The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland is an integrated arts laboratory where artists, arts scholars, students and arts administrators collaborate to spark inspiration and build a better future for the arts. As an intellectually curious and socially conscious community, The Clarice leverages creativity, scholarship, innovation and community engagement across the arts to foster expression, generate curiosity and inspire a greater good.
The Clarice presents programs that advance the learning and research of students and faculty at the University of Maryland while participating in developing our community’s arts ecosystem. By honoring artists and creative innovators who have broken barriers before us, we amplify people, partnership, process and performance. We aspire to reflect a narrative of equity, inclusion and representation of all voices.
Artistic Planning at The Clarice is guided by a shared leadership model. Programming is determined through a collaborative, multi-curatorial approach that aims to reflect the values of a diversity of voices, experiences, perspectives and passions. While the curators participate in developing partnerships with all artists, each has genres and programs they focus on for facilitating conversations.
Our Curatorial Team
Tyler Clifford • Senior Artistic Planning Coordinator, Festival Arts
As a member of the Artistic Planning curatorial team, Tyler Clifford (he/him) works to highlight and expand opportunities for emerging artists and arts leaders at The University of Maryland and its surrounding communities. Tyler’s curatorial and administrative areas of focus include global music; Vital Signs: Creative Arts for Black Lives Mini-Grants, which provides funding and resources to UMD student artists; the Clarice’s multidisciplinary arts festival known as NextNOW Fest; and The Clarice’s participation in campus traditions including Maryland Day and Homecoming. Tyler joined The Clarice in 2018 as Assistant Artistic Administrator supporting the administrative operations of the department, special events, and development projects.
Before coming to The Clarice, Tyler served local artists and community members at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center located in the Gateway Arts District of Hyattsville, MD. Tyler’s work focused on implementing outreach strategies, maintaining relationships with community partners and serving as a primary grant writer and researcher. In addition, Tyler served as a special event producer for annual fundraising events, gallery exhibitions and artist talks. Tyler also served a full-time, one year term as an AmeriCorps VISTA leader working on community engagement initiatives. During this year of service, Tyler specialized in expanding the capacity of nonprofit organizations as well as cultivating relationships between local stakeholders and organizations to collectively build a thriving and engaging arts ecosystem in Prince George’s County.
Tyler teaches creative writing and studio art workshops for both youth and adult learners, volunteers with local nonprofit organizations and arts-based initiatives in the DMV and has served as a panelist and workshop facilitator with an emphasis on arts activism and zines at the Library of Congress National Book Festival. Tyler holds a B.A. in English Literature and Language and minors in Creative Writing and Human Development and Quantitative Research Methods from the University of Maryland, College Park. Tyler is inspired by the transformative nature of arts-based experiences and the empowerment and catharsis achieved through creative expression. With this inspiration, he works to cultivate inclusive spaces that celebrate the inherent creativity within us all.
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Jane Hirshberg • Artistic Planning Program Director
In her role as Artistic Planning Program Director at The Clarice, Jane Hirshberg is a key member of the curatorial team and is the primary program design generator and leader of all initiatives, projects and programs in the area of campus and community engagement. She also facilitates programming in the areas of dance and theater for the Visiting Artist Series and for Artist in Residence programs. While she has been at UMD she has been instrumental in establishing two campus/community working groups, each with the focus of integrating creative expression into conversations and activities about social justice. They are Campus Fabric, which leverages the combined experience of multiple campus organizations with longstanding connections to the local community, aiming to elevate the role of community engagement into the fabric of UMD life; and the BSU/UMD Social Justice Alliance, a collaboration of campus and community organizations that are co-curating events to bring together UMD and Bowie State University, triggered by a tragic hate crime resulting in the murder of a BSU student by a UMD student.
In 2014, Jane led the design of a new program for locally based artists called NextLOOK, providing professional development, funding and access to space for making work with a social justice and audience engagement frame.
