Music, poetry at arts event

April 15, 1999|By Jill Hudson Neal | Jill Hudson Neal,SUN STAFF

The second annual Celebration of the Arts in Howard County, which takes place Saturday at Jim Rouse Theatre for the Performing Arts in Columbia, will feature performances that run the gamut from dance, poetry and dramatic readings to opera and choral recitals.

Last year's gala drew more than 600 people and raised about $50,000 for local arts organizations and the 750-seat Rouse theater.

This year's event promises an impressive lineup of local talent in the performing and visual arts, said Coleen West, executive director of the Howard County Arts Council, which is co-sponsoring the night's festivities with the Howard County Poetry and Literature Society (HoCoPoLitSo), Lockheed Martin and Howard County General Hospital.

"This is really a major year-round effort to bring together the arts community, then celebrate and showcase the talent that we have here," West said. "It's made up of a lot of our grantees, and what's unique about it is that it really does showcase all of the arts -- visual, the performing, the spoken word."

Some of the featured artists for the evening's entertainment will be Broadway star Bakaari Walker; pianist Dylan Gentile; Broadway actor Ric Ryder; Helen Hayes Award nominee and Columbia native Stephanie Waters; the Eva Anderson Dancers; the Peabody Children's Chorus; and the Columbia Pro Cantare.

Local theater company directors Toby Orenstein and Valerie Costantini are coordinating the evening's entertainment. WJZ-TV news anchor and Howard County Arts Council committee member Denise Koch will serve as host of the event.

One of the evening's highlights will be the appearance of Maryland Poet Laureate Roland Flint, who will read from his latest book of poetry, "Easy," which was released last month.

Flint's appearance at the event also celebrates National Poetry Month. Ellen Kennedy, president of HoCoPoLitSo, said the Silver Spring-based poet has been "reading for HoCoPoLitSo since the 1970s and he's always fantastic. Roland is so inspiring and thrilling. People will be talking about his reading for years, I'm sure."

Flint will sign copies of his book during intermission.

Patty Rouse will be the honorary chairwoman of the gala and will be presented with commemorative portraits of herself and her late husband and Columbia's founder, James W. Rouse. The commissioned paintings will hang in the foyer of the theater.

The evening will include an array of culinary delicacies presented by 23 of Howard County's finest restaurants. Celebration-goers can sample different types of cuisine as they stroll down the theater's "main street" corridor listening to tunes from the Columbia Salvation Army Band.

West said the money raised from the proceeds of the gala will go into the council's grant pool, which helps fund county arts groups.

The Arts Council donates $200,000 to such organizations annually. "We're hoping to net more money from this year's gala so that we'll be able to put more money into different areas of the arts community," she said.

West said 81 paintings and sculptures will be donated for a silent auction during the event. Last year's auction raised $13,000. Half of the money will go to artists and the other half will go to the Arts Council.

Tickets for the 7 p.m. event are $40 and $75. Information or tickets: 410-313-2787. Tickets also may be bought at the theater's box office the night of the event.

Pub Date: 4/15/99

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