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Title: Catonsville to Become Baltimore County’s First Arts and Entertainment District

A&E Designation is a Critical Piece of County’s Economic Development 

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski today announced that Catonsville—“Music City, Maryland”—has been designated Baltimore County’s first Arts and Entertainment (A&E) District. The new district will include Catonsville’s business district along Frederick Road and the Lurman Woodland Theatre. 

“Catonsville’s downtown is a vibrant hub that draws residents and visitors alike, and this A&E designation ensures we will attract new artists and creative enterprises while ensuring our existing merchants continue to grow and thrive,” Olszewski said. “Baltimore County was proud to support the effort to obtain this designation, and I look forward to continuing our work with community leaders and stakeholders to maximize its impact.” 

Managed by the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency of Maryland Commerce, the A&E Districts offer tax-related incentives to help attract artists, arts organizations, and other creative enterprises. The designation of the Catonsville A&E District in an important piece of the county’s economic development strategy and will help to attract new creative businesses and drive additional tourism to the southwestern part of the county. The designation will become effective July 1, 2020 and last for 10 years. 

Investing in Communities

"This exciting designation highlights Catonsville's vibrant history as well as its bright future," said Governor Larry Hogan. "Our administration is proud to support the revitalization of historic and artistic communities across our state, and 'Music City, Maryland' is a shining success story for Baltimore County." 

“The A&E Districts program bridges a critical connection between the arts and economic development,” said Maryland Department of Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz. “With a critical mass of arts events, organizations, and businesses as well as independent artists, our network of districts across Maryland are helping to fuel Maryland’s economy and are central to our strong communities. We look forward to working closely with Baltimore County as we welcome the Catonsville district to the program.” 

Baltimore County is committed to growing its diverse economy by making strategic investments in communities. In his FY20 budget address, County Executive Johnny Olszewski identified efforts to secure the County’s first ever Arts and Entertainment (A&E) District as a priority. 

“I’m so proud that Catonsville’s thriving arts community will become Baltimore County’s first Arts and Entertainment District,” said County Councilman Tom Quirk. “Promoting our community’s unique character will help cultivate creativity and further leverage our amazing assets to support tourism across our County.” 


The Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development and the Department of Planning have been working in partnership with the Baltimore County Arts Guild to pursue the Catonsville A&E designation.  

“This designation is an exceptional opportunity for the Baltimore County Arts Guild to partner with Baltimore County government to bring an extraordinary development effort to our community of artists and businesses,” said Baltimore County Arts Guild President Marilyn Maitland. “There are many to thank for the years of hard work that have brought us to this day. County Executive Olszewski has been instrumental in this effort to achieve our designation. His commitment to the arts, and their ultimate benefit to the community is exceptional.” 

The community of musicians in the area have attracted businesses that construct, repair, and sell instruments and provide music lessons, helping to weave arts and entertainment threads throughout the fabric of the area. In addition to being supported by the local community, Catonsville’s successful main street attracts tourists from around the state and surrounding states to their specialty shops, arts enterprises, artist-run bakeries, restaurants that incorporate live entertainment, and community-organized events that feature a quaint, historic atmosphere.

Creative enterprises are the backbone of the Catonsville A&E District. A number of murals are displayed throughout the proposed District, and through County and State grant funding, one of the largest public murals will be featured at the Catonsville CUBE, which will overlook the thriving farmers’ market, Frederick Road Fridays, as well as other festivals and events.

Revised October 16, 2020               
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