The Clarice

The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center Grounds

The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center is located on the northwest end of the University of Maryland campus and has been a hub of artistic innovation and collaboration since its opening in 2001. UMD alumnus and philanthropist Robert H. Smith (’50), along with his wife, visual artist Clarice Smith, contributed to much of the support, design and creation of The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center and its grounds. 

The layout of the ten interconnected structures that comprise the performing arts village create several varied outdoor spaces for students and visitors to explore. The Grand Plaza Entrance features color-changing LED lighting for the trees, granite walkways and numerous planters on rotation. Smith generously planted full-grown Zelkova to create a green welcoming oasis, which has been maintained with growth regulators allowing minimal pruning and maximizing their natural charms. Bluestone pathways lead to the building entrances from the surrounding main roads.

The Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library Courtyard is accessed directly from the Grand Plaza Entrance by the stairs leading to the second outdoor level. This peaceful oasis serves as a quiet study spot for students and is a popular venue for private outdoor events.

The Clarice Courtyard is a large greenscape located on the southwest portion of the grounds that boasts a large seating lawn, performance space, teaching space and outdoor dining for the Applause Cafe. 

The School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies Dance Courtyard is a cozy garden located on the west side of the grounds that features a pergola, green turf space and generous landscaping. The School of Music Courtyard on the south side of the grounds hosts a variety of flowering plants and trees along with a sculpture by artist Nancy Frankel. Lastly, a scenic view of the rear woods lines the western portion of the grounds.

The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center grounds also serve as an active part of the University’s public research and community ecosystem. Bird and bat houses provide a valuable research center for habitat studies for the Department of Environmental Science and Technology. A retention pond offers a place of service for fraternities and sororities, as well as a welcome resting spot for migrating birds. “Bruce the Blue Spruce” was added to the grounds following its debut on stage as part of the scenic elements in performances of the play “A Doll House.” by Henrik Ibsen. The production was a research project by the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies that combined the talents of students, faculty and staff to look at how society assigns gender roles.  

Next time you visit The Clarice’s grounds and gardens, be sure to look for informational signs to guide your exploration of this robust botanical life.

 

School of Music Courtyard

The School of Music Courtyard is located along Alumni Drive on the south side of The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. Highlighting the entrance walkway is “Conversation I,” a cherished sculpture by artist Nancy Frankel gifted by Professor Emeritus Cleveland Page. Students and visitors are greeted by the dulcet melodies flowing from the windows of practice and rehearsal rooms lining the courtyard.

   Central to the courtyard’s natural beauty is the European Beech tree, the one specimen our benefactor personally chose from a nursery in New Jersey. Recognized by its smooth, light grey bark, this beech has had an intense and specific root growth program ongoing for 11 years to help this beauty acclimate to its permanent residence. Beech tree bark has a storied history as a common writing material before the advent of paper. Many languages even share words for beech tree and book, for example the German words “Buch” (book) and “Buche (beech tree).”  The beech tree is right at home with the studious Terps that fill the courtyard.

This courtyard also hosts a varied collection of flowering plants and trees, including Delaware Valley White Azaleas, Paperbark Maple, Japanese Zelkova, Stellar Pink® Dogwood, Snow Queen Oakleaf Hydrangeas and Apalachee Crape Myrtle themed to attract butterflies and pollinator insects.

Next time you visit the School of Music Courtyard, be sure to further explore botanical life with assistance of our informational signs.

The Clarice Courtyard

The Clarice Courtyard is located on the southwest side of The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. This greenscape boasts a large seating lawn, performance and teaching space, outdoor dining for the Applause Café and high-speed WiFi. This courtyard is home to activities large and small, including receptions for major University events, outdoor concerts during NextNOW Fest and pick-up games of frisbee and other physical recreation between classes.

As the garden space is expanded to include additional planting, UMD philanthropist Robert H. Smith's (’50) intention and spirit is honored by carefully selecting specimens to build a diverse collection of plants for people to enjoy and learn. Smith wanted this part of The Clarice to be a learning and performance space, a place for people and plants to share. There is always something unusual and interesting to discover. The collection of trees lining the Amphitheatre Courtyard includes Carolina Sapphire Cypress, Bottlebrush Buckeye, Red Buckeye, Japanese Red Pine, White Forsythia and, a favorite to many, Summer Charm® Pekin Lilac. 

Next time you visit the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies Amphitheatre Courtyard, be sure to further explore botanical life with assistance of our informational signs.

Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library Courtyard 

The Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library Courtyard is located on the building’s second floor and is accessed by the outdoor stairs leading from The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center’s Grand Plaza. This peaceful oasis serves as a quiet study spot for students and is a popular venue for private outdoor events. The courtyard provides fertile propagation for plants intended to be transplanted throughout the campus. Self-watering pot reservoirs, rainwater stones and plenty of sunshine help create ideal conditions for the young plants. 

 

This courtyard was improved with a collection of potted specimens surrounded by native grasses transitioning the space to a more user-friendly environment. Notable among the variety of plants that call this courtyard home are the Whipcord Western Red Cedars. The only two of its kind on campus, this compact shrub’s long, flowing branches alternate from bright green during warm months and rich bronze during cold months. 

Next time you visit the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library Courtyard, be sure to further explore botanical life with assistance of our informational signs.

 

School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies Dance Courtyard

The School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies Dance Courtyard is located on the west side of The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. This cozy garden features a pergola, sidewalk benches and space for teaching. The center turf area grown from sports turf seed accommodates students who wish to practice outdoors and provides ideal outdoor teaching space for classes. This little patch of privacy has been planted and maintained with an athletic field regimen. The sidewalk benches next to the building allow students, faculty and staff to take a comfortable outdoor break or watch an impromptu performance. 

Bordering the center turf area is a planting bed made possible by a generous landscape donation. This garden hosts a variety of shrubs, small trees and flowering perennials, including heavenly bamboo, crepe myrtle and Japanese anemone. 

Next time you visit the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies Dance Courtyard, be sure to further explore botanical life with assistance of our informational signs.