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Keyword: arts

Arts are all around you.” Yes, this brazenly borrows a theme from Love Actually’s signature song.  But look around.

Paintings by Baltimore County artists hang on restaurant walls, in community galleries and performing arts center lobbies. Kids watch their first play, young men discover ballet, and fifth graders swirl to ballroom dancing. Jazz fills senior centers, chamber music comes to chapels and choral choirs sing at colleges. A modern barn mural and land art surprise us at the Baltimore County Agricultural center. 

At a time when the arts could feel like a luxury, their value is greater than ever.

Bottom-line economic impact

More than 5,900 people work in 1,853 arts-related creative businesses in Baltimore County, according to Dunn & Bradstreet. So whether you are an artist at a game development studio, photographer, theater director, musician, advertising writer, designer, television producer or on the film crew, you’re in good company in Baltimore County.

The arts help us learn, and there’s data to prove it.

Low-income Baltimore City Public Schools students who participated in a 2016 arts-related summer academic program from Young Audiences avoided summer learning loss and, in many cases, gained ground on their national peers in standardized testing, according to evaluations. 

Regardless of socioeconomic status or school district, 3rd graders who participate in high-quality music programs score higher on reading and spelling tests, according to a study published in Advanced Cognitive Psychology.

Students who study art are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement and three times more likely to be awarded for school attendance, according to The President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.

The arts enrich our lives. 

As part of an exhibition at the Asian Arts & Culture Center at Towson University, visitors were asked to share their thoughts around this idea:  “People around the world create art in order to _____.” Here are just a few of the more than 200 responses.

Have fun. Be creative. Maintain sanity.

Express their deepest struggles and greatest joys for others to see.

Set themselves free. Be heard.

Teach. Believe. Inspire.

Open minds to new ideas. Make the world more beautiful. Encourage happiness. Speak one soul to another. Unite communities. See the world in a different way. Deliver a message that can’t be said otherwise.

Share life stories and testimonies. Express universal truth.

Relax. Live fully. Connect.  

At a time when having a good connection means having good Wi-Fi, the arts make the case for human connections. Today is an especially good day to love the arts. 

By Fronda Cohen, Director, Baltimore County Arts & Sciences Commission

Exploring the creative spirit is the theme of the new edition of smARTS, the Baltimore County arts and culture show, now airing on Baltimore County cable channel 25. Featured segments include:

  • Host Carolyn Black-Sotir speaks with museum founder Rebecca Hoffberger about what inspires intuitive artists at the American Visionary Art Museum.  
  • T. Herbert Dimmock has conducted and performed around the world, from Westminster Abbey to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York. Discover what inspires him as music director of Bach in Baltimore.
  • Learn how fire and clay inspire ceramic artists at Baltimore Clayworks.
  • Enjoy a performance by Margaret King of Towson University Community Dance and meet Carol Hess and Doug Hamby, the creative minds behind the Baltimore Dance Project.  
  • Get smARTER presents a thought-provoking scene from “Colorblind: The Katrina Monologues,” performed by Arena Players’ actor Cheryl Pasteur.

smARTS airs Thursdays and Fridays, 7:00-7:30 p.m. and Tuesdays 11:30 a.m.- noon on Baltimore County cable channel 25. SmARTS segments are available on the Baltimore County Government YouTube channel. 

smARTS is a production of the Baltimore County Commission on Arts & Sciences in partnership with the Baltimore County Public Schools and BCPS-TV. 

Take a Leap, a month-long-plus Baltimore County Dance Celebration, takes to the stage February 2 - March 18, 2017. The celebration, now in its fourth year, highlights the range of dance styles offered on Baltimore County stages, from ballet to bluegrass stompin’ to contemporary.

Featured performances include African American-inspired contemporary dance from Philadanco, edgy multi-media works with original scores from Baltimore Dance Project, an opportunity to meet ballet master Alan Hineline, and Baltimore’s best regional dance companies at the Baltimore Dance Invitational.

“This is one more exciting way we are bringing the performing arts into our communities. Baltimore County has gathered our rich and varied dance community to create opportunities to ‘take a leap’ and try something new,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.

