Howard County Arts Council marks 30 years with dressed up fete

February 01, 2011|By Lisa Kawata

The Howard County Arts Council celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2011 by moving its annual gala to a new venue --the Peter and Elizabeth Horowitz Visual and Performing Arts Center at Howard Community College.

The move is a growing up, of sorts, for the bash.

“We wanted to bring the event up a notch but also keep the things that people love, like the HOWIE Awards, the Rising Star competition and the silent auction,” says Coleen West, HCAC’s executive director. For the first time, alcohol can be served at the gala, and the event will be more of a dress-up affair, says West.

The arts council has accomplished a lot in three decades, from establishing artist-in-residence programs at all levels of the public school system, and coordinating juried and non-juried art competitions, to granting funds to other organizations to operate specific arts programs and scholarships, including the Mark Ryder Original Choreography Grant with The Columbia Foundation.

Its Ellicott City headquarters is home to two galleries, several groups like The Chesapeake Shakespeare Company and The Columbia Orchestra as well as many resident artists. The council’s small Black Box theater is open for community use and is also the venue for No Boundaries, a musical arts program for developmentally disabled adults.

The annual Rising Star contest, which is judged by the gala attendees, awards a professional development grant to an emerging local artist. The HOWIEs honor Howard County’s arts educators and supporters.

This year’s gala is March 26, starting at 6 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling 410-313-2787.

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