a digital archive of work from artists across the state, becomes internet-accessible in 1998 and becomes a fully online resource for visual art in 2008.  Now titled the Maryland Artist Registry, it showcases more than 2,500 artists' work from all disciplines and is free for any Maryland-based artist to join.  In 2015, the Maryland Art Marketplace is created as a platform for registry artists to sell their work to the public.


First "Back to School with the Arts" program

MSAC’s Arts Education in Maryland Schools, in cooperation with county arts councils and educational agencies, invites 78 legislators to visit 65 Maryland schools to witness first-hand the impact of arts education on students. The lawmakers are joined by other public officials, civic leaders, and parents. This pilot gains national recognition as a successful implementation of the Federal “America Goes Back To School” initiative of 1995.


First MSAC website

November: MSAC makes its debut on the “World Wide Web” with a text-based website dedicated to gathering and making available information on the MSAC, its programs, grants, county arts councils arts in education, as well as links to organizations that receive MSAC funds, regional arts organizations and the Maryland state website. Planning begins to bring the Maryland Art Place slide registry online.

Arts Education in Maryland Schools, incubated at MSAC, becomes separate non-profit organization dedicated to advocating for a quality arts education for all MD students

Continue to the 2000s