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Arts & Entertainment Districts

Arts & Entertainment Districts


A Structure for Creative Placemaking: Arts & Entertainment Districts

Maryland’s Arts & Entertainment (A&E) Districts help develop and promote community involvement, tourism, and revitalization through tax-related incentives that attract artists, arts organizations, and other creative enterprises to towns and cities across the State.


A&E Districts Across the State: Creative Places to Explore

Maryland's 28 Arts & Entertainment Districts are unique destinations, each district reflecting the traditions and evolving culture of its community and welcoming residents and visitors to experience the best Maryland has to offer. Explore the map below to see District boundaries and learn more about each District.



Since Maryland became one of the first states to create an A&E Districts program in 2001, 26 districts have been designated, and the state has reaped the innumerable social and economic benefits inherent in creative placemaking projects. The program's most recent economic impact study shows that in fiscal year 2018, events and new businesses in 25 Maryland A&E Districts collectively supported more than $1 billion in state GDP, approximately $72.1 million in state and local tax revenues, and 9,987 jobs that paid more than $320 million in wages.

View the fiscal year 2018 A&E Districts Economic Impact Report.


Application Process

Maryland counties and municipalities may apply for A&E District designation for specific areas where there is a threshold of arts and entertainment activity and a desire to encourage investment and additional arts activity through the A&E Districts program's tax-related benefits. Deadlines for A&E District applications are April 1 and October 1. Prospective applicants should contact program staff before completing a required Intent to Apply form. Following the Intent To Apply submission, program staff schedule a site visit and consultation to provide technical assistance to the applicant. The prospective district must hold a community hearing, obtain relevant jurisdictions' consent to the tax incentives, and submit an extensive application with the chief elected official's endorsement. Staff and panel review and recommendation precede a final designation determination by the Secretary of Commerce.

2020 Arts & Entertainment District Designation Application Guidelines


A&E District Operating Support Grant

Management Entities for designated Maryland Arts & Entertainment Districts may apply to MSAC for A&E District Operating Support grants to help advance the goals of individual districts and the State designation program. 

FY2021 A&E District Operating Support Grant Guidelines

FY2021 A&E District Letter of Agreement

FY2021 LOA Attachment A


Network Technical Assistance grants

MSAC is pleased to introduce the Network Technical Assistance grant, which will support organizational development for MSAC’s three network-based programs: Arts & Entertainment Districts (A&E), County Arts Development (CAD), and the Folklife Network. The A&E, CAD, and Folklife Network programs raise the profile of Maryland arts through 29 A&E Districts, 24 county arts councils, and 8 regional folklife centers. Network Technical Assistance grants will provide funds to support professional consulting services, board and staff development fees, and other activities allowing these organizations to better serve their communities. Network Technical Assistance grants are between $500 and $2,000 and will be offered on a rolling basis, pending available funding.

For more information on Network Technical Assistance grants, download and read the grant guidelines. For any further questions, contact Director of Grants and Professional Development Dana Parsons at or 410.767.6557.


Public Art Across Maryland Grant Program

A&E District management entities as well as municipal and non-profit partners are eligible to apply for MSAC grants for public art projects. For FY20 Public Art Across Maryland grant information, click here.

All grantees are required to submit a Final Report communicating data required by the National Endowment for the Arts. This required data can be found here. For program specific Report information, please see the corresponding Guidelines.