BOBBY ASHER, Associate Director of Artistic Initiatives, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
When I was five years old, a man joined the church where I went with my parents. He played the trumpet during services, and as soon as I heard that sound I knew that I wanted to play. A couple of weeks later I cut up an old water hose and made a trumpet. A few months after that, my parents bought me a used cornet from a pawn shop. I was on my way.
All of the experiences in my life…can in some way be traced back to that moment.
RUTH WATKINS, Theatre major, UMD School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, Marketing major, UMD Robert H. Smith School of Business
I spent my last semester abroad in London, which was fantastic and I was able to do it partially because I had received a scholarship from the donors at the Clarice Smith Center.
The best part was seeing that there is an audience for the kind of theater I want to do.
HELEN HUANG, Costume and Set Designer, UMD Professor, School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance
As a costume designer who emigrated from China to the United States, I always find a personal connection with plays in which the protagonist is searching for his or her place in the world.
…this play changed my perspective on the meaning of home…
LAREE ASHLEY LENTZ, MFA Costume Design 2012, UMD School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, Costume Designer for A Midsummer Night’s Dream/仲夏夜之梦
Last May I embarked on an international journey that opened my eyes to a new culture when, along with a few designers and UMD theatre faculty, I had the amazing opportunity to visit Beijing.
…I learned the importance of expression and the simplicity of line.
HASAN ELAHI, Media Artist, UMD Professor of Digital Media
I work in a field where I don’t really know what field I work in. And I’m okay with that. I’m fascinated by work that challenges my ideas and my preconceived notions, things that really take me out of a comfort zone. I’m okay with just being an artist. It allows me to jump from place to place to place to place to place, or from content to content, without having to categorize what kind of response people should have to what it is that I do.
Hearing Kronos Quartet really made me rethink what music is.
DAVID C. DRISKELL, Artist and Art Historian
It was 1964 and, as a young professor at Howard University in the Department of Art, I had a grant to travel to Europe. It was my first visit to Europe; I started out in Greece. And I wanted to recount some of my classical education, specifically Greek theater, so I went to the amphitheater at the base of the Acropolis to see a performance of The Birds by Aristophanes.
…the arts are universal. They move beyond barriers…
I love the moment where you see something happen on stage, or backstage, when the person gets it, when it clicks. Moments like that happen all the time at the Clarice Smith Center.
I get to watch students have those ‘aha’ moments and I see all the work that has gone into it…
FAEDRA CARPENTER, Dramaturg, UMD Assistant Professor, UMD School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies
In 1995 my dear friend and mentor took me to see the Off-Broadway production of Bring in ’da Noise, Bring in ’da Funk. It was early in my career as a professional dramaturg and my mentor thought this much-touted piece would help me gain a greater understanding of the possibilities of devised theatre.
This total merging of the sensory and the cerebral helped me realize, fully, the power of performance…
BILL DORLAND, UMD Professor of Physics, Honors College Director
I grew up in rural Arkansas trailer parks. Our house had wheels and we used them! By the time I was eight, we had lived in 16 different towns and probably because of this nomadic lifestyle, I had no connection to the performing arts.
I had never seen modern dance or heard music… Chills ran up and down my spine!
KENNETH ELPUS, Assistant Professor of Music Education, UMD School of Music
I was directing a choir of high school students in rehearsal of a contemporary piece called A Boy and A Girl by Eric Whitacre, which is an English translation of a poem by Octavio Paz.
…working with young voices, college age and even younger, is such a magical experience.