Green News | Arts & entertainment


The Frederick Arts Council’s Sky Stage was recognized for its environmentally friendly design and practices by the Frederick County Sustainability Commission with a 2021 Sustainability Award in the category of nonprofit.

Each year, the commission recognizes individuals, nonprofits and commercial businesses across Frederick County who are making great strides in helping the county achieve improved sustainability. Awards take into account leadership, innovation and success in sustainability for efforts including energy efficiency, renewable energy, air and water quality, reuse and recycle, quality of life and more.

Sky Stage, designed by artist Heather Clark in collaboration with the Massachusetts of Institutes of Technology’s Digital Structures research group, is a public art piece as well as an outdoor amphitheater, hosting nearly 200 events a season. It reduces energy consumption and water usage by utilizing a rain barrel, which allows the green sculpture made of two stories of plantings to be self-watered.

Clark’s background in green-building projects, environmental science, community planning and fine art coalesced into this vision for a new kind of sustainable, building-scale public art/community venue. Located in Frederick’s historic downtown, FAC’s Sky Stage features a two-story sculpture, lined with drought-resistant plants.

“We’re past a critical tipping point when it comes to climate change and we need to embrace creative and truly innovative solutions and approaches to the way we live and consume resources,” said Louise Kennelly, executive director of the Frederick Arts Council. “Artists such as Heather Clark in partnership with technological innovators such as the engineers at MIT came up with both a practical and beautiful approach to presenting and operating an arts venue.”

While FAC’s mission is to advance the arts in Frederick, the organization takes many opportunities to raise awareness about climate, exhibiting a year-long installation on flooding, for example, and showcasing eight artists celebrating the natural resources at barns throughout the county with barn-art installations this past year.

Sustainability Award recipients were honored on Oct. 14 at a virtual awards ceremony for 2020 and 2021 awardees sponsored by the commission.


Stone Pillar Farm, located at 6316 Mount Phillip Road on the west side of Frederick, recently joined Frederick Fresh Online as both its newest producer and its fourth customer pickup site for locally grown nutritious foods. Stone Pillar Farm is a small family farm specializing in pasture-raised meat and eggs. They follow holistic regenerative farming practices that enhance soil health and ecosystem biodiversity, improve water and air quality, reduce erosion, produce nutrient-dense food, and store carbon to help mitigate the effects of climate change.

Farmer Michael Fahrner moves their meat chickens daily and their laying hens every other day in mobile coops and tractors. They process their chickens on farm with their own equipment.

“Our soil is bursting with life. Every step through the pasture sends spiders and grasshoppers running, and a flashlight at night reveals thousands of earth worms diving for their holes. We have allowed our stream banks to regrow with all sorts of plant life which is now keeping the banks from eroding, which was a big problem when we first arrived,” said Fahrner who loves to share the benefits of regenerative practices with visitors.

Frederick Fresh Online functions like a year-round farmers market, with customers placing orders online with more than a dozen producers Thursdays through Sundays. Farmers and producers harvest, pack and deliver only what customers buy to FFO’s aggregation site at Bar-T Mountainside in Urbana, where each Wednesday volunteers aggregate, pack and distribute customer orders. Customers pick up their orders on the same day from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at one of four locations: Frederick Friends Meeting at 723 N. Market St. in Frederick, Bar-T Mountainside at 2914 Roderick Road in Urbana, Solid Rock Assembly of God at 3726 Clay St. in Point of Rocks, and Stone Pillar Farm.

To learn more about Frederick Fresh Online and access the online shopping platform, visit For assistance with online shopping, or if interested in volunteering or becoming a producer or pickup location, email market manager Lisa Orr at [email protected].

Kenneth Proto

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