Grant Funding To Support Art Initiatives In Berlin

Grant Funding To Support Art Initiatives In Berlin
Grant funding is expected to allow the town to restore this historic advertisement on Pitts Street. Photo by Charlene Sharpe

BERLIN– Nearly $40,000 in grant funding is expected to help the Town of Berlin pursue a variety of local art initiatives.

Ivy Wells, the town’s economic and community development director, reported this week that the town would be receiving nearly $40,000 in funding through a trio of arts-related grants.

“Grant funding helps us pay for the things we would like, things that benefit the community beyond what we need,” Wells said. “We’re fortunate because it supplements the town’s budget.”

Wells said that an Arts Relief General Operating Support grant of about $18,000 would be paying for the restoration of historic signs on Pitts Street. Last year, members of the Berlin Historic District Commission voiced their support for restoring two antique advertisements painted on the sides of the building at 11 Pitts St. A similar project was completed in Snow Hill in 2022, as artists restored the “ghost sign” advertising the G.M. Dryden General Merchandise store.

With receipt of the grant funds, Wells is now spearheading an effort to restore the two advertisements on the Pitts Street building in Berlin.

“People were very excited about the idea,” Wells said, adding that there was a local interest in preserving history through art. “It means just as much to the community as the buildings themselves. It’s part of our heritage.”

She plans to approach the historic district commission this fall to seek approval to move forward with the project.

“The artist would probably start in the spring,” she said.

On top of that grant funding, the town also just received a $17,800 Maryland State Arts Council Operating Grant. Wells said it would be used for entertainment, marketing and operations for Berlin’s Arts and Entertainment District. She said the funding would be helpful in creating marketing materials featuring local shops that feature art and live music.

“We’re really fortunate to be an Arts and Entertainment District,” Wells said. “The benefits that come with it, specifically grant funding, allow us to do a lot.”

Wells added that the town was also the recipient of funding from the Worcester County Arts Council. The nonprofit has provided the town with $1,200 to use for music at the Berlin Farmers Market as well as $2,500 to use for Oktoberfest. The latter will be used to secure The Edelweiss Band for the popular October event.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.