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Columbia Festival of the Arts New Festival Development Director

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Wrapping up a lively “Viva La Vida” spring season and forging forth into summer with “Silk Road Stories,” the Columbia Festival of the Arts (CFA) also has been growing in terms of new sponsorship and community partners. To meet the unique challenges and responsibilities of delivering high caliber entertainment, CFA recently brought in a new team member, Melissa Rosenberg, as development director.

“A vital arts organization needs someone to run lead on fundraising, and Melissa is providing that leadership for us,” said CFA Executive Director Todd Olson. “Columbia is a challenging community to raise money within, given the myriad changes to so many markets: health care, banking, building, casinos, etc., and for a nonprofit to stay abreast they must focus like never before on those philanthropic relationships.”

Rosenberg joined CFA in January of this year and has been working with its staff and board to build development efforts that both support the festival’s new seasonal format and allow for the expansion of outreach efforts to local students, individuals with disabilities and veterans/military.

As a nonprofit specialist who started her own consulting business, The Resource Collective, Rosenberg brings extensive experience in grant writing, fundraising, community outreach and arts management. She regularly joins with other professionals to provide an array of affordable services for growing businesses and nonprofits. For 10 years, she worked closely with Toby Orenstein’s Columbia Center for Theatrical Arts, first as director of development, then executive director. At that stage, she helped develop and fund a Theater Outreach Program that served 25,000 Baltimore City students and individuals of differing abilities here in Howard County.

Most recently, she was director of development for two-and-a-half years at Joe’s Movement Emporium, a performing and community arts center in Mount Rainier, in Prince George’s County. At Joe’s, Rosenberg focused on building a solid development program, adding new streams of revenue, helping to secure reserve funds and parlaying a 20th anniversary celebration into a year-long journey to financial stability.

A vital part of her work at the CFA has focused on reaching out to both businesses and individuals, reengaging those who have lost touch with the festival or are unacquainted with its new format; and introducing others to its unique blend of international, national and local artists and performers. Rosenberg believes the CFA reflects the value the Howard County community places on the arts, creating a sense of place and richness that draws people to live, work and “play” here.

On a personal level, Rosenberg shares that “the arts have always been a part of my life. I was involved in dance and music throughout high school, and I thank my parents, who supported my interests. Helping provide the same opportunities for underserved children and youth to participate in the arts gives me great satisfaction.”

Rosenberg received an undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Maryland College Park and a master’s degree in nonprofit management from the University of Maryland University College. She is a native Marylander and lives in Silver Spring with her husband, Jim, an attorney, and two dogs. They have two grown children.

Summer Events

As June approaches, CFA will make a bold move this summer away from its traditional “Lakefest.” For the first time, the festival will launch a new, free “Weekend In The Woods,” which runs two days, Saturday June 18, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday June 19, from noon to 6 p.m. in Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods, for a dynamic, new outdoor arts experience with live bands, arts and crafts vendors, food, strolling entertainers and more.

In addition to Washington, D.C.’s high-energy brass band Black Masala, the Glenelg Jazz Ensemble will join the outdoor celebrations.

“Silk Road Stories” continues with a kickoff for the first Columbia Film Festival on June 11–12; classical pianist Sejoon Park on June 11; Koresh Dance Company on June 17; a Bollywood Dance Spectacular, “Mystic India,” on June 18; and Sundance Film Festival Shorts on Tour on June 25, among others.

For details, visit www.columbiafestival.org

For more information, call 410-715-3044 or email robert@columbiafestival.com.