Sky Stage: Artist transforms burned building into living art and a temporary theatre

Most buildings that suffer from a major fire very rarely recover. So it came as a pleasant surprise when artist Heather Clark decided to transform a boarded-up property in Frederick, Maryland into an interactive living artwork. Something that the entire local community could visit and enjoy.

Working in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Digital Structures research group, Sky Stage is only a temporary venture. Based in a pre-revolutionary war building that was damaged by a blaze in 2010, the structure has no roof but is now a centre for arts and culture, able to seat an audience of 140 people among trees.

The centrepiece of Sky Stage is a digitally-designed two-story living sculpture with ribbons of drought-resistant plants that twist and wind through a wooden lattice and the building’s doors and windows. State of the art green roof technology has been modified to support the spiralling plants, and rainwater is collected from an adjacent roof to be stored in a cistern to irrigate the plants and trees.

Frederick Arts Council is overseeing the day-to-day operations of the theatre in partnership with AmeriCorps. Together, they are facilitating local residents and community groups to run creative shows and events within the historic shell. Open through to July 2017, Sky Stage is offering up a wonderful feast of drama, music, children’s storytime, art classes, dance, history, literature, and film. Discover more at or follow the venture on Facebook.


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