Vibrancy of Frederick Art Life Pops
Guest post from Patti B. Mullins, Public Information Coordinator, The City of Frederick
A high ranking on SMU’s list of arts vibrant communities recognizes the communal effort that goes into the artistic life of The City of Frederick, Md. Public and private commitment to all of the arts shows up in professional and volunteer endeavors and in public-private partnerships in the city and surrounding county.
The Weinberg Center for the Arts, owned by The City, occupies a restored 1926 silent-movie palace. Today it presents a full season of live music, comedy, dance, theater, family events, and film. It features unique architecture and a vintage Wurlitzer organ, the only theater organ of its kind in the state still in its original installation.
In a public-private partnership, Celebrate Frederick produces 11 artistically inspired events each year, and they rely on more than 400 volunteers. They feature music, art, gardens and architecture. Celebrate Frederick is a private, non-profit corporation whose mission is “to plan and implement special events and activities to offer the community a shared cultural experience.” Most of the events conducted by Celebrate Frederick are free; those that charge admission raise funds for beautification projects in the City of Frederick. The organization has support from the City’s Office of Special Events’ staff. The City participates, acknowledging that the events enhance the quality of life and have become an integral part of the community.
The Delaplaine Arts Education Center trains and inspires visual artists, and displays their work. Each year, it hosts 50 exhibits, and more than 270 classes in a variety of media.
The professional Maryland Ensemble Theatre (MET), produces, offers classes and has embarked on a program to take professional theater into the public schools.
Several buildings downtown feature scenes and realistic figures in trompe l’oeil and other style public murals that capture attention.
Beyond the downtown district, The Way Off Broadway Dinner Theatre and Children’s Theatre produces shows year-round and gives local performers and technicians an opportunity. Contemporary and classical dance companies offer classes for all ages.
For 40 years, the Frederick Arts Council has invested in the arts community for the people of Frederick County. The organization fosters an environment where the arts flourish through grants and scholarships, arts advocacy, and links to essential resources. The list of some of the Council’s grant recipients demonstrates the community’s artistic vibrancy: Choral Arts Society of Frederick, Emmitsburg Community Chorus, Frederick Children’s Chorus, Frederick Chorale, Frederick Symphony Orchestra, Frederick Youth Orchestra, National String Symphonia, Other Voices Theatre, Spires Brass Band.
The Arts Council was ready when Artist Heather Theresa Clark envisioned turning a vacant, roofless building shell in downtown Frederick into a vibrant outdoor performance space: In April 2017, the Sky Stage opened, and The Frederick Arts Council, with support from AmeriCorps, operates the theater.
New Spire Arts is just getting started this year: to encourage arts education, training and performance in “a world-class venue” to present both local and outside talent. A grant from the Ausherman Family Foundation makes it possible.
*Silver Spring-Frederick-Rockville, MD Metro Division ranks #8 on the Arts Vibrancy Index