Frederick Arts Council Receives 2021 Sustainability Award from the Frederick County Sustainability Commission

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Sky Stage was recognized for its environmentally friendly design and practices

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The Frederick Arts Council’s Sky Stage was recognized for its environmentally friendly design and practices by the Frederick County Sustainability Commission with a 2021 Sustainability Award in the category of nonprofit.

Each year, the Commission recognizes individuals, nonprofits and commercial businesses across Frederick County who are making great strides in helping the county achieve improved sustainability. Awards take into account leadership, innovation and success in sustainability for efforts including energy efficiency, renewable energy, air and water quality, reuse and recycle, quality of life and more.

Sky Stage, designed by artist Heather Clark in collaboration with the Massachusetts of Institutes of Technology’s (MIT) Digital Structures research group, is a public art piece as well as an outdoor amphitheater, hosting nearly 200 events a season. It reduces energy consumption and water usage by utilizing a rain barrel which allows the green sculpture made of two stories of plantings to be self-watered.

Clark’s background in green-building projects, environmental science, community planning and fine art coalesced into this vision for a new kind of sustainable, building-scale public art/community venue. Located in Frederick’s historic downtown, FAC’s Sky Stage features a two-story sculpture, lined with drought-resistant plants.

“We’re a past a critical tipping point when it comes to climate change and we need to embrace creative and truly innovative solutions and approaches to the way we live and consume resources. Artists such as Heather Clark in partnership with technological innovators such as the engineers at MIT came up with both a practical and beautiful approach to presenting and operating an arts venue,” said Louise Kennelly, executive director of the Frederick Arts Council.

While FAC’s mission is to advance the arts in Frederick, the organization takes many opportunities to raise awareness about climate, exhibiting a year-long installation on flooding, for example, and showcasing 8 artists celebrating the natural resources at barns throughout the county with barn-art installations this past year.

Sustainability Award recipients were honored on Thursday, October 14 at a virtual awards ceremony for 2020 and 2021 awardees sponsored by the Commission.

“It’s an honor to be affiliated with a visionary “green” project that entrances and entertains the community & visitors alike and draws attention to Frederick as a county that values and works toward increasing sustainability while respecting its history,” said FAC’s Sky Stage curator Maura Parrott.

The event was televised live on FCG TV, cable channels 19/1085. Awards are based on demonstrated leadership, innovation and success in sustainability.

About The Frederick County Sustainability Commission
The Frederick County Sustainability Commission represents the natural environment's critical relevance in making community decisions that will sustain for all time a healthy, abundant, affordable, and inspiring place to live and work. For more information, contact Sustainability Program Manager Dawn Ashbacher at 301-600-6864 or via e-mail at dashbacher@FrederickCountyMD.gov

About the Frederick Arts Council
The Frederick Arts Council invests in a vibrant and cohesive arts community for the people of Frederick County. The organization fosters an environment where the arts flourish in the community through grants and scholarships, arts advocacy, and links to essential resources. FAC is responsible for large-scale programming such as the Frederick Festival of the Arts, Sky Stage, Frederick Public Art Initiative, Art in the Park, and Arts in Education grants. For more information about the Frederick Arts Council, visit http://www.frederickartscouncil.org

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