More than 300 local residents gathered Thursday night at Severna Park High School to see the works of art and crafts created by adult students in the Continuing Education program of the Anne Arundel County Public Schools.

The fourth annual Artists' Festival provided opportunities for novices and advanced students to compete, display their works and share experiences with colleagues and teachers.

For many students, enrolling in a continuing education class has allowed them to try their hands at learning a skill they've wanted totry for a long time, said adult education administrators.

Gale Erbe of Crownsville exhibited an octagonal planter, made in her woodworking class. She said she enrolled in her class because she had alwayswanted to learn how to use the equipment for projects around the house and wasn't allowed to take shop class in high school during the 1960s.

Her instructor, Jim Bouchard, used demonstrations, written demonstrations, written and verbal instructions, individual help and emphasized safety -- even standing by her when she used machines so that she would not be afraid when she operated the equipment. The resultwas a completed planter and confidence to tackle projects on her own.

At the festival, Erbe said, "I enjoyed seeing everybody else's work and looking to see what course I might take the next (time). I'd love to do all of them."

First-place winners as selected by a juryof local artists were: Kathy Jovan and Helen Cumings in basket weaving; Linda Swatling in flower arranging; Sandra Collandro for photography; Erin Jamerson and Carl Guerci in stained glass; Tom Bowden, Marti Kiefer and Kay Stringfellow in watercolor; Charles Hedetniemi in drawing; and Winton Bakke and Elise Malissenski in quilting.

The office of Continuing Education of the Anne Arundel County Public Schoolsoffers a wide variety of classes for adults during the fall and spring semesters at local high schools.

Information: 224-5384.

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