Weinberg Sign

The Weinberg Center for the Arts in downtown Frederick has received a $158,908 programming grant from the Maryland State Arts Council. A separate grant of $100,000 from the Maryland Heritage Area Authority will be used to upgrade its marquee.

It might not be enough to lure Beyonce to Frederick, but it could help bring in Kelly Rowland. The Weinberg Center for the Arts announced Wednesday that it received its annual grant from the Maryland State Arts Council for fiscal 2020, which this year amounts to $158,908.

According to John Healey, executive theater manager, the amount is the largest grant funding the Weinberg has received in his time at the theater. The money is determined through a grading system developed by the Arts Council, and each year, Healey said, Frederick’s entertainment venue is highly ranked.

That paid dividends this time around, as the money was the maximum amount the Arts Council could offer. According to the conditions of the grant, the money must be allocated to programming costs — not infrastructure, upgrades and the like.

“We have to match it,” Healey said Thursday. “So we’ll have to sell at least about $160,000 in tickets this year, which has not been a problem.”

The money comes on the heels of the theater receiving another large grant earlier this year when the Maryland Heritage Area Authority provided $100,000 to the venue for upgrades to its marquee. Work on the signage was said to include replacement of the fluorescent-lit, building-mounted marquee with a larger, more historic one, and the construction of a new vertical blade sign.

Rebecca O’Leary, the Weinberg’s manager of development, writes the grants for the theater, and said Thursday afternoon that there are still a few grants they hope to receive before year’s end. One of those historically comes from the Delaplaine Foundation, which provides money for free tickets to veterans.

Yet even with the potential of more money coming in sooner rather than later, O’Leary noted how valuable the State Arts Council’s offering is around this time of year.

“We’re always on the lookout for things,” she said, “but this is the big one.”

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