Susie Farr Named Sue Hess Arts Advocate of the Year by Maryland Citizens for the Arts

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Executive Director of Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center Honored for Her Contributions

CONTACT: Erica Bondarev

Susie Farr

Susie Farr photo by Mike Ciesielski

February 6, 2013College Park, MD – Susie Farr, executive director of the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland, has been awarded the Sue Hess Arts Advocate of the Year Award by Maryland Citizens for the Arts (MCA). The Sue Hess Award is given to individuals whose advocacy efforts have significantly benefitted the entire Maryland arts community and Farr is a longtime leader and innovator for the performing arts in Maryland. Her commitment to community engagement as a crucial component of arts programing has made the Clarice Smith Center a national model for academic integration and collaboration with on-campus and off-campus community groups at a university performing arts center.

"The impact that Susie's work has had on the communities surrounding the Clarice Smith Center is vast. In an area of the state that was traditionally under-served she created a source of cultural enrichment which reaches far beyond the University's borders," said John Schratwieser, Executive Director of Maryland Citizens for the Arts.  "Her work is exactly the kind of advocacy we seek to encourage with the Sue Hess Award."

The award will be presented at Maryland Arts Day in Annapolis on Wednesday, February 20.

“I’m deeply honored to receive this important award,” said Farr, “and proud of the many ways we have opened doors to transformative arts experiences for the campus and all of Maryland’s communities.”

About Susie Farr

Susie Farr is a nationally known arts administrator and advocate who has made significant contributions to the performing arts, in the nonprofit sector and in higher education.

Since becoming the Clarice Smith Center’s executive director in 1999, Farr has overseen the growth and development of a major performance venue. Under her leadership, the Center has earned a reputation for adventuresome programming and community engagement.

Prior to her position at the Clarice Smith Center, Farr headed the Association of Performing Arts Presenters as executive director for 13 years, where she developed The National Task Force on Touring and Presenting the Performing Arts to address the complex issues facing the arts and culture in America.

She has extensive experience in creating and administering new initiatives in support of diversity, arts advocacy and audience development.

About the Sue Hess Arts Advocate Award

The award is named in honor of the first Chair of the Board of Trustees and longest serving member of the organization, Sue Hess, who is known for developing a network of grass roots arts supporters, driving tremendous change and growth in MCA. The first award was given in 2009 and is awarded annually.

About Maryland Citizens for the Arts

Maryland Citizens for the Arts is a statewide arts advocacy organization, founded in 1977 to represent all Maryland artists and arts organizations of all disciplines. MCA works to increase public recognition and support of the arts and the role they play in the quality of life and economic vitality of Maryland by advocating for the arts across the state and by promoting adequate public funding at the local, state and federal levels.


The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center is supported by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. An agency of the Department of Business & Economic Development, the MSAC provides financial support and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations, units of government, colleges and universities for arts activities. Funding for the Maryland State Arts Council is also provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Learn more about the Clarice Smith Center's donor support.