Columbia Art Center hosts lectures, literary readings and other expert presentations

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By David Greisman

Columbia Art Center is more than just a, well, art center.

It is also a cultural destination, a place where you can go to hear poets, authors and actors discuss their craft and expertise, where musicians can jam in an intimate setting, and where you can get five minutes of your own on an open mic to share your latest and greatest writing.

“We pride ourselves on our gallery shows and art classes, but we also make certain to go beyond the visual arts,” said Liz Henzey, director of Columbia Art Center. “We are an arts community center, and that means igniting people’s appreciation for creativity, whether that creativity comes in the form of literature, music, theatre or film.”

Some of Columbia Art Center’s upcoming programs include a musical look back at bebop; the return of a popular discussion with two film experts; and readings from several local authors.

Seth Kibel and Sean Lane: The Birth of Bebop — Monday, March 5 at 7pm

The end of World War II also signified the end of the Swing Era, a period when jazz and popular music were basically synonymous. In the years that followed, a group of pioneering African-American musicians rebelled against the prevailing style and developed the next phase

in jazz evolution — bebop. Initially cultivated in the after-hours jam sessions of Harlem, this new music found a home in the post-war years in the small nightclubs of 52nd Street in Manhattan.

Seth Kibel and Sean Lane will tell the stories and perform the music of such bebop pioneers as Charlie “Bird” Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk and more. Admission is $10 (purchase includes a past issue of Little Patuxent Review).

Mike Giuliano and Marie Westhaver: Our Favorite Film Stars — Thursday, April 5 at 7pm

Back by popular demand, this free presentation marks the seventh time these fabulous Howard Community College film professors have shared their knowledge and expertise at Columbia Art Center. Giuliano and Westhaver will give an audiovisual presentation about who they think are the top film actors of all time and then open the topic up for discussion.

Wilde Reading Series — Tuesday, March 13 at 7pm and Tuesday, April 10 at 7pm

This free literary reading series features local poets and authors, as well as an open mic for interested audience members. (Open mic presenters are asked to keep their readings to five minutes or less.)

March’s feature authors are Edward Belfar and Michael Tims. April’s event spotlights Love the Poet and Susan Hobby.

Some Other Upcoming Visual Art Highlights

Columbia Art Center will host its annual Blossoms of Hope show from Friday, April 13 through Sunday, May 6. This year’s theme is: “Dancing for Claudia: Movement Through Words and Art.”

The exhibition pairs poems and artwork inspired by this year’s theme. Proceeds benefit the nonprofit Blossoms of Hope, which supports the Claudia Mayer/Tina Broccolino Cancer Resource Center. A reception will be held on Friday, April 13 from 6-8pm.

“Art: Out and About” pairs lectures with an optional tour led by Ann Wiker, an art historian, artist and instructor. Students are welcome to take one without the other. All sessions are held from 10am-noon.

April brings “Crimes of Art” on Friday, April 13 and then a trip to the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore on Friday, April 20.

May’s lecture is “The Effect of Asian Culture on European and Western Artists,” held Friday, May 4. The associated tour will take place at the Walters Art Museum on Friday, May 11.

For prices and more information, please visit ColumbiaArtCenter.org or call 410-730-0075.