ANNAPOLIS, MD — In an unprecedented move aimed at bolstering the arts and culture sector, Governor Wes Moore announced today that Maryland is investing a record $40 million in supplemental funding for state arts organizations. This comes from the Maryland State Arts Council’s (MSAC) annual appropriation of $28.9 million for the fiscal year 2023 (FY23). The combined investment positions Maryland as second in the nation for this fiscal year’s per capita spending on the arts.
“Even as the world continues to reopen, many arts organizations find it difficult to return to pre-pandemic audience levels. The same is true for artists, who are still getting back on their feet after recent challenges,” said Gov. Moore. “Thanks to this historic investment, which illustrates how much we value a strong creative economy, our arts ecosystem is poised to thrive in the coming years.”
The MSAC, an arm of the State of Maryland Department of Commerce Division of Tourism, Film, and the Arts, is tasked with advancing the arts throughout the state. The council awards grants to tax-exempt organizations and individual artists and also provides technical assistance. With the Arts Relief initiative, the council’s funding will benefit arts projects and employment across all 24 Maryland jurisdictions.
The Arts Relief fund significantly expands MSAs’s budget by 138% and has led to a dramatic uptick in grants:
- 282% more operating grants
- 209% more grants to artists
- 164% more grants to organizations
- 55% more project grants
A 17-member council of Maryland citizens and legislators oversaw the Arts Relief funding decisions. As a result, MSAC could administer 2,500 grants in FY23, more than triple its usual volume.
Artists and organizations have welcomed this boost. “This is an amazing investment from MSAC in the Imagination Stage and the arts sector. Plus, the flexibility regarding the use of funds and the simplicity of the application are also incredible gifts to our community,” said a representative from Imagination Stage in Montgomery County.
For more details, visit the MSAC website at msac.org, or refer to the Maryland State Arts Council’s FY23 Annual Report for a detailed funding overview.
The Arts Relief initiative is not just about numbers; it’s also about the tangible impact on individuals. “This has been beneficial from both a financial and mental well-being perspective. The peace of mind and help this has granted cannot be overstated. Thank you all so very much,” said Artist Joe Brawn of Allegany County.
Artists from regions severely affected by the pandemic also shared their relief. “The Lower Eastern Shore region of Maryland has been devastated by the impact of multi-year pandemic shutdowns…The support from [MSAC] gives me the flexibility to continue working as an artist,” said Sheila Cherry of Worcester County.
Funding for MSAC comes from an annual appropriation from the State of Maryland and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. The council is also open to receiving contributions from private, non-governmental sources.