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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Worcester Co. Arts Council offers grants to local groups

(Jan. 22, 2015) Although the Worcester County Arts Council gallery closed in January for renovations, the nonprofit will reopen in February with a slate of programs for local artists and art enthusiasts.
The council recently awarded $20,000 in grants during the last fiscal year to eight different groups in Worcester County and is consistently looking for new organizations to apply during fiscal year 2016, according to Executive Director Anna Mullis
“It is our mission to support the arts in the community and one of our strongest programs is the Community Arts Development Grant,” Mullis said. “We want to make the community aware that we have these funds available for local art groups. We give the money away to nonprofits for projects, events, performances, workshops, or anything that has an artistic component.”
WCAC has two grant deadlines in April and November. Projects occurring between July 1 and Dec. 31 must submit applications by April 15. Projects occurring between Jan. 1 and June 30 must submit applications by Oct. 15.
Last year’s recipients included the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, the Art League of Ocean City, the Pine Tones Chorus, the Ward Museum, the Town of Ocean City’s Arts Alive program, Berlin’s Holiday Arts Night, Stephen Decatur mural and the new Movies in the Park series.
“Besides having a pretty place where people can come on 2nd Friday and have a glass of wine and hang out with the artists, there’s really a lot going on at the arts council,” Mullis said. “I don’t want people to associate the arts council only with the visual arts. Our mission is to really support the community through various art-related programs.”
That includes a summer arts camp for children serving more than 120 participants each year, many supported by scholarships from the arts council, as well as the artists in education program, Paint Berlin, plein air, adult and children art classes and workshops.
“Last year we gave $8,000 in scholarships to local students, so we’re really focused on giving the funds away,” Mullis said.
WCAC also awarded a grant to the Worcester County Library Foundation in 2015 to support the upcoming Ballet of Maryland Performance of “Cinderella” at the Ocean City Performing Arts Center.
“This is the fourth year in a row that we awarded the Worcester County Library Foundation with funding to bring the ballet to the Eastern Shore,” Mullis said. “Last year they performed ‘Pirates of the Chesapeake,’ and the year before there was a performance of ‘Aladdin.’”
The council’s board of directors reviews each application using determining factors like artistic merit and community influence in determining recipients.
“It is a long process of really making sure the event is really going to benefit the community and that is open to the entire general public,” Mullis said. “Most of our programs are free of charge, so they’re really affordable for the community to attend.”
“Many nonprofits in Worcester County are struggling, and we want them to be aware that there is funding available for their events,” Mullis continued. “We are always looking for new performances or new venues that we can present to the community. We have the funding available, and we want the community to know that this is what we do.”
Along with grants from the Maryland State Arts Council, membership fees support many WCAC programs.
“Our members play an extremely important role in benefiting the arts council,” Mullis said. “You don’t need to be an artist to be a member of the arts council, and you don’t need to have artistic skills. We invite anybody who has a passion for art, who loves music, who has an appreciation for beautiful paintings or photographs or sculpture, or people who have a respect for the arts and artists.”
The arts council is also looking for volunteers to help run programs.
“We have a big group of volunteers in our organization, but new people are always welcome to join and help,” Mullis said. “I really feel like art is a beautiful thing. We all express ourselves through different forms of art, and we invite everybody to join the arts council and to come to Berlin and to attend all the great events we sponsor in Worcester County.”
Mullis was also keen to point out that Feb. 10 is Maryland Arts Day, an annual event when citizens can lobby their representatives in Annapolis to support the arts and arts funding.
The arts council will offer shuttle service to Annapolis during the event.
“This is a big event when people all over Maryland can voice their opinion and advocate for the Arts,” Mullis said. “We will be taking a trip to Annapolis, so anybody who is interested should contact the arts council.”
When the arts council, located on 6 Jefferson Street in Berlin, reopens in February, visitors will have a chance to see more than a month’s worth of renovations.  
“We are renovating the gallery and getting a new, fresh look,” Mullis said. “It’s going to be pretty interesting in February to stop by and see how the entire space will be completely new.”
For more information call 410-641-0809 or visit