The Clarice started its new season with a four-day NextNOW Festival beginning Thursday, which featured balloon art, thought-provoking discussion and performances from both on-campus and off-campus groups.

The first two evenings gave students the opportunity to watch performances from a variety of artists, which included performances by the Terrapin Beats Society, the Gamer Symphony Orchestra, Too Many Zooz and the Neo-Futurists.

NextNOW did more than simply showcase entertainment.

Friday’s events included a Thinkathon, led by Sheri Parks, an associate professor of American Studies, where students discussed improving the development of College Park with regard to entertainment venues, shops, cafe and pedestrian safety.

Briana Downs, a sophomore vocal performance and English double major, said the discussion engaged students and allowed for a productive open forum.

“Going to the seminar and seeing that so many people brought ideas – I felt like it really enlightened everyone and opened up their minds,” Downs said. “I wish that more people had attended.”

Jessica Doermann, a sophomore fire protection and engineering major, said she shared many of her ideas about how to turn College Park into a hub for culture and art during the Thinkathon.

“One of the biggest changes we talked about,” Doermann said, “is improving the general aesthetics of College Park – adding mosaics on the bridges, gardens in the medians – simple things like that.”

Although the NextNOW concluded today, the festival gave students a hint of what to expect during The Clarice’s 2014-15 season.

Nathan Rennich, a sophomore architecture major, said the festival created a strong sense of art awareness on campus.

“[NextNOW] was a really good way to draw people into The Clarice,” Rennich said. “I feel like a lot of people hadn’t been there before, and it showed me how interesting the building was and the diversity of activities available to the campus.”


writersblocheadshots09Victoria Tanner is a sophomore journalism major and can be reached at

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