About the Festival

About NextNOW Fest

The Clarice’s annual NextNOW Fest is an inspiring arts experience that celebrates imagination, creativity and community. By amplifying the voices of intriguing, inventive artists from around campus and our community, NextNOW Fest creates a forward-looking microcosm where art transforms our future and connects us all.

NextNOW Fest is a signature event in University of Maryland's Arts for All initiative, which leverages the combined power of the arts, technology and social justice to address the grand challenges of our time. In addition to our student, academic and touring arts lineup at The Clarice, we’re thrilled to continue partnerships with student-led groups, academic departments and community organizations to hold the festival at sites throughout campus and into College Park!

Mission Statement

The NextNOW Fest at the University of Maryland is an annual campus tradition that welcomes and welcomes back new and returning students in a multi-day, multi-arts festival that celebrates the imagination, creativity and community. By unlocking everyone’s inherent creativity and amplifying the voices of artists, creative innovators and our students, the NextNOW Fest advances the learning and research investigations for our students; enriching the artistic and cultural opportunities for the campus; and actively developing the arts ecology of the community that surrounds and supports the university.


NextNOW Fest’s programming, planning and operations seek to embody the following values:

  • Everyone is creative. Creativity doesn’t discriminate across race, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic status or field of study: Everyone has the inherent capacity and right to be creative.
  • Discovery is exciting. It’s worth taking the chance on something new, because you never know what you might end up loving.
  • Stories are valuable. Stories allow us to learn about ourselves and how we relate to each other and the world. By listening to each others’ stories, we can find common ground and create a community of respect across difference.
  • We are all connected. It’s important to be aware of how our individual actions and decisions affect the sustainability and longevity of the resources we use, the spaces we inhabit and the communities to which we belong.

Photo by David Andrews