The second season of the College Park City-University Partnership’s outdoor performance series will start Sept. 8.
Held at Northgate Park on Mondays and Little Tavern Park on Fridays, the series will put on two performances a week until Nov. 3.
The series is a collaboration between CPCUP, the College Park Arts Exchange, the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, the University of Maryland’s music school and the City of College Park. Katherine Murdock, a viola professor at this university’s music school, is on the 15-person committee that puts the series together with input from each of the member organizations. Murdock and her students also performed on violas in Little Tavern Park last series.
“It really helps to activate public space in the city, which is important and helps to bring together the city and university communities,” Eric Olson, executive director of CPCUP, said.
Olson said the performances are held in “visible public spaces with high pedestrian activity” so the College Park community — city residents, students and visitors — can benefit from the effort. Little Tavern Park is in downtown College Park and Northgate Park is south of The Varsity on Route 1.
Allison Hughes, College Park Arts Exchange board member and College Park Chorale director, said the series is great for forging relationships between residents and musicians. Residents don’t have to go to The Clarice or other venues to hear performances — they can be mere passerby who stop to listen, she said.
District 2 Councilman P.J. Brennan said holding the performances is a form of “placemaking” — the process of transforming public spaces into vital components of a community. Those who come to the performances might decide to patronize other nearby businesses too, he said.
“There were people walking to and from campus … we had a bunch of people drop in and listen and talk to us about the music,” Hughes said of her performance with her choir. “I found it really an enjoyable performance.”
A call for local artists to participate in this series was posted by CPCUP last week. Currently, only one performance in the upcoming series has been scheduled. On Nov. 3, local acoustic band Paint Branch Creek will perform at Little Tavern Park. Eleven performances were held during the previous series. The performers included College Park Academy students, university students and other city residents.
College Park’s art scene is great for these types of events, Murdock said.
“It’s a very fertile creative environment here by the university, and not just because of the university,” Murdock said.
The university as well as private businesses like Milkboy Arthouse can also hold public performances, Brennan said. A number of events are already scheduled to be held at Milkboy Arthouse in the coming months. Students from the university’s music school often perform at Busboys and Poets in Hyattsville as well, Murdock said.
“As musicians, we are able to give a lot to our community, and this is a very simple way to … give enjoyment to people who are there and share what we spend our lives doing,” Murdock said.