Clarice Smith Center Receives $25,000 All-In Grant for Community Building

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

CONTACT: Missy McTamney

Partnering with University of Maryland’s School of Public Health, New Program Combines Performing Arts Research and Health to Benefit Local Underserved Communities 

February 26, 2013College Park, MD - The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland (UMD) is the recipient of a $25,000 award from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters/MetLife Foundation All-In: Re-imagining Community Participation Grant Program. The Clarice Smith Center is partnering with the UMD School of Public Health and local organizations in Seat Pleasant, Maryland to create a new model for community building through the arts. The grant will support work on Gather/Dance/Thrive, a new initiative that explores the transformative nature of the arts through the lens of public health research with underserved populations.

“We are pleased that APAP and MetLife Foundation have acknowledged our commitment to meaningful community interaction,” said Susie Farr, executive director of the Clarice Smith Center.  “This project is an excellent example of how the Center can change lives through sustained engagement with the arts.”

The All-In: Re-Imagining Community Participation grants program is part of APAP’s effort to stimulate innovative ways for presenting arts centers around the country to engage new audiences and bring live performing arts to populations who rarely have access to artistic experiences.  The Center proposed its Gather/Dance/Thrive engagement project for All-In funding and became one of six awardees selected from over 60 applicants nationally who are undertaking cutting-edge plans to increase local community participation in the arts.

“APAP is pleased to support the innovative work done by the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, and applauds their commitment to adding genuine value to their neighboring communities who may rarely have access to artistic experiences,” said Mario Garcia Durham, APAP President and CEO.

About Gather/Dance/Thrive

The Gather/Dance/Thrive project will adopt the public health model of “community-based participatory research” and work to create a new “community-based participatory art-making” project.  Working between February and December, 2013, the Center and its partners will create art-based civic dialogues around relevant health issues to initiate positive change and greater awareness for the Seat Pleasant community.

The project involves exploring collective health issues in a non-traditional way so that victim-perpetrator labels can be broken down and focus can shift to the root problems.

About Urban Bush Women

Gather/Dance/Thrive is being developed together with Urban Bush Women, a national organization whose mission is to use the create dance and to create community.  Urban Bush Women is a New York based non-profit dance company founded in 1984 by Jawole Willa Jo Zollar.  The company creates works based on women's experiences, bringing the untold and under-told stories of disenfranchised people to light through dance.

About the Association of Performing Arts Presenters and MetLife Foundation

The Association of Performing Arts Presenters, based in Washington, DC, is the national service and advocacy organization dedicated to developing and supporting a robust performing arts presenting field and the professionals who work within it. Their 1,500 national and international organizational members represent leading performing arts centers, municipal and university performance facilities, nonprofit performing arts centers, culturally specific organizations, foreign governments, as well as a growing roster of self-presenting artists.

The MetLife Foundation was established in 1976 to continue MetLife’s longstanding tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. The Foundation’s commitment to building a secure future for individuals and communities worldwide is reflected in its dedication to empowering older adults, preparing young people and building livable communities.

About the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

Since opening in 2001, the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center has become a cultural force in the metropolitan Washington, DC area, known for adventuresome programming in dance, theatre, music and interdisciplinary art.

Along with its academic partners, the School of Music and the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, the Center offers experiences that take patrons beyond the stage and into the creative process — performances, residencies, workshops, dialogues and other activities that dig deeper into the world of ideas.


The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center is supported by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. An agency of the Department of Business & Economic Development, the MSAC provides financial support and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations, units of government, colleges and universities for arts activities. Funding for the Maryland State Arts Council is also provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Learn more about the Clarice Smith Center's donor support.