Havre de Grace Arts and Entertaiment District

Havre de Grace is the perfect location to create and sell your art. Located at the junction of the Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay, our setting has been an inspiration to artists for centuries. Decoy carvers replicate nature, water colorists capture the evening skies over the water and writers find inspiration in the views. In the Spring of 2007, a group from the arts community led the effort to secure the official Arts & Entertainment (A & E) Designation by the State of Maryland. Because of our strong art community, Governor Martin O’Malley and the State of Maryland awarded Havre de Grace an A & E Designation on July 1, 2008. The Havre de Grace Arts Collective, a 501(c)(3) non profit corporation, oversees the A & E District and administers and promotes the A & E Programs. The tax incentives and credits offered in an A & E District are another incentive for artists looking to relocate to a supportive art community with many other attractions. The City of Havre de Grace is conveniently located off I-95 and Rt. 40, just 30 minutes from Baltimore and Wilmington as well as other metropolitan markets. Our calendar is full of major events throughout the year bringing in many visitors to discover and enjoy our Downtown District. Attractions include our very popular and unique downtown restaurants, many quaint bed and breakfasts, museums, recreational opportunities such as biking, kayaking, fishing, boating as well as our many parks and trails. In addition we are an historic district. The town of Havre de Grace (Harbor of Mercy) was named by the Marque de Lafayette in 1782 and the town was incorporated in 1785. While the British attacked and burned most of the buildings during the War of 1812, there are still many historic homes and churches left to appreciate. The street names also have a connection to our past as they are related to the Revolutionary War.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Arts & Entertainment District

*Property tax credits for renovations that create live-work space or arts and entertainment enterprises
*Income tax subtraction modification for income from artistic works sold by qualified resident artists
*Admissions and amusement tax exemption
Income Tax Subtraction 
For qualifying residing artists in the A&E district, which means if you are a resident of Harford County, Maryland and you create and sell your original artwork within the Havre de Grace Arts and Entertainment District you can be eligible to receive an income tax abatement for the sale of your art. Exemption from the Admissions and Amusement Tax Exemption from the Admission and Amusement Tax gross receipts from any admissions or amusement charge levied by an arts and entertainment enterprise or qualifying residing artist in the A&E district Real Property Tax Credits A. Is located within the A&E district B. Was before renovation, a manufacturing, commercial, or industrial building
C. Is wholly or partially constructed or renovated for use by a qualifying residing artist or arts and entertainment enterprise. The real Property tax credits will be in the following amount over a ten year period: 100% in the first and second year 80% in the third and fourth year 60% in the fifth and sixth year 40% in the seventh and eight year 20% in the ninth and tenth year

An individual who:

A. Owns or rents residential real property in Harford County

B. Conducts a business in the A&E district

C. Derives income from the sale or performance within the A&E district of an artistic work that the individual created, wrote, composed, or executed, either solely or with one or more individuals, in the arts and entertainment district.

A for profit or not for profit entity dedicated to the visual or performing arts.

An original and creative work that is CREATED, WRITTEN, COMPOSED, or EXECUTED and falls into one of the following categories: 1. A book or other writing
2. A play or performance of a play
3. A musical composition or the performance of a musical composition
4. A painting or other picture
5. A sculpture
6. Traditional or fine crafts
7. The creation of a film or the acting within a film
8. The creation of a dance or the performance of a dance
9. The creation of original jewelry, clothing, or clothing design
NOT INCLUDED is: The creation or execution of artistic work for industry-oriented or industry-related production (culinary arts and graphic arts are examples of industry related art) Tailoring services Clothing alteration Jewelry repair Performance of music that is not an original work

TG § 10-207(v)(2) provides that the income eligible for the subtraction modification is the amount of income derived from the publication, production, or sale of an artistic work that the artist wrote, composed, or executed in the arts and entertainment district. TG § 10-207(v)(1) provides that in that subsection, “artistic work” has the meaning stated in Article 83A, § 4-701 of the Code, which is “an original and creative work, whether written, composed, or executed, that falls into one of the following categories:…” A reproduction is not an original work; therefore, a reproduction is not an “artistic work” for the purposes of TG § 10-207. Income from the sale of a reproduction is not income derived from the sale of an “artistic work”; therefore, income from the sale of a reproduction does not qualify for the subtraction modification under TG § 10-207(v)(2).

A county or municipal government may grant by law a property tax credit against county and municipal property taxes for up to 10 years for a qualified property in an Arts and Entertainment District. It is up to the local governments to determine in their ordinances the amount and duration of the credit. The early A&E districts followed the “Enterprise Zone Credit” model to grant credits on the difference between the new assessment on the property after renovations or construction and a base year assessment the year before the improvements are made. The examples listed below illustrate how the credit works under this type of credit provision.

Example 1:
An artist (painter) purchases a new studio/loft condominium residence in a former federal government office building converted into artists; residences and work space in the Silver Spring A&E District. The artist pays $405,000 for the unit, and the property has a new full market value of $385,000 according to the Department’s assessment. The unit had a base year assessment in the prior year before the improvements were made of $55,000. The artist will receive a property tax credit equal to the local taxes on $330,000 of eligible assessment ($385000 assessment minus a $55,000 base year assessment). The actual tax savings to this artist in silver Spring are $3,191.10 ($330,000 assessment times a local tax rate of $0.967).

Example 2:
A developer buys a commercial building in Havre de Grace previously used as a shoe manufacturing facility for $150,000. The existing assessment is $90,000 on the land and $60,000 on the improvements. Because of local fire regulations, the predominantly wood structure is demolished. The developer then builds a new mixed-use facility that will be used for an artist supply store, a coffee house with a space for performing artist, and office space for a small graphic arts firm. For ease of discussion, each of the three respective uses occupy one third of the total usable space. The Department places a new total full market value on the building and the land of $750,000. If all of the uses were qualified under the law as an A&E purpose, a credit would be granted on $660,000 of assessment ($750,000 total assessment minus $90,000 base year assessment on the land). The reason why the credit is granted on the newly constructed premises is because of the change in the law in the 2005 session and because the particular property was zoned for commercial use at the time of demolition. Based on three different uses in the new building, here is how the new credits will actually be applied. One-third of the total assessment equals $250,000, and this amount is eligible because of its use as an artist supply store. The second section of the building is used as a coffee shop with a performing artist space but only $25,000 of assessment represents the value of the performing artist space. The final one-third of the building to be occupied by a graphic arts firm is not eligible for any A&E credit because “industry-related” uses are excluded under the law at Article 83A. § 4-701(a)(2) (iii). The total amount of A&E credit for this mixed-use building would be granted on $242,000 of assessment ($250,000 for the supply store; $25,000 for the small performing artist space, and the deduction of $33,000 of base assessment from the total $90,000 base year assessment on the land). Multiplying the $242,000 of eligible assessment times the local tax rate of $0.967 equals $2,340.14 in actual tax savings.