Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

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University of Maryland, College Park campus
Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center.jpg
Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
Use Performance venue and academic building
Erected 2001
Location Stadium Drive at Route 193,
College Park, MD 20742
38°59′27″N 76°57′02″W / 38.99083°N 76.95056°W / 38.99083; -76.95056Coordinates: 38°59′27″N 76°57′02″W / 38.99083°N 76.95056°W / 38.99083; -76.95056
Namesake Clarice E. Smith
Architect Moore Ruble Yudell
Trivia The largest single building ever constructed by the State of Maryland[1]
Website Clarice Smith Center Website

The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center is a performing arts complex on the campus of the University of Maryland, College Park.[2] The 318,000-square-foot (29,500 m2) facility houses six performance venues;[3] the UM School of Music;[4] and the UM School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies.[5] It also houses the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library.[6] The Center operates under the auspices of the University of Maryland College of Arts and Humanities.[7]

Opened in 2001, the Center presents an annual performance season of music, dance and theatre featuring visiting artists and student/faculty artists from the performing arts academic programs.[8] In addition, each season includes multiple engagement events – most of them free of charge – that give artists and audiences greater opportunities to interact. The Center also rents performance and meeting space to community groups.[9]

The Clarice Smith Center is located on the northern side of the University of Maryland campus, off University Boulevard (MD-193) and Stadium Drive in Prince George’s County, Maryland. The Center is directly across the street from Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium and the 800-space Stadium Drive parking garage.[10]


The Center is named in honor of visual artist Clarice Smith, whose late husband Robert H. Smith (UM ’50) was a major philanthropist who supported projects in culture, business and Jewish life. As an alumnus of the University of Maryland, he made major contributions to the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center and to the Robert H. Smith School of Business.[11]

The Center was originally conceived as an academic center for teaching the performing arts, but during the planning stages that mission evolved to include not only presentation of performances by touring artists, but also the creation of programs that focused on the people of Prince George’s County, Maryland, where the University of Maryland is located.[12]

Performing Arts Activities[edit]

Events in music, dance, theatre, puppetry and more feature visiting artists and student/faculty artists from the academic units.[13] The Center programs visiting artists who interact with communities beyond the stage in residencies, workshops, dialogues and other activities.[14] The Center’s free Take Five[15] and Creative Dialogues[16] offer the community access to artists, scholars and experts in culture, history and science.

Architectural vision[edit]

Situated on 17 acres (69,000 m2) of land, the 318,000-square-foot (29,500 m2) facility was the largest single building ever constructed by the State of Maryland. In keeping with the Center’s inclusive plan for programming, the architect, Moore Ruble Yudell, envisioned the spacious lobby as a kind of Main Street that would welcome people into the building. Five of the Center’s six performance spaces are accessible from the Grand Pavilion, the Center’s main lobby; the sixth is at the top of the stairs in the Upper Pavilion.

  • Grand Pavilion[17]
  • Dekelboum Concert Hall[18]
  • Ina and Jack Kay Theatre[19]
  • Joseph and Alma Gildenhorn Recital Hall[20]
  • Dance Theatre[21]
  • Robert and Arlene Kogod Theatre[22]
  • Cafritz Foundation Theatre[23]
  • Leah H. Smith Lecture Hall, which frequently hosts smaller events, Creative Dialogues, Talk-Backs with performers.

Notable UM Alumni in Performing Arts & Entertainment[edit]

  • Carmen Balthrop[24][25] - Opera singer/recording artist;[26] played title role in Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha in its Broadway premiere[27] and is featured on the original cast recording on DVD and audio.[28]
  • Gail Berman[29] - President of FOX TV Network, 2000–2005 ; president of Paramount Pictures, 2005–2007; Broadway producer (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Hurlyburly); TV producer (“Malcolm in the Middle,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Angel”); named one of the “100 Most Powerful Women” by Forbes magazine in 2005.[30]
  • Larry David - Head writer and executive producer, Seinfeld; creator/writer/actor, Curb Your Enthusiasm.
  • Jim Henson[31] - Creator of the Muppets.
  • Liz Lerman - 2002 MacArthur Fellow;[32] founder/choreographer, Liz Lerman Dance Exchange.[33]
  • Michael Olmert - Playwright/author; has written three Emmy award-winning documentaries for the Discovery Channel.
  • David Simon - 2010 MacArthur Fellow;[34] writer/producer, Homicide: Life on the Street; creator/executive producer/head writer, The Wire; executive producer, Treme.
  • William Lucas Walker[35] - TV producer/writer, “Will & Grace,” “Frasier,” “Rosanne,” “The Chris Isaak Show.”


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  12. ^ Stamler, Gayle. “In Maryland, a Gateway to the Community Through the Arts,” Metropolitan Universities Journal, Vol. 15, No. 3, October 2004. [1]
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  29. ^ Gail Berman
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