After 14 years, final curtain falls for Arts Council director

December 28, 2007|By MARY JOHNSON | MARY JOHNSON,Special to The Sun

As executive director of the Arts Council of Anne Arundel County for 14 years, Carol Treiber had to attend a mind-boggling number of performances and exhibitions.

Now embarking on her well-earned retirement, she promises to attend even more.

Treiber, who plans to spend more time with her four grandchildren and on her golf game, was honored Dec. 18 at a holiday-themed retirement party at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, attended by 100 arts supporters. The warm atmosphere came from representatives of most of the 33 arts organizations that received funding through the council this year.

"Carol has always been there for the Pasadena Theatre Company, as well as all the arts groups in the county," said company founder and president Sharon Steele, who helped organize the event. "She has never been too busy to listen to issues of concern. She has supported and worked endlessly for all of us."

Treiber came on board the Anne Arundel County Arts Commission in 1982 as a program assistant at Maryland Hall, continuing under several executive directors and moving with the commission to quarters in the county government's Arundel Center. In 1993, the commission was privatized by then-County Executive Robert R. Neall, who asked Treiber to work with a task force establishing a nonprofit arts council and to be the first executive director of what became known as the Cultural Arts Foundation of Anne Arundel County.

"Carol has been faithful and dedicated to increasing opportunities and increasing funding for county organizations over these years and has understood the role of arts organizations in the overall growth of the county and state and worked consistently to increase funding for the arts," said Eloise Vaughan, an Arts Council member and founder of the Performing Arts Association of Linthicum. "Carol wanted organizations to look to the Arts Council for inspiration and ideas, not just dollars, so she was always working to encourage cooperation."

For seven successive years ending in 2002, the council brought in the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra to perform at Anne Arundel Community College. The crowds at the pre-Fourth of July concerts attracted crowds estimated at 20,000, and then-BSO president John Gidwitz called Treiber "an amazing dynamo who increased the visibility of Baltimore Symphony in Anne Arundel County."

Treiber said she had "a wonderful time doing these July 4 concerts" along with establishing the Annie Awards, which celebrate local artists, art patrons and educators who have enriched the lives of county residents.

Former board president Bill Kuethe thanked Treiber "for supporting all the arts from `Arts in Public Places' to the Annies and for making it all fun, and for rallying us to speak out when the arts were threatened."

Nadja Maril, former president of the Arts Council and editor of What's Up? Annapolis, said Treiber tirelessly coordinated the efforts of arts groups, enabling them to speak with one voice to the community about the importance of the arts in Anne Arundel County.

Maril noted in particular Treiber's work on the Arts in Education Program, which brings performers and artists-in-residence to public and private schools and credited her efforts with school principals, teachers and the county Board of Education to enhance art programs in the schools.

"Everything I needed to know about nonprofits I learned from Carol, and I learned to network, telling individuals what needed to be done," Maril added.

"Carol's dedication and devotion to the arts is beyond measure," said Linnell Bowen, executive director of Maryland Hall. "She attended everything -- was always there for Maryland Hall performances and for the thousands of school groups."

After warm words for Treiber from the past council presidents and others last week, Annapolis Chorale director J. Ernest Green conducted a dozen choristers singing what he called "a lovely Irish blessing" to honor Treiber's Irish heritage.

She expressed her appreciation at how "everybody has gone overboard with love." In a later conversation, Treiber mentioned that on the way home from the party, she asked her husband, Wally, "Did I really do all those things?" to which he replied, "You must have because you were never home."

She said that she'll most miss the close contact with the arts groups and the individuals who work long hours for their organization to present the best programs.

No successor has been announced for Treiber, who warned that county arts groups will have to be more creative in looking for funding in the future. This year's county budget made drastic cuts in arts funding because of an economic crunch, and the council awarded grants totaling $259,400, down $100,000 from last year, she said.

"Last year was a wake-up call from the county, and it doesn't sound any better this year," she said. "Smaller arts groups depending on government support will have to change if they are to stay in business. Still the arts will continue to be an important part for many living in this county. Audiences are growing, and the programs are better than ever."

Upcoming Arts Council events include the 10th annual Mardi Gras gala Feb. 23 at the Sheraton Annapolis Hotel. Tickets for the event, which includes cocktails, dinner and dancing plus silent and live auctions, cost $125. For information, call 410-272-7949 or e-mail artsfdn@aol.com.

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