Family’s $2.5M Gifts to Provide Resources for Art and Education, New Outdoor Exhibition Space

Family’s $2.5M Gifts to Provide Resources for Art and Education, New Outdoor Exhibition Space

String quartet plays outside as artwork is projected onto building's walls

A new gift to the Department of Art will allow more visual art projections such as this one on the Art-Sociology building for a 2021 performance by the Thalea String Quartet. Photo by David Andrews

Three new gifts to the University of Maryland’s College of Arts and Humanities and College of Education will foster increased engagement with the arts across the campus and provide resources to education majors.

Nancy ’78 and Chuck Clarvit’s gift of $2.25 million will bolster the art department through faculty and graduate student research opportunities, arts programming, cutting-edge technology, renovated studios and an outdoor exhibition space that will highlight work produced by UMD students, faculty and visiting artists.

With an additional gift of $225,000, their daughter, Alison Clarvit ’13, M.Ed. ’14, is establishing the Clarvit Family Maryland Promise Scholarship for incoming education majors with financial need and supporting TerpsEXCEED, an inclusive UMD experience for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The family’s generosity contributed to the success of Fearless Ideas: The Campaign for Maryland, UMD’s $1.5 billion fundraising effort.

"We are thankful to the Clarvit family and their commitment to providing artists with enhanced opportunities for innovation," said Bonnie Thornton Dill, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities. "UMD is invested in bridging traditional and new art forms to nurture creativity and break boundaries in art-making.”

The Clarvits’ gift to the art department comes as the university is deepening its commitment to the arts through the new, campuswide Arts for All initiative, which helps accelerate innovation and spark new ways of thinking through collaborations across the arts, sciences and other disciplines. 

The arts and humanities are “a very important component of what a university has to teach and what it brings to society,” said Chuck Clarvit, CEO of Clarvit Capital. “So we are focusing our efforts to make sure that the humanities flourish at Maryland.”

The gift will fund scholarships for students in the graphic design program, in a nod to Nancy’s major at UMD and her career as an art director, as well as technology updates, graduate research, workshops, student exhibitions and the renovated studio space. The outdoor courtyard, on the third floor of the Parren J. Mitchell Art-Sociology Building, will be outfitted with a 25-by-30-foot interactive projection screen that will display students’ work.

“This is going to be a dynamic space where people can gather to view artwork and where students can apply what they're learning in the classroom,” said Associate Professor Brandon Morse, department chair.

The opportunity to have one’s work displayed publicly is critical to student success, said Nancy Clarvit, a trustee with the University of Maryland, College Park Foundation. She and her husband previously created a travel fund for design students as well as a lecture series that features prominent designers and creative professionals. 

“I feel that when the students can get to see their artwork on display, they want to strive to be even better,” she said.

Alison Clarvit, a College of Education graduate who works with students with special needs in Manhattan, is supporting the college where she got her professional start. The A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation will match $125,000 of her gift as a part of the Clark Challenge for the Maryland Promise to create the scholarship. The program also provides academic and career mentoring for undergraduates from Maryland and Washington, D.C.

“I want to make sure that people can study whatever they are most interested in without fear of not being able to afford their education,” said Alison.

The Clarvit Family Maryland Promise Scholarship will make that possible, said College of Education Interim Dean Laura Stapleton. She added that the support for TerpsEXCEED “will help students with developmental and intellectual disabilities transition with ease and find fulfillment in their desired careers. Their gift ensures that every student, with or without disabilities, has equitable footing in accomplishing their goals and dreams."

Original news article written by Sala Levin

November 16, 2021

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