NEWS IN BRIEF
Fort McHenry event launches sale of bicentennial coins
Star-Spangled Banner Commemorative Coins can be purchased from the U.S. Mint, beginning March 5. A limited number of coins will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis (cash and major credit cards only) that day at the Fort McHenry Visitor and Education Center, between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. A representative of the Mint will sign the certificate of authenticity that comes with each coin.
Surcharge proceeds from coin sales will go to the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission to help fund the state's bicentennial investments.
The Mint plans to produce 100,000 gold coins and 500,000 silver coins. A depiction of a naval battle scene from the War of 1812 is on one side of the gold coin. The reverse side has the words "O say can you see" in a reproduction of Francis Scott Key's handwriting. The silver coin has "Lady Liberty" waving the 15-star, 15-stripe Star-Spangled Banner flag with Fort McHenry in the background. A contemporary American flag is on the other side.
Prospective buyers who cannot attend the Fort McHenry event will be able to purchase coins starting at noon on March 5. For more information, call or e-mail Michele Coiron at 410-767-6279.
Cycle Maryland survey results shared at Bike Maryland forum
About 75 percent of the 2,300 Maryland bicyclists who responded to the online Cycle Maryland survey last year said they use paper maps and those who use the Maryland Bicycle Map find it useful. At the same time, 85 percent said they use online maps and 80 percent print those maps. The bicyclists also said getting outdoors, enjoying nature and traveling to restaurants, shopping and tourist attractions were their most popular biking activities.
Those were some of the findings that Rebecca Dougherty Goldman, research and performance metrics manager at the Maryland Office of Tourism, shared during her presentation at the 15th annual Maryland Bike Symposium, Feb. 22 at the Miller Senate Building in Annapolis.
The tourism office conducted the survey with the State Highway Administration primarily to evaluate the existing state bicycle map during Gov. Martin O'Malley's Cycle Maryland campaign – a six-month period that highlighted bicycle events and an awareness of biking in Maryland.
Bike Maryland – a nonprofit advocacy group – hosted the free, all-day symposium, which this year featured 15 expert presenters. Topics of discussion included: Bike Maryland's legislative agenda, Maryland Bikeshare Program, Bike Friendly Maryland Program, Bike-Minded Program, bicycle tourism and the new Maryland Bikeways Program.
Arts Council awards 100 Maryland artists with grants
The Maryland State Arts Council, an agency of Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, has announced that 100 Maryland artists have been selected to receive a total of $252,000 in Individual Artist Awards (IAA).
Artists competed for $1,000, $3,000 and $6,000 awards in five categories: crafts, non-classical music composition, non-classical music solo performance, photography and playwriting.
"Artists of this caliber are the core of Maryland's modern creative economy, "said Hannah Byron, assistant secretary at the state's Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts. "Their work is essential to the arts – a thriving industry that generates a billion dollars a year in Maryland while enhancing the quality of life for Marylanders."
Out-of-state juries representing each artistic discipline reviewed more than 400 applications anonymously before awarding the individual grants, which were determined solely on the basis of artistic merit. The Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation administers the selection process.
Harford County sculptor Brent Crothers, a 2011 IAA grantee, said: "Right around the time I received the award, Anthropologie, a national clothing retailer, was expressing interest in my work and wanted to do a studio visit. The funds from the award gave me the financial freedom to completely transform my studio into a gallery where I could showcase my art. Anthropologie bought six pieces, which were featured in their NYC gallery at Rockefeller Center last October."
This is the first year that the IAA program's 18 artistic disciplines have been split into three groups, creating a three-year cycle to award grants to artists in all of the disciplines.
Tourism office, DMOs participate in exposition for consumers
The Maryland Office of Tourism operated a booth at the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show, Feb. 4-12 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pa.
The booth was stocked with tourism publications – including Destination Maryland travel guides, Calendar of Events and highway maps – along with brochures supplied by 18 Maryland destination marketing organizations.
"In additional to promoting such prominent places as Ocean City and Deep Creek Lake, the show provides us with a great opportunity to sell some of our other destinations,"says Rich Gilbert, travel trade sales manager for the tourism office. "There was also a lot of interest in camping, areas for canoeing and kayaking, and rail trails and bike routes."
With an estimated attendance of more than 400,000 visitors, the show is the largest of its kind on the East Coast. It's the only consumer show in which the tourism office participates.
Calvert County Office of Tourism, Carousel Hotel (Ocean City) and Hagerstown/Washington County Conference and Visitors Bureau assisted the tourism office with staffing at the booth. Maryland State Forests and Parks provided material for hunting and fishing inquiries.
Arts community urges funding from lawmakers at Arts Day
About 400 advocates for the arts from across the state traveled to Annapolis, Feb. 8, to meet with state legislators in individual meetings and make the case for state funding of the arts at Maryland Arts Day. The annual event – presented by Maryland Citizens for the Arts (MCA) – is the one time during the year that the state-wide arts community gathers together. This year's theme was "Many voices, one song."
Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. was among the legislators who addressed the entire group, following the individual morning sessions. Other speakers included Christian Johansson, secretary, Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development; William Mandicott, chair, Maryland State Arts Council; Douglas Mann, chair, MCA; and Bashi Rose, a Baltimore theater artist and filmmaker who was the keynote speaker.
John Schratwieser, MCA's executive director, said the advocates' message to lawmakers is: "By supporting 11,000 jobs and more than $36 million in state and local tax revenue, every dollar you invest in the arts is turned into direct support for Maryland's economic recovery."
Tourism sales-tax revenue up nearly 7 percent over last year
The latest issue of the Maryland Tourism Monitor — the Office of Tourism's monthly report on measures for visitation and marketing, tourism-related sales taxes and leisure and hospitality jobs — is available online.
Among its findings: Sales-tax revenue from tourism tax codes grew 6.8 percent — close to 60 percent more than the 4.3 percent rate of growth for overall sales-tax revenue through December of this fiscal year. Additionally, with an increased advertising budget, the tourism office has seen 67 percent more web advertising responses, 55 percent more print advertising responses and more than double the number of broadcast responses compared to the same time period last year.
Wicomico barbecue event gets national exposure
Smithfield Foods has selected Pork in the Park BBQ Festival, April 20-22 at Winterplace Park in Salisbury, as the place to launch its Smithfield Rib Shootout. The festival – sponsored by Wicomico County Recreation, Parks and Tourism – is the second largest event of its kind in the nation, according to the Kansas City Barbeque Society, the festival's sanctioning entity. Pork in the Park made its debut in 2003. Recent festivals have attracted more than 140 competitor teams and 35,000 attendees each year.
Learn about winemaking at industry meeting
Maryland Wineries Association and Maryland Grape Growers Association, along with University of Maryland Extension, present the wine/grape industry annual meeting – a two-day educational forum, Feb. 24-25 at the Clarion Hotel in Oxen Hill. Both new and established growers and wineries and those interested in learning about the wine industry are welcome. A keynote address, The Politics of the Grape: How to Build a Successful Wine Industry from Scratch, will be presented by Penn State Cooperative Extension wine grape agent, Mark Chien on Saturday, Feb. 25. Registration and more information available online.
Workshops address African-American preservation grants
Learn about grants available through the African American Heritage Preservation Program at one of five workshops scheduled in March across the state. Grants range from $10,000 to $100,000. The joint administrators of this annual grant program – the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture (MCAAHC) and the Maryland Historical Trust (MHT) – are presenting the workshops at these locations:
- March 7, 2-4 p.m. at Sojourner-Douglass College-Cambridge, Dorchester County
- March 10, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., Fairmount Heights Library, Prince George's County
- March 12, 2-4 p.m., St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Boonsboro, Washington County
- March 19, a.m. – 1 p.m., Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture, Baltimore
- March 21, 2-4 p.m., Prince Frederick Library, Calvert County
Call or e-mail Kathy Monday at MHT, 410-514-7627, for details. For assistance in development of project, call or e-mail Joni Jones, MCAAHC, 410-216-6190. And, for assistance with capital project and technical preservation issues, call or e-mail Ann Raines, MHT, 410-514-7634. Grant applications must be postmarked by July 15.
African-American group selects Mikulski for Tubman award
Sen. Barbara Mikulski receives the 2012 Harriet Ross Tubman Lifetime Achievement Award in conjunction with the African American Tourism Council of Maryland's observance of Harriet Ross Tubman Day of Remembrance, March 10. Tubman Day programs will be held March 7-11 in Baltimore, Annapolis, Cambridge and Washington, D.C.
Gov. Martin O'Malley will present the award to Mikulski during a Tubman Day program at the Miller Senate Building in Annapolis, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on March 9. The program is free and open to the public.
"Senator Mikulski continues to be one of the best public servants - assisting the elderly, veterans and advocating on behalf of women's rights and our nation's children,"said Patricia Ross Hawkins, a great niece of Tubman. "She had been a leader in supporting efforts to honor Harriet Tubman."
Recent winners of the award include: Clara Small (2011), professor of history at Salisbury University; Adrienne Jones (2010), Maryland delegate, Baltimore County; Bette McLeod (2009), educator, Prince George's County; Verna Day Jones (2008), actress, Baltimore; and Louise Webb (2008), historian, Charles County. Jones and Webb were co-winners.
For more information about Tubman Day events, call or e-mail Lou Fields, president, African American Tourism Council, 443-983-7974. March 10 is the 99-year anniversary of Tubman's passing and the 12-year anniversary of Tubman Day in Maryland.