Jane established a new programming area for The Clarice in 2015 called ‘Arte Vivo,’ after she coordinated a yearlong research project to learn more about the myriad Latinx communities in the 5-mile radius of the UMD campus. Partnerships with community-based organizations for the purpose of integrating art-making activities for those organizations’ constituencies is a hallmark of Jane’s work.
Along these lines, Jane has led several large-scale projects that have invited participation by community members on and off campus, addressing such issues as Black Lives Matter, music as a tool for social change, stories of immigration and displacement, and others.
Before coming to The Clarice in 2011, Jane worked in various capacities, including Producing Director and Managing Director at Liz Lerman Dance Exchange for 13 years. Prior to that, she was manager of the Culture in Community Fund at the New England Foundation for the Arts after her work for several years at The Music Hall, a multi-disciplinary arts presenting organization in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Jane has served as a panelist for grant reviewing in many parts of the country and enjoys talking and writing in various forums about community building through the arts. Long ago, she was a professional musician in New York, favoring chamber music because it provided collaboration and co-creation opportunities. Jane lives in Catonsville, MD with her family and numerous pets and does a lot of hiking in the Patapsco River State Park.
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Photo by David Andrews
Tariq Darrell O'Meally • Artistic Planning Coordinator & Lead Curator, BlackLight Summit
Tariq Darrell O'Meally is an artist, producer, curator and community organizer searching for the power within introspection and vulnerability in the African American body. He has pursued the re-imagining of kinesthetic narratives as a means to resist and disrupt canonized stories that have perpetuated the dehumanization of marginalized groups, specifically black people. He seeks to synthesize those stories that will resonate in a way that is socially relevant, empathetic and impactful.
In his position as an Artistic Planning Coordinator for Dance, Theater, and Artist Residencies at The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, Tariq Darrell O'Meally serves as a steward of the Visiting Artist Series artistic vision and helps shape the strategic program in collaboration with curatorial colleagues, staff, faculty and students.
O’Meally is the creator, curator and lead producer of the BlackLight Summit. Blacklight is a convening that re-envisions dance performance as a conduit to galvanize the social imaginations, resilience and inventiveness of citizens, thinkers, activists and artists. In addition to his duties as a curator, Tariq is a working artist in the DMV. Currently, his work focuses on being a contemporary dance artist striving to transition into a post-contemporary context. That is to say that if contemporary work interacts with the fierce urgency of now; then post-contemporary exploration integrates what has happened, what is happening and what will happen, intersecting these concepts with the vulnerability and necessity of being human.
As a choreographer, O'Meally has presented his work at the John F. Kennedy Center, the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival and Smithsonian Arts & Industries Building, By The People Festival, The Clarice Smith 34th & 35th Annual Choreographer's Showcase, Mid-Atlantic North Gala at the American College Dance Association and Richmond Dance Festival. He is the Artistic Director of Tariq Darrell+the UNUM Dance Collective, a DMV-based collection of dance artists seeking to create doorways and windows leading to the seen and unseen, lived and living experiences of African Americans.
As an educator, O'Meally has been on faculty at Hollins University, the CityDance School & Conservatory and Dance Institute of Washington in addition to presenting as a guest lecturer at Coppin State University, Morgan State University, the National Gallery of Art, The Hirshhorn Museum and the French Embassy. O'Meally is the Founder/Director of the Dimensions Contemporary Dance Festival, which is a platform to promote, amplify and spread the various eclectic voices of DMV contemporary dance artists of color.
O’Meally has been chosen as a 2022 NDP Advisor 2021 Rubys Artist Grantee, 2020-2022 Artist-In-Residence at Dance Place and 2020 Site See Artists-in-Residence. In 2019 & 2021, O’Meally was an Art Omi Resident Artist, as well as a 2018-2019 Halcyon Arts Lab Fellow. He also was a 2018-19 Joe’s Movement Emporium NextLOOK Artist and Dance Place’s 2017-18 New Releases Commissioned Artist. He currently holds a BFA in Dance & Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University.
