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Be Inspired by Art in Maryland

Be Inspired by Art in Maryland

Olney Theatre Center, art in Maryland

The benefits of the arts cannot be overstated. They make the world a more beautiful place, provide a creative outlet, and are just plain fun. No matter what art has your heart, indulge your passion and be inspired by art in Maryland.

Fun fact: The Frederick-Gaithersburg-Rockville area of Maryland ranked seventh among the top 40 arts-vibrant large communities (SMU DataArts), holding its own against juggernauts like New York City, Washington, DC, Philadelphia, and Boston!


Theater lovers have a variety of choices. Both the Olney Theatre Center and Bethesda’s Round House Theatre offer a compelling line-up of thought-provoking plays, as does the Silver Spring Black Box Theatre, which serves as the home of four different performance companies.

Photo Credit: Olney Theatre Center

In Frederick, the Maryland Ensemble Theatre (MET) and Other Voices Theatre mount productions each year. The MET also hosts comedy improv nights and children’s shows. At The Way Off Broadway Dinner Theatre, you can enjoy a buffet while watching Tootsie or Anastasia.

Opera and ballet aren’t as well-represented in this area as other performing art forms, but the F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre at Rockville Civic Center Park has you covered on both counts: Gilbert and Sullivan’s Ruddigore takes the stage in June, and the Rockville Civic Ballet dances The Nutcracker each holiday season.

Live Music

The Music Center at Strathmore, located in North Bethesda, offers a world-class line-up of musicians throughout the year, including the resident Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and National Philharmonic, and renowned guests like Leslie Odom, Jr. and Grammy-winning jazz trumpeter Chris Botti

You can also catch some tunes at Silver Spring’s Montgomery County Cultural Arts Center, The Fillmore Silver Spring, Germantown’s BlackRock Center for the Arts, and Frederick’s Weinberg Center for the Arts in Frederick, where any night of the week, international talent will be spinning melodies for enthusiastic, music-loving crowds.

North Bethesda’s AMP by Strathmore is an urban concert space highlighting a mix of jazz, Americana, blues, and folk greats. Table seating along with food, cocktails, beer, and wine make the AMP a perfect spot for a night out with friends.

Alive at 5 in Downtown Frederick, MD. Photo Credit: Downtown Frederick Partnership

During the summer months, Frederick’s Alive at Five brings happy hour to Carroll Creek every Thursday evening, and the Summer Concert Series in Baker Park wraps up each weekend with a live band in the bandshell. Similarly, Silver Spring swings during its Thursday Night Summer Concert Series and Friday nights are filled with melody at Rockville’s Summer in the Square.

If you are looking for a more intimate concert experience, try the Betty Mae Kramer Gallery for Jazz at the Kramer, a renovated stable now housing the Arts Barn, or the unique open-air Sky Stage.


Classic film buffs need to look no farther than AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring. Along with the restored 1938 Silver Theatre, the center also offers two stadium theatres where you can watch one of the six-plus movies on the marquee daily. Delight in silent films played at the proper frame rate with live music accompaniment or current digital hits at this state-of-the-art venue.


Potomac’s Glenstone showcases breathtaking modern works of art in both indoor and natural settings.

Jeff Koons, Split-Rocker, 2000 stainless steel, soil, geotextile fabric, internal irrigation system, and live flowering plants 37 x 39 x 36 feet © Jeff Koons. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Glenstone Museum

Another cultural landmark in Montgomery County, the Glen Echo Partnership for Arts and Culture, has three galleries that present new exhibitions by emerging and established artists every four to six weeks: the Popcorn Gallery, Stone Tower Gallery, and Park View Gallery. VisArts and Gallery B in Bethesda also offer rotating exhibits.

You will find compelling pieces from the imaginations of talented artists in Frederick’s galleries, including the Hodson and Whitaker Galleries, the Frederick Arts Council, the Delaplaine Arts Center, DISTRICT Arts, NOMA Gallery, and the Gaslight Gallery, among others.

Public Art

Downtown Frederick has 25 public art pieces to discover, including the Community Bridge Mural, which incorporates symbols suggested by over 100 community members. The Carroll Creek Kinetic Art Promenade features eight sculptures that twirl with the wind.

Silver Spring’s Art Walk leads visitors past 12 installations, including murals, fountains, and architectural curiosities. A map of Montgomery County Public Art leads visitors on a 130-site scavenger hunt. 


Obviously, an area teeming with creatives can mount tremendous art festivals. May’s Rockville Arts Festival features 130 fine artists and artisans, along with demonstrations, a community art project, and a chalk art competition. In September, the Bethesda Row Arts Festival opens an outdoor gallery lined with juried artwork, including ceramics, fiber, glass, and photography. 

Downtown Frederick hosts June’s Festival of the Arts, while Thurmont hosts October’s Catoctin Colorfest, one of the largest outdoor craft shows on the East Coast.

Unleash Your Inner Artist

Riverworks Art Center in Beallsville welcomes you to try your hand at painting and drawing, while the Frederick Book Arts Center will teach you about silk screening, bookbinding, letterpressing, papercutting, and printmaking.

Arts on the Block holds workshops where participants can make their own mosaics and jewelry. You can explore photography, sculpture, and ceramics in classes at the Delaplaine, and Glen Echo adds glassblowing, puppetry, dance, and silversmithing to the mix. Classes for both adults and children are offered on a rotating basis at all of these locations.

A mother and daughter making crafts
Photo Credit: Glen Echo Park

If you have a budding Broadway star at home, both the Adventure Theatre and the Imagination Stage have acting classes, workshops, and camps. Have *you* always dreamed of being the leading role? Keep an eye on Other Voices’ audition page. We’ll see you on the stage!

Feature Photo Credit: Olney Theatre Center

About the Author

Heidi Glatfelter Schlag is a marketer, history lover, and traveler who can often be found exploring museums, parks, small towns, and farms. She foundedCulture-Link Communications, where she helps local nonprofits and small businesses build their brands. Heidi lives in Frederick, MD, with her husband and two dogs.

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