Howard County Times
Howard Magazine

Guide to Howard County 2022: Arts and activities

Howard County is known for is its vibrant arts scene offering an abundance of choices, including theater, music and dance companies. Free outdoor concerts also are presented at downtown Columbia’s Lakefront on Lake Kittamaqundi, Centennial Park and Columbia’s village centers. Other performances are staged throughout the year at other local venues.


Large venues

Jim Rouse Theatre for the Performing Arts at Wilde Lake High School is a 747-seat theater that hosts high school and community events as well as traveling acts. All tickets are purchased through the organization presenting the performance. 410-313-8293,

Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods’ Chrysalis Amphitheater hosts concerts and theatrical productions for up to 8,000 people through the stand-alone nonprofit Inner Arbor Trust, which also hosts cultural and community events April through December. Three series provide mostly free performances on the amphitheater stage: family and children’s programming using regional theater troupes, a series of cross-genre performances from orchestral to jazz, and cabaret performances that provide intimate shows with noted jazz, rock and Christian performers.


Merriweather Post Pavilion, an open-air amphitheater in Columbia’s Symphony Woods, has become a major stopping-off point on the pop music circuit, offering everything from rap to folk. 410-715-5550,

Peter and Elizabeth Horowitz Visual and Performing Arts Center at Howard Community College houses, among other facilities, Smith Theatre, the John G. Monteabaro Recital Hall and a state-of-the-art black box theater. 443-518-1500,

Concert series

Candlelight Concerts is a subscription season at Howard Community College that regularly attracts top talent to its chamber music series and includes a children’s concert series. The society also holds free events throughout the community, from lectures to special performances in special needs and senior citizen facilities and schools. 410-997-2324,

Chalice Concert Series presents the Mid-Atlantic region’s finest chamber musicians in the Owen Brown Interfaith Center’s acoustically dynamic sanctuary addition. 410-381-0097,

One World Coffeehouse takes place monthly at the Owen Brown Interfaith Center, offering an eclectic blend of folk, blues, world music, jazz and rock. 410-381-0097,

Sundays at Three Chamber Music Series brings professional chamber music to Christ Episcopal Church in Columbia.


Chesapeake Shakespeare Company In-the-Ruins produces two family-friendly plays each June and July inside the remains of the Patapsco Female Institute Historic Park, where it has performed since 2003. The professional company hires actors from the Maryland/D.C. region and also offers a summer camp. 410-244-8570,


Columbia Center for Theatrical Arts employs actors, directors, writers, musicians and technicians to immerse young people in the art of performing through a variety of programs. 410-381-0700,

Howard County Summer Theatre features family-oriented musicals using youth casts and all-ages companies.

Rep Stage Company, based at Howard Community College, is the county’s first Actors’ Equity troupe, featuring the area’s premier acting talent in challenging plays. 443-518-1490,

Toby’s Dinner Theatre specializes in Broadway-style musical fare, presented with a live band, professional costuming and inventive staging in the Columbia location. 410-730-8311,

Musical groups

Columbia Bands is a nonprofit for nonprofessional musicians who perform in three groups — a concert band, a jazz band and a “flute cocktail” — at free community concerts and other events.


The Columbia Orchestra was founded in 1977. The ensemble, led by music director Jason Love, offers orchestral, jazz and chamber concerts with instrumental works ranging from classic to contemporary composers. 410-465-8777,

Columbia Pro Cantare is a volunteer choir that presents programs ranging from operatic works to spirituals. 410-799-9321,

Howard County Concert Orchestra is a professional chamber orchestra that performs classical to contemporary arrangements with six to 45 professional musicians. 888-921-7230,

Peabody Children’s Chorus trains girls and boys ages 6 to 18 with unchanged voices in music from a variety of genres and time periods in five ensembles on two campuses, one of which is in Howard County.

Art centers and museums

African Art Museum of Maryland, founded in 1980, is in a new location at Columbia’s Long Reach Village Center. It offers a rare collection of African artifacts and folk art. Staffed entirely by volunteers, including the museum’s founder and director Doris Ligon, the museum offers programs during Women’s History Month. 410-740-7411,


Columbia Art Center in the village of Long Reach has provided resources for ceramic artists, photographers, calligraphers, woodworkers and others since 1987. It also hosts a literary series with local poets and authors and a monthly salon featuring local artists, actors, musicians and others, a rotating gallery of exhibitions and a summer art camp for children. 410-730-0075,

Howard County Center for the Arts, located in a former elementary school in Ellicott City, houses two galleries in addition to a black-box theater. It is also the seat of the Howard County Arts Council. 410-313-2787,

Howard County Center of African American Culture at Howard Community College houses African American memorabilia, artifacts and an art gallery at its Columbia location, and a research library with approximately 10,000 publications and records. 410-715-1921,

Local artists also exhibit at the Artists’ Gallery on Ellicott City’s Main Street, the Rouse Company Foundation Gallery at Howard Community College, the Bernice Kish Gallery at Slayton House in Wilde Lake, The Meeting House Gallery in Oakland Mills and informal exhibition spaces at the Bain 50 Plus Center, at shops in historic Ellicott City and elsewhere. Visual artists and crafts people share a historic complex at Savage Mill.

Literary arts

Howard County Poetry and Literature Society — often abbreviated HoCoPoLitSo — has been bringing imaginative literary events, workshops and distinguished writers to student and adult audiences since 1974. Saul Bellow, Lucille Clifton, Tyehimba Jess and Mary Oliver have given public readings under the auspices of the community-based not-for-profit. 443-518-4568,



CJC Jewish Film Series offers movies with Jewish themes in English, Hebrew and foreign languages with subtitles. Viewings include refreshments as well as an optional discussion. 410-730-6044,

Columbia Film Society brings the latest in distinguished foreign films to the Horowitz Center at Howard Community College in an annual subscription series.

AMC Columbia Mall 14 offers the latest Hollywood releases. 410-423-0510


Local dance troupes present regular showcases, and a variety of commercial dance studios provide training for a new generation:

Arabesque Dance Studio



Arthur Murray Dance Centers


Backstage Dance Studio


Ballet with Cindee Velle



b.Funk Dance Company


Central Maryland Youth Ballet


The Dance Dimension



Kinetics Dance Theatre


Misako Ballet Studio

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