- Associated Press - Thursday, March 20, 2014

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) - A study commissioned by the Maryland State Arts Council underscores the economic benefit of local arts and entertainment districts.

The council said Wednesday that the Towson University study found that arts districts in 20 communities supported about 5,100 jobs paying $149 million in wages in fiscal year 2013. Most of the jobs were linked to visitor spending at district events.

The state program enables communities to offer tax benefits to developers and artists who establish projects, shops and studios in the districts. Twenty-two communities in 15 counties have established such districts.

The council gave the Hagerstown district its annual outstanding achievement award on Tuesday. The district includes an arts high school, the Washington County Arts Council, the Maryland Theatre and artist housing and gallery space.

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