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ADVANCING THE ARTS ACROSS MARYLAND

Maryland Recognizes Hagerstown for Outstanding Achievement

Maryland Recognizes Hagerstown for Outstanding Achievement

A&E District supports vibrant downtown, economic growth

March 25, 2014Arts Across Maryland

At the March 18 annual meeting of the A&E District Managers, Hagerstown A&E District was presented with the annual Outstanding Achievement Award by the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC). The award recognizes Hagerstown’s support of downtown revitalization and economic vitality through public/private partnerships and an array of engaging and diverse arts events and festivals.

Hannah Byron, Assistant Secretary for Tourism, Film and the Arts at the Maryland Department of Commerce presented the award to Washington County Arts Council Director Mary Anne Burke, Karen Giffin of the City of Hagerstown's Deptartment of Community Affairs and Andrew Sargent, downtown manager, City of Hagerstown.

"During 2013, Hagerstown A&E District made great strides," said Byron. "The Barbara Ingram School for the Arts graduated its first class, the Washington County Arts Council moved its offices and gallery shop within the District, and the City of Hagerstown met its goal to create affordable artist housing and gallery space. Hagerstown A&E District is a vibrant community for residents and an exciting destination for visitors and tourists alike."

In fiscal year 2013, the Hagerstown A&E District attracted an estimated 130,000 people to 78 events and festivals, and an additional 120,000 people to A&E District enterprises, which include museums, arts organizations, galleries and performances venues. Among cultural attractions that anchor the district are Barbara Ingram School for the Arts, Maryland Symphony Orchestra, The Maryland Theatre, The Western Maryland Blues Festival and the Washington County Arts Council.  In total,  Hagerstown A&E District added 5 new festivals or events and 8 new businesses or restaurants in the 2013 fiscal year.

“The City of Hagerstown is very proud of the Hagerstown Arts & Entertainment District, which is among the first such district designated in the State of Maryland,” stated Mayor David Gysberts. “We want to congratulate the Hagerstown A&E Management Board, all of the arts organizations and City staff who work throughout the year in making the Hagerstown Arts & Entertainment District a premier destination for both residents and visitors.”

According to the most recent economic impact study, Maryland's A&E Districts collectively supported an estimated 5,144  jobs that paid $149 million in wages. Jobs combined with A&E District festivals and events supported more than $458 million in state GDP and $36 million in state and local tax revenue.

The Outstanding Achievement Award is presented annually to a district board chair or executive director for excellence in one or more of five areas: marketing, public art, economic development, special events and festivals and A&E education and outreach. Maryland’s A&E Program was among the first in the country and since 2001, has grown to include 22 districts located in 15 counties across the state. The program provides tax-related incentives that help Maryland localities attract artists and arts-related enterprises. Applications for district designation are accepted annually.

The Arts and Entertainment Program is administered by the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Commerce under the direction of the Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts. For information on the program, contact Pamela Dunne at 410-767-6484 or visit www.msac.org.

Pictured: Theresa Colvin, executive director, MSAC; Barbara Bershon, chair, MSAC; Pamela Dunne, program director, MSAC;  Andrew Sargent, downtown manager, City of Hagerstown; Mary Anne Burke, executive director, Washington County Arts Council; Karen Giffin, community affairs manager, City of Hagerstown;  Hannah Byron, assistant secretary, Maryland Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts.