FREDERICK, MD. – A prominent downtown blight site will be reinvented as an interactive piece of public art under a project approved by the Historic Preservation Commission on Thursday.
The commission’s 5-2 vote allows artist Heather Clark to transform the building and free-standing facades at 56-70 S. Market St. into an open air theater and nature space. Creation of the temporary art installation, as part of a partnership with the Frederick Arts Council, is set to begin in late March, and will be unveiled by mid-May, according to Clark.
The Sky Stage project design includes a 100-seat open air theater with wooden bleachers and a grass stage behind one of the facades, and sculptural landforms depicting the Catoctin Mountains at the other facade. To showcase the art from the street, the plywood covering each facade will be removed and replaced with either wire mesh or a clear plastic called polycarbonate.
Commissioners Dan Lawton and Michael Simons voted against the project, citing concern with the proposed use of polycarbonate, which can become scratched and deteriorate easily, according to Simons.
But Commissioner Stephen Parnes urged his fellow board members to support the project, noting the significant amount of community support it has already received.