"Autumn Glory" by Cathy Perry is on display at Howard County Public School System administrative offices.
"Autumn Glory" by Cathy Perry is on display at Howard County Public School System administrative offices. (Courtesy photo / Howard County Arts Council)

The final piece in this year’s collection of ARTsites was installed at Merriweather Park in Symphony Woods the beginning of this month and organizers could not be more excited.

“Nothing is ever easy,” said Nina Basu, president and CEO of Inner Arbor Trust, the nonprofit that operates and controls Merriweather Park. “It took longer than anticipated.”


Titled “Prisms” by Becky Borlan, the sculpture is large enough for several people to walk through, according to Basu.

“It’s held together with steel screws,” Basu said. “We’re looking forward to having it.”


This is the first year the venue has participated in ARTsites, an art show sponsored by the Howard County Arts Council that places sculptures in outdoor areas around the county.

“The program is a fantastic way to bring art to everybody,” Basu said. “As we are building our 30-year-plan, this was an opportunity to showcase traveling and rotating art.”

Over 75 pieces were submitted for consideration last winter, according to Katie Wofford, grants and special project coordinator for the Arts Council. A selection panel met to review all the work submitted and narrowed the selection down to 55.

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.

“It had to be appropriate for the public, not political or dangerous,” Wofford said. “We then gave the sites the choice of what was left.”


The 12 sites for the art works were selected based on the amount of visibility the pieces would receive either by foot traffic, vehicular traffic or both.

“Sites have to have easy access,” Wofford said. “Twelve is manageable and what we have funding for.”

More sites are welcome, but the owner must be willing to pay the $2,500 artist fee that helps the artist create, transport and install their work, Wofford said.

As the pieces are out in the open, vandalism is always a possibility. A few years ago, one sculpture was targeted three different times with spray paint before it was decided, by both the artist and the site, that it should be removed.

The Howard Hughes Corporation will launch OPUS 1 Festival , a multi-sensory experience, in Columbia on Oct. 7

Nature takes a toll, too. The first flood to hit Ellicott City’s historic Main Street in 2016 put only a minor scratch on the popular Eggplant sculpture in front of the visitor center.

“It was totally fine. I don’t think it even moved,” Wofford said.

Each of the 12 pieces will be on display until July 2019, when they will be dismantled in preparation for the new exhibit.

Many of the pieces are available for sale. Some of the venues in the past, including the Howard Community College and the Mall of Columbia, have purchased their pieces.

“Howard Community College has purchased maybe three or four,” Wofford said. “They have established quite a collection, which is nice.”

Credit the Howard County Arts Council and its ARTsites 2015 project, which, for the fourth year, is placing sculptures on public sites throughout the county. It started in August and will end next July.

With the final installation of Prism at Merriweather, a brochure featuring photos and addresses of all the sites will be created by the Arts Council. Copies will be available online at info@hocoarts.org or by calling the Council at 410-313-2787.

ARTsites 2018 Sculptures & Venues:

Tendril Grove No. 2 by Mark AtteberyAIDA Bistro/Corporate Office Properties Trust

Prisms by Becky BorlanInner Arbor Trust/Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods

Prowess by Jeff ChyatteColumbia Association, Slayton House

Tidal Reach by Bobby DonovanHoward Community College

Watermelon Picnic by Craig GrayHoward County General Hospital

Cube in Motion by Hanna JubranClarksville Commons

Autumn Glory by Cathy PerryHoward County Public School System Administrative Offices

Oasis I by Cathy PerryHoward County Libraries Glenwood Branch

Totem by Marc RobargeRobinson Nature Center

Pileated Woodpecker Totem by Bob TuranNorth Laurel Community Center & Park

Remembering Brancusi by Glenn ZweygardtArc of Howard County

Remembering Giotto by Glenn ZweygardtHoward County Government, George Howard Building

Recommended on Baltimore Sun