You are here


Bethesda Receives 2012 Arts & Entertainment Outstanding Achievement Award

Bethesda Receives 2012 Arts & Entertainment Outstanding Achievement Award

Public art, new businesses and dynamic events support thriving arts scene

June 05, 2012Press Release

Maryland’s Department of Commerce today presented the Bethesda Arts & Entertainment (A&E) District with the 2012 Award for Outstanding Achievement. Bethesda Urban Partnership Marketing & Communications Director Stephanie Coppula accepted the Award during the annual A&E District managers meeting at Silver Spring Civic Building in Silver Spring, Maryland.

The Award recognizes Bethesda A&E District’s success in creating and sustaining high-quality arts and cultural programming, development, and promotions that attract residents, tourists and new business to the area and support the community’s vitality and growth.

“The A&E District Program helps localities capitalize on the unique cultural and economic landscape of the area,” said Theresa Colvin, Executive Director of the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC), which administers the A&E District Program. “By creating a bustling arts and cultural scene, Bethesda entices its sizeable downtown workforce to ‘stay and play’ in the area after work.”

Among Bethesda’s achievements in FY 2011 are helping attract 17 new retailors and 15 new restaurants, adding three new public events (Bethesda Poetry Contest, Bethesda Upscale Yard Sale, and Bethesda FRESHFARM Market) to an already robust program, creating an online public art directory of the downtown Bethesda area, managing the Safeway (5000 Bradley Avenue) and Tunnel Vision public art initiatives, and opening a new nonprofit art space, Gallery B. The District also ramped-up marketing efforts by launching a Facebook page that supplements to inform more than 1,200 fans of arts events, opportunities, and news.

Bethesda’s dynamic combination of arts marketing, public commissions, development, special events and community outreach helps support a downtown workforce of 45,000 and attract an additional 30,000 people into the downtown area, supporting economic boost to the area.

“We are honored to be recognized by the state for our efforts in downtown Bethesda. Since the district was established ten-years ago, the support of county and community partners has helped us to attract and honor regional artists and provide cultural experiences for residents, visitors and employees of downtown Bethesda. We look forward to welcoming even more artists and art businesses with future projects.”

The Bethesda A&E District (managed by Bethesda Urban Partnership, Inc.) is part of the Maryland A&E District Program, which provides financial incentives for Maryland localities to cultivate special zones that harness the powers of each area’s own unique cultural resources. The program became one of the first of its kind when it was created in 2001 and quickly grew to include 19 districts across the state. A&E Districts are originally designated for ten year period and must apply for resignation every 10 years thereafter. This year, Bethesda was redesignated until 2022.

The Arts & Entertainment Districts Program is administered by the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Commerce within the Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts. For information on the program, contact Executive Director Theresa Colvin at 410-767-6555 or visit


About the Maryland State Arts Council
The Maryland State Arts Council, an agency of the Maryland Department of Business & Economic Development, Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts, is dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. The mission of the council is to encourage and invest in the advancement of the arts for the people of Maryland. For more information about the Maryland State Arts Council, visit the MSAC web site at or call (410) 767-6555 or TTY 1-800-735-2258.