BlackRock Center for the Arts, the leading venue for the performing and visual arts in Upper Montgomery County, MD, provides the community with the highest level of quality performances, free gallery exhibitions and arts education classes in a welcoming and intimate setting close to home.
Reaching more than 40,000 people per year, BlackRock presents performances featuring top regional, national and international touring talent from the worlds of jazz, blues, Celtic, folk, world, and bluegrass, as well as contemporary theater for audiences of all ages.
Envisioned and established through a grassroots effort, BlackRock has been operating in a beautiful building completed in 2002. We’ve come a long way since then, and the best is yet to come! Thank you for your interest in learning more about who we are and what we do—we hope you will visit us for a performance, in a class or at a gallery exhibit soon.
BlackRock Center for the Arts brings inspiring performing and visual arts experiences to diverse audiences in a welcoming and intimate setting, providing opportunities to explore, celebrate and engage in the arts.
Our overarching goals are to:
- Present programs and artistic experiences of the highest quality to attract, retain and grow participation in the arts.
- Facilitate opportunities for engagement, development and life-long learning in the range of artistic disciplines.
- Reflect, celebrate and engage the diversity of our communities through programming and participation at all levels of our organization.
- Ensure the future of the arts in our community through sustainability of programs and resources.
In the early 1990s, a group of Germantown, Maryland residents began to promote the concept of an arts center that would be located within their community. Their idea became a rallying point for Germantown’s active civic leadership. Within a year, the Germantown Cultural Arts Center, Inc. (d/b/a BlackRock Center for the Arts) was founded as a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) organization to develop, own and manage BlackRock.
Developers of the town center in Germantown, Maryland contributed the land while the Milestone developers made cash contributions to be used for the construction of the new, state-of-the-art, 30,878-square foot facility. Sachs Morgan Studio, theater design specialists of New York, designed BlackRock with Bowie • Gridley Architects, P.L.L.C. of Washington, D.C. serving as additional design consultants and completing the work. Synthesis, Inc. of Columbia, Maryland provided project management and Hencken and Gaines Construction Company oversaw general construction.
For the design of BlackRock, the concept was to have art be an architectural component —not an afterthought. From committee discussions, the idea emerged that Germantown was at a crossroads in its history—it used to be a small town, but was rapidly growing. BlackRock was symbolic of that growth—Germantown was now at a point in its development to warrant a quality arts center. The lobby floor and monoliths are a tribute to Germantown’s past. The terrazzo floor clearly shows that history with its tiling symbolic of cornstalk and patchwork farm acreage, Seneca Creek, the railroad and BlackRock Mill. The monoliths are “earth casts,” with the idea being that they come from the earth, so a part of Germantown’s farming heritage is now part of the building through the earth cast monoliths. The monoliths show the strength and permanence of Germantown. The building pays tribute to Germantown’s history while being an integral part of Germantown’s future. Artist Thomas Sayre of North Carolina was commissioned to capture this philosophy and crafted the striking works of art.
The groundbreaking was held in January 2001, construction was completed in the summer of 2002, and the building was opened to the public in September 2002. BlackRock Center for the Arts held its grand opening celebration on December 7, 2002.