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Salisbury Arts Alliance is pleased to announce its new name and branding. The 501(c)(3) non-profit organization formerly known as Salisbury Arts & Entertainment District, Inc., was originally founded in August 2016 with a mission to enhance economic development in Downtown Salisbury through the arts, utilizing the Maryland State Arts Council’s Art & Entertainment District designation framework. The group employed Executive Director Jamie Heater to run a variety of signature programs and marketing initiatives, like 3rd Friday, New Years Eve Ball Drop, amphitheater concerts, and public art initiatives.

In June 2023, The City of Salisbury took over responsibility for its Arts & Entertainment District designation and many of the non-profit’s events, through its growing Arts, Business and Culture Department.  With its growing staff of event specialists, the City of Salisbury became well positioned to execute the programming formerly taken on by the group.

“Salisbury will continue to have an Arts & Entertainment District”, explains former Executive Director Jamie Heater, “however the management of the district will now fall to the City of Salisbury’s Arts, Business and Culture Department. Our non-profit was honored to serve this purpose for many years, and we are thrilled that the City has now devoted infrastructure to meet this need.  Our non-profit is now looking to the future, and discussing the new ways we can work to support the arts in our community.”

Under its new name, Salisbury Arts Alliance, the group will continue to support the arts through public art initiatives, new programs, and arts advocacy.  Former Executive Director Jamie Heater now serves as Board Chair, with the remaining 13-person Board of Directors remaining intact.  The non-profit’s new name, and branding will allow it to approach the arts within a broader area, instead of an exclusively arts district centric approach.

Salisbury Arts Alliance’s mission is to foster elevated artistic expression in Salisbury by building partnerships to develop, support and promote diverse artistic, entertainment, and cultural endeavors, that preserve a sense of place, appreciate the unique character of Salisbury, and build community pride. 

Prior to the formation of the 501(c)(3) in 2016, the group had a long history of volunteer led initiatives under the auspices of several organizations. The group began in the early 2000's as an arts & entertainment subcommittee under Urban Salisbury, a downtown economic development corporation funded by the City of Salisbury.  The volunteer subcommittee initiated public art projects, downtown events, and the City's first application to be awarded an Arts & Entertainment District designation, awarded in 2007. 


When Urban Salisbury folded, the group found a home as a subcommittee of the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce, allowing them to continue their work, maintaining the City's Arts & Entertainment District and its popular programs, like 3rd Friday and New Years Eve Ball Drop. The original group was comprised of Downtown merchants, and business owners, arts enthusiasts and visionaries with a heart for the transformation of Downtown Salisbury.  3rd Friday Founders Connie Strott and Lee Whaley were even honored with a Maryland State Arts Council Outstanding Achievement Award in 2015, recognizing their vital contribution to the community and the economy.   

We would like to thank Connie Strott, Lee Whaley, Paul Lewis, Michael R. Wigley, Dr. Talmadge Reeves, Michael Day,  Katie Wolfe, Anne Parker Taylor, Ray Vorus, Susan Holt, Rachel Terzich and the many other volunteers who gave their time to create the foundation on which our organization now stands. 

Meet the Board

Jamie Heater

Board Chair

Director of Marketing, Gillis Gilkerson

Kevin Taylor 


Supervisor, PKS and Co. 

Michael H. Day

Vice Chair 

Economic Development Town of Snow Hill / Berlin, Retired 

Laura Soper 

Board Member 

Senior Tourism Specialist, Wicomico County

Rachel Terzich


Entrepreneur, Pacific East Aquaculture

Susan Holt

Chair, Public Art Committee

Gallery Director, UMES, Retired 

Maarten Pereboom

Board Member

Dean, Fulton School of Liberal Arts, Salisbury University

Craig Williams

Board Member

Architect, Becker Morgan Group

Dom Sessa

Board Member

Disability Advocate, Girl in the Pink Wheelchair

Demetria Leonard

Board Member

President Salisbury Kwanzaa Club / Producer PAC 14

Hannah Wilson-Wackett

Board Member

Operations Manager, Open Seas Coffee Roasters

Makya Purnell

Board Member

Owner, Teak & Ink Design Company

Reena J. Patel 

Board Member

Attorney, Law Office of Marianna Batie

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