Boost Planned For Area Arts Marketing

SNOW HILL – A glossy new booklet to promote the local art scene is in the works for Worcester County.

“It’s a brand new thing. Our push as of late has been to promote the arts, arts and entertainment,” said Worcester County Tourism Director Lisa Challenger. “It’ll be a way to promote our arts and entertainment districts, and most of these galleries are in the arts and entertainment districts.”

The 32-page booklet will feature local artists of note, galleries, the MarVa Theater and a map so visitors can find featured sites.

With the number of artists working in Worcester County, not all can be included, Challenger said, so the focus will be on serious artists who make a living from their work.

Two theaters in Salisbury, the Black Box Theater at Salisbury University, and the Ella Fitzgerald Performing Arts Center, will also be included.

“They’re close, and very outstanding, facilities,” Challenger said.

The arts guide would be modeled on a Key West, Fla. arts guide, which was modeled in turn on a Provincetown, Mass. arts guide.

Challenger said she is seeing greater interest in the arts from visitors than ever before, with the quarterly arts calendar that lists myriad events and classes increasing in popularity.

“We have a mailing list that just keeps growing for that,” she said.

Bishop’s Stock Gallery owner Ann Coates brought the Key West arts guide to Challenger’s attention.

“It definitely will appeal to a segment of the population that visits or lives here,” said Coates

Real estate agents show the arts calendar to prospective house buyers and hospitals show them to job applicants to prove the area’s quality of life, according to Challenger.

“Coming to Worcester County is a broader experience,” said Coates. “There’s a lot of things to do.”

The 32-page guide will not be available until September or October. Funding is still being assembled, like a recent $1,000 grant from the Lower Eastern Shore Heritage Council.

The entire first print run should cost around $15,000. Challenger is pursuing other grant opportunities and participating galleries will pay a fee to be included.

“Anything you do to promote the arts in your community has to look artful. It has to look professional,” said Challenger. “It’s going to look nice. It’s going to look really good.”

Coates is excited about the new venture. “It’s another tool to use to expand the experience people have when they come to Worcester County, beyond just thinking we’re a beach or recreational area,” Coates said.