Q&A


Q. What is an A&E District?


A. Arts and Entertainment (A&E) Districts have been defined by the Americans for the Arts as “well recognized, labeled, mixed use areas of cities in which a high concentration of arts and cultural facilities serve as the anchor attraction.” A&E Districts are contiguous areas that are typically no more than 100 acres. They may cross jurisdictional boundaries to create a regional district.

Q. What is a successful A&E District?


A. Successful A&E Districts should be dynamic, with a good mix of established, emerging, and start-up artists and cultural organizations.
Helpful features include thoughtful landscaping and signage, appropriate renovation of existing buildings, and a plan to attract complementary businesses. Location, management, content, and funding are important components that need to be considered. The District should be accessible and easy to navigate in a reasonable amount of time within a reasonable distance.

Q. What is a qualified residing artist?


A. In order to qualify, an artist must own or rent residential real property in the county in which the A&E Distrist is located. He or she must also conduct an arts or entertainment business within the District, and must derive income from the sale or performance, within the A&E District, of an “artistic work” that is written, composed, or executed within the District.

Q. What is an Arts and Entertainment Enterprise?


A. An Arts and Entertainment Enterprise is a for-profit or nonprofit entity dedicated to the visual or performing arts.

Q. What are the responsibilities of the Local Jurisdictions?


A. A&E Districts must comply with all application requirements, offer tax incentives, designate a management team, and file annual reports on time. Districts should consider arts that already exist in the area, available building/studio/living space, available funding, effects of the tax credits on the city and county revenues, potential zoning changes, and the effect that an A&E District would have on economic development and tourism.

Q. What is an artistic work?


A. An artistic work means original and creative work, whether written or composed, or executed, that falls into one of the following categories:

  • Book or other writing
  • Play or the performance of a play
  • Musical composition or performance of a musical composition
  • Painting or other picture
  • Sculpture
  • Traditional or fine crafts
  • Creation of a film or acting in a film
  • Creation of a dance or performance of a dance

An artistic work does not include any piece or performance created or executed for industry-oriented or industry-related production, such as a commercial or advertising copy.


Q. How is a town selected?


A. Twice a year the State accepts proposals from towns and cities throughout Maryland. Proposals present the town’s vision, including: Map of the proposed district Goals for the district Existing facilities and artists Plans for the development, promotion and management of the district. A state committee reviews the applications and awards designation to qualified towns.

Q. Why did Berlin seek designation?


A. The town is “anchored in the arts”. There is a common vision for building upon the existing arts base to create a thriving town center. There is a common need to increase the awareness of what Berlin has to offer. There is a common desire to attract targeted investment in the town center while keeping the arts and community atmosphere that make Berlin unique.

Q. What does Berlin have to offer?


A. Berlin is a small town atmosphere with an artistic flair. It has:

  • five working galleries in addition to numerous specialty shops and antique stores
  • a thriving local artists community
  • multiple performance art venues
  • a diverse, quality group of local eateries
  • a diverse architectural heritage with historical significance
  • Annual arts festivals -Arts night (Spring and Fall) and Fiddlers’ Convention.


Q. What are the goals for Berlin's A&E District?


A. To encourage arts development within Berlin while maintaining its small town charm. To help Berlin’s existing businesses thrive by getting Berlin’s message out, and improving town infrastructure, signage, navigation and transportation. To make Berlin a destination point on the Eastern Shore.

Q. What did we propose?


A. A management structure: A Steering Committee, an Advisory Board and a Main Street Coordinator.
A Business Plan: A Development Plan for:

  • New business development
  • Special attractions (art walks, special events)
  • Tours
  • Brochures
  • Coordinated Media Strategy
  • Funding Plan
  • Identify grant opportunities
  • Initiate fundraising activities


Q. What are the benefits for artists?


A. Qualified artists receive state and local tax breaks.

Q. What are the benefits for existing business owners?


A. An entertainment tax credit, and increased awareness of what Berlin has to offer.

Q. What are the benefits for developers/property owners?


A. Renovations related to the arts receive tax breaks.

Q. What are the benefits for the town/county?


A. A partnership in promotion with the state.

Q. When and where does the Berlin A&E Committee meet?


A. Currently meetings are held on an as needed basis, while the Berlin Main Street Program handles the tax credit information.

Q. Who was on the Berlin A&E formation Committee?


A. Kate Patton, Karen Prengaman, Mary Bohlen and Lisa Challenger.
Presently Terri Sexton is Chairman of the Berlin Main Street Program and Michael Day is the Main Street Coordinator.

Q. Who is on the Steering Committee?


A. Checking names of all members

Q. Who is on the Advisory Board?


A. Checking names of all members