Cultural Plan

The Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC) seeks qualified consultants to create a new Cultural Plan for Montgomery County, MD. AHCMC is developing this plan on behalf of, and in collaboration with, Montgomery County Government including its planning agency, the Maryland–National Capital Park and Planning Commission.

Questions Regarding The RFP?

The question period opened on April 1, 2024 and closed April 10, 2024.
All questions we received were posted below on April 12, 2024 with responses. No phone calls, please!

Request for Proposals Questions and Responses

1. Which groups have participated most in arts and culture planning processes the Council has undertaken in the last few years? Which groups have participated least?

Historically, the larger and more established organizations have been the most involved with AHCMC, County government, and the broader arts and humanities community. Humanities organizations of all sizes, individual practitioners, culturally-specific organizations, and small, often project-based organizations have been the least involved; however, this disparety has been actively addressed by AHCMC staff and broader engagement across the sector has been achieved with a continued focus on activiating and involving a more equitable and diverse group of grantees, constituents, and participants in the last 7-10 years. The supplemental documents linked in the RFQ and RFP should serve as a guide to detail how AHCMC works in our community, with our local government, and intersectional partners, specifically: Setting the Stage, Defining Art in Montgomery County, Cultural Asset Mapping, Strategic Plan 2016, Strategic Bridge 2024, and The Public Art Roadmap.

2. Can you tell us more about how the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County works with county government? What about this collaboration is working well, and what are some of the challenges?

AHCMC collaborates with county agencies and departments across the governement to achieve broad civic goals. AHCMC functions as the chief advocacy organization for the creative community making budget and policy requests on the executive and legislative side of government. AHCMC is contracted by the county to manage all grantmaking for the arts and humanities as well as the County’s Public Arts Trust. The supplemental documents linked in the RFQ and RFP should serve as a guide to detail how AHCMC works in our community, with our local government, and intersectional partners.

3. Does the required cover sheet count as one of the 20 proposal pages?

No, the required cover sheet does not count towards the 20 page limit/maximum of the proposal.

4. The proposal is supposed to be 20 pages max. Does this include budget, flow-charts, and schedules?

Written proposals should be no more than 20 pages. Flow-charts, schedules and budgets can be formatted as attachments or appendices to the written proposal.

5. Our understanding is that we do not have to state our qualifications again and you will refer to the RFQ if needed. Correct?

Correct. We will include the RFQ with the RFP response when reviewing the full proposal. You do not need to restate/resubmit your qualifications. 

6. Who is on the internal advisory committee & community advisory group committees? How big are these? What are the roles & responsibilities? How do you expect us to engage (Frequency/mode of engagement)?

Please review the linked Cultural Plan Advisory Committee (internal) and Cultural Plan Community Advisory Group (external) descriptions. The internal group is comprised of Agency and Department heads that directly intersect with this work at the county government level as well as represenation from the AHCMC Board of Directors and the Public Arts Trust Steering Committee. The external group has not been invited or finalized yet. AHCMC envisions the chosen Cultural Plan Consulting Team informing the creation and deployment of the Community Advisory Group (external) with AHCMC staff once the project begins.

Request for Qualifications (RFQ)

Open January 24, 2024 to March 13, 2024

AHCMC Cultural Plan RFQ 2024

Click HERE or the image above to download the RFQ.


Submission / Review Schedule

How to Submit RFQ Responses

Applicants should submit responses to AHCMC in a digital format. Materials may be sent by email or by file-sharing links (such as Drop Box) to

RFQ responses must be received by 5 pm, EST on March 13, 2024. All submissions we receive will be acknowledged via email.  Please contact us at to inquire about the status of your submission.

Questions Regarding The RFQ?

The question period opened on January 31, 2024 and closed February 18, 2024.
All questions we received are posted below with responses. No phone calls, please!

Question . Response
1. I am wondering if the review committee most desires to award this contract to a firm represented by several consultants or if it is equally open to awarding this contract to an independent consultant with extensive experience leading complex strategic planning processes for public service agencies and entities. Should the Arts & Humanities Council be most in favor of having a larger firm represented by multiple consultants to complete the deliverables described in the RFP – regardless of the experiences of independent consultants who are equally qualified to do so – I will forgo submitting a proposal for consideration.


 . We are open to considering any arrangement of independent consultants and firms who have the experience, skills and capacity to provide the appropriate depth and breadth of requested services and outcomes.


2. What is the composition of the client team for this project?


 . The client team is comprised of AHCMC’s Deputy Director (project Lead), CEO, Public Art Manager and Public Art and Planning Consultant. The AHCMC Board will offer governance and insight and the client team and cultural planning consultants will be advised by a committee of county government department and agency leaders as well as a community group of arts and humanities organizations and individual practitioners.


