Howie recipients are honored for their commitment to, not flash in, the arts Anderson, Miller win this year


December 11, 1992|By Patrick Hickerson | Patrick Hickerson,Contributing Writer

When the Howard County Arts Council announced th winners of its 1992 Howie Awards earlier this month, it only validated the base requirement that those chosen must demonstrate an enduring commitment to the arts.

Dance company founder Eva Anderson, educator Gene Miller and the Columbia Association are this year's winners in the categories of outstanding artist, arts educator and business supporter of the arts. Previous Howie award winners include Toby Orenstein and the Rouse Co.

"It's meant to recognize a long-term achievement in the arts," said Howard County Arts Council Executive Director Mary Toth. "You won't see someone who's a meteor in the community.

Eva Anderson could have been nominated under the arts educator category. By her recollection, the Chester, S.C., native has taught dance to between 2,000 and 3,000 students.

Since August, her studio, which moved around the Baltimore area approximately five times, has been on Morton Street in Baltimore.

A resident of the village of Long Reach, she wants her Eva Anderson's Baltimore Dance Theatre, founded more than 17 years ago, noted for giving dance an African-American infusion. "We do a lot of different kinds of modern dance. We concentrate on African-American," she said. "In our repertoire we have abstract works, children's works, historical works, but we made an emphasis on African-American."

Ms. Toth said that Mrs. Anderson made ground-breaking decisions, not only by casting black dancers in classical roles that were reserved for whites, but by going against the George Balanchine's American Ballet Theater mold and choosing dancers who were not tall, nor thin.

Her current work is titled, "Sketches of Spain," an abstract creation based on the song by the late Miles Davis. Mrs. Anderson said it should be finished in February.

Howard County's change from a rural farming county to a suburb in the Washington-Baltimore corridor was the setting to Gene Miller's transformation of the public school's music program. When he arrived at the county school office -- a former segregated school on old Route 32 -- the music staff consisted of 23 teachers. By the time the executive supervisor of music left in 1991, the department's budget had grown to $6 million and included a staff of 89.

"When Gene Miller came along, there was virtually no music program in the schools," said Ms. Toth. "When he left, the choirs in Howard County were ranking number one in national adjudications."

Mr. Miller singled out former schools superintendent Dr. M. Thomas Goedeke as one who'd support his music programs that were key to success.

"His idea of retirement was to buy a piano and start practicing," said Mr. Miller.

After retiring from Howard County Public Schools, Mr. Miller began teaching at Bryn Mawr School and is currently an upper school vocal music teacher, bent on eradicating the scourge of rounded "O's" from Baltimore girls' pronunciation. The transitions has been a second wind for this music man.

"I feel five years younger than when I retired."

Columbia Association stands as an easy choice for business TTC supporter of the arts. Whether it was the Summer Lakefront Festival, the Columbia Festival of the Arts or $1.3 million in renovations to Oakland, CA has made Columbia a necessary stop in Howard County for any serious patron of the arts from either Baltimore or Washington.

The past four years have seen CA contributing $175,000 to the Columbia Foundation for the funding of area arts organizations and events.

John Hansen, chairman of the Columbia Council, which directs CA, will accept the award on behalf of the Columbia Association.

"One of our goals is two enhance the life of Columbia," Mr. Hansen said. "One aspect is the performing arts and the fine arts."

The Howie Awards will be presented at the sixth annual Business and the Arts Luncheon 11:30 a.m. Jan. 15 at the Columbia Inn. Dr. David O'Fallon, director of the National Arts Partnership Working Group at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, will present the awards and be the guest speaker. Tickets are $35; $300 for a table of 10. Information: 313-2787.

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