Arts

From left, Tom Helfenbein, Queen Anne’s County Arts Council Board of Directors chairman; Rick Strittmater, the organization’s executive director; and Bob Hammond, the vice chairman of the organization, give an update on various projects to county commissioners.

CENTREVILLE — The Queen Anne’s County Arts Council updated county commissioners Tuesday, Aug. 13, on funding for 2019 and expansion plans for the organization’s annex starting with selecting an architect for the project.

Arts Council Executive Director Rick Strittmater was joined by Board of Directors Chairman Tom Helfenbein and Board Vice Chairman Bob Hammond to outline funding sources and the timeline to develop additional space for programming.

“It’s important to provide an opportunity for the arts to exist in all its forms,” Helfenbein said. “There’s hardly a thing you touch in daily life that doesn’t involve the arts. We are very involved in start-up programs to get people working with the arts (in this community). Sometimes it’s difficult to get involved regardless of the artistic discipline. So this little push like scholarships is vital.”

Aside from revenue from events for the public, the arts council garnered a Maryland State Arts Council grant, $124,000; Public Art Across America Council grant, $2,500; Mid-Shore Community Foundation grant, $5,000; Art Education Partnership funding, $3,000; and Maryland State Arts Council Creativity Grant, $2,000.

Additional monies came from the United Way, $600; membership revenue for the 2018-19, $6,035; and the Farm to Fork fundraiser totaling $18,805.

“We’ve managed to bring in many local and some national artists to come in a play in a concert series. The idea was to make these concerts affordable which means people can still pay (their bills) and still see a concert on a Saturday night,” Strittmater said.

Since acquiring the Queen Anne’s County Centre for the Arts property, work has continued to renovate it to be used in conjunction with the main arts center.

Thus far, a topographic study has been done on the property with complete measurements of the building. Zoning approval has been examined, and a concept sketch of the renovations has been developed. Public comments also have been collected on the renovations with a formal request for proposals being released for architectural services.

The current timeline on the project includes completed architect interviews and a selection of a firm by Tuesday, Sept. 10; a completed feasibility study by that architect by Monday, Dec. 2; and final approval of the scope of the project by the organization’s board by Monday, Dec. 30.

“We’re going to take a modest approach to the cost of the renovations,” Hammond said. “We may need to phase pieces of it. The use will be that in the main building like exhibitions and studios and storage and office space. So it’s an extension of our current mission.”

Finally, Strittmater noted the continued support by the community for events like the Artist lecture series, Coffeehouse 206, and various exhibits and open mic events.

The public also was invited to see the full schedule of events online at www.queen annescountyarts.com.

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