Grits and Glamour Gala

Morgan Pietryka, from left, and Brian Pietryka A merry crowd mingled inside Howard Community College's Horowitz Center for the Columbia Festival of the Arts annual gala. The rays of a setting sun filtered through the glass-enclosed lobby, highlighting the fun group, whose members were dappled with feathers and seersucker -- all in keeping with this year's party theme, "Grits and Glamour." Nichole Hickey, Columbia Festival of the Arts executive director, said her feathery fascinator was along the lines of a Kentucky Derby look for the $150-per-ticket party. But friend Courtney Wilson, B&O Railroad Museum executive director, suggested that perhaps there was further inspiration. "Did you know this [gala] is her swan song?" he said. After wrapping up this year's festival, which runs June 13-28, she is retiring. "August 1st, I'm going to sleep in," she said with a smile. If you are hosting a fundraiser you'd like considered for coverage, email
Photo by Matthew Paul Dagostino, for The Baltimore Sun
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