Category Archives: Community Partnerships

Artwork Sought for Ghanaian Exhibit at Columbia Art Center

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Columbia Association (CA) is seeking a variety of artists and collectors of Ghanaian art for an upcoming exhibit that will introduce the community to Ghanaian artwork, while also celebrating Columbia’s new sister city of Tema.

“The Art of Ghana: A Contemporary and Traditional Art Exhibit,” will run from Thursday, May 8, through Sunday, May 18, at the Columbia Art Center. The exhibit will include paintings, sculptures, photography, textiles, jewelry, etc. It is being put on in collaboration with CA’s International Exchange and Multicultural Programs.

There are no fees for participating. Artwork can be for sale or not for sale. Any sales from the gallery will result in a 70/30 split, with 70 percent of the proceeds going to the artist. Artists can also choose to donate a larger portion of their commission to CA’s Team Sister City Committee Fund.

An opening reception will be held on Saturday, May 10, from 2 to 5 p.m. Exhibitors will be invited to discuss their gallery works with guests during an afternoon of Ghanaian food, music and conversation.

Interested artists and collectors should email International@ColumbiaAssociation.org for an Exhibition Entry Form, which must be received by email, fax or U.S. mail no later than March 15. Forms should be addressed to Laura Smit, Columbia Association, 10221 Wincopin Circle, Columbia, Maryland, 21044. Acceptance letters and additional event information will be sent out after applications are received and reviewed.

Tema, a planned city of more than 160,000 people on the coast of Ghana, is located just east of the country’s capital, Accra. It is Columbia’s third sister city. The Tema Sister City Committee is focusing on developing virtual exchanges via online video chats between high schools in Columbia and secondary schools in Ghana; connecting Rotary clubs and religious institutions in both towns; showcasing Ghanaian art and music programs; and conducting artist exchanges.

CA’s International Exchange & Multicultural Programs foster international understanding and celebrate the diverse cultures of Columbia. The goals of the International Exchange Program include developing new exchanges with Columbia’s sister cities, and creating new Sister City relationships in other cities and nations. CA also develops multicultural programs for the community such as the World Languages Café, Culture Fests and the International Book Club. For more information, email International@ColumbiaAssociation.org or call 410-715-3162.

Columbia Art Center is located at 6100 Foreland Garth in the Long Reach Village Center. Hours are Monday-Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, go to ColumbiaArtCenter.org or call 410-730-0075.

About Columbia Association

Columbia Association (CA) is a nonprofit service corporation that manages Columbia, MD, a planned community that is home to approximately 100,000 people and several thousand businesses. Additional information about CA is available at ColumbiaAssociation.org.

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Columbia Association Press Releases, Columbia News, Community Partnerships

This Weekend: Free Clothes (and More) For Those In Need

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Community members in need are encouraged to come to The Barn this weekend, when clothes and other accessories will be distributed as part of Columbia Association’s 5th annual clothing drive.

The Barn is located at 5853 Robert Oliver Place in the Oakland Mills Village Center. Distribution dates and times are on Saturday, Jan. 18, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and on Sunday, Jan. 19, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. There’s no limit on items. Anyone who’s in need is welcome.

More than 150 large trash bags full of various items were donated in October and November, collected from all 10 village community association buildings, the Columbia Art Center, the Youth and Teen Center @ The Barn, the Eggspectation restaurant in Ellicott City, and from a Boy Scout troop affiliated with Bridgeway Community Church.

The clothing drive is organized by CA’s Youth and Teen Center and its Teen Outreach Committee. The previous year’s drive helped about 500 people.

“Our teen outreach committee realized that there was a need in the community for clothes and the basic items. Some of them had their own personal struggles, and we could identify that there’s clearly a need in the community,” said Youth and Teen Program Coordinator Safire Windley. “The epiphany was when we saw a young man — a little boy with his mom — and they didn’t have coats, and it was so cold. We were trying to figure out a way to impact the community in a positive way.

“The struggle is really real, and it’s something that everyone can relate to. We see the need, and we are here. It’s so important the people can come in [on the distribution days] and ‘shop’ with integrity, with their heads up, and feel the love.”

Brittany Dacier, a freshman at Oakland Mills High School, is one of the Teen Outreach Committee members who has been involved.

“I just hope they know that there are always people, young or old, who are willing to help them through their struggles,” Dacier said. “Even though we’re strangers to them, we do care about them and will always give back to the community.”

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Columbia Gets a New Sister City — Tema, Ghana

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A photo from “Ghana Fest,” which celebrated Columbia’s new “Sister City” relationship with the city of Tema.

