Opening a door to arts

Exhibit: Dozens of little-known artists line up to get shown, get a shot in the nonjuried HoCo Open.

Howard County

July 06, 2000|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,SUN STAFF

Dozens of artists of all ages lined up at the Howard County Center for the Arts yesterday, eager for a high-profile display space in the annual HoCo Open, a nonjuried exhibition in the center's Gallery I, beginning Monday.

Coleen West, executive director of the Howard County Arts Council, said that during its 13 years, the exhibit has become enormously popular as a place where little-known artists can display their talents without the pressure of a show selected by a jury of experts.

"It's especially good for new artists because it's not at all intimidating," West said as she helped to check in artwork at the center.

"You don't have to go through the process of submitting slides and things like that," she said. "There is always that scary prospect of getting your work rejected by a curator or a jury, and this showing eliminates that."

West said the show, which is being sponsored by The Sun, is open to artists of all media who are at least 18 years old and who live, work or attend school in Howard County.

For three hours yesterday, artists each dropped off a single piece of their work. In the first half-hour, 45 artists filled out information forms and received a number. Organizers logged in 66 works.

First-timer Chris Lynch waited for his number to be called as he glanced down at his print, titled "The Cave," which he created using graphics software.

"I'm colorblind, so using the computer helps me," said Lynch, an Ellicott City computer programmer who "used to try and paint years ago."

Lynch, 43, agreed with West that an event like the HoCo Open is invaluable for emerging artists.

"This is my first show, and I'm basically a beginner at this point," Lynch said. "For someone like me, it's a way to get my stuff out there and seen."

Norman Wolfson and his wife of 57 years, Gloria, came from their home in Columbia and each submitted an oil painting. Wolfson said the couple began painting three years ago as part of a class at Florence Bain Senior Center.

"We visited here last year, but this is the first time we are submitting," Wolfson said as he and his wife relaxed in the center's lobby.

West said officials planned to take as many pieces as would comfortably fit in the Gallery.

Sally Voris' piece turned out to be a community effort.

Voris, a former neighborhood columnist with The Sun, submitted a poem and a nest containing stone eggs that represent her neighborhood's displeasure with a developer who is seeking a variance to reduce woods next to the Howard Business Park.

"This is a piece of protest art," said Voris, who lives in Ellicott City. "So many people started coming and making suggestions and adding to it that it became a community thing."

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