Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC)

Creative & Economic Vitality

Local jobs, thriving businesses and bustling communities – where arts and humanities go, these follow!

Montgomery County is one of Maryland’s most dynamic jurisdictions combining a thriving business sector with top-notch schools, beautiful greenways, hip neighborhoods and a flourishing culture scene. With three of the state’s 19 designated Arts & Entertainment Districts and some 450 arts and humanities groups incorporated in the County, you could say that MoCo has an embarrassment of riches, but you’d only be half right.

Yes, MoCo has world-class performing arts centers, remarkable dance, innovative theater, and the country’s most diverse folks and traditional community, but the cultural sector is more than a pretty face. It is one of the reasons businesses choose to settle here. You'll find the arts prominently listed on the Montgomery County’s Department of Economic Development whose website -- “with our world-class conference and performing arts venues and array of culturally diverse restaurants and neighborhood communities, and it's easy to see why Montgomery County, Maryland is The SMARTBusiness Location.”

But again, that’s only part of the story, because the cultural sector is an economic driver for the County. Cultural businesses create jobs, spend money, and stimulate millions of dollars in sister industries such as shopping and dining. That’s right. Ever notice how you often pair a meal with a trip to the symphony? A glass of wine after a particularly good theater experience? And don’t forget transportation, parking and the babysitter? It all adds up. For MoCo’s restaurant industry, cultural patrons spend nearly $30 million dollars a year on meals and snacks. Not bad, and the waiters don’t even have to sing.

Here’s a little overview of Montgomery County’s Economic Vitality:

  • According to data* from Cultural Data Project, a program of the Pew Charitable Trusts, the cultural sector created 3,448 local jobs in FY10 that directly related to the creative economy, including lighting technicians, carpenters, actors, editors, graphic designers, photographers, writers, etc. These are jobs that can’t be outsourced; they stay local.
  • In FY10, our 71 grantees pumped over $57.3 million dollars in revenue back into the local economy and spent an additional $31.1 million dollars in salaries and employee compensation. But, that’s not even the best of it.
  • For every dollar Montgomery County government allocated to the arts and humanities in FY10, the cultural sector matched it with $15.60 from other sources.
  • See? The cultural sector is not just a pretty face, it’s one of the engines that drive Montgomery County and make it the place you want to live.


Click here to learn more about the economic impact of arts and culture in Montgomery County in 2010

Click here to learn more about the economic impact of arts and culture in Montgomery County in 2009
Click here to learn more about the economic impact of arts and culture in Montgomery County in 2008
Click here to learn about Montgomery County's economic impact in the national study Arts & Economic Prosperity (2005)

*The data used for this report (excluding those with other citations) was provided by the Cultural Data Project (CDP), a collaborative project of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, The Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, The Pew Charitable Trusts, The William Penn Foundation, The Heinz Endowments and The Pittsburgh Foundation, created to strengthen arts and culture by documenting and disseminating information on the arts and culture sector. For more information on the Cultural Data Project, visit

IGNITE! Conference on Transforming Business With Creativity

On June 4, 2010, AHCMC presented the IGNITE! Conference on transforming business with creativity. Aiming to provide tools to increase innovative thinking, business professionals from different sectors attended a keynote address, participated in experiential breakout sessions and networked with other professionals.

Speakers and presenters included:

  • Keynote speaker Seth Kahan
  • Bruce Nelson and Jimi Kinstle of Creativity & Associates
  • Sam Horn
  • Michelle James
  • Julie Lenzer Kirk
  • Joan Bryna Michelson
  • Win Wenger

View the event's website to learn more.

Coffee & Conversation with Economic Development Director, Steve Silverman

In this conversation on July 29, 2009 with the Department of Economic Development's Director, Steve A. Silverman, AHCMC and the County's arts and humanities organizations explored opportunities for future success, creative partnerships and Silverman's views on the role of arts and humanities in this changing marketplace.

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