The community of Columbia, Maryland, now has a new sister city — Tema, a planned city of more than 160,000 people on the coast of the West African country of Ghana. Tema is located just east of the capital, Accra.

Tema is Columbia’s third sister city and its first in Africa. This new relationship was established as a result of the efforts of Columbia Association’s (CA) Tema Sister City Committee. The connection between Columbia and Cergy-Pontoise, France, was established in 1977, while the connection with Tres Cantos, Spain, dates back to 1990.

Doris Ligon, director of the African Art Museum of Maryland in Fulton, was instrumental in proposing that Columbia develop a new Sister City relationship in Africa. Tema, in Ghana, was selected as it fulfilled a number of important criteria: a safe, planned community, near the nation’s capital, 50 years of democracy and a solid relationship with the United States.

“Tema is one of a handful of planned communities in Africa,” said Willie B. Lamousé-Smith, professor emeritus of Africana studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. “Tema was selected to meet the criterion of a relationship with a township whose creation and administration is similar to Columbia’s experience.” Lamousé-Smith hand-carried a letter of interest from  Columbia Association to the mayor of Tema in December 2010.AFRICAmap

These relationships between communities create avenues for cultural exchanges. Columbia’s relationships with its European sister cities have included art and cuisine exchanges, as well as annual high school student exchanges, according to Laura Smit, the program manager for CA’s International Exchange and Multicultural Programs.

CA hosted a “Ghana Fest” cultural event in November, featuring Ghanaian music, dance performances, speakers, art displays and food. An exhibit of Ghanaian art is scheduled to be on display at the Columbia Art Center in May 2014. Meanwhile, students in a geography class at Long Reach High School are expected to speak via Skype with their counterparts in Tema.

The Tema Sister City Committee is focusing on developing virtual exchanges via online video chats between high schools in Columbia and secondary schools in Ghana; connecting Rotary clubs and religious institutions in both towns; showcasing Ghanaian art and music programs; and conducting artist exchanges.

For more information on CA’s International Exchange and Multicultural Programs, contact Laura Smit at 410-715-3162 or email her at International@ColumbiaAssociation.org.

-Article by David Greisman

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Give Back With the ‘Holiday Guide to Giving’

CAlogoTREE_colorThe holidays are a great time to help those less fortunate than yourself, and there are plenty of nonprofits in this area that could really use your help. Every year, the Volunteer Center Serving Howard County publishes a “Holiday Guide to Giving” as a resource to help volunteers find local nonprofit and public agencies in need of help and donations.

“The holiday season inspires people to want to give back,” said Mickey Gomez, executive director of the Volunteer Center. “They want to donate food to families in need or organize a collection to support a local nonprofit or volunteer. The guide makes it easy to find ways to do all of these things and more.”

This is the first year the Howard County Office on Aging has been included in the “Holiday Guide to Giving,” said Darlene Vaselaros, the office’s volunteer coordinator. “I feel it is a great way to inform people about our organization and the needs that are out there.”

If you don’t have money to donate, volunteering your time also is a good way to give back. The guide includes listings of organizations seeking volunteers. “Being a part of the ‘Holiday Guide to Giving’ provides a two-fold blessing for Neighbor Ride,” said Colleen Dumais, community outreach coordinator for Neighbor Ride. “Exposure in the guide brings new volunteers to Neighbor Ride, which, in turn, enables us to continue to give the gift of independence to the seniors we serve.”

Visit VolunteerHoward.org/HolidayGuide to view this year’s guide. Anyone unable to access the guide online can call the Volunteer Center Serving Howard County at 410-715-3176 to request a physical copy.

-Article by Mary Weeks

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CA’s Citizens Academy Graduates Its First Class

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Excite Columbia now has alumni! The fall 2013 class of CA’s citizens academy, Excite Columbia, completed its coursework and graduated in late October.

Excite Columbia is a five-week program, implemented by Columbia Association’s (CA) Communications and Community Engagement Department. The main goal of the program is to educate, inform and give residents an in-depth view on how CA operates and serves the community. Excite Columbia also provides a forum for CA and community members to interact and engage with one another. We would like to offer congratulations to the following graduates of the first class of Excite Columbia:

  • Ilia Baskakov
  • Cherie Beck
  • Roger Chang
  • Robert Chasnow
  • Long Chen
  • Joel Hurewitz
  • Monica Parikh
  • Joann Rodriguez
  • Jean Salkeld
  • Lorraine Seelaus
  • Katharyn Sunderman
  • Sharonlee Vogel

The next session of Excite Columbia will take place in February. If you would like to be placed on the waiting list, please e-mail Communications@ColumbiaAssociation.org. There is a seat in our classroom waiting for you!

