Arts centers

March 21, 2004

Howard County Center for the Arts

8510 High Ridge Road, Ellicott City. Information: 410-313-2787 or www.hocoarts.org.

Howard County Center for the Arts houses visual arts studios, classrooms, the 114-seat black box theatre, meeting space for affiliated arts organizations and space for resident art groups in its 27,000-square- foot facility.

Participating music groups include the Howard County Regional Youth Orchestra, which conducts weekly rehearsals in the theater from September through June.

HCCA offers year-round classes in the visual, performing and literary arts for students of all ages. The spring session runs April 19 through June 12. Classes for adults include Watercolor Painting, Beginning Beaded Jewelry, Faces of Women, and continuing Drawing/Painting Model Sessions..

The center also offers children's art classes such as Drawing and Painting Skills, Exploring Art, Preballet and Jazz, and Hip-Hop Dance. The summer arts camp has several one- and two-week sessions in July and August for students ages 4 to 14.

HCCA is also the home of the Fabulous 50+ Players, a musical theater program that puts on at least six productions a year.

The program is open to anyone 50 or older, with opportunities on stage and behind the scenes.

The center is also home to the No Boundaries Musical Theatre Company, a partnership between Howard County Arts Council and Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks. The organization, for young adults with disabilities, rehearses in the theater Tuesday evenings from September through May and holds a performance in the spring, scheduled this year for June 9-10.

The center showcases about 500 artists each year in its gallery program. Exhibits change every eight weeks. A reception is held for each new exhibit.

Artists are local, regional, national and sometimes international. Shows range from single-artist exhibits to partnerships with the Howard County Department of Education, which juries a show of student work from kindergarten through 12th grade. The works are showcased at the center each year for six weeks.

Coming attractions include:

Youth Art Month, featuring the works of students in the county public schools, will be held through April 23, with a reception planned from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday. In Gallery II, recent works in clay by Jami McKinnon and Michael Hough will be exhibited during the same period.

The studio program will celebrate its 20th anniversary when HCCA's 14 resident visual artists exhibit work in a variety of media from May 11 to June 18. A reception is planned from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. May 14, with open studios from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The studio will feature the work of artists who live, work or study in Howard County from June 29 to Aug. 6, with a reception scheduled from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. July 2. During the same period in Gallery II, No Boundaries, in partnership with the Department of Recreation and Parks' therapeutic section, will showcase the artwork of teen-agers and adults with developmental disabilities.

Literature

Howard Poetry and Literature Society Mailing address:HoCoPoLitSo, 10446 Waterfowl Terrace, Columbia 21044. Information: 410-730-7524 or 301-596-6183, or www.hocopolitso.org.

For 30 years, the Howard County Poetry and Literature Society has offered the community the opportunity to sit up close and listen firsthand to the works of distinguished poets and writers.

With its snappy acronym - HoCoPoLitSo - and commitment to poetry and prose, the not-for-profit arts organization presents readings and other literary events to the public, bringing in three to four writers and poets each year.

Founded in 1974, HoCoPoLitSo has been called "a model for community literature programs" by the National Endowment for the Arts and is frequently noted for "excellence" by the Maryland State Arts Council.

The array of renowned artists who have visited include Isaac Bashevis Singer, Allen Ginsberg, Saul Bellow, Stanley Kunitz, Seamus Heaney, Michael Dirda, Lucille Clifton, Edna O'Brien, Edward Albee, Taylor Branch, Germaine Bree, Frank Conroy, Garrison Keillor, W.S. Merwin, Mark Strand, Swedish poet Thomas Transtromer and Iranian poet and author Reza Baraheni.

HoCoPoLitSo also sponsors a poet-in-residence at 11 Howard County public schools and produces The Writing Life, a local cable television series from Howard Community College's HCCTV. "We produce it and fund it, and they do the technical work," Ellen Conroy Kennedy said. "All the new shows are distributed to five other educational access stations in central Maryland."

On Feb. 27, HoCoPoLitSo presented its 26th "Evening of Irish Music and Poetry" fund-raiser at Jim Rouse Theatre for the Performing Arts in Columbia. The event featured Mary O'Malley, a poet from the west of Ireland, who read her works. With friends Jean Moon and Prudence Barry, Kennedy founded HoCoPoLitSo in 1974 and booked poet Lucille Clifton.

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