The Annapolis Arts District was first designated in 2008 by the State of Maryland for a 10 year period. It supplies leadership in cultivating the city’s artistic art district community and developing collaborative partnerships that result in economic and cultural revitalization along Inner West Street with strong anchors like Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, Bates Middle School and Bates Legacy Center at one end and outdoor arts events at the other end that include; First Sunday Arts Festivals, Dinner Under the Stars, Chocolate Binge Festival and holiday parades. In the middle you find galleries, boutiques, hotels, professional creatives and additional events like the Annapolis Film Festival, Maryland Day and arts district block parties.
To achieve the mission there is a broad diversity of knowledge among the groups’ Board of Directors, Executive Director and participants including: artistic, cultural and place building experience. Like other Arts and Entertainment Districts within the state, this effort produces benefits for artists citywide, as well as City residents, businesses and nonprofit arts organizations. It has also increased the tax base in what has traditionally been an underutilized section of the City.
The Annapolis Arts District has focused on increasing arts related events and festivals, public art installations, placemaking with signage and the Holiday Light Canopy, marketing and attracting new artists and creatives to the area. This has created a working community of artists and creatives which is essential to spur start up economic development and improve the quality of life for residents and visitors.
Maryland’s Arts & Entertainment Districts help develop and promote community involvement, tourism, and revitalization through tax-related incentives that attract artists, arts organizations, and other creative enterprises to towns and cities across the state. The Annapolis Arts District is one of Maryland’s 25 Arts & Entertainment Districts, each of which is a unique destination reflecting the traditions and evolving culture of the community and welcoming residents and visitors to experience the best Maryland has to offer.
The tax benefits currently offered to designated art districts include:
property tax credits for new construction or renovation of certain buildings that create live-work space for artists and/or space for arts and entertainment enterprises
an income tax subtraction modification for income derived from artistic work executed and sold within the districts by “qualifying residing artists”
an exemption from the Admissions and Amusement tax levied by an “arts and entertainment enterprise” or “qualifying residing artist” in an arts district.
There is also marketing support and networking opportunities for those within the Annapolis Arts District.
A recently completed report shows the Annapolis Arts District has made huge gains over the past few years. Between 2014 and 2016 the Annapolis Arts District grew by 654 jobs (exceeded by only one other Maryland A&E District), added $62.9 million in state gross domestic product (exceeded by only two other Maryland A&E Districts), and increased wages by $18.6 million (exceeded by only one other Maryland A&E District).
The growth of the Annapolis Arts District between 2014 and 2016 resulted in a $4.49 million increase (exceeded by only two other A&E Districts) in state and local tax revenues. This total includes direct, indirect, and induced impacts for property, income, sales, payroll, and other state and local taxes in Maryland.
This year you will see even more economic development being started in and around the Annapolis Arts District. The Hilton Garden Inn has just completed renovating the former O’Callaghan Hotel, new condominiums and retail are under construction across from the Loews Annapolis Hotel and Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts is expanding. The area has several proposed projects for the future including townhomes near Amos Garrett, building a theatre for the Maryland Theatre for the Performing Arts at Park Place and building a new 139 room hotel at Park Place.
This positive track record has led the State of Maryland to approve the Annapolis Arts District application to continue for an additional 10 years as a Maryland Designated Arts and Entertainment District and to continue offering tax benefits starting July 1 for an additional 10 years.
The organizations Executive Director, Erik Evans says the organization’s goals for the next two years will focus on building stronger collaborations between all the stake holders (residents, artists/arts businesses and government) around the district, increase the marketing of the arts in the arts district and reviewing the boundaries of the Annapolis Arts District to possibly include nearby arts organizations/businesses and property prime for development.
To learn more about the Annapolis Arts District you can visit online at www.AnnapolisArtsDistrict.org or come out and take an arts class or visit one of the many galleries, performing arts venues, restaurants, public art and festivals along West Street.