Berlin Arts Committee Seeks Nonprofit Status

BERLIN – In an effort to generate more funding and show a commitment to transparency, the Berlin Arts and Entertainment Committee is now working toward official nonprofit status.

At Monday’s meeting of the Berlin Town Council, members of the committee outlined plans to have it certified as a 501c3 in the near future.

Mayor Gee Williams praised the initiative.

“I think it’s a great move,” he said. “I don’t think you’ll ever regret it. It speaks volumes about your interest in being transparent.”

Committee member Patty Gregorio said that while the state was encouraging the arts and entertainment committees throughout Maryland to acquire nonprofit status, doing so would come with several benefits. She said that if the committee — which is devoted to making Berlin a “cultural hub” for the arts — was a 501c3 organization, it would be able to solicit donations. Gregorio said status as a nonprofit would also increase the number of grants for which the committee could apply.

“It’s going to open a lot of doors for us,” she said.

In addition, it will show donors exactly how the money they give is being used.

“Our donors want transparency,” Gregorio said.

She said the status would prove useful as the committee expanded its programs. Members would like to offer things like classes and scholarships in the future.

“We have a lot of plans. We just need to find the backers,” she said.

In spite of those future plans, the committee is already a busy organization. Heather Layton, head of the committee, told council members about the group’s summer maker’s market, this Saturday’s first ever Berlin Artists Holiday Studio Tour and the outdoor movies that have been offered in recent years.

The maker’s market, which was held during art strolls between July and September, was particularly effective in drawing visitors down Jefferson Street. Next year, the committee plans to host the market each month from March to October.

Layton advised the council that for the first time, on Dec. 3, the committee was hosting the Berlin Artists Holiday Studio Tour. The self-guided tour will take attendees through the studios of 15 artists between noon and 8 p.m. on Saturday.

“Hopefully we will have a great turnout,” she said.

Participating artists include Mathew Amey, Jeffrey Auxer, Patti Backer, Kate Cashman, Matt Dove, Caroline Forrester, Patrick Henry, Stephanie Karn, Lynne Lockhart, Kirk McBride, Jordan Pippin and Brian Robertson. Attendees will have the chance to meet the artists and see them at work with a variety of mediums.

For more information, look up “Berlin MD Arts and Entertainment” on Facebook.