Preview: Columbia Festival of the Arts Come Home to the Lakefront, Celebrating Columbia’s 50th Anniversary

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Under new Director David Phillips, the Columbia Festival of the Arts will be back at the Lakefront in Town Center Columbia this year. Phillips, who has a background as Associate Dean for the Visual, Performing and Media Arts at Montgomery College, as member of the United States Marine Band, and as former Director of Lockheed-Martin Foundation, is – most importantly – a Columbian of more than 25 years. He, along with his Programming Manager, Dave Simmons, seems to understand how important the Festival and its traditions are to this area.

Architects of Air

So, we go back to the three-day open air ArtsFest down at Lake Kittamaqundi, back to browsing the Arts and Crafts Show booths, watching and listening to wonderful performing arts groups, enjoying our summer favorite eats at the Whole Foods Culinary Festival or at the restaurants that surround the lake. One of the highlights is Architects-Of-Air, a free, inflatable luminarium of sculpted light that creates a surreal world. Included are wonderful returns of some popular performances, which begin on Friday, June 16 with the Cynthia Maliq Trio and end Sunday June 18 with the traditional performance of the Glenelg Jazz Ensemble. On Saturday, June 17 after a performance by the United States Navy Band Cruisers, there will be a celebration, including cake, of Columbia’s 50th Birthday.

Another wonderful activity that is free to the public will be the Resident Visual Artists Exhibition and Reception HCPSS’s All-County Improv Show in partnership with Howard County Center for the Arts at the Howard County Arts Center at 8510 High Ridge Road in Ellicott City on Thursday, June 22 from 6:00-8:00 PM. There will be an Improv Performance from 6:30-7:15 PM. Go see two stunning exhibits at the HCAC Galleries and step into the Black Box Theatre for an uproarious performance by the All County Improv. Refreshments will be served.

Aaron Neville

Also returning is the two-weekend program of top-notch indoor performances and film. The highlight is the appearance of the Aaron Neville on Sunday, June 18 at 7:30. Neville is a world-renowned and Grammy-winning New Orleans R&B performer. He returns with his pianist, Michael Goods, for a wonderful evening of his favorite classic songs and some stories as well.

Stoop Storytelling Series: 50 Years of Cinema will be on June 23 at 8PM at the Smith Theatre in the Horowitz Center at Howard Community College. One of the most popular events here in Columbia and enjoying great popularity, as well, throughout the Baltimore area, seven people get up and tell stories, usually with a great deal of humor, on a shared theme. There is also some audience participation.

Also returning are the Sprout Film Festival on June 24 at 4PM and Sundance Shorts on Tour on June 25 at 1PM and 4PM at the Monteabaro Hall at the Horowitz Center at HCC. Over the years, The Festival has proven to be a showcase for world class short films.

Stoop Storytelling

The most anticipated event of the second weekend will is Manual Cinema: The End of TV. Emanating from Detroit, it is the story of three women. Flo who is dealing with dementia; Louise, an aspiring filmmaker; and Ann, an AVC-Style TV sales host, tell a distinctly American story. Manual Cinema has performed all over the world, including Iran, Belgium and the Netherlands, as well as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and here at The Kennedy Center. They are scheduled to appear on Saturday June 24 at 8PM at the Smith Theatre. To find out more about Manual Cinema check out the Columbia Festival of the Arts website.

Remember, you don’t have to live in Columbia or Howard County to come to the Festival. The Lakefront Concerts and exhibits are free to all. So, whether you have never been to it or if you come every year, mark your calendar for the opening on June 16 at 5PM, and come on down to the Lakefront for free concerts or to one of their entertaining presentations of live performance and film through Sunday, June 25.

Manual Cinema

For more information on the Lakefront schedule of performance groups, and for information on the other performances and film programs as well as purchasing tickets (none over $65) go the website for the Columbia Festival of the Arts.

The Columbia Festival of the Arts runs June 16-June 25, 2017, at various places throughout Columbia.

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