Explore 50 years of history


State of Maryland Establishes designation program for Arts & Entertainment Districts

House Bill 691 and Senate Bill 586 are signed into law. These laws are based in part on previous efforts in Rhode Island and other localities across the nation. The new designation provides a package of tax abatements and other incentives to neighborhoods and localities that feature an “arts and entertainment” identity.  MSAC manages the application and certification process, and offers technical assistance and Public Art project grants to A&E districts statewide.


MSAC establishes Maryland Traditions program

From Captain John Smith’s visit to Chesapeake Bay in 1608, through the immigration waves of the nineteenth century, to today, Maryland’s identity has been marked by arrivals. In 2001, the Maryland Traditions program is established to celebrate the traditions of the “Been-Heres” who have lived in the state for generations (or centuries), as well as the those of the “Came-Heres” who have arrived from all over the world.  

The program pools the resources of MSAC, the Maryland Historical Trust and the National Endowment for the Arts to cultivate regional folklorists across the state. Under the leadership of Drs. Rory Turner and Elaine Eff, the Maryland Traditions program grows to include partnerships, apprenticeships (see 2004), and project grants, and remains a vital element of MSAC programming today.


First Arts & Entertainment Districts inaugurated

Six new Arts & Entertainment districts in Hagerstown, Cumberland, Baltimore (Station North), Bethesda, Silver Spring and Hyattsville/Mt. Rainier (Gateway) are designated and begin operation under a 10-year designation. The program has since grown to 25 A&E districts statewide. Since the expiration of the initial designation period, 15 Arts & Entertainment Districts have been granted 10-year extensions.

Completed Strategic plan, Building on Success


William Donald Schaefer's MD Public Art legislation

Maryland Comptroller William Donald Schaefer secures passage of Maryland State Public Art Program legislation in 2005, thus creating a public art program for the State of Maryland. Further legislation passed in 2013 requires that all construction and major renovation projects in the state include public art. Governor Schaefer’s record of support for public art (and the arts in general) goes all the way back to 1964, when as a city councilman, he secured passage of the Baltimore City Percent for Art Ordinance, the second such legislation created in the United States.


Impact of the Maryland arts economy exceeds $1 billion

The total impact of the arts on Maryland’s economy tops $1 billion for the first time. Other data includes: $371.6 million in salaries from arts-related employment, $37.3 million in local and state tax revenue, and the equivalent of 13, 762 full-time jobs. In addition, the data shows that “every $1 of direct spending by audiences attending arts events generates an additional $2.10 in secondary expenditures.”


MSAC joins the Cultural Data Project in Maryland

June, 2007: Maryland becomes the second state to join the Cultural Data Project (CDP).  This initiative, developed in Pennsylvania by Pew Charitable Trusts, is a nationwide data collection and analysis system geared toward providing“ enhanced management tools for reporting and advocacy.”  This means that the financial impact of arts-related businesses can now be known with certainty, and “bring the language and leverage of data to the business of culture.” Applicants to MSAC Grants for Organizations and Community Arts Development funds are required to submit data profiles, which are rolled into a database serving all participating organizations.  In 2016, the Cultural Data Project changes its name to DataArts.


ArtSalute becomes Arts Day

The biennial event ArtSalute, established in 1991 by Maryland Citizens for the Arts Foundation becomes a new, annual event.  Maryland Arts Day, co-sponsored by MCA Foundattion as well as MCA, is the only event of its kind to convene Maryland's entire arts industry and offer networking and resources for growth in the 21st century.  Arts Day is an annual gathering of nearly 500 people involved in the arts—from executives, board members, and staff of art organizations, to artists, concerned citizens and students—for the dual purpose of showing support for the arts to elected officials and of participating in professional development workshops.


Commissioned first ever Statewide public opinion poll regarding the arts and a State Arts Council, which was included with Strategic Plan, Imagine Maryland


Established Maryland Presenters Network and MD Touring Artists Roster and Grant Program


Commissioned first Fiscal Impact Study of the A&E program


Established Annual Award for Outstanding Achievement by A&E District

Continue to the 2010s