Skip Navigation

Image of the Baltimore County Historic Courthouse

COVID-19 Coronavirus Updates and Guidance

The County is taking a number of actions to keep residents safe and minimize the spread of COVID-19. Find status information for County operations and services.

Baltimore County News

Stay informed of what's happening in Baltimore County.
Keyword: arts

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.

Grants Provide Support for Cultural Institutions in the County

Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development (DEWD) announced that the application process for the FY2021 Baltimore County Arts, Sciences and Humanities Operating Grants is now open through Wednesday, October 23, at 4 p.m.

These competitive, general operating grants are available to nonprofit organizations in the Baltimore metropolitan area that serve Baltimore County residents in the fields of arts, sciences and humanities. In previous years, Baltimore County Government has made over $3 million available to help recognize the importance of arts and culture to the quality of life in Baltimore County.

“These grants, and our efforts to increase the number of applicants, provide important funding to help organizations realize their missions and connect our residents with arts and cultural opportunities here in Baltimore County and throughout the region,” said County Executive Johnny Olszewski.

“These grants will help organizations bring more quality arts and culture experiences for our residents,” said Will Anderson, Director of DEWD. “This goes right along with County Executive Olszewski’s vision to help further promote tourism initiatives in Baltimore County.”

Arts organizations have a serious economic impact in Baltimore County. Over 1,700 arts-related businesses already exist across Baltimore County, employing 7,000 people. So, while we enjoy the quality of life impacts of these creative industries, we need to remember the financial benefits they bring as well.

Application and Guidelines Information Sessions

Two information sessions will be held regarding the operating grant application and guidelines. It is advised if you have not applied for a Baltimore County Arts and Sciences Operating Grant that your organization send a representative to an information session.

First Information Session
Tuesday, October 1, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.
North Point Library
1716 Merritt Boulevard
Dundalk, Maryland 21222

Second Information Session
Thursday, October 3, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Pikesville Library
1301 Reisterstown Road
Pikesville, Maryland 21208

Baltimore County grants support regional nonprofits, including a robust County arts community. County organizations receiving support include the Gordon Center for Performing Arts, Towson Arts Collective, Baltimore County Arts Guild and Contemporary Arts Jazz. In addition, the County supports institutions located in the region such as Everyman Theater, the American Visionary Art Museum and the Baltimore Museum of Industry, which are central to the region’s quality of life.

Find more information about eligibility and the grant application.

About DEWD

DEWD provides business and workforce services that attract, retain and expand businesses; foster the creation of high quality jobs; prepare and train residents for in-demand careers; bring employers together with the qualified talent and expands Baltimore County’s economic base. Learn more about DEWD.

The new edition of smARTS, the Baltimore County arts and culture television show, explores Baltimore County filmmakers, looks at what motivates a jazz artist, and offers ideas for exploring arts with kids. CCBC Dance performs an original work. The program airs on Baltimore County cable channel 25. Featured segments include:

  • Host Carolyn Black-Sotir speaks with saxophonist Gregory Thompkins on what motivates his music.
  • Baltimore County has some great local filmmakers and “made in Baltimore County” films. Scott Braid from the Maryland Film Festival and filmmaker Joe Tropea go behind the screen credits.
  • Tommy Parlon from CCBC Dance talks about careers in dance, and the CCBC Dance company performs a new work.
  • Trisha Chason from the Baltimore County Arts Guild offers visual arts activities that nurture creativity in the children in your life.

smARTS airs Thursdays and Fridays, 7:00-7:30 p.m. and Tuesdays 11:30 a.m.- noon on Baltimore County cable channel 25. SmARTS segments can be viewed on the Baltimore County Government YouTube channel.

smARTS is a production of the Baltimore County Commission on Arts & Sciences in partnership with the Baltimore County Public Schools and BCPS-TV.




Revised September 11, 2017