Catonsville named a state arts and entertainment district

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Singer-songwriter and “American Idol” contestant Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon performs at Bill’s Music in Catonsville. Image via Bill’s Music’s Facebook page.

Downtown Catonsville has been selected as a state-designated arts and entertainment district, the first in Baltimore County, officials announced today.

Covering a stretch of the downtown corridor along Frederick Road and the Lurman Woodland Theater, the district is now eligible to receive tax incentives to attracts artists and arts organizations. The designation, managed by the Maryland Arts Council, takes effect on July 1, 2020 and run for 10 years.

In statements, both Gov. Larry Hogan and Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. pointed to Catonsville’s legacy as “Music City, Maryland,” a nod to several main street businesses that sell and repair instruments and a number of concert series held in the town.

“This exciting designation highlights Catonsville’s vibrant history as well as its bright future,” Hogan said. “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.”

“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.”

An April report by the Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development found the county had the foundation to become a popular tourist destination but needed to, among other things, better promote breweries and wineries, advertise access to waterways and create an arts district.

Olszewski said the designation dovetail’s with the county’s efforts to stimulate economic growth by investing in smaller communities.

According to data from the Maryland Department of Commerce, which oversees the Maryland Arts Council, the 28 other arts and entertainment districts across the state generated $72 million in state and local tax revenues and supported 9,987 jobs.

Among the incentives are property tax credits for owners who renovate buildings for “qualified residing artists” or “arts and entertainment enterprises,” and income tax credits who sell work within the district.

Brandon Weigel

Brandon Weigel is the managing editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. A graduate of the University of Maryland, he has been published in The Washington Post, The Sun, Baltimore Magazine, Urbanite, The Baltimore Business Journal, b and others. Prior to joining Baltimore Fishbowl, he was an editor at City Paper from 2012 to 2017. He can be reached at [email protected]
Brandon Weigel


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