The Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) is an agency of the State of Maryland, under the authority of the Department of Business and Economic Development, Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts. Since it was established in 1967, the purpose of the Council has been "to create a nurturing climate for the arts in the State" as stated in its founding legislation.
The Council is an appointed body of 17 citizens. Thirteen are named by the Governor to three-year terms, which are renewable once. Two private citizens and two legislators are appointed by the President of the Senate and by the Speaker of the House. Councillors serve without salary.
To carry out its mission, the MSAC awards grants to not-for-profit, tax-exempt organizations for ongoing arts programming and arts projects. The MSAC awards grants to individual artists, and provides technical and advisory assistance to individuals and groups. The Council also carries out programs of its own to enhance the cultural life of the residents of Maryland. The MSAC receives its funds in an annual appropriation from the State of Maryland and from grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. The Council may also receive contributions from private, non-governmental sources.