About Us

The Garrett County Arts Council’s vision is for Garrett County to have a vibrant and sustainable arts community for artists, their audiences, and the community at large.

The Garrett County Arts Council Board of Directors and staff are committed to aiding, encouraging, advising, and coordinating activities dedicated to the promotion of cultural arts in Garrett County, and to integrate such activities into the life of our community.

The arts in Garrett County:

  • provide growth, foster consumer spending and generate tax revenues;
  • support high quality education for our school children by raising academic achievement, fostering positive work ethic, and improve attendance;
  • build communities that will attract and retain an educated and creative workforce;
  • attract tourists to our area;
  • enhance the quality of life in our community; and
  • celebrate the rich diversity and history of our cultural achievements.

The Arts Mean Business in Garrett County: for every $1 spent in arts operating budgets in Maryland, $4.16 is generated.

Impact of the Maryland State Arts Council Funding by the Numbers: Maryland State Arts Council, DataArts, Fiscal Year 2018, Department of Commerce Office of Research

16,922 – Number of full-time equivalent jobs generated by arts organizations
$8.9 million – Number of attendees at arts events every year in Maryland
$462 million – Amount spent by arts audiences in a single year
$60 million – State and local tax revenue generated from arts events annually
$944 million – Direct spending into the economy by arts organizations
$1.3 billion – Total annual economic impact of the arts in Maryland

The Gallery Shop

The Gallery Shop is a retail storefront in downtown Oakland providing a venue for local visual artists to show and sell their artwork. We currently have artwork on display from over 150 artisans. Monthly special exhibitions with lectures, workshops and demonstrations, and entertainment are scheduled throughout the year. During the summer, we offer eight Saturday morning artist demonstrations in colored pencil, oil and cold wax, quilling, basket weaving, tatting, woodturning, balloon smash art and spinning. In FY21, we are looking to expand opportunities for artists and community members to come together to participate in activities, lectures and socialization.

Arts & Entertainment Districts: Grantsville and Oakland

Maryland's Arts & Entertainment (A&E) Districts help develop and promote community involvement, tourism, and revitalization through tax-related incentives that attract artists, arts organizations, and other creative enterprises to towns across the State. Both Grantsville and Oakland have received state designations as A&E Districts.

Arts in Education

Each year, the Garrett County Arts Council allocates more than $4,000 in grant funding for special performances and workshops by Maryland artists in local schools. We provide additional grant funding to support the annual Student Arts Fair presented by the Garrett County Board of Education, periodic student visual art exhibits, and sponsorship of high school literary journals. We also recognize four senior students at each high school with a college scholarship; the individual award categories are for excellence in band, chorus, theater, and the visual arts.

Artist Studio Tour

The Garrett County Arts Council showcases our county artists' working studios annually with our Artist Studio Tour. Residents and tourists are encouraged to travel the scenic byways of Garrett County to meet our local artists, learn about their creative inspiration, technical processes, and the tools and materials they use to make their unique hand-crafted work.

Ginseng Literary Journal and Page-to-Stage

Ginseng is our annual literary publication showcasing the work of local authors. Page-to-Stage is a celebration of that talent where the selected authors are invited to read their original work to a live audience.


An annual juried fine art and traditional craft show presented by the Garrett County Arts Council in cooperation with Simon Pearce during the Autumn Glory Festival weekend. Our goal is to always display art of the highest quality while making the attendee experiences fresh and stimulating. We blend our home-grown artists with new makers from other areas.

Grantmaking in the Arts

The Garrett County Arts Council (GCAC) serves as a major funder of arts related happenings in the county. One of the Council’s key programs provides funding for community arts development. This funding is available to local nonprofit organizations and government entities that provide art experiences, education, activities, and entertainment within the county. GCAC has 3 types of grants, program operations, project grants, and opportunity grants. Grant awards are based on artistic merit, service to community, organizational effectiveness and compliance with the Americans for Disabilities Act. All grants require a 50% funding match.

In FY20, we awarded $45,820 in grant funds to the following grantees:

• Music at Penn Alps
• Town of Kitzmiller (Homecoming parade)
• Grantsville Lions Club (Grantsville Days)
• MD State Banjo, Fiddle and Mandolin Championships
• Town of Oakland's Winterfest
• Little Yough Music Festival
• Garrett County Celtic Festival
• Friendsville Days
• Friendsville Volunteer Fire Department's Fiddle Contest
• Barn Quilt Association of Garrett County
• Garrett Community Concert Band
• Garrett Lakes Arts Festival (GLAF)
• Our Town Theatre
• Spruce Forest Artisan Village
• TOTL Theater Company
• Garrett Choral Society
• Garrett County Public Schools

In FY20, the Garrett County Arts Council signed a Memorandum of Understanding Codicil agreement with Garrett College to support the Performing Arts Center. The Garrett County Arts Council will be providing funding for facility use each year to ensure equity, access, inclusion and diversity on behalf of our local, Garrett County artists, musicians and performers as well as our residents, as well as for support of a visual art exhibition space and gallery wall.