CHESTERTOWN — As anyone who is active in the arts community here knows, if there’s project involving the arts, John Schratwieser is most likely also involved.
As of Tuesday, in addition to his position as director of the Kent County Arts Council, Schratwieser can now add serving on the Maryland State Arts Council as a way he advocates for the arts.
“I’m really honored to have been appointed by Governor Hogan to the board of the Maryland State Arts Council,” Schratwieser said.
Schratwieser was sworn in Tuesday at the Kent County Courthouse by Clerk of the Kent County Circuit Court Mark Mumford.
Schratwieser was appointed by Governor Larry Hogan after another member — whose term began July 1, 2018 — stepped down from the position. Schratwieser will serve the rest of the three-year term and may be reappointed for additional term.
He noted that the funding formula the state uses to determine how much money is allocated to each county tends to favor the larger counties. He said hopes with his appointment, he will be able to better advocate for arts in Kent County and to represent Kent County in the conversation.
“Thanks to the Governor, and Mrs. Hogan, an artist, art teacher and extraordinary arts advocate, Maryland now stands as third in the nation in per capita funding for the arts,” Schratwieser said.
“That said, sometimes the smaller, more rural counties are not as well represented in the conversations about the powerful role the arts play not just in economic development but in education, social and civic engagement, and in the general quality of life.”
According to its website, the arts council, which meets four times a year, “comprises an appointed body of 17 citizens from across the state, 13 of whom named by the Governor to three-year term that may be renewed once.”
Schratwieser said, as far as he knows, he is the first person from Kent County to serve on the council.
“It’s an opportunity for somebody from a smaller, rural county who knows the business, knows the arts, knows that whole lobbying process — because I did it for seven years — and I can hopefully influence better representation for the smaller counties,” Schratwieser said.
Before joining KCAC, Schratwieser previously served as executive director of Maryland Citizen for the Arts, an arts advocacy organization with a mission to expand the nonprofit arts sector through public investment and service.
Schratwieser was first introduced to Kent County in 2004 when he was a graduate student at George Washington University. He was hired as executive director of the Prince Theatre Foundation — now the Garfield Center for the Arts and held the position until 2010.
Schratwieser also has worked at the Lincoln Center Theatre in New York as well as the Signature Theatre in Arlington, Va.