To create and encourage infrastructural, economical, and community development initiatives, to promote public art installations, and to beautify, revitalize, and improve the wellbeing of all businesses and individuals in St. Mary’s County.
St. Mary’s CDC believes everyone, regardless of difference, deserves to feel safe, included, and empowered in the place they call home. To pursue our mission of making a positive impact, we welcome the various perspectives and experiences of those in our community. We are passionate about creating a culture that promotes equity and inclusion, and we are committed to uplifting groups who need it most.
Since becoming an independent nonprofit organization, St. Mary’s CDC has striven to improve the overall wellbeing of the Lexington Park community.
Through partnerships with Three Oaks, St. Mary’s Housing Authority, and Conifer Realty, St. Mary’s CDC developed its first affordable housing community, Patuxent Cove, to offset just one of the many economic challenges some southern Marylanders face. Construction was completed in mid-2020.
St. Mary’s CDC partnered with St. Mary’s Arts Council to implement a number of murals located off of South Shangri La Drive in Lexington Park.
Lexington Park Alive! was the first mural project by the St. Mary’s Community Development Corp. (CDC) in collaboration with the St. Mary’s County Arts Council. The CDC’s Art Park Committee held a contest for design submissions and the winner was Lynn Wescoe.
“Artist Rainbow” combines the faces of famous artists, speakers, poets, orators, a hip hop musician, a street artist, a Piscataway performing artist, and that very famous smiling portrait!
Roz Racanello, St. Mary’s CDC staff artist, was inspired to design the collage after overseeing the installation of the corporation’s first mural Lexington Park Alive!
A competition was held to select four additional Maryland artists to work with Ms. Racanello on “Artist Rainbow” , those selected were Kailee Findlay, Caitlin Jones, Elizabeth Lopez, and Katia Meisinger.
In early spring 2020, Ms. Racanello was compelled to create an homage to the nurses and medical workers battling on the front lines of COVID-19. Ms. Racanello’s nephew, a nurse on the front lines in New York, NY, is both the inspiration and the model for the artwork.
What is a CDC?
Community development corporations (CDCs) are 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations that are created to support and revitalize communities, especially those that are impoverished or struggling. Oftentimes, CDCs work to create and sustain affordable housing, but CDCs can also be involved in initiatives for education, job training, healthcare, commercial development, and other social programs. CDCs can adjust the scope of programming based on the needs within the surrounding community.
While CDCs may work closely with a representative from the local government, they are not a government entity. In our case, St. Mary’s CDC was formed in 1985 as a quasi-governmental agency with local government employees and board of directors, but split from county government to become a private nonprofit in 2015.
As non-profits, CDCs are tax-exempt and may receive funding from private and public sources.