Maryland Providing Stimulus Grants To Cultural, Arts Groups

April 16, 2009|By Tim Smith | Tim Smith,tim.smith@baltsun.com

The state of Maryland will provide grants of up to $20,000 to cultural organizations hit by the recession. The initiative is being funded by a $318,600 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The stimulus money, administered by the Maryland State Arts Council under the Maryland Arts Employment Stabilization program, "will help us to sustain jobs in this vital industry, which is essential to the continued growth of Maryland's creative economy," Gov. Martin O'Malley said in a statement Wednesday.

Grant money can be used to pay artists' fees or to help with salaries for crucial personnel whose jobs have been threatened or eliminated because of the economic downturn.

"The grants offer a chance for stability and for maintaining artistic goals," said Lockwood Hoehl, executive director of the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, which suspended its 2009 spring season because of a steep drop in ticket sales and contributed income. "Concert sponsorships are difficult to acquire right now. These funds could support the fees of the outstanding soloists we will present next season."

Christian S. Johansson, secretary of Maryland's Department of Business and Economic Development, said Wednesday that the arts council "will be working hard to assist Maryland's arts organizations in applying for the grants, ensuring that we are maximizing every dollar made available" through the stimulus funds.

The grant application deadline is May 8. Funds must be spent between July 1 and June 30, 2010. For more information, call 410-767-6484 or go to www.msac.org.

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