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New Arts Initiatives and $318,000 in Federal Stimulus Funds

April 14, 2009Press Release

Baltimore, Maryland (April 15, 2009) – Maryland Department of Business & Economic Development Secretary Christian S. Johansson and Maryland State Arts Council Chair E. Scott Johnson today joined more than 150 community representatives to unveil Imagine Maryland: 2009-2013, the state’s five-year strategic plan to strengthen the arts. The event, held at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture, also included the unveiling of a new Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) logo and the announcement of a $318,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to stabilize jobs in the nonprofit arts sector under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

“Governor O’Malley and I are committed to maintaining a robust arts economy in Maryland. This five-year strategic plan is a key element of our mission to create, attract and retain jobs and to promote our state’s creative economy,” Secretary Johansson said. “I am confident that the additional federal funds will help us provide critical resources to arts organizations, helping them to retain jobs during the economic downturn.”

“Imagine Maryland affirms the Governor’s commitment to support artists and arts organizations by advancing life-long learning in the arts, encouraging partnerships across sectors, and promoting creative use of new technologies to elevate visibility of the arts,” Johnson said. “The unprecedented participation by more than 4,000 people in the planning process of this plan demonstrates Marylander’ passion for the arts and provided us with both information and inspiration to invest in the advancement of the arts for our citizens.”

Imagine Maryland calls for the Maryland State Arts Council to take a leadership role in convening, technical assistance and training, and communication; identified specific geographic and community needs; and outlined specific goals and objectives to guide development of the agency’s annual action plan. Executive Director Theresa Colvin stressed the importance of the strategic goals and development of annual work plans saying, “We need to be even more focused in working with both the public and private sectors to collaborate and partner to leverage our current resources.” She announced a few of the upcoming year initiatives including: technical assistance workshops on Social Media Marketing and Engaging Communities, an arts education resource survey and a pilot initiative to explore regional approaches to planning among counties in various regions of the state.

Colvin closed the presentation by inviting the Secretary, Councilors and featured guests to help unveil a dynamic new logo for the Maryland State Arts Council symbolizing the vision and strategic directions articulated in Imagine Maryland. The logo features an asymmetrical duo of fluid ribbons with twisting threads of black, red and gold creating a graceful mark signifying flexibility, diversity and strength.

Imagine Maryland culminates a comprehensive strategic planning process that included representation from every county and dozens of perspectives. A recognized best practice of state arts agencies, strategic planning is required by the National Endowment for the Arts in order to be eligible for state partnership funding. A management team representing Department of Commerce, the Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts and the arts council will monitor and evaluate implementation of the plan. Copies of Imagine Maryland are available on line at


The Maryland State Arts Council is an agency of the Maryland Department of Business & Economic Development, Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts and is dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. According to an Americans for the Arts study, 51,466 people were employed in 11,443 arts-related businesses in Maryland in 2008. A FY 2007 Department of Commerce study indicates that the nonprofit arts industry alone employed 15,000 people and generated a total economic impact of $1.2 billion. For information visit, email, or call 410-767-6555 or TTY 1-800-735-2258.