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Photo by Mark Williams Hoelscher
Megan Pagado Wells • Artistic Planning Program Director, Festival Arts
Megan Pagado Wells (she/her) is an experienced performing arts curator and event producer with a background in digital marketing. In her role as Artistic Planning Program Director, Festival Arts, Megan works within a shared leadership model to oversee the Artistic Planning team, maintaining a multi-curatorial approach that values cross-disciplinary research, contemporary art forms and social activism through the arts.
Megan oversees the curation and management of the NextNOW Fest, an annual arts festival for the university and local community; global music programming as part of the collaboratively curated Visiting Artist Series; The Clarice’s participation in university and community traditions, including Maryland Day and Homecoming; and the Vital Signs: Creative Arts for Black Lives Mini-Grants program, mini-grants awarded to UMD student artists.
Megan joined The Clarice in 2012 as the Assistant Manager of Digital Media, spearheading the management of The Clarice's website, social media, email marketing and digital engagement initiatives. Megan came to The Clarice from the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, MD, where she served Montgomery County’s cultural community by producing large-scale arts events and implementing marketing services, capacity-building initiatives and advocacy strategies.
Megan has served on grant panels for the MAP Fund and the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, and has participated in the European Festivals Association’s Atelier for Young Festival Managers and the Association for Performing Arts Professionals’ Emerging Leaders Institute. She has also served on the steering committees of Emerging Arts Leaders DC, Maryland Citizens for the Arts' Emerging Arts Advocates and Sulu DC, which produced a monthly showcase of local and regional Asian American and Pacific Islander artists.
Originally from Los Angeles, Megan holds a B.A. in Public Communications and a minor in Music from Washington Adventist University (formerly Columbia Union College) and an M.S. in Nonprofit and Association Management from the University of Maryland University College. In her spare time, she makes bad movie plot guesses on a podcast co-hosted by her, her gamer husband and their dog, Tofu.
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Photo by Geoff Sheil
Richard Scerbo • Artistic Planning Program Director, Music & Director of National Orchestral Institute + Festival
Richard Scerbo is the Artistic Planning Program Director for Music and the Director of the National Orchestral Institute + Festival (NOI+F). In these dual roles and as part of a nationally unique multi-curatorial programming team at The Clarice, he works to cultivate artistic experiences in the areas of jazz, classical, contemporary and emergent areas of music performance for the University of Maryland campus and surrounding community.
With the NOI+F, he leads one of the nation’s most prestigious training programs for young orchestral musicians. For over ten years, Scerbo has worked in various capacities to oversee the artistic growth of the institute and its innovative training curriculum in orchestral performance, conductorless chamber orchestras, professional development and community engagement. For his work with NOI+F, he was selected as an Innovator by Musical America and is profiled in Musical America’s Innovators: 30 Professionals of the Year. Selected from hundreds of performing arts professionals, Musical America Professionals of the Year are innovative, creative and forward-thinking arts leaders. Under his leadership, NOI+F has created vital partnerships with organizations such as Naxos Records, Wolf Trap Opera, the Sphinx Organization and many others. Their ongoing effort to record works by American composers in partnership with Naxos Records was recognized by a GRAMMY nomination for “Best Orchestral Performance” for works by Steven Stucky, John Harbison and Carl Ruggles. Most recently, Scerbo led the festival in its appointment of Marin Alsop as its first Music Director. This coincides with the founding of Conducting and Composer academies that expand the program’s offers to new areas of teaching and mentorship.
Prior to coming to The Clarice, Scerbo worked for the UMD School of Music where, in addition to his responsibilities with the National Orchestral Institute + Festival, he served as Assistant Director for Artistic Planning and Operations. During his time there he administered a wide array of creative projects including the Robert Schumann Bicentennial Festival-Conference, a three-year residency with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Art of Argento Festival and a remounting of Morton Subotnick’s legendary album, Silver Apples of the Moon, among others.
