Howard County Arts Council Receives Record Arts Appropration from Howard County Government

Howard County Arts Council Receives Record Arts Appropration from Howard County Government

In May 2014, the Howard County Council approved County Executive Ken Ulman's FY15 arts appropriation of $1.45 million to the Howard County Arts Council (HCAC). This record amount, which includes $1 million for HCAC's annual budget - a 30% increase from FY14 - and $450,000 in one-time funding, will finance vital local and regional arts programming that will enrich the lives of County residents.

Of the $1 million, 63% will be used to support the Arts Council's grant programs, including four programs that provide operating and project grants to Howard County arts organizations; Artist-in-Education grants to County schools through Parent Teacher Associations; grants to key Baltimore City arts and cultural organizations; and Outreach Howard grants to encourage Baltimore City grant recipients to provide programming in Howard County. HCAC will also receive $250,000 in one-time arts funding to support organizational development grants to existing grantees, both local and regional, to help these organizations build capacity and strengthen their infrastructure, and $200,000 to create a pilot entrepreneurial fund to assist individual artists and arts organizations in developing creative business ventures.

The arts appropriation also provides general operating funds to support the Arts Council and its other principal project, the 27,000 square foot, multi-purpose Howard County Center for the Arts in Ellicott City. At the Center, the Arts Council sponsors year-round activities in the arts, including classes, visual art exhibits, and performances in the community black box theatre. The Center also provides studio space for 14 visual artists; office space for 3 resident arts groups; meeting space for 10 all-volunteer-run arts groups; and affordable rehearsal and performance space for 30+ dance, music, and theatre groups. Over 40,000 people visit the Center each year - whether they are attending workshops, enjoying a performance, or working in their studio, the Arts Council provides rewarding experiences for citizens of all ages.

Coleen West, Howard County Arts Council Executive Director, says, "I am truly excited, and grateful, about the County's continued investment in the arts. The arts not only add beauty and vitality to our lives, they inspire us and provide people of all ages with lifelong learning opportunities. In addition, the arts make a positive impact on the overall health and wellness of our community and on our local economy as well."

In addition to providing a wide variety of arts programs and activities for citizens to enjoy, County arts organizations that received grants from the Arts Council in FY13 generated $3.7 million in revenues.

For every direct County dollar spent on the arts, these organizations raised an additional $5.88 from other sources. These arts organizations also generate local tourism dollars. The Maryland State Department of Business and Economic Development reports that every dollar in operating expenses generates an estimated $3.94 in spending on goods and services. Using this indicator, the non-profit arts organizations in Howard County contributed an extra $14.5 million to our local economy in FY13, for a total economic impact of $18.2 million. Small businesses and individual entrepreneurs are critical to the County's economy and non-profit arts groups and artists are an important part of the County's small business sector.

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