Where is Bel Air’s A & E District?
Bel Air’s Arts & Entertainment District consists of 99 acres located in the heart of the Town’s Central Business District. It also incorporates adjoining residential, historical, and community areas. The district is roughly bound by Gordon Street to the north, Hays Street to the west, Heighe Street to the south, and the Shamrock community to the east.
What does this mean to merchants and residents?
The arts and cultural events have long been part of the fabric of Bel Air. The Town has sponsored decades of outdoors concerts, seasonal performances, a regionally recognized annual arts festival and more. A large number of these events are free, making the arts accessible to all.
A formal A & E District tells the world that we value the arts and welcomes residents and visitors to share in these events.
On a practical level, the arts can provide opportunities for artists and business people to make a living in the arts. A & E Districts offer economic incentives and certain tax advantages. When artists and business people are successful, it supports the growth of other businesses such as restaurants, boutiques and gift stores.
Bel Air is well-equipped to welcome visitors. We have increased parking, improved walkability and enhanced signage. For the occasional large event, such as the Festival for the Arts and holiday parades, we have years of experience in transporting people and providing safe and fun events.
What kind of arts can we expect to see in Bel Air?
We envision Bel Air itself as a gallery for the arts, offering as many free and low cost events as possible. We will encourage businesses and professional offices to showcase local artists. We will continue to offer our traditional free concerts as well as theater events. Our goal is to expand gallery space and art-related businesses in downtown, thus making it easier for people to walk from place to place and enjoy our historic surroundings.
In short, we want our residents and visitors to regard Bel Air as a destination where they can spend quality time with family, friends and neighbors while experiencing the arts.
Who is involved in the A & E District?
Bel Air’s Department of Economic Development oversees the District. Our partners include the Bel Air Cultural Arts Commission, the Bel Air Downtown Alliance and a 13- member advisory committee. We work closely with the Harford County Cultural Arts Board and the Maryland Center for the Arts.