Students make an art of work on fund-raiser

Volunteers: Wilde Lake High School youths labor behind the scenes to make a success of the annual Celebration of the Arts.

April 26, 2001|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,SUN STAFF

The Celebration of the Arts in Howard County wouldn't run as smoothly if it weren't for the students.

The youths from Wilde Lake High School work behind the scenes, doing everything from decorating to ushering at the annual fund-raiser for the Howard County Arts Council's grants and outreach programs. The gala is being held from 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday at the 739-seat Jim Rouse Theatre for the Performing Arts, which is part of the school.

Ken Danker, an arts council board member who works with the student volunteers, said the group receives a budget each year to design and decorate "Main Street," the main hallway leading to the theater.

"What we try to do is get the students involved, since we are using their school," Danker said. "There is a lot of talent even at the high school level, and they are very creative."

Volunteers from the National Art Honor Society and the National Honor Society work closely with teachers and members of the arts council to prepare for the big night. Planning begins months before the gala with the selection of a theme and decoration concepts.

Diane Hwang, a 17-year-old senior, said students use teamwork to come up with the best ideas on how to make the hallway more ornate.

"You get to use your leadership skills," said Diane, who also helped decorate for last year's event. "I got to talk with one of the artists last year, and that was fun."

In keeping with this year's Howard County Sesquicentennial celebration, the event will focus on the history of the county and will feature a silent auction of works by local artists, performances, refreshments and presentations of the county's version of the Tony Award, the "Howie" award. The featured performers will be the Capitol Steps, an Alexandria, Va.-based musical comedy troupe including several members with roots in the Columbia arts scene.

Beth Baniszewski, a 17-year-old senior, said volunteering for the gala means an opportunity to see the performances. "You get to see the show, which is one of the best parts," she said.

Alicia Brands, president of the National Art Honor Society at Wilde Lake, helped order supplies and design the layout of the decorations. This year, the hallway will be blue and silver with stars and pillars, she said.

Sally Livingston, a teacher at the school and theater manager, said the volunteers work hard and take pride in their work. "They are wonderful students," Livingston said. "I'm always amazed at how wonderful and how involved the students at Wilde Lake are."

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