-Article by Erin McPhail

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This Weekend: Celebrate Columbia’s New Sister City at Ghana Fest on Nov. 17

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The community of Columbia, Maryland now has a new sister city — Tema, a planned city of more than 160,000 people on the coast of Ghana that is located just east of the country’s capital, Accra.

Columbia Association (CA) and its Tema Sister City Committee will celebrate by hosting “Ghana Fest” on Sunday, Nov. 17, from 3 to 5:30 p.m. The event will be held at Slayton House, which is located at 10400 Cross Fox Lane in the Wilde Lake Village Center.

All are welcome to this free cultural event. The program includes Ghanaian music, dance performances, drumming, speakers, art displays and a sampling of delicious Ghanaian finger foods. Among the guests expected are residents of Ghana, as well as local residents originally from Ghana. The program will begin promptly at 3 p.m., and will be followed with refreshments and a DJ playing Hip Life and Azonto music. African dress is encouraged.

Tema is Columbia’s third sister city. The relationship between Columbia and Cergy-Pontoise, France, was established in 1977, while the connection with Tres Cantos, Spain, dates back to 1990. For more information, call Laura Smit, the program manager for CA’s international exchange and multicultural programs, at 410-715-3162 or email her at International@ColumbiaAssociation.org.

CA’s International Exchange & Multicultural Programs foster international understanding and celebrate the diverse cultures of Columbia. The goals of the International Exchange Program include developing new exchanges with Columbia’s three sister cities, and creating new Sister City relationships in other cities and nations. CA also develops multicultural programs for the community such as the World Languages Café, Culture Fests and the International Book Club. For more information, go to ColumbiaAssociation.org/Multicultural or call 410-715-3162.

About Columbia Association

Columbia Association (CA) is a nonprofit service corporation that manages Columbia, MD, a planned community that is home to approximately 100,000 people and several thousand businesses. Additional information about CA is available at ColumbiaAssociation.org.

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Study to Analyze the Future of Columbia’s Village Centers

CA Logo 4Columbia Association (CA), the Howard County Department of Planning and Zoning and the Howard County Economic Development Authority are jointly undertaking a “Columbia Market Analysis and Economic Development Services” study.

The study will evaluate the current and projected demand for development in Columbia’s village centers. The study will also include an interrelated analysis of the Dobbin Road/Snowden River Parkway/former General Electric manufacturing area. Work will begin this month and will be completed by spring 2014.

“We are keen to understand the market potential for each village center and the relationship of the centers to other competing commercial areas,” said Jane Dembner, CA’s director of community building and sustainability. “This knowledge base is key to defining strategies and tools that can help revitalize and reposition the village centers, particularly some of the older centers.”

The study will be conducted by Retail and Development Strategies LLC (RDS), and led by its managing principal, Tom Moriarity. The RDS consulting team includes WTL+a, Folan Consulting and Gibbs Planning Group.

Moriarity was CA’s first speaker in CA’s successful Community Building Speakers Series, and addressed the community on “Minding the Store: Retail Realities in Commercial Centers.” Moriarity has more than 30 years of experience in mixed-use development, commercial area management, downtown revitalization strategies, retail programming and historic preservation. He has a special focus on redevelopment/revitalization of commercial districts.

”The village centers are a key concept of Columbia, and we are pleased to partner with Howard County government on this important work,” Dembner said. “We also look forward to engaging with the community.”

The first of three public meetings on the study will be held on Thursday, Dec. 5, at 7 p.m., at The Hawthorn Center, 6175 Sunny Spring in west Columbia. The meeting will introduce the consultant team, provide an overview of the project, explain the study process and objectives, and include time for discussion with the meeting’s participants. Registration is encouraged but not required via ColumbiaMarketStudy.EventBrite.com.

This study is part of a continued focus on Columbia’s village centers. In 2009, the Howard County Council adopted new regulations to promote revitalization of Columbia’s village centers. And during the development of the Howard County General PlanHoward, CA worked with the county to include a recommendation in the plan for a village center market study.

About Columbia Association

Columbia Association (CA) is a nonprofit service corporation that manages Columbia, MD, a planned community that is home to approximately 100,000 people and several thousand businesses. Additional information about CA is available at ColumbiaAssociation.org.

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