Hoping to make visiting art galleries, like school and football, a fall ritual in Howard County, art boosters will kick off the second annual Howard County Gallery Season this Friday evening with exhibits, discussions, music and refreshments.

Promotion of local art galleries and local artists is the goal of the event, which involves seven Howard County galleries and is coordinated by the Howard County Arts Council.

Other participants are the Howard County Department of Education,Columbia Art Center, Howard Community College, Margaret Smith Gallery, Maryland Museum of African Art, Slayton House Gallery and Howard County Center for the Arts.

The event will begin at all sites at 6 p.m. Friday, except at the Department of Education, which opens at 5 p.m. The Columbia Art Center is offering free van service Friday fromthe Long Reach Village Center to the Maryland Museum of African Art in Oakland with its final stop at Slayton House.

The Arts Council -- formerly the Rockland Arts Center -- is exhibiting works by Duane McDiarmid, Mary Deacon Opasik, Michel Demanche and other local artists in its three galleries. McDiarmid, Opasik, Demanche and Diana Marta, HCCA resident and instructor, will give talks about the art Friday night.

McDiarmid's work, "Saved Fragments -- Vain Refuge," is an environmental landscape installation that requires the visitor to walkthrough the exhibit, which takes up much of the room.

"Borrowed Time" is a collection of mixed-media sculpture and constructions by Mary Deacon Opasik of Baltimore and Michel Demanche of Princess Anne onthe Eastern Shore.

"Drift and Reach (The Other Watercolors)" is agroup of watercolors created by nine artists selected by Diana Marta, HCCA resident and instructor.

Featured artists in the other galleries include Kathy Paine and Lindy Taylor, with "Two Sisters: How Art and Photography Relate," at the Department of Education; Wes Yamaka, with "Mixed Media," at Columbia Art Center; James Adkins and Colleen Carter, whose drawings and pastels will be at Howard Community College Art Gallery; Richard Niewerth, whose

oils will be at Margaret Smith Gallery; and Janet Schmieder, with a studio workshop exhibit atSlayton House Gallery.

A global perspective is the goal of the Maryland Museum of African Art, which is presenting new exhibits with discussions in French, English, Arabic, Mandarin, Ibo, Twi, Wolof. Thelatter three are spoken predominantly in Nigeria, Ghana and Senegal,respectively.

Curator Doris Ligon said the multilingual presentations are "a direct effort to show that African art can be for everybody through reaching out to all aspects of the community."

"Treasures of Africa: Art From the Embassies" will feature jewelry, baskets, wood carvings and textiles from the embassies of Burundi, Swaziland and Mauritania.

In addition, more pieces will be added to the Makonde exhibit of sculptured ebony wood carvings. Makonde is the name of a people and art in Tanzania.

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