Howard County Arts Council celebrates 40 years with Howard County Arts Celebration

On Saturday October 2, the Howard County Arts Council hosted the 24th Annual Howard County Arts Celebration. This year’s benefit gala welcomed nearly 200 guests to the in-person performance at the Jim Rouse Theater for the Performing Arts in Columbia and another 100 to a virtual live broadcast, raising over $ 40,000 (net) to support the arts in Howard County. Since 1998, over $ 1.6 million has been raised through Celebration of the Arts!

Liz Bobo and Lloyd Knowles were the honorary co-chairs of the celebration. In their roles as elected representatives of Howard County, both were strong supporters of the arts and were instrumental in founding the Arts Council 40 years ago. Joseph W. Ritsch, artistic director of production for Rep Stage, hosted the event.

The Rising Star Performing Arts Competition featured eight emerging artists vying for the title of Rising Star and a professional development award of $ 5,000. After enjoying the performances of the finalists, the in-person and virtual audience voted, selecting MaryKate Brouillet as the 2021 Rising Star for her fiery take on Funny Lady’s “How Lucky Can You Get”, by John kander and Fred ebb. Other talented finalists who performed at the Celebration were Lizzi Albert, Theater; Amanda Cunningham, singer-songwriter; Teresa Deskur, recorder; Daisha Graf, Dance; Madhulika C. Nallani, Dance; Eleanor Parks, Musical Theater; and Gabrielle Stanback, violin.

The Howie Awards 2020 were awarded to individuals who have made significant contributions to the arts in Howard County. The recipients were: Linda Joy Burke, Outstanding Artist; Patricia Hunter and Eric Posner, exceptional art educators; and Phyllis Madachy, outstanding community arts supporter (presented posthumously). A special Legacy in the Arts award was also presented to Linda and Philip Press.

The guest artists featured on stage were the Kinetics Dance Company, Jay Frisby, Nick lehan, James Toler, and accompanist Ross Scott Rawlings. Guests were able to enjoy musical entertainment from guitarist Bruce Casteel during the preview of the art auction that preceded the gala.

The online celebratory art auction featured 47 local artists, who contributed 53 pieces of art, and 14 pieces of art were sold.

Each year, the proceeds from Celebration Support Grants to local arts organizations and schools (K-12), scholarships for emerging artists, and programs in the arts. The Arts Council salutes all of the board and committee members, sponsors, guests, artists and volunteers who made the event such a success.

For more information, call 410-313-ARTS (2787) or visit the Arts Council website:

Corina C. Butler

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