County provides fertile ground for the arts

March 20, 2005

Arts centers

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, a 114-seat black box theater, meeting space for affiliated arts organizations and space for resident art groups in the 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 all ages.

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," "Pre-ballet and Jazz" and "Hip-Hop Dance." The summer arts camp has several one- and two-week sessions in July and August for 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 the stage and behind the scenes.

The center is also home to the No Boundaries Musical Theatre Company, a partnership between the 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.

The center showcases about 500 artists each year in its gallery program.

Exhibits change every eight weeks, and 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.

Through April 22, Gallery I will show the works of students in kindergarten through 12th grade in a partnership between the Howard County Arts Council and the Howard County public school system.

Through April 22, Gallery II will show an exhibit of contemporary works in clay by Nathalie MacDonald, Jacqueline S. Johnson and Yelena Sheynin, presented as part of the National Council for Education on Ceramic Arts Conference in partnership with Baltimore Clayworks.

From May 6 through June 17, Gallery I will show the work of HCCA resident artists and Gallery II will feature the narrative paintings of Amy Funderburk and Bruce Erikson.

In July, Gallery I will showcase the contemporary figurative drawings and paintings of Tom Block, Jessica Damen, Kristin Powers Nowlin and Randy Simmons. Gallery II will showcase the work of artists with developmental disabilities in two exhibits, Art Enables and No Boundaries, presented in partnership with Howard County Recreation and Parks, Therapeutic Recreation.

Literature

Howard County Poetry and Literature Society Mailing address: HoCoPoLitSo, ILB 239, 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia 21044. Information: 410-772-4568, www. hocopolitso.org, or e-mail hoco politso@yahoo.com

For more than 30 years, the Howard County Poetry and Literature Society has offered the community the opportunity to hear the works of distinguished poets and writers.

With its snappy acronym - HoCoPoLitSo - and commitment to poetry and prose, the nonprofit 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.

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, WS 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.

On May 6, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Edward P. Jones, author of The Known World and Lost in the City, will give a public reading at Howard Community College in Columbia. For more information, call 410-772-4568.

The poet laureate for the state of Maryland, Michael Glaser, will be the poet-in-residence for each of the Howard County high schools before the end of the school year.

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