The arts can play a key role in a community. They have been an integral part of Columbia since its founding, have continued to grow into a significant element of the local lifestyle and will remain a crucial component of downtown redevelopment.
With that in mind, residents are invited to “Cultural Catalyst: Arts, Creative Placemaking and Economic Prosperity,” a presentation and question-and-answer session featuring Randy Cohen of Americans for the Arts. The event will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, April 30, at the Horowitz Center Smith Theatre at Howard Community College. The event will start with refreshments, and Cohen’s presentation will begin at 7:30 p.m.
Cohen is vice president of research and policy for the nonprofit, which focuses on advancing the arts and arts education. He will speak about how investment in cultural facilities and programming has helped recast communities across the country and has improved their vitality and prosperity.
Registration for this event is not required but is encouraged, via speakerseries-arts.eventbrite.com.
“The arts can and should play a role in any community redevelopment,” said Liz Henzey, director of Columbia Art Center. “The arts engage and mobilize various facets of a community — schools, businesses, nonprofits, individuals — for cultural experiences and timely causes. In turn, local businesses thrive, residents feel a sense of belonging, artists have the opportunity to hone and express their talents, and the community as a whole is all the more enriched.”
Merriweather Post Pavilion opened during Columbia’s first year, and so did Columbia Art Center. The arts and arts businesses — and the creative people they employ — stimulate a sense of community, exploration and innovation, not to mention enjoyment. Today, there are numerous arts organizations, festivals and events in and around Columbia. The arts are a big part of life in Howard County, from the outstanding and award-winning music programs in the schools to the museums, theatres, concerts and creative industries that call the area home. In 2012, Howard County had nearly 1,000 arts-related businesses employing more than 3,000 people, according to an annual survey conducted by Americans for the Arts.
“Cultural Catalyst: Arts, Creative Placemaking and Economic Prosperity” is co-sponsored by Columbia Association (CA), the Howard County Arts Council, and HCC’s Peter and Elizabeth Horowitz Visual and Performing Arts Center. It is the 7th installment of CA’s Community Building Speakers Series, which hosts thought-provoking speakers on topics that stimulate people to discuss, engage and build a sense of community in Columbia.