Center Stage describes itself as “an artistically driven institution committed to engaging, entertaining, and enriching audiences of today and tomorrow though joyous and bold performances.” Their work includes a mix of new and classic theatre, hosting over 100,000 visitors annually in their historic theatre located in Baltimore’s Mount Vernon neighborhood. Now in its 51st season, Center Stage, the State Theatre of Maryland, reaches out to the region not only through its performances but also through community programming and educational efforts.
Baltimore County joins the Maryland State Arts Council and countless corporate and individual sponsors to support the work of Center Stage. Last year alone, residents of the County visited Baltimore City art and cultural attractions nearly 700,000 times. The County’s support of Center Stage is part of an overall $2.8 million of grant funding offered to the arts, sciences and humanities non-profit efforts around the Baltimore region. This type of funding and support recognizes the unique and robust set of regional resources available to us all, regardless of which jurisdiction residents of the Baltimore region live in.
In addition to funding for Center Stage, Baltimore County grants awards to The Walters, the National Aquarium and the Baltimore Symphony. The County even has a website dedicated to “arts just down the road,” which can be accessed at http://www.enjoybaltimorecounty.com/baltimorearts.html. More recently, the regional partnership between Baltimore County and Center Stage was strengthened even further as Center Stage has embarked upon a $32 million renovation to overhaul their lobby and theatre space while adding to their Calvert Street building – the first major revamp of their facilities in 25 years.
During this renovation, scheduled to be complete around the beginning of 2017, Center Stage found itself in need of a new theatre location to conduct their performances – the show, after all, must go on. Highlighting yet again the regional approach between Baltimore County and Center Stage, it was encouraging and innovative to see a partnership develop between the theatre and Towson University. Towson University, previously highlighted by Better Baltimore County, is playing host to a significant portion of the 2015-2016 Center Stage season – the entire production has moved from North Calvert Street in Baltimore to York Road in the County.
It’s these types of investments and innovative partnerships that will create enrichment opportunities for Baltimore County residents and that will allow that County to be a regional leader well into the future.