Sky Stage temporarily transforms a boarded property in the heart of Frederick, Maryland’s downtown historic district into an interactive building-scale public art work. 59 South Carroll Street, a pre-Revolutionary War building, was damaged by a major fire in 2010 and has no roof. Now, the plywood boards on the doors and windows have been removed to reveal a center for free arts and culture. The open-air theater offers drama, music, children’s story time, art classes, folklore, history, naturalists, and film. The local community is invited to program the space.
Sky Stage is by artist Heather Theresa Clark. 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. Artist Heather 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.
Frederick Arts Council is overseeing the day-to-day operations of the theater.
Special thanks to Rusty Hauver and the General Engineering Company for generously donating the use of 59 South Carroll Street, Frederick for this community initiative.
Sky Stage is by artist Heather Theresa Clark. Clark collaborated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Digital Structures research group to computationally design and engineer the sculpture’s complex wooden lattice with custom geometry-generating algorithms. Additional design and construction support has been provided by Anthony Owens Remodeling and Repair, Furbish, Rockwell Construction, Fountainhead Irrigation, ADTEK Engineering, Parlights, Inc., Provident Electric, MK Concrete, and Cable Concepts. Frederick Arts Council, with support from AmeriCorps, is overseeing day-to-day operations of the theater.
Heather Theresa Clark utilizes art, architecture, and public interventions to catalyze built environments that power themselves, cleanse themselves, transform waste, provide wildlife habitat, produce food, and enhance the lives of people. Through her art, she demonstrates how present reality is not a given and can be crafted to make life more fulfilling. As founder of Biome Studio, art is her tool to shift the paradigm of everyday life.
Digital Structures is a research group at MIT working at the interface of architecture, structural engineering, and computation. They focus on the synthetic integration of creative and technical goals in the design and fabrication of buildings, bridges, and other large-scale structures. Digital Structures is particularly interested in how digital techniques and tools can play an unexpected, collaborative role in these processes.
The Frederick Arts Council serves as the umbrella arts organization for Frederick County, Maryland. Frederick Arts Council is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that builds a better community through arts programs, services, activities, and events. Their purpose is to foster an environment where the arts may flourish in their community through grants and scholarships, arts advocacy, and links to essential resources.