An active member of the arts community, Scerbo has served on panels with the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, adjudicated chamber music competitions for the Montpelier Arts Center and judged orchestra competitions for the Howard County Public Schools. He is currently an advisory board member of the American Composers Alliance and a Co-Artistic Director of Jackson Hole Chamber Music. As an educator of all ages, he is the Principal Conductor of the DC Youth Orchestra and former Music Director of the NIH Community Orchestra, a 70-member volunteer orchestra drawn from the health, science and research professionals across the region.
Trained as a conductor and bassoonist, Scerbo maintains an active connection to the performance world. He is the founding Artistic Director of Inscape Chamber Orchestra where he has recorded numerous albums of American music, including the GRAMMY-nominated album Sprung Rhythm. A passionate advocate for new music, he has commissioned over forty works from emerging American composers. In recent seasons, he has led a North American premiere by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies; conducted chamber operas ranging from Bernstein to Stravinsky and a pantomime by Manuel de Falla; and worked with Mason Bates’s Jukebox series at the Kennedy Center where he conducted shows with German IDM duo Mouse on Mars, techno legend Juan Atkins and electronica artists from Thievery Corporation.
Richard Scerbo is a proud alumnus of the University of Maryland School of Music where he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music and a Masters Degree in Orchestral Conducting.
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Photo by Michael Abramyan
Austin Sposato • Artistic Planning Coordinator, Music
Austin Sposato is the Artistic Planning Coordinator, Music at The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center where he has worked since 2020. At The Clarice, Austin provides curatorial, artistic and administrative support for the National Orchestral Institute + Festival and the Visiting Artist Series focusing on jazz, classical and contemporary chamber music.
An active performing musician, Austin is the 2nd horn of the Westmoreland Symphony (Greensburg, PA), a founding member of Anima Brass and a freelancer in the DMV area. He has also performed with The Brass Roots, Resonance Works Pittsburgh, the South Florida Symphony Orchestra, Video Game Orchestra, Nassau Pops Orchestra and the Three Village Chamber Ensemble. As an educator he has taught undergraduate major lessons at the University of Maryland School of Music, served as a sectional coach for Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras and given masterclasses at Frostburg State University.
His brass quintet, Anima Brass, was selected as the sole recipient of the American Brass Quintet Fellowship at the Aspen Music Festival & School in 2016 where he attended on a full scholarship. While there, he performed concerts on stage alongside the American Brass Quintet in both Aspen and Salida, Co.
In 2018 he was a fellow at the National Orchestral Institute in College Park, Maryland. He recorded an album of American music for the NAXOS label with the NOI Philharmonic and can be heard as principal horn on Aaron Copland’s “Outdoor Overture” with James Judd conducting. His other festival appearances include the Aspen Music Festival where he performed with the Aspen Festival Orchestra, Aspen Chamber Symphony and Aspen Philharmonic, and the Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival.
Austin has curated concerts in untraditional concert spaces, seeking new ways to expose non-classical audiences to the affective power of instrumental music. Recent performances from include “Magnificent Soul,” a collaborative warehouse concert featuring brass quintet, improvised cello and electronics which reframed the brass quintet repertoire through live electronic and acoustic responses and a Valentine’s day solo performance at the Three Pigs Vintage DIY space in Pittsburgh integrating solo horn with theatrical readings, recorded nature sounds and the music of Townes Van Zandt. He is currently working on a recording of works for brass quintet by minimalist composer Kali Malone.
Austin is currently a Doctoral Candidate at the University of Maryland. He holds a MM and BA from Stony Brook University where he graduated summa cum laude and received the Edith Salvo Prize for the most meritorious student in music. In 2018 he completed the Advanced Musical Studies Certificate at Carnegie Mellon University with a focus in music entrepreneurship. His primary teachers include Gregory Miller, William Caballero and Mark Houghton of the Pittsburgh Symphony, David Jolley, Eric Reed, David Wakefield and Jeffrey Forden.
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