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Stars Come Out At Celebration Of The Arts In Howard County

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An online gala art auction featured 58 local artists, who contributed 69 works of art, and 29 works of art were sold.  

More than 375 business and arts leaders were on hand on Thursday, August 27 for the premiere of the Howard County Arts Council's 23rd Annual Celebration of the Arts in Howard County. Presented by Howard Bank, the benefit gala was held virtually due to the COVID-19 public health crisis and netted approximately $70,000. Since 1998, more than $1.6 million has been raised through the Celebration of the Arts!

Mary Ann and Chuck Scully were the Honorary Chairs for the evening. Joseph Ritsch, Producing Artistic Director for Rep Stage, served as Event Emcee.

The Rising Star Performing Arts Competition featured nine emerging performing artists vying for the title of Rising Star and a professional development award of $5,000. After viewing their wonderful performances - either during the event stream or on-demand - Celebration guests had the difficult task of choosing their favorite performer. The ballots were cast and the votes were tabulated and verified against the access codes assigned to ticket holders; then, on August 31st, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced live via Zoom that cellist Gabriel Hightower had won the 2020 Rising Star title for his accomplished and exhilarating performance of "Elfentanz Opus 39" by David Popper. The other talented finalists who performed at the Celebration were Maya Celeste, Dance; Kayla Dunn, Musical Theatre; Kyeongmi Lim, Piano; Ching-Yi Lin, Piano; Alan Naylor, Musical Theatre; Mayukha Pakala, Dance; Gillian Rossbach, Classical Voice; and Nia Savoy, Musical Theatre.

The 2019 Howie Awards were presented to individuals who have made significant contributions to the arts in Howard County. The recipients were: Dr. Hsien-Ann Meng, Outstanding Artist; Donna Pidel, Outstanding Arts Educator; and The Howard Hughes Corporation, Outstanding Business Supporter of the Arts. A Legacy in the Arts Award was also presented to Thomas Sankey.

International Poetry Slam Champion, Maryland Library Association Poet of the Year, and former Young Audience's National Artist of the Year Gayle Danley was the special guest performer for the evening. Danley appeared courtesy of the Howard County Poetry & Literature Society, in celebration of its 45th anniversary.

An online gala art auction featured 58 local artists, who contributed 69 works of art, and 29 works of art were sold.

Each year, proceeds from the Celebration support grants to local arts organizations and schools (grades K-12), scholarships for emerging artists, and programs in the arts. The Arts Council salutes all of the board and committee members, sponsors, guests, artists and volunteers who made the event such an overwhelming success.

For more information, call 410-313-ARTS (2787) or visit the Arts Council website: hocoarts.org.



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