Ocean City Today

Art League gets nothing from county in budget

Readers' Forum
May 17, 2018



printed 05/18/2018



Last week at a budget hearing, the Worcester County Commissioners voted to discontinue funding to the Art League of Ocean City, thereby ending the public private partnership that was established between the State of Maryland, Worcester County, the Town of Ocean City, and individual donors. This type of cooperation is rare, and it has taken decades to bring it to fruition.

Since opening the new Ocean City Center for the Arts in 2013, the Art League has filled a cultural void in the area, and has become a place where people of all ages come for personal growth, creative expression, and community involvement.

The facility is open every day year round, and admission is always free. In 2017, over 20,000 people visited the art center, with 3,050 of them taking classes and more than 350 artists exhibiting their work there. There is no other facility of its size and scope in Worcester County, and the members include 60 local business. It draws residents and visitors from throughout the region who hunger for cultural experiences.

Without the funding from the county, the Art League would not be able to offer many of the free programs to those who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity. These include: After School Art Academy at Buckingham Elementary, Exceptional Abilities with Pocomoke and Cedar Chapel schools, and art classes for the Berlin youth group of Worcester County Youth and Family Counseling.

However, perhaps the most compelling reason for Worcester County to continue its contribution to the Art League is the value it brings to tourism. Events like the Ocean City Film Festival, Artists Paint OC, and the Sand Castle Home Tour bring many visitors to Worcester County and support local businesses.

An investment in the arts is an investment in both the community and the economy. We respectfully ask the Worcester County Commissioners to continue to honor the public private partnership that has been formed to give our children the opportunity experience the arts and to keep our economy growing.

Rina Thaler

Executive Director

Art League of Ocean City

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