Creative Life in the Gateway Arts District
“My biggest challenge as an artist is to hear what melody describes and share that with others, that they too might hear.”
Bus Howard is married with three children. At 60 years old, he is a full time artist who works in several different media. He is a master carpenter, a proud union actor, vested, Actors Equity Association (AEA), Screen Actors Guild, an Artist-in-Residence, a musician, writer, teacher and student. He has lived and worked in the Gateway community for almost 22 years.
“I was pretty gregarious — a life’s student. Theatrically, my biggest accomplishment was performing Emperor Jones (2005) at the American Showcase Theatre in Arlington, Va., a Eugene O’Neill masterpiece. I took me almost 7 months to learn the lines, and a lifetime of experience to portray the character. The wonderful Ed Bishop directed this piece, and brought out some things in me I didn’t know were there. It’s basically a 90 monologue, where the character falls from grace, before the audience.”
Bus was attracted to the Gateway Arts District because of the housing prices. Over 20 years ago he and his wife saw the same house (at different times) and thought it had potential. They described it to each other and laughed about the kismet of it all. Years later they are still here.
“I have been able to sustain my career as an artist by using my carpentry skills. I have over 40 years experience as an architect/design builder/master carpenter. This gives me the flexibility to audition in NYC, where my agent is. I also play guitar and lead workshops for school aged children. And, I perform different historical characters, Frederick Douglass, Josiah Henson, Nat Turner, Malcolm X, Father
Divine, etc. It is a hustle. Many hours of thought, practicality, hard work, and vision, allow for a life of joy and continuous satisfaction.”
Bus says his crafts now all seem related to him. If it is a workshop or a kitchen addition, he finds that the same type of thought goes into envisioning it first, laying out the game plan and executing. Bus says, “It is a challenge financially in these times, but I find my art does not suffer because of it.”
Bus has been an Artist-in-Residence, performer and writer in our community for many years. He has sat on the Prince Georges Arts Council panels, Maryland State Arts Council panels, and has worked as an Artist with and for them as well as with Maryland National Capitol Park and Planning Commission. He says he enjoys the community of artist in the GAD. “Collaborations are the rule instead of the exception in this area. I have witnessed the growth of Artist in our community. I love it!”
When he has time available, he donates residencies to Mount Rainier Elementary. “I believe to be an Artist, one has to see an artist. With dedication, training, practice, and performance, one can become better in almost any endeavor one chooses. It’s little by little we all improve, but it’s by ensemble we all shine!”
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