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.
How did you to come up with the idea for Sky Stage?
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. They are not perfect. They are not done, so they can be more. As an artist, when I see a boarded-up building, I immediately think about what it can be. Sky Stage came from my interest in taking 59 South Carroll St. and making the building itself, and the entire experience of how people interact within the space and with each other, the artwork.
How is this project similar to others you have worked on? How is it different?
As an artist, I have made large-scale art installations and sculptures, including a traveling public art piece called the Busycle (a 15-person pedal-powered bus). I also worked for many years developing cutting-edge, green, low-income multi-family housing. Some of my affordable housing efforts involved converting historic mills into low-income housing and actively involving the local community in design and development. Sky Stage is the first time that I am connecting my interests in art, historic architecture, and community engagement in a single project.
If you could collaborate with any other famous artist on a project (dead or alive) who would you choose and why?
I am very moved by the artwork of Anish Kapoor. He has an incredible ability to make truly touching artwork in both public settings and museums. His artwork becomes an entire landscape.
What’s your go-to coffee or hangout place in Frederick?
What’s something people may be surprised to know about you?
My goal is to combine my passion for art and for green building in one project. After Sky Stage, I am dreaming of creating a walkable and bikable zero-energy neighborhood where the neighborhood itself is the artwork.
— Nancy Lavin