Founded in 1967, The Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) is an agency of the State of Maryland's Department of Commerce that plays an essential role, ensuring every person has access to the transformative power of the arts.
MSAC advances the arts in our state by providing leadership that champions creative expression, diverse programming, equitable access, lifelong learning, and the arts as a celebrated contributor to the quality of life for all the people of Maryland.
By centering equity and justice in all decision-making, MSAC ensures that Marylanders have the opportunity to participate in the arts as affirming, enhancing, and necessary life experiences.
The arts celebrate our state’s diversity, connect our shared humanity, and transform individuals and communities. MSAC and its supporting collaborators are committed to advancing and modeling equity, diversity, accessibility, and inclusion in all aspects of our organizations and across communities of our state. MSAC and its grantees are committed to embracing equity and non-discrimination regardless of race, religious creed, color, age, gender expression, sexual orientation, class, language, and/or ability.
Founded in 1967, MSAC is an agency of the State of Maryland under the authority of the Department of Commerce.
- Governor Wes Moore
- Lieutenant Governor Aruna Miller
- Acting Secretary of Commerce Signe Pringle
- Assistant Secretary of Tourism, Film, Arts, Marketing and Communications Thomas B. Riford
MSAC is comprised of an appointed body of 17 citizens from across the state*, 13 of whom are named by the governor to 3-year terms that may be renewed once. Two private citizens and two legislators are appointed by the president of the Senate and by the speaker of the House. All councilors serve without salary.
Click here to learn more about the Governor's appointments process.
*The council currently has a vacant seat, and MSAC is working towards filling it as soon as possible.
To carry out our mission, MSAC awards grants to non-profit, tax-exempt organizations for ongoing arts programming and projects. We also award grants to independent artists and provide technical assistance and professional development to individuals and groups.
MSAC relies on a diverse array of experts from across the state of Maryland to do the important work of evaluating applications. We invite participation through program-specific public calls for panelists. We select panelists with a focus on diversity of experiences, diversity of location, and expertise in varying artistic disciplines. Click here to join our mailing list and receive calls for panelists as we release them.
In 2020, MSAC staff members and councilors engaged in six sessions focused on the following topics:
Self Awareness & Our Intersectionality
An introductory workshop on definitions and functionalities of racism, horizontal hostility, intersectionality, implicit bias, prejudice, etc. Led by Quanice Floyd, Arts Education in Maryland Schools, Arts Admin of Color and Alysia Lee, Maryland Department of Education.
Generative Conflict & Restorative Justice
A session centered on understanding restorative justice practices to resolve conflict. Led by Joyell Arvella, harp + sword.
Institutional Reconciliation: How are we Inequitable?
A session focused on learning how to conduct a power analysis with interactive exercises conducting analyses of constituents’ programs, policies, hierarchies, and decision making. Led by Joyell Arvella, harp + sword.
Institutional Reconciliation: How do we Undo Inequity?
A session centered on learning the tools and pathways towards operationalizing Equity in working practices, including crafting an organizational anti-racist strategy plan. Led by Joyell Arvella, harp + sword.
An introduction and investigation of Aesthetic Perspectives, a framework developed by Animating Democracy to enhance understanding and evaluation of Arts for Change. Led by Jessica Solomon, Art in Praxis.
Using the Maryland Arts Summit as a case study, participants learned about strategies to become more accessible in programs, facilities, and policies through a gap analysis, listening sessions, and constituent feedback. Led by Amanda Lay, Robin Lynne Marquis, and Steve Wolf.
All Council and Grant Review Panel meetings are open to the public in accordance with the Open Meetings Law set forth in the General Provisions Article, Sections 3-101 through 3-501 of the Annotated Code of Maryland. The dates, times, and locations of Council and Grant Review Panel are available on our website and may be obtained by contacting MSAC.
National arts organizations (National Endowment for the Arts, National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, Americans for the Arts) have clarified approaches to uncover cultural bias in the procedures and policies of state arts agencies. In response, MSAC has committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion in grantmaking as all funding mechanisms continue to be examined and updated.
The driving goals of this vision for the granting processes are:
- To acknowledge positions of privilege while questioning practices, shifting paradigms of status quo arts activities, and taking more risks.
- To yield a greater variety of funded projects.
- To eliminate biases that may be found in any part of the granting process (e.g. - applications, panelist procedures, adjudication systems).
- To expand the deliberations about rigor beyond current conventions or Western traditions.
- To aspire to make investments that contribute to social change and demonstrate aesthetic excellence in terms relevant to context and intent.
The State of Maryland pledges to provide constituents, businesses, customers and stakeholders with services in the following manner:
- Friendly and courteous: We will be helpful and supportive, and have a positive attitude, and passion for what we do.
- Timely and responsive: We will be proactive, take initiative, and try to anticipate your needs.
- Accurate and consistent: We will always aim for 100% accuracy and be consistent in how we interpret and implement state policies and procedures.
- Accessible and convenient: We will continue to simplify and improve access to information and resources.
- Truthful and transparent: We will advance a culture of honesty, clarity, and trust.
For more information on the State of Maryland's customer service program, or to submit a suggestion, please visit maryland.gov/customerservice.
Information on this site is believed to be accurate, but is not guaranteed. The State of Maryland disclaims liability for any errors or omissions. Access to and use of text and image files in the MSAC site are subject to the following terms and conditions: 1) The material in this site is copyrighted by MSAC or by third parties from whom we have obtained permission to publish their materials on this site. Any commercial use or publication of any material from this website is strictly prohibited; 2) MSAC retains any and all rights, including copyright, which it may have in MSAC files, and/or images, and text they contain.