UMBC’s Performing Arts and Humanities Building is home to Earl and Darielle Linehan Concert Hall, the Proscenium Theatre, the Dance Cube, the Black Box Theatre, the Music Box, and other arts performance venues. Information about performances, lectures and other events may be found on our Arts & Culture Calendar.
The building is also home to:
- Department of Ancient Studies
- Department of Dance
- Department of English
- Department of Music
- Department of Philosophy
- Department of Theatre
- Dresher Center for the Humanities
- Center for Innovation, Research and Creativity in the Arts (CIRCA)
- Humanities Scholars Program
- Linehan Artist Scholars Program
Affectionately know on campus as “the PAHB,” the building houses state-of-the-art facilities and is LEED Gold certified. The PAHB opened in 2014 and is the largest building on UMBC’s campus. The building is designed to enhance UMBC’s teaching, research, and public outreach, and to heighten the visibility of the arts and humanities as major components of campus and community life.
In fall 2014, the PAHB received two significant accolades from the architecture and design community. The American Institute of Architects Baltimore chapter, at its annual Excellence in Design gala, awarded the PAHB the top prize in its Higher Education category, and the Urban Land Institute bestowed upon the building its 2014 Wavemaker Award, which recognizes projects that are truly unique, innovative, and visionary.
“The Performing Arts and Humanities Building,” said The Baltimore Sun’s fine arts critic, Tim Smith, “makes quite a statement from almost every angle — the sun-reflecting, stainless-steel-wrapped Concert Hall; the glass-enclosed Dance Cube jutting from the structure; views of the downtown Baltimore skyline from upper floors.”
One of the most exciting elements of the Performing Arts and Humanities Building stands just outside the building’s entrance: a significant new work of public art, Forum (2014), by Thomas Sayre (b. 1950). In the 20′ x 80′ site, eight arches stand up to thirty feet high, circling around smaller square granite seating elements, all with soft evening lighting. Designed as a metaphor for the content which links the performing arts with the humanities, the sculpture also creates an inviting outdoor space—part stage, part gathering place—for a community to engage with one another. The arches are what the artist calls “earth castings”—reinforced concrete with iron oxide cast in molds dug from the earth.
Thomas Sayre has designed and built public art projects throughout the world and has participated in design teams for civic, educational, and museum buildings. “Forum was designed as a stand-alone art experience viewed as a sculpture,” he explained, “but it is also to be experienced as a place. The space created by the sculpture can be entered, can be occupied, and can be used. The composition is designed to create a place for conversation, for the meeting of small classes, a place where spontaneous and planned performances are encouraged.” The sculpture site has become a point of convergence for the campus community—students, faculty, and staff gather under its arches to read, converse and contemplate.
The Maryland Public Art Initiative funded the design and construction of the artwork through the Maryland Commission on Public Art and the Maryland State Arts Council. As required in legislation passed in 2013, the Maryland Public Art Initiative integrates public art enhancements into all state-funded construction and renovation projects.
The Performing Arts and Humanities Building is located about 15 minutes from Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and about 25 minutes from the Washington Beltway (I-495). From the roadway, the Concert Hall’s exterior is easily recognized by its shiny stainless steel façade and its distinctive “thumbprint,” as seen in the image below.
From downtown Baltimore, take I-95 south, then take Exit 47B and follow clearly marked signs to Route 166 and UMBC. As you enter the campus, proceed straight through the first roundabout, and then turn left at the second roundabout to merge onto the inner loop of Hilltop Circle, the road that surrounds the campus. At the traffic light at Hilltop Road, take a right, and then an immediate left into Parking Lot 8.
From I-695, take Exit 12C onto Wilkens Avenue heading west. At the roundabout, turn left to enter campus on Hilltop Road. Proceed straight through the traffic light, and then take an immediate left into Parking Lot 8.
From the Washington area, take I-95 north toward Baltimore, then take Exit 47B and follow clearly marked signs to Route 166 and UMBC. As you enter the campus, proceed straight through the first roundabout, and then turn left at the second roundabout to merge onto the inner loop of Hilltop Circle, the road that surrounds the campus. At the traffic light at Hilltop Road, take a right, and then an immediate left into Parking Lot 8.
For GPS devices, use Geocode 39.255363 -76.715370. Please note that the entire UMBC campus has one street address — 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250 — so Google and Apple maps may not provide sufficient detail.
You are welcome to park in Lot 8 for all evening and weekend events free of charge. If you’re visiting Monday through Friday during work hours, please plan to use pay parking in Lot 9 (limited visitor parking, located immediately behind the PAHB), the Administration Drive Garage (visitor parking), or the Walker Avenue Garage (visitor parking). For more information, please visit here.
Performing Arts and Humanities Building venues are available for rental on a limited basis. Please contact Caroline Mulcahy, the building’s operations manager, at PAHBevents@umbc.edu or 410-455-2960.
Photos by Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC.