Catonsville becomes the state’s 29th A&E District, first in Baltimore County

BALTIMORE, MD (November 25, 2019) – Maryland Secretary of Commerce Kelly M. Schulz today announced that Catonsville in Baltimore County has been designated as the state’s 29th Arts and Entertainment (A&E) District. The new A&E district is Baltimore County’s first and will include Catonsville’s business district along Frederick Road and the Lurman Woodland Theater. Managed by the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency of Maryland Commerce, the A&E Districts offer tax-related incentives to help attract artists, arts organizations, and other creative enterprises to these areas and are aimed at developing and promoting community involvement, tourism, and revitalization. The designation becomes effective July 1, 2020 and lasts for 10 years.

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

“The A&E Districts program bridges a critical connection between the arts and economic development,” said Secretary Schulz. “With a critical mass of arts events, organizations, and businesses as well as independent artists, our network of districts across Maryland are helping to fuel Maryland’s economy and are central to our strong communities. We look forward to working closely with Baltimore County as we welcome the Catonsville district to the program.”

The designation of the Catonsville A&E District in an important piece of Baltimore County’s overall economic development strategy and will help to attract new creative businesses and drive additional tourism to the southwestern part of the county. Catonsville’s identity as “Music City, Maryland” and the community of musicians in the area have attracted businesses that construct, repair, and sell instruments and provide music lessons, helping to weave arts and entertainment threads throughout the fabric of the area. In addition to being supported by the local community, Catonsville’s successful main street attracts tourists from around the state and surrounding states to their specialty shops, arts enterprises, artist-run bakeries, restaurants that incorporate live entertainment, and community-organized events that feature a quaint, historic atmosphere.

“Catonsville’s downtown is a vibrant hub that draws residents and visitors alike, and this A&E designation will help attract new artists and creative enterprises while ensuring our existing merchants continue to grow and thrive,” said Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski. “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 economic impact study released earlier this year showed that new businesses and events in Maryland Arts and Entertainment Districts collectively supported over $1 billion in state GDP, approximately $72.1 million in state and local tax revenues, and 9,987 jobs that paid over $320 million in wages in FY2018. Since the program’s inception in 2001, the growing number of districts across the state have helped communities spur economic revitalization and leverage the arts to work toward community-driven creative placemaking goals.

The designation program makes available a set of tax credits and incentives meant to encourage economic development through the arts. The 28 other districts are spread throughout 18 counties and Baltimore City, each working to promote its unique character while bolstering arts activity, promoting livability, and encouraging tourism. To learn more about the program, visit our website.


About Maryland Commerce
The Maryland Department of Commerce stimulates private investment and creates jobs by attracting new businesses, encouraging the expansion and retention of existing companies and providing financial assistance to Maryland companies. The Department promotes the State’s many economic advantages and markets local products and services at home and abroad to spur economic development and international investment, trade and tourism. Because they are major economic generators, the Department also supports the Arts, film production, sports and other special events. For more information, visit

About the Maryland State Arts Council

Founded in 1967, the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) is celebrating 50 years of service to the arts.  As an agency of the State of Maryland’s Department of Commerce, Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts, MSAC encourages and invests in the advancement of the arts for all Marylanders. Its grants and programs support artists and arts organizations in their pursuit of artistic excellence, ensure the accessibility of the arts to all citizens, and promote statewide awareness of arts resources and opportunities. For more information, visit

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