If I Could Make Anything Here… Pop Up Planning Event (November 2015)
Damaged by the massive flood of 1976, two of Frederick, Maryland’s historic buildings were never repaired. By 2000, the buildings were in such dangerous condition that they were demolished, leaving only their front facades. Now, forty years later, the plywood boards on the doors and windows would have been removed to reveal a temporary interactive public artwork in the vacant lot behind the facade, creating a surreal interactive pedestrian experience.
The artwork would have activated a site that has been boarded for 40 years. Planned to open in spring 2016, approvals, funding, and partners were secured, but due to health and safety violations of an adjacent building, this project was not executed. Although this project would have been temporary, the community process has sparked a conversation within Frederick – this will hopefully be the first in a series of public art initiatives to reactive blighted and unsafe spaces.
In fall 2015, artist Heather Clark approached the owners of this property about creating a temporary artwork. They agreed. Clark immediately organized a pop-up event where she ‘beautified’ the façade’s doorway, installing a peep hole where pedestrians peeked at the vacant lot. Thrilled with the temporary transformation, within hours, pedestrians filled 20 feet of banners with ideas. Since then, Heather has met neighbors, City staff, business owners and nonprofits to refine the design and programming and address safety, historic requirements, and the need for active community art. From this energy, emerged the theater/living landform concept.
In fall 2015, Heather Theresa Clark proposed this project to the people of Frederick, MD. However, due to structural issues with the adjacent building, the project could not be executed. Instead Heather found a new site in Frederick and created Sky Stage.
Framed by historic facades, this temporary public artwork in Frederick, MD would have included an open-air theater that would have seated 100 people for street performances, music, people watching, children’s story time, and art classes. Drawn from the regional Catoctin Mountain topography, the living sculptural landforms would have brought nature to the city and created visual contrast with the historic ruins.