The Maryland State Arts Council and the Maryland Department of Commerce announced Tuesday, June 1, 2021 that Bel Air has been re-designated as an Arts & Entertainment District through June 30, 2031. Bel Air is one of 29 districts in the State of Maryland.
Encompassing approximately 98 acres in the heart of downtown, the Bel Air Arts and Entertainment District has seen tremendous growth since its initial designation in 2011. An increased number of events sponsored by local organizations has led to greater community engagement and the District has many businesses who carry local artists’ work. The Town’s public art collection has also grown with the addition of murals and sculptures sponsored by the Town and its Cultural Arts Commission and initiatives through the Bel Air Downtown Alliance and local businesses.
The redesignated District will continue to offer incentives including a State of Maryland income tax subtraction modification for artists creating and selling work in the District, a State of Maryland admissions and amusement tax exemption for fees levied on arts and entertainment enterprises or qualifying residing artists, and a Town property tax credit for reducing the increase in property tax when a building is built or renovated for an arts-related business or artist live / work space within the District.
According to the Maryland State Arts Council, “the goal of the A&E Districts program is to develop, promote, and support diverse artistic and cultural centers in communities across Maryland that preserve a sense of place, provide unique local experiences, attract tourism, and spur economic revitalization and neighborhood pride.”
“The work of local artists along with the many annual events and festivals held within the District creates opportunities for our community to continue to grow and thrive,” stated Arts & Entertainment District Manager, Angela Robertson. She added, “We are fortunate to have a supportive and engaged community and many local partners who promote our artists and continue to help us build a vibrant arts district in Bel Air.”
The mission of the Bel Air Arts and Entertainment District is to promote and enhance arts and entertainment offerings and opportunities to create a unique and vibrant community where people and businesses want to live, work and play.