UMBC Selects Public Art Finalists

UMBC today joins the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) in announcing the names of three finalists selected to create a public art installation outside of the new Performing Arts and Humanities Building (PAHB). More than 140 artists submitted qualifications for the $397,000 commission.

The three finalists—Barbara Grygutis, Thomas Sayre and the collaborative Mags Harries and Lajos Héder—all have experience creating works of large-scale public art with an emphasis on contextual relevance. They were selected based on the merit of prior work and their vision for UMBC.

Timothy Nohe, director of the Center for Innovation, Research and Creativity in the Arts (CIRCA) and professor of visual arts, and Lynne Schaefer, vice president for administration and finance, led an extensive campus outreach effort over the fall semester as part of this process. Their efforts resulted in the vision of a public art installation that invites community gathering, reflects the passage of time, and embraces the values and culture of UMBC.

“The artists have had a month to create a site-specific design concept that supports a year-round destination where people can gather, sit, reflect and engage with each other in an outdoor setting,” says Lucas Cowan, public art program director at the MSAC.

Timothy Nohe adds, “UMBC imagines an environment in which ‘can’t’ is replaced by ‘how,’ and the chosen project will represent that spirit of collaborative innovation.”

On March 3, each of the finalists will present their concept to UMBC’s principal selection committee. The chosen artist will be notified shortly thereafter, with the project expected to be completed by August 2014.

UMBC partnered with the MSAC for guidance on commissioning the public art project. The Maryland Public Art Initiative (MPAI), signed into law last year, requires state-funded construction or major renovation projects to include a public art component. The university invited the MSAC to add its expertise to this important and highly visible public art project.

Selected Finalists

Barbara Grygutis has created more than 70 works of large-scale public art in locations across the United States and beyond. Her awards and accolades include the National Endowment for the Arts’ Individual Artist Fellowship and an Individual Project Design, and second place in the International Quadrennial Competition in Faenza, Italy. In addition to her permanent public art installations, Grygutis’ work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC; Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, New York; Bronx Museum in New York City; and Parker Collection for the vice president’s residence and the White House, both in Washington, D.C. Click here to visit her website.

Mags Harries and Lajos Héder formed Harries/Héder Collaborative in Cambridge, MA in 1990 and have worked together on more than 25 major public commissions since then. They bring to their collaboration the different worlds of art and architecture. Mags contributes her experience as a sculptor and a teacher, as well as her past work creating public art. Lajos, in addition to being an artist, was trained as an architect and has worked on community projects, urban design, site planning, architecture and construction. Their focus, however, is shared: to activate public space through art. On every project, Harries and Héder collaborate fully in the development of design and ideas, drawing from separate skills and areas of expertise. Their work has been recognized for many local and national awards, which the pair attributes to their partnerships with community members, engineers, landscape architects and other artists. Click here to visit their website.

Thomas Sayre has designed and built public art projects all over the world and has participated in design teams for civic, educational and museum buildings. Along with architect Steve Schuster, Sayre is a founding principal in the multi-disciplinary design firm Clearscapes, based in Raleigh, North Carolina. Sayre believes that art will only work when disparate opinions come together through collaboration to form a coherent vision. Click here to visit his website.

Principal Selection Committee (from UMBC unless otherwise noted)

Vice President for Administration and Finance Lynne Schaefer, University Architect Joseph Rexing, Service Center Project Manager Mickey Miller (University of Maryland, Baltimore), Alex Castro and Jan Goldstein (Maryland Commission on Public Art), Associate Professor Helen Burgess (English), Associate Professor Preminda Jacob (visual arts), Professor Timothy Nohe (visual arts, CIRCA director), Associate Professor Sandy Parker (geography and environmental systems), Professor Phyllis Robinson (biological sciences), Associate Provost for Enrollment Management Yvette Mozie-Ross, and architect Cliff Gayley (William Rawn Associates).

Fabulous Presto Opens at UMBC (11/29-12/2)

Fabulous Presto, an original production created and directed by Department of Theatre faculty member, Colette Searls, opens this Thursday, November 29 in the PAHB Black Box Theatre, and will continue on through Sunday, December 2.

Fabulous Presto is a quirky variety show of puppet acts for adults, mixing humans with objects and old-fashioned spectacle with high-tech tricks. Creatures emerge out of packing material in one act — a puppet undergoes cosmetic surgery in another. At turns humorous, uncanny and weird, this is a production where anything goes and every THING wants to come out to play.

