Collection by Artist Heather Clark

Sky Stage, a Transformative Public Artwork, Opens in Shell of a Burned Building


Sky Stage temporarily transforms a boarded property in Frederick, Maryland’s downtown historic district into an interactive building-scale public art work. This pre-Revolutionary War building, was damaged by a major fire in 2010 and has no roof. The plywood boards on the doors and windows have been removed to reveal a center for arts and culture. Framed by historic stone walls, Sky Stage’s open-air theater seats an audience of 140 people among trees.

The centerpiece of Sky Stage is a digitally-designed two story sculpture with ribbons of drought-resistant plants that twist and wind through a wooden lattice and the building’s doors and windows. State of the art green roof technology has been modified to support the spiraling plants. Rainwater is collected from an adjacent roof and stored in a cistern to irrigate the plants and trees.

Sky Stage is by Artist Heather Clark. Clark collaborated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Digital Structures research group who computationally designed and engineered the sculpture’s complex wooden lattice with custom geometry-generating algorithms. Professor Caitlin Mueller and Research Fellow Kam-Ming Mark Tam led the engineering effort.

Frederick Arts Council is overseeing the day-to-day operations of the theater in partnership with AmeriCorps. Together, they are facilitating local residents and community groups to run creative endeavors within the historic shell. Working with the public, Sky Stage offers drama, music, children’s story time, art classes, dance, history, literature, and film.

Sky Stage will be open through July 2017.

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