3. What is the decision-making process for the client team? For example, how will the client team interact with different agencies and municipalities for reviews and approvals?


 .  AHCMC has the final decison making authority. AHCMC Staff and the cultural planning consultants will be advised by a committee of county government department and agency leaders and a community group of arts and humanities organization leaders and individual artists/practitoners. While this project will intersect with government agencies, departments and other municipalities; approval by MNCPPC and the county government is a desired outcome, though not required. Most interactions will take place through the Cultural Plan Advisory Committee. 


4. What funding is available to implement the outcomes of this plan?


 . The AHCMC operating budget, Public Arts Trust budget and County budget are all available as potential funding sources. This cultural plan will be used to both advocate and plan for future funding needs. Without understanding the reccomendations that will be put forth, no budget has yet been allocated for implementation.


5. Are there audiences that have not been engaged with the Arts and Humanities Council to date that would be important to prioritize? If so, which are they?


 .  We have prepared preliminary research in our White Paper, Setting The Stage, Planning for a Cultural Plan in Montgomery County and the associated reports on defining art in Montgomery County, our cultural asset mapping report, and our equity and inclusion priorities in the RFQ. We expect consultants to use this research, additional research, and their experience and expertise to identify audience and community priorities for the cultural plan.


6. Related to the above, what languages have been used in audience engagement and communication? And which languages do you expect to be accommodated for this project?


 .  While over 30 languages are spoken in Montgomery County, the County operates primarily in English with translation services avilable as needed. Outreach in diverse languages may be beneficial, but is not required in final reporting.


7. Is the $250,000 project fee inclusive of expenses (e.g., travel, printing, community participant compensation, etc.)?


 .  The $250,000 fee is inclusive of all expenses. If a firm believes more funding may be required to accomplish the goals set forth in the RFQ, they should address this in the RFP if they are invited to submit a proposal during the next phase.


8. What will be the county’s main point of contact with the consultant and how will they work with the team?


 . The Deputy Director is the primary point of contact and project lead. The AHCMC Cultual Planning Team includes the CEO, Deputy Director, Public Art Manager, and Public Art & Planning Consultant. Consultants will interact with staff through a combination of in-person, phone, and video conferencing. Once consultants are chosen, staff and consultants will collaboratively develop and agree to a communication plan.


9. What is the role of MNCPPC vs AHCMC (vs county staff)?


 . .  AHCMC has the final decison making authority, with adoption of the Cultural Plan by the MNCPPC Planning Board and County Council as desired outcomes. County staff and MNCPPC leadership will interface with the planing process through the Cultural Plan Advisory Committee.


10. Is formal adoption/approval of the cultural plan by the County Council a desired outcome?


 . Yes


11. Will the county already have a steering committee formed or is it part of the consultant’s scope to put that committee together?


 .  Rather than a steering committee, an Advisory Committee of government departments and agency leaders and an Advisory Group of arts and humanities organization leaders and individual artists and practitoners will serve in this capacity. AHCMC Board members will sit on both the committee and the group.


12. What amount of on-site presence vs virtual do you anticipate/desire?


 . There is no predetermined ratio of virtual vs in-person, but AHCMC expects consultants to develop a work plan based on project needs and desired outcomes that utilizes both.


13. May applicants submit more than three project examples?


 .  Yes
14. It seems that the county has prepared several plans and studies in 2023 (planning for a cultural plan, public art study, cultural asset mapping study). How has the vision evolved through these different plans and studies? How do you see the upcoming cultural plan complementing and building upon these previous works?


 .  AHCMC developed the White Paper, Setting the Stage, Planning for a Cultural Plan in Montgomery County, to address our journey so far and highlight what we’ve learned and where our priorities have evolved and shifted.
15. What do you envision the final report to be ? You mention Los Angeles and Oakland as examples that inspire you, but Oakland’s report is more of a plan while Los Angeles has developed a county cultural policy and a strategic plan based on this policy. Are you looking to develop a cultural plan or a cultural policy document ? Or a merger of the two?


 .  The consultant will be responsible for defining and undertaking a scope of work that includes the following tasks:

  • Research and assessment
  • Community and stakeholder engagement
  • Analysis
  • Recommendations
  • Plan development and approval

The cultural planning process is expected to result in the following key deliverables:

  • An assessment of Montgomery County’s cultural life, including the context for arts, humanities and cultural policy and funding in Montgomery County
  • A proposed Cultural Policy for Montgomery County
  • Actionable recommendations for AHCMC, County agencies and the independent arts and culture sector
  • A strategic roadmap for implementing recommendations
  • An evaluation process for monitoring progress, measuring success and reassessing strategy.


All RFQ responses must be received by 5 pm, EST on Wednesday, March 13, 2024.