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 art education classes in a welcoming and intimate setting close to home.
Now in its 14th season, reaching more than 17,000 people per year, BlackRock presents performances featuring top regional, national and international touring talent from various music genres, such as pop, jazz, roots, rock, blues, folk, and classical. As well as other top dance and theater performances for young and family audiences.
BlackRock Center for the Arts engages the communities of Upper Montgomery County to explore, experience and celebrate the arts.
In the early 1990s, a group of Germantown, Maryland residents began promoting the concept of an arts center within their own 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 also provided project management, and Hencken and Gaines Construction Company oversaw general construction.
BlackRock’s design was inspired by the idea of incorporating art as a foundation of the overall architecture of the building. From committee discussions, the idea emerged that Germantown was at a crossroads in its history, since the population of the small town was rapidly growing, with even greater growth to come. BlackRock was symbolic of Germantown’s growth because was now at a point in its development to warrant a quality art center. The lobby floor and monoliths are a tribute to Germantown’s past. The terrazzo floor clearly shows that history, with its symbolic cornstalk and patchwork farm acreage, and tiling representing 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. Commissioned by the committee to capture this philosophy, artist Thomas Sayre of North Carolina crafted the striking works of art.
BlackRock’s construction began in January 2001, completed in the summer of 2002, and the building opened to the public in September 2002. BlackRock Center for the Arts held its grand opening celebration on December 7, 2002.