Linking Law & the Arts

Collaborating with Baltimore's leading professional theater company to produce an original, dramatic presentation of the Brown v. Board of Education case in celebration of the historic decision's 50th anniversary.

Bringing together a top Hollywood casting director, an actor from NBC's Homicide: Life on the Street, a playwright and a theater director for a fascinating panel discussion about non-traditional casting, illustrated by actors of different races, genders, and disabilities performing scenes in roles where they may not traditionally be considered.

Hosting a national gathering of film scholars, critics, and law professors for a two-day conference, "The Impact of Film on Law, Lawyers and the Legal System," addressing the growing influence of contemporary film—features and documentaries—on culture and assessing the significance of inexpensive emerging media technologies for filmmakers and the general population.

Any of these programs would be at home in a fine arts graduate program. But all have been staged by the University of Maryland School of Law, in conjunction with local arts organizations, as part of the innovative "Linking Law and Arts" series. The programs accomplish complementary goals, using theater and art to help address complex legal, social and public policy issues, while using the lens of law and society to help the public better understand theater and art.

Many of the "Law and Arts" programs relate to the themes and topics of ongoing performances and exhibits.

Recent successful ventures include a joint program with CenterStage exploring issues legal issues related to estates and trusts surrounding Thomas Gibbons' play Permanent Collection and a collaboration with the Hippodrome Theater that focused on the social context surrounding the musical Hairspray. Another unique opportunity was a chance to work with the CenterStage and the Baltimore City Public Schools to explore the death penalty issues at the center of the play The Exonerated.

Read more about the Linking Law & the Arts Program in a recent edition of J.D., the School of Law's alumni magazine.