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News, Events, Exhibits


Indelible Ephemera exhibition at MSPAL gallery

Indelible Ephemera: Posters and Fliers from Special Collections in Performing Arts

An audience’s initial interaction a with a concert, a new play, or a choreographer’s new dance piece does not always occur when performers first take the stage. Promotional posters and fliers—affixed to bare walls, stapled to telephone poles, or handed out on the street—are often the first point of contact between an artistic work and audience members. In an 8 ½” x 11” leaflet or a 27” x 40” poster, graphic designers distill the core of a new work in letterform and illustration.

Indelible Ephemera celebrates these promotional materials,which were intended for short-term use but live on as artifacts of a performance, rich with enduring informational value. The exhibit highlights notable posters and fliers from the worlds of dance, theatre, popular music, and punk rock. All materials are drawn
from Special Collections in Performing Arts (SCPA) at the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library.

Rarely-seen works are displayed from notable, D.C.-rooted artists like Lou Stovall, Lloyd McNeill, and Paul Reed. These works are examples of how, for many artists, designing performing arts posters was an important part of their careers, despite the work’s functional purpose. Indelible Ephemera reconsiders poster design not as separate from the creative event it promoted, but as an integral point of contact between audience and performer.

This exhibit runs through August 2024.

The theatre portion of Indelible Ephemera



Boden Sandstrom exhibit in MSPAL's Lowens Room (October 2023-May 2024)

Performing Arts Library, Room 1517

Current exhibition

Boden Sandstrom: Cultivating Music, Community, and Feminism

Trail blazing sound engineer, key element of the DC Women’s Music scene, activist, librarian, and ethnomusicologist, Dr. Boden Sandstrom has worked throughout her life with diligence and intent towards justice. Special Collections in Performing Arts (SCPA) at the University of Maryland is excited to announce our new exhibit highlighting the impact of Dr. Sandstrom’s career, Boden Sandstrom: Cultivating Music, Community, and Feminism. On display in the Irving and Margery Morgan Lowens Reading Room of SCPA within the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library, this exhibit uses photographs, recordings, documents and more to showcase the far-reaching impact of Dr. Sandstrom’s life and work.

Boden Sandstrom: Cultivating Music, Community, and Feminism documents Dr. Sandstrom’s experience as a member and documentarian of the lesbian music scene in Washington, D.C. Beginning with the establishment of her sound mixing company Woman Sound Inc. (which ultimately became City Sound Productions Inc.), and concluding with her work for UMD both with audio technology and in ethnomusicology, this exhibit will show her transformation from practitioner to teacher and academic, while chronicling the local communities she touched through her work and passion.

This exhibit runs through spring 2024.

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