Frederick Arts Council announces public art theatre's season through summer

03/27/2017| Emily Witty

Frederick Arts Council announces public art theatre's season through summer

03/27/2017 | Emily Witty

Frederick's art community can't get enough of artist Heather Clark's collaborative public art project that has transformed a fire-damaged building into an interactive piece that is as beautiful as it is functional.

Sky Stage, a 136-person open air theatre in the heart of Downtown Frederick, is the result of a collaboration with M.I.T's Digital Structures Research Group, the Frederick Arts Council, AmeriCorps, and the community. Clark utilized M.I.T's custom geometry-generating algorithm to remodel the pre-revolutionary war building into a stunning work of art that hosts myriad events throughout the season.

The popularity of Sky Stage's programs such as literature nights, music series, plays, and open mic nights have prompted the community to demand another season from the Frederick Arts Council that will run events through July 2017. Sky Stage committee member, Andrea Baker, said neighborhood involvement makes Sky Stage unique.

"The community aspect is the best part about this space," Baker said. "We are actually giving the community a stage to do whatever they want. They directly dictate what performances happen in this beautiful, artistic space. The collaborations that come out of Sky Stage are really amazing."

The outside of the building is covered in what Clark calls "a living river" of drought-resistant plants that are sustained through recycled rainwater. The inside of the structure is an open-air amphitheater where artists can showcase their talents among a mix of the original stone walls and the new plant life. Clark says it is buildings like this that fuel her work.

"As an artist, I am inspired by underutilized and vacant spaces in our communities," Clark said. "The building that Sky Stage is in had been boarded up for six years after suffering a devastating fire where it lost its second story and roof. The project grew out of my desire to transform this beautiful underutilized space in a dramatic way, by bringing a living sculpture and community performances into the space."

The arts council is beginning a public arts planning process to map out how more of these interactive projects can be done in Frederick to meet the community's needs.

Sky Stage is available for rent from the public and openings are still available for this season. For more information visit or go on Facebook and Twitter.

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