Guide to Howard County 2016: Arts

Thousands attended the 2015 Sweetlife Music Festival at Merriweather Post Pavillion in Columbia.
Thousands attended the 2015 Sweetlife Music Festival at Merriweather Post Pavillion in Columbia. (Kaitlin Newman / Baltimore Sun)

One area Howard County can certainly boast about is its vibrant arts scene, with an abundance of choices that include theater, music and dance companies, as well as free outdoor concerts at Lake Kittamaqundi, Centennial Park and Columbia’s village centers. Performances are staged throughout the year at local venues.

The 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. 443-518-1490 or howardcc.edu.
Merriweather Post Pavilion is 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, from Keith Urban to AC/DC. 410-715-5550 or merriweathermusic.com.
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, 410-997-1317 or rousetheatre.org.
Candlelight Concerts is a subscription season at Howard Community College that regularly attracts top talent, including a jazz and children’s concert series and theater productions. 410-997-2324 or candlelightconcerts.org.
Sundays at Three Chamber Music Series brings professional chamber music to Christ Episcopal Church in Columbia. 443-288-3179 or sundaysatthree.org.
Sunset Serenades are weekly concerts in a variety of genres at Centennial Park, running from June through August. 410-313-4700 or howardcountymd.gov/sunsetserenades.
Toby’s Dinner Theatre specializes in Broadway-style musical fare, presented with a live band, professional costuming and inventive staging in the Columbia location, where it has hosted performances for more than 30 seasons. 410-730-8311 or tobysdinnertheatre.com.
Red Branch Theatre Company in Columbia produces four to five shows a season, including contemporary and family works. 410-997-9352 or redbranchtheatrecompany.com.
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. 443-518-1500 or repstage.org.
Other theater groups and community stages include Columbia Community Players, Columbia Center for Theatrical Arts, Howard County Summer Theatre, Kittamaqundi Players, Drama Learning Center, Summer Actors Institute and Young Artists Theatre in Laurel.
Columbia Bands — This nonprofit for nonprofessional musicians performs in three groups — a concert band, a jazz band and a “flute cocktail” — at free community concerts and other events. columbiabands.org.
Columbia Orchestra — In its 38th season, this ensemble led by conductor Jason Love offers concerts with instrumental works ranging from classic to contemporary composers. 410-465-8777 or columbiaorchestra.org.
Columbia Pro Cantare — This world-class volunteer choir presents programs of American standards and the area’s only full orchestral and choral performance of Handel’s “Messiah.” 410-730-8549 or procantare.org.
Peabody Children’s Chorus — Girls and boys ages 6 to 18 with unchanged voices train in music from a variety of genres and time periods in six ensembles on two campuses, one of which is in Howard County. 410-234-4630
or peabody.jhu.edu.
Voices 21 —The chamber chorus, led by founding director Dr. Jesse Parker, specializes in a cappella music and performs in churches, retirement communities and other venues. 240-643-6563 or voicesxxi.org.
Nearby groups:

Heart of Maryland Chorus/Barbershop Harmony Society
410-788-4595, heartofmaryland.org

Sweet Adelines International
443-326-2944, prideofbaltimorechorus.com

Maryland Youth Symphony Orchestra
301-848-5309, marylandyouthsymphonyorchestra.org

Baltimore Symphony Youth Orchestras
410.783.8000, bsomusic.org/bsyo


African Art Museum of Maryland, founded in 1980, is located in Fulton's Maple Lawn and offers a rare collection of African artifacts and folk art. 301-490-6070 or africanartmuseum.org.

Columbia Art Center in the village of Long Reach has provided resources for ceramic artists, photographers, calligraphers, woodworkers and others since 1987. It also houses a rotating gallery of exhibitions and a summer art camp for children. 410-730-0075 or columbiaartcenter.org.
Howard County Center for the Arts, located in a former elementary school, now houses two galleries in addition to a black box theater in Ellicott City. It is also the seat of the Howard County Arts Council. 410-313-ARTS or hocoarts.org.
Howard County Center of African American Culture houses African-American memorabilia and artifacts, an art gallery and a library with more than 10,000 publications and other artifacts. The center also sponsors a monthly book club called Book Ends. 410-715-1921 or hccaac.org.
Local artists also exhibit at the Artists’ Gallery in Columbia’s American City Building, The Rouse Company Foundation Gallery at Howard Community College, Slayton House Gallery in Wilde Lake, The Meeting House Gallery in Oakland Mills and informal exhibition spaces at the Florence Bain Senior Center and elsewhere. Visual artists and crafts people share a handsome and historic complex at Savage Mill.
Howard County Poetry and Literature Society — Since 1974, “HoCoPoLitSo” has been bringing imaginative literary events, workshops and distinguished writers to student and adult audiences. Saul Bellow, Edward Albee, Seamus Heaney and Lucille Clifton have given public readings under the auspices of the community-based, not-for-profit HoCoPoLitSo. 443-518-4568 or hocopolitso.org.
Columbia Film Society — An annual subscription series that brings the latest in distinguished foreign films to the Horowitz Center at Howard Community College. 410-715-3087 or columbiafilmsociety.org.
CJC Jewish Film Series — This annual series offers four movies with Jewish themes in English, Hebrew and foreign languages with subtitles, and includes refreshments as well as an optional discussion. 410-997-0694 or jewishhowardcounty.org.

Columbia United Artists Theatres Snowden Square 14

AMC Columbia Mall 14

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

Arabesque Dance Company
410-381-0017, livetodance.com

Arthur Murray Dance Studio
410-772-7880, dancecolumbia.com

b.Funk Dance Company
410-313-8199, bfunk.com

Backstage Dance Studio
410-312-0900, thebackstagedancestudio.com

Ballet with Cindee Velle
410-465-7674, cindeevelleballet.com

Dance Dimension
301-490-0252, thedancedimension.com

Genesis Arts
410-715-8764, genesisarts.net

Howard County Ballet
410-465-9414, howardcountyballet.org

Kinetics Dance Theatre

Misako Ballet Studio
410-884-9690, misakoballet.com

Patuxent Youth Ballet
410-992-4084, marylandballet.com

Studio Dans
301-498-3267, studiodans.com

That’s Dancing Ballroom & Dancesport Center
301-776-0085 or 410-792-0091, thatsdancingballroom.com 

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