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Maryland Recognizes Salisbury for Outstanding Achievement

Maryland Recognizes Salisbury for Outstanding Achievement


National Award-Winning Arts & Entertainment Districts support vibrant downtowns, excellent planning, and economic growth

April 21, 2015Press Release

April 20, 2015 (Hagerstown) – During today’s annual meeting of the Arts & Entertainment (A&E) District Managers, Salisbury A&E District was presented with the annual Outstanding Achievement Award by the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC). The award recognizes Salisbury A&E District’s commitment to ongoing revitalization through strategic partnerships, thriving arts centers, new businesses and popular events, all contributing to a vital community and growing economy.

The Outstanding Achievement Award is presented annually to a district board chair or executive director for excellence in one or more of five areas: marketing, public art, economic development, special events and festivals, and A&E education and outreach.

Maryland’s A&E Program was among the first in the country and since 2001, has grown to include 22 districts located in 15 counties across the state. The program provides tax-related incentives that help Maryland localities attract artists and arts-related enterprises. 

Bill Pencek, Acting Assistant Secretary for Tourism, Film and the Arts at the Maryland Department of Commerce, presented the award to Lee F. Whaley and Constance Strott, Co-Chairs of the Salisbury A&E District.

“Salisbury’s A&E District renaissance is due to the exceptional work of District volunteers, stakeholders and the City’s support. Their collaboration generated 19 new businesses and five new restaurants, employing 54 people,” said Pencek. “With another 15 capital projects either in the works or completed, the numerous arts events, festivals, and new space for artists to thrive, have made Salisbury A&E District a vibrant community for residents, and an exciting destination for visitors and tourists alike. Congratulations on the great strides you have made in your community."

"We have a city government that recognizes and values the arts as a strong force for economic development. The city has been a supportive partner in all A&E initiatives" said Lee Whaley, Co-Chair of the Salisbury A&E District."Their support, combined with the energy and enthusiasm of our volunteers and other stakeholders, has been a key contributor to our progress. A performing arts venue, a ballet company, living and studio space dedicated to artists, and new public art are all playing a significant role in the downtown revival.”

In fiscal year 2014 Salisbury A&E District and Salisbury Wicomico Arts Council participated in "Envision Salisbury," a series of workshops and tours conducted by the University of Maryland, School of Architecture to acquire feedback from stakeholders regarding what they would like to see downtown. Graduate students presented various architectural visions to city leadership to use in their consideration of future projects for riverfront and downtown development. The District was the site of 19 new art events including concerts, ballet, films and workshops. A public mural was completed with two more scheduled in FY 2016.

The A&E District attracted 67,615 people to 78 performances, arts events and the three festivals. Galleries and co-ops attracted 3,817 art lovers and Salisbury’s performance venues and museums attracted nearly 10,000 patrons. The Art Institute & Gallery and Dance Center of Salisbury played host to 829 individuals seeking art education programs. Also, visitors to the District can enjoy free Wi-Fi service.

Since 2012 MSAC has commissioned the Regional Economic Studies Institute at Towson University to complete an annual economic impact analysis. According to the most recent FY2014 Maryland Arts & Entertainment Districts Economic Impact Analysis, Maryland’s A&E Districts collectively supported:

  • An estimated 6,000 direct, indirect, and induced jobs.
  • More than $198.5 million in total wages Nearly $571.4 million in total state GDP.
  • Approximately $38.5 million in total tax revenue impact.

Source: Economic Impact of the Arts in Maryland: FY 2014. 

Today also, MSAC receives the National Planning Achievement Award for Economic Planning & Development from the American Planning Association (APA). MSAC’s award will be recognized collectively along with other Achievement Award recipients at the 2015 National Planning Awards Luncheon in Seattle, Washington. The 12 Achievement Award recipients were selected by the awards jury as examples of strong planning work. The awards ranged from transportation planning to environmental improvements to urban design, among others.

Under the direction of the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Commerce within the Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts, the A&E Districts Program has become a model for states across the country that are interested in using metrics to demonstrate the economic impact of a thriving art and cultural scene in a community. For information on the program, contact Pamela Dunne, A&E District Program Director at 410-767-6555 or visit

About the Maryland State Arts Council

An agency of the Maryland Department of Business & Economic Development, Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts, the Maryland State Arts Council is dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. Maryland State Arts Council grantees generate $1 billion in economic activity and support more than 12,000 jobs and $45 million in state and local tax revenue. For information: (410) 767-6555/TTY (410) 333-4519.


Media Contact: 

Jill Kubatko, Communications Manager
410.767.8851 •

Pamela Dunne, Program Director
410.767.6484 •