Community + Cultural Research

AHCMC frequently conducts local research to increase our awareness and understanding of the creative economy in Montgomery County. This research often manifests as surveys to the field, Arts and Economic Impact studies in partnership with Americans for the Arts, resident and practitioner focus groups, elected official position polling, and collaborative research with myriad government and nonprofit partners.

Recent Community Research

In FY2022 AHCMC contracted with three expert consultancies to conduct focused community research projects in three specific areas: Cultural Asset Mapping, Resident Cultural Engagement, and Longterm Cultural Economic Impact to inform our upcoming county cultural planning effort in FY2024. This research was conducted concurrently with county-wide stakeholder listening sessions facilitated by AHCMC staff focused specifically on community impact, grantmaking, and disaster readiness that also informed the cultural planning process.

Resident Cultural Engagement – MJR Partners

Under the leadership of CEO, and Principal Consultant, Margie Reese, MJR Partners completed a county-wide study aimed at defining arts, humanities and culture for the residents of Montgomery County, Maryland. Many arts and humanities organizations and practitioners assume they know how their community defines art and culture, but few ask the tax payers themselves and the people who live in their community how they define the many facets of the cultural industries where they live. MJR Partners’ community research captured the lived experiences of local residents as it pertains to arts and culture, discusses stories of impact, and developed a working definitions for arts, humanities and culture to ensure the highest percentage of residents are represented and supported by the arts and humanities.

MJR Partners’ work utilized a variety of methodologies appropriate to the different ways cultural and creative expression manifest across the multi-cultural landscape of Montgomery County. This inquiry-based examination included data gathering through a variety of qualitative methodologies such as reflective individual/group interviews and cultural memory storytelling alongside quantitative data analysis and case studies to capture the myriad personal ways that art and culture are defined and valued by the residents of Montgomery County.

Cultural Asset Mapping – Civic Arts

Under the direction of Executive Director, and Lead Consultant Rev. Dr. Lynn Osgood, Civic Arts initially set out to complete a Cultural Asset Mapping Project focused across five diverse test areas of Montgomery County: Germantown, Bethesda, Silver Spring, Olney-Sandy Spring, and Gaithersburg. One started, the project was expanded to encompass all of Montgomery County’s diverse urban, suburban, ex-urban and rural communities and their wide array of culturally-specific communities. Civic Arts engaged the arts and humanities community directly as well as county residents to map the venues, locations, and services that each community utilizes to engage in the arts and humanities and/or celebrate their culture; mapping both the known and unknown locations on a map.

Longterm Cultural Economic Impact – Imani Drayton-Hill

Imani Drayton-Hill–an arts management consultant with more than two decades of experience and current practicing labor economist–analyzed the grantmaking history of AHCMC and the longterm investments made by Montgomery County Government into the creative economy as part of an evaluation and analysis of the 2001 Montgomery County Cultural Plan recommendations. Ms. Drayton-Hill will use publicly available local, state, and federal data to increase our understanding of the economic impacts from capital investment, grant support, and public policy recommendations implemented over the past 20 years from the 2001 Montgomery County Cultural Plan.

Research Results

Following 14 months of research, data analysis, and outcome synthesis The Arts And Humanities Council of Montgomery county is proud to publish the following white paper and reports

Questions? How to Contact Us

If you have any questions about our past or current research, please reach out to AHCMC Deputy Director, Joe Frandoni at