By Jane Hirshberg
Campus and Community Engagement Manger
The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center has always been committed to creating programming that responds to voices in its surrounding community. In the past five years, however, that commitment has been exemplified by some extraordinary projects that have reached people who either never would have considered coming to the UMD campus, let alone The Clarice, or people who have not considered themselves arts lovers—until they were invited to experience creative expression that was full of relevance to their lives. To that end, The Clarice has created a group we call Community Action People, made up of people who are community leaders, arts advocates, artists, teachers, elected officials and many others. This group meets once every two months and focuses on a specific topic of interest to the group’s members. Each meeting happens at a different space, hosted by a different community-based organization, with key contributors participating to inform subject matter. But before we get too deep into what the group is now, let’s look at its history and how it has evolved to be a dynamic and influential force for not only the leadership of The Clarice, but for the entire UMD campus.