Across Maryland, the arts are a strong economic driver generating $59.6 million dollars in state and local tax revenue. For every dollar the state dedicates toward arts funding, a $4.12 return is produced by that investment. The strength of our creative economy impacts the lives of every citizen and enhances the tourism experience for our out-of-state guests.
Each of the 23 counties and Baltimore City has an official arts agency receiving direct support from Maryland State Arts Council. In the western most county, that agency is the Garrett County Arts Council, a 501(c)3 non-profit. As a direct conduit to the state, Garrett County Arts Council works to support all forms of art in the county through Community Arts Development grant funding to other non-profit organizations, units of government, and educational facilities. Advocacy for continued funding at the state and local level is another key role of the Arts Council. Varied public programs and arts in education projects are part of the mission the Council provides for our communities.
The Council’s initiatives include the publication of a literary journal, the Autumn Glory Festival Heritage Craft Fest, workshops, and grant funding in support of art education. The Council curates exhibits featuring a variety of media at the Garrett County Visitors Center and at The Gallery Shop in Oakland.
Visual arts and fine traditional craft have a strong presence in Garrett County. From the late 1890s when Grantsville area photographer Leo Beachy captured scenes of the historic National Road and life in the mountains to modern day, five-time world champion bird carver Gary Yoder, Garrett County has produced talented artists in various mediums.
The Gallery Shop in downtown Oakland showcases the work of over 150 regional artists creating work in many different mediums. Paintings, photography, drawings, pottery, wood working, fiber arts, jewelry, and much more can all be found and purchased at this location operated by the Garrett County Arts Council. Numerous private galleries and open artist studios are spread across the county as well.
Garrett County offers plenty of opportunity to enjoy a live performance. We have regular concerts by groups such as a choral society, community concert band, and a newly formed jazz ensemble. Oakland has a free summer concert series. And there are tons of private venues offering open mic nights and music ranging from bluegrass to pop.
Currently Garrett College and community partners are working toward the creation of a Continuing Education and Performing Arts Center on the McHenry campus. Members of the county have hoped for such a venue for many years. The dedication of the college and stakeholders is greatly appreciated by everyone.
For additional information, please contact the Garrett County Arts Council at (301) 334-6580 or visit its website at www.garrettarts.com.