Student Curator Application


Do you have a passion for bringing people together through live music and art? Get involved in the Performing Arts at Maryland and join the NextNOW Fest team! The Clarice’s Artist Partner Programs are looking for student curators for NextNOW Fest 2021. Curators are responsible for collaborating with Clarice professional and student staff to design a student-focused festival experience and assist in the creation of a student-focused promotional strategy.

About NextNOW Fest

Held each September at The Clarice, NextNOW Fest is an annual campus tradition that celebrates imagination, creativity and community. Started in 2014, the multi-day, multi-arts festival of fun and discovery features about 50 music, theatre, and dance performances, as well as comedy, spoken word, film, visual art installations and other artistic experiences over two nights. By amplifying the voices of intriguing, inventive artists from around campus and the country, NextNOW Fest creates a forward-looking microcosm where art transforms and shapes our future.

With a traditional in-person attendance of about 6,000, NextNOW Fest provides an exciting environment for students to build community, socialize with each other and engage with the arts on campus at the beginning of the school year. By offering memorable artistic experiences for students, NextNOW Fest hopes to inspire involvement in creativity and the arts throughout their time at UMD and beyond, regardless of their major or focus of study.

To protect the health and safety of our audiences, artists and staff, NextNOW Fest 2020 was held completely virtually. Held September 8-12, 2020, the all-virtual NextNOW Fest featured workshops, commissions, performances and DJ sets from student, alumni, local and national artists.

NextNOW Fest is also looking to expand its year-round presence, with the recent launch of a NextNOW Fest Instagram account (@nextnowfestumd) and other virtual events held throughout the 20-21 academic year. NextNOW Fest 2021 marks the festival’s eighth year. NextNOW Fest is presented and produced by The Clarice’s Artist Partner Programs and is co-curated in partnership with students and campus departments. All festival planning and execution is supported by staff of The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center.

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 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.

About The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center is building the future of the arts by educating, training and presenting the next generation of artists and creative innovators. Unique among performing arts centers, The Clarice breaks through traditional boundaries in art-making and audience development through creative-based partnerships that nurture and sustain artists and the creative radius of communities surrounding the University of Maryland. The Clarice’s artistic partners are the UMD School of Music, UMD School of Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies, the Artist Partner Programs, Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library and Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this internship:

  • Curators will gain a larger understanding of the arts management field and performing arts industry

  • Curators will understand the roles of different departments within a performing arts center, and how these departments work together to produce and present events

  • Curators will gain experience creating, developing and implementing a large-scale festival event with a format that is informed by current health and safety requirements

  • Curators will gain experience working with on-campus artists and organizations through building partnerships and forming written agreements

  • Curators will gain experience working in an office environment (virtual and/or in-person as necessary) with a full-time professional staff and part-time student peers

Key Responsibilities

  • Collaborate with the Associate Director of Programming, Assistant Artistic Administrator and other Clarice staff to curate a set of virtual (and possibly in-person) artistic experiences at NextNOW Fest in early/mid September 2021

  • Build partnerships with UMD student-focused organizations to present events at the festival

  • Collaborate with The Clarice’s Marketing & Guest Experience team and NextNOW Fest student staff to create and implement a work plan of effective grassroots, digital and other marketing strategies to promote the festival to UMD students 

  • Collaborate with The Clarice’s Marketing & Guest Experience team and NextNOW Fest student staff to create a brand identity for the festival that is translated amongst promotional materials and the festival experience

  • Draft event descriptions and other copy for marketing and promotions purposes

  • Serve on the festival operations team as on-site producers during the festival

  • Be involved in the debrief and review process following the competition of the festival

  • Be involved in the interview and onboarding process for incoming NextNOW Fest 2022 student curators

  • Aid in the planning of other NextNOW Fest-presented programming in the Spring 2021, Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 semesters

  • Be involved with other Clarice initiatives and programs as mutually determined and agreed

Dates and Stipend

Interns must commit to the project from January through October 2021. A total honorarium of $1,000.00 USD will be awarded in intervals throughout the commitment:

Spring Semester (January-May 2021) $500.00 awarded in May 2021 upon completion of satisfactory work, including the following deliverables & involvement:

  • Participation in weekly programming and marketing meetings

  • Clearly articulated vision for the impact of NextNOW Fest 2020

  • Finalized festival schedule in collaboration with UMD student-focused organizations and the Associate Director of Programming

  • Involvement in the creation and implementation of the festival marketing work plan in collaboration with The Clarice’s Marketing & Guest Experience team and NextNOW Fest student staff

  • Involvement in the creation of the festival’s brand identity in collaboration with The Clarice’s Marketing & Guest Experience team and NextNOW Fest student staff

  • Involvement in planning and presenting NextNOW WinterFest (February 2021)

Summer 2021 Semester (June-August 2021)
$300.00 awarded in August 2021 upon completion of satisfactory work, including the following deliverables:

  • Participation in regular programming and marketing meetings

  • Aid in ongoing logistical preparations

  • Creation of written agreements with artists and organizations

  • Gathering of artist and event descriptions and other content for marketing purposes

  • Continued involvement in the ongoing development and implementation of the festival marketing work plan

Fall Semester (September-October 2020)
$200.00 awarded in October 2021, after the festival and upon completion of satisfactory work, including the following deliverables:

  • Participation in regular programming and marketing meetings

  • Continued involvement in the ongoing development and implementation of the festival marketing work plan

  • Aid in logistical preparations

  • Serve as on-site event producers at the festival

  • Participate in debrief meetings following the festival



  • Must be enrolled as a full-time undergraduate or graduate student at UMD through the Fall 2021 semester

  • Must be available to work on-site (if there are in-person events) on the days of NextNOW Fest

  • Interest in learning about the curatorial and production process in the performing arts

  • Enthusiasm for the festival’s values and creating community and meaningful connections through shared arts experiences

  • Enthusiasm for collaborating with partners on creative projects

  • Strong organizational and time-management skills; ability to adhere to deadlines

  • Strong attention to detail

  • Strong written and verbal communication skills

  • Responsiveness, dependability and flexibility


  • Interest in exploring arts management as a career

  • Past participation in and attendance of arts events

  • Experience in event production and management

  • Experience or interest in an on-camera presence, especially for virtual events

  • Demonstrated leadership experience

How to Apply

Submit the application form below by Sunday, November 15, 2020 at 11:59PM. Please attach a resume in the Attachments field.

If you have any questions, please contact Megan Pagado Wells, Associate Director of Programming, at

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