Thursday, November 29, 4 p.m. (free performance for the UMBC campus community)
Friday, November 30, 8 p.m.
Saturday, December 1, 2 p.m.
Saturday, December 1, 8 p.m.
Sunday, December 2, 2 p.m.

This production is inappropriate for children under 12.

For reservations and ticket information, click here, or visit the Department of Theatre’s website.

Grand Opening of Phase I of the new Performing Arts and Humanities Building (9/19)

Philip Rous, Provost and Senior Vice President

Dear Colleagues:

On Wednesday, September 19, the campus will celebrate the grand opening of Phase I of the new Performing Arts and Humanities Building with a series of outdoor programs and festivities, including a ribbon cutting ceremony with Governor Martin O’Malley. This day marks an exceptional occasion for the university, and we hope that you will be able to join us for some or all of the events.

From 2:00 to 6:30 p.m. on the PAHB grounds (on the north side facing Parking Lot 8), a series of outdoor programs will use amplification. While we hope to minimize any disturbance to academic activity, it is possible that the sound of remarks or live musicians may be disruptive, especially to classrooms in the PAHB, Fine Arts and the side of Engineering facing the new building. If you have concerns that the events may create a particular hardship for your work or teaching, please contact Tony Moreira at or x56576, or Sandy Campbell at or ext. 5-6878.

Performing Arts and Humanities Building Grand Opening Celebration (9/19)

Wednesday, September 19
2:00 – 9:00 p.m.

You are invited to join President Freeman Hrabowski, Governor Martin O’Malley and the UMBC community on Wednesday, September 19 as we celebrate the opening of the first phase of UMBC’s Performing Arts and Humanities Building.

2 p.m.
Phase One Ribbon Cutting and Phase Two Groundbreaking Ceremony with Governor Martin O’Malley
Performing Arts and Humanities Building Entrance

4–6:30 p.m.
Arts and Humanities Festival
Featuring food trucks, UMBC student groups and community performers, and a jazz concert with Lafayette Gilchrist ’92, Africana Studies.
Performing Arts and Humanities Building Grounds

3:30–5 p.m.
UMBC and the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance Present: New Space
Leaders breaking fresh ground in the region’s cultural land- scape reveal the physical, conceptual, and virtual spaces that motivate their work, answering the question: How do new spaces inspire us to think, create and engage in expected and unexpected ways?
Proscenium Theatre
A limited number of free tickets will be available at the door.

New Space Presenters:

  • Wendy Salkind, UMBC Theatre & Jessica Berman, UMBC English
  • Fred Lazarus, MICA & Tim Nohe, UMBC Visual Arts
  • Vincent Lancisi, Everyman Theatre & David Mitchell, Arena Players
  • Doreen Bolger, BMA & George Ciscle, founder, The Contemporary
  • Liz Lerman, Choreographer & Sharayna Christmas Rose, Muse 360
  • Kalima Young, The Baltimore Art + Justice Project & Nicole King, UMBC American Studies
  • Marvin Pinkert, Jewish Museum of Maryland & Kevin Griffin Moreno ‘95, Full Circle Storytelling

Moderator: Tom Hall, Baltimore Choral Arts Society & WYPR Radio Host

4:30–6:30 p.m.
Tours of the building

7–8:30 p.m.
Inaugural Lecture: The Humanities Forum Presents “The Humanities, Without Apology,” featuring Pauline Yu, President of the American Council of Learned Societies
Proscenium Theatre, followed by dessert reception in PAHB Lobby
Students, faculty, and staff can pick up free tickets at The Commons information desk until September 18. Tickets will also be available at the door.
(An additional calendar listing with more details will be posted.)

Public Forum on the Performing Arts & Humanities Building (5/2)

Performing Arts & Humanities Building image courtesy of Whiting-Turner

Facilities Management and the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences cordially invite the campus to a public forum to learn about the new Performing Arts & Humanities Building.

Phase I of the building is scheduled to open in Fall 2012 and includes space for the Departments of English and Theatre, as well as the Dresher Center for the Humanities, the Humanities Scholars Program and the Linehan Scholars Program. Phase II, scheduled to begin construction this summer and to open in 2014, includes space for the Departments of Ancient Studies, Dance, Music and Philosophy.

The forum will be held on Wednesday, May 2, from 12 to 1 p.m. in ITE Building Room 102.