“Take a Leap is a wonderful partnership between Baltimore County, the Gordon Center and our dance community. The styles and range of performances are designed for dance lovers and performers, as well as a lively introduction to dance for all ages and interests,” said Randi Benesch, Managing Director of Arts & Culture for the Gordon Center for Performing Arts and Jewish Community Center of Greater Baltimore.  

Featured performances include:

Baltimore Dance Project 

February 9, 10, 11, 2017 8:00 p.m. UMBC Performing Arts & Humanities Proscenium Theater 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250

Edgy collaborations among dancers, sound and visual artists, with premieres of Doug Hamby’s Duet, Sandra Lacy’s mysterious new solo Lost, and Carol Hess’ reconstruction of Janet Soares’ Image in Red for dancer Franki Trout. Additional works include Carol Hess’ Dolled Up, examining the interiors of five women in fancy dresses. Original scores by sound artist Timothy Nohe and composer Anna Rubin. 

Alan Hineline, Ballet Showcase and Meet the Artist

February 10, 2017 6:00 p.m. Goucher College, Todd Studio 1021 Dulaney Valley Road, Towson, MD  21204

Meet the artist and enjoy a showcase of a ballet segment by Alan Hineline. Hineline’s artistic and management leadership talents have served Ballet San Jose, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and Ballet Phillipines. His body of work is in the repertories of American Ballet Theatre Studio Company and The Juilliard Dance Ensemble.

Ariel Rivka Dance

February 12, 2017 4:00 p.m Gordon Center for Performing Arts 3506 Gwynnbrook Road, Owings Mills MD 21117

This New York company performs The Book of Esther: The Journey of Queen Vashti and Queen Esther and other works. This evening-length narrative dance work with an original score written by David Homan explores the biblical stories of Queen Vashti and Queen Esther, which epitomize the traditions of community and collaboration. 

The Peking Acrobats

February 19, 2017 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Gordon Center for Performing Arts 3506 Gwynnbrook Road, Owings Mills, MD 21117

The Peking Acrobats’ daring acrobatic maneuvers deftly defy gravity with amazing displays of contortion, flexibility and control. A family event, all with the rhythm, choreography and beauty of dancers.

Towson University Dance Majors Performance Projects

February 23, 24, 25, 2017 7:00 p.m. Towson University Center for the Arts, Towson, MD 21250 

A concert featuring unique performances by Towson University dance majors. 


February 25, 2017 8:00 p.m. Gordon Center for Performing Arts 3506 Gwynnbrook Road, Owings Mills MD 21117

Experience the artistry of The Philadelphia Dance Company, aka Piladanco, celebrated for its innovation, creativity and preservation of predominantly African-American traditions in dance. 

Baltimore Dance Invitational

February 26, 4:00 p.m. Gordon Center for Performing Arts  3506 Gwynnbrook Road, Owings Mills MD 21117

The Baltimore Dance Invitational (BDI) draws the region's top talent together for an eclectic evening of original dance. Dance companies are selected through a juried process that represents high-quality professional dance from the Baltimore region and beyond. Hosted by Baltimore's own The Collective Dance Company.

Maryland Dance Alliance

Friday, March 3 Gordon Center for Performing Arts 3506 Gwynnbrook Road, Owings Mills MD 21117

With support from the Maryland Dance Education Association, the Maryland Dance Alliance presents an evening concert of public and private high school dance students performing juried work. 

Steppin’ at the Junction Featuring Charm City Junction & Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble

Saturday, March 18 Gordon Center for Performing Arts 3506 Gwynnbrook Road, Owings Mills MD 21117

Acoustic roots band Charm City Junction joins forces with the legendary Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble for an evening of old-time, Irish, and bluegrass-inspired music and dance.

Tickets and full event calendar are available at

Take a Leap is presented by the Baltimore County Commission on Arts & Sciences in partnership with the Gordon Center for Performing Arts in Owings Mills and Baltimore County’s dance community. 

Revised September 26, 2016