Sky Stage Reading Series in Frederick, Maryland

Frederick Arts Council and Eckleburg are excited to announce the Sky Stage Reading Series, a new literary arts initiative in Frederick, MD. Heather Clark’s Sky Stage, framed by historic stone walls, will include an open-air theater that will seat an audience of 140 people among trees.  The centerpiece of Sky Stage is a digitally-designed sculpture with ribbons of drought-resistant plants that will twist and wind through a wooden lattice structure.  State of the art green roof technology will be modified to support the spiraling plants.  Rainwater will be collected from the adjacent roof and stored in a bright-colored cistern.  Stored rainwater will irrigate the plants and trees. Sky Stage is a public sculpture and outdoor ampitheatre for local events: music, literature readings, performances and more. If you are a writer of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction or any literary hybrid form, and would like to read at one of our events, please CONTACT US.

Heather Clark is the artist behind the Sky Stage project, which reinvents a currently vacant building downtown as a piece of interactive, public art. The sculpture and open-air theater planned for the building at 59 S. Carroll St. is set to open in September.

FNP: How did you to come up with the idea for Sky Stage?

HC: Since I was a child, I have been fascinated by historic architecture and thinking about the stories of all the people who have occupied our buildings throughout time. I am particularly drawn to boarded-up buildings, because they represent unharnessed potential…. (Nancy Lavin, Frederick News Post)

Heather Clark

In her artwork, Heather Clark builds systems that critique our current world predicament. Her work plays on what she calls cultural neurosis: the human tendency to over-consume, over-build, over-groom, etc. in lieu of direct physical exertion to ensure survival.  She views this as a misdirected attempt to satisfy basic primal urges for shelter, food, and clothing in a society where actions are grossly amplified because one gallon of gasoline equals five hundred hours of human work output.

Heather’s work and perspective have evolved from her background in green redevelopment and ecology, and most recently from her life in exurbia, where she has lived and worked for the last four years.  She is embedded in a landscape that feeds on cultural neurosis.  Meadows, forests, and farms transitioning to tract homes and cul de sacs have become her muse.  As an inhabitant of exurbia, Heather is both complicit and trapped in the consumption economy and its byproducts – climate change, inequality, unhealthiness, boredom.

Here, the uncanny valley, which is usually discussed in relation to artificial intelligence, appears to Heather in the industrially designed and generated vernacular; she works with her hands, in defiance.  She dissects infrastructure, places, and the meaning of the built environment and its relation to nature.   Her work becomes a metaphor for the greater ills of a consumption based society.  It is within this landscape that Heather attempts to reveal the messiness that lies beneath over-constructing the perfect life and the near impossibility of escape.

Heather’s work and life has led her to believe that greater satisfaction can be achieved through physical proximity to meeting one’s basic needs – building with one’s hands, using one’s body, growing one’s own food. She yearns to reinvent how we live, using art, architecture and public interventions to catalyze built environments that power themselves, cleanse themselves, transform waste, provide wildlife habitat, produce food, and deeply satisfy inhabitants.

Heather holds a Master of Science in Real Estate Development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Architecture and Planning, and a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University, summa cum laude, in Environmental Science and Community Planning, a self-designed major.  Heather founded Biome Studio.  As principal of Biome Studio, Heather previously designed and developed green affordable housing.  Attempting to lead the path toward zero-energy buildings and neighborhoods, she oversaw the largest deep energy retrofit in the U.S., converted historic mills into green affordable housing, and installed over one megawatt of solar pv on 2,300 low-income apartments.  Heather is also an environmental activist, creating the Play-In for Climate Action, a family-oriented climate change protest held in 2014 and replicated many times since by Moms Clean Air Force.

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Eckleburg is a print and online literary journal that offers original fiction, poetry, essays, music, art, writing workshops and more.