About the Festival

About NextNOW Fest

Founded in 2014, 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 features performances, workshops and other types of events by genre-pushing, nationally renowned touring artists, as well as campus-based artists. You can expect an eclectic lineup of artists across music, theater, dance, visual art, comedy and more genres.

In addition to our festival schedule at The Clarice, we’re thrilled to continue partnerships with student-led groups, academic departments and university-based arts venues to hold festival events throughout the University of Maryland campus.

The festival is programmed and produced by staff of The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center in partnership with student Artistic Planning Fellows, student organizations and campus partners. 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. NextNOW Fest is also part of Terps After Dark, an initiative by the UMD Division of Student Affairs that supports late-night, alcohol-free, on-campus programming during the first six weeks of the fall semester.


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, ability 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 differences.
  • 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.
  • You are enough. While we are all constantly learning and growing, you already carry a lifetime of experience and knowledge with you. You are ready to create and experience art, just as you are.

Photo by David Andrews.