Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center , University of Maryland

  • MD


College Park

United States

About Us

The Clarice Smith Center transforms lives through sustained engagement with the arts.

The Clarice Smith Center is, first and foremost, a place for learning, exploration, and growth.

Through a wide range of programs, our audiences, artists, students, faculty, staff, and community members experience personal, intellectual and spiritual growth and artistic development. As a home for artists (student, faculty, visiting), where growth and development are supported, the Clarice Smith Center commissions new work and provides space, time and expertise for its development. Every member of this community is blessed with this special and extraordinary environment where learning, investigation and reflection in the arts are celebrated and supported – and vital to the traditions and mission of the university. At the Clarice Smith Center, great work happens both on-stage and off-stage.

You may experience good performances in many places, but here you can be part of the process. The process may mean full participation in creation, development, and performance or may be characterized by observation and investigation of these activities. You may be a creator or performer or you may participate through lectures, discussions, readings or other activities. We expect to take you deeper into the experience of performing arts. Providing depth of experience and rich meaning are measures of our success.

Diverse perspectives from diverse peoples are vital to our purpose.

Diversity is more than a value statement, given our purpose and programs. Our commitment to learning is reinforced by our commitment to engage diverse populations in our communities and create and support work from diverse cultures within and outside the United States. Artists create value for our programs when they are both skilled at and committed to engaging in learning, exploration, and growth.

When we select artists, what they offer in addition to performances is a critical factor to us. This is particularly true in our consideration of well-known artists. We welcome and value artists with significant public recognition only when they bring to us programs and commitments that enhance our mission.We are committed to presenting unfamiliar, unpredictable, and developing work.

Within this commitment, we embrace our responsibility to make it safe for people to take risks and engage with unfamiliar work. Creation of context, affordability of tickets, and opportunities for discussion all help align our artists, audiences, and staff with our mission and values. We value big experiences more than big numbers.

In many ways, we believe smaller is better when it comes to designing meaningful experiences. Small groups—interacting in small spaces—make for more effective learning. Over any timeframe, there are only so many activities in which an artist or company can engage, so sometimes we present fewer performances so we can offer more learning opportunities. The intimate physical dimensions of our classrooms, studios, and performance spaces enable our audiences to experience detail, encouraging engagement that provokes exploration and learning. Not only has our audience chosen us, we've chosen them.

Given the adventurous work we choose to present, and how we open up the artistic process, we are not just creating an artistic program, we are creating our audience. We're not a typical performing arts center. The work we value and our growth and development agendas ask people to share our vision and take risks with us. We're not for everyone and in a world where organizations fail by trying to be all things to all people; we will succeed by being real and by being true to our mission.