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A&E Districts Attract Visitors, Support Jobs

A&E Districts Attract Visitors, Support Jobs


New study of Maryland districts affirms economic value of pioneering model

March 20, 2014Press Release

In fiscal year 2013, 20 Maryland Arts and Entertainment (A&E) Districts collectively supported an estimated 5,144 new jobs that paid $149 million in wages. New 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, a new study shows.

The study, commissioned by the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) and conducted by Regional Economic Studies Institute (RESI), underscores the positive impact of cultural districts on the local economy.

“Maryland is a state with strong communities, a wealth of creative assets and a thriving tourism industry” said Dominick Murray, Secretary, Maryland Department of Commerce. “We capitalize on those distinctive qualities through A&E Districts, which advance our local economies and support cultural experiences that residents and visitors can enjoy.”

Established in 2001 as one of the first programs of its kind, the MSAC’s nationally pioneering A&E District Program has grown to include 22 districts in rural, suburban and urban neighbors across 15 Maryland counties. A&E Districts attract artists, arts organizations and businesses through various tax benefits, including property tax credits for developers, abatement of admissions and amusement tax for venues, and income tax benefits for artists that create and sell in a district.

Legislation that would extend the income tax benefits for artists is under consideration in the current session of the Maryland General Assembly. The bill (SB 1054/HB 1516 Economic Development - Arts and Entertainment Districts - Qualifying Residing Artists) would exempt qualifying artists from paying taxes on art sales not only within the A&E District in which the art is created, but within any of Maryland’s 22 A&E Districts.

“A&E Districts will continue to create significant new business opportunities for Maryland artists, and by doing so, incentivize further investment in the revitalization of the A&E Districts,” said Hannah Byron, Assistant Secretary for Tourism, Film and the Arts at the Department of Commerce.

In February, the Maryland A&E District Program was awarded the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission’s Sustainable Communities Award for “exemplary work that represents or inspires collaboration, innovation, conservation, community impact and quality of life.”

Pictured: Sculptor Lindsay Pichaske working at Red Dirt Studio in Gateway A&E District.