Development Exacerbating Metro’s Capacity Problem — New development near Metro stations, including a nearly-completed office tower and planned apartment tower in Rosslyn, is expected to further tax the already-busy Metrorail system. Also adding to Metro’s capacity woes, particularly along the Blue and Orange lines: new riders who will be coming aboard along the soon-to-open Silver Line. [Washington Post]
Nearly 1,000 Brave Rain for E-CARE Event – Nearly 1,000 people braved cold and rain to recycle hazardous household materials, electronics and other items on Saturday’s biannual E-CARE event. About 34.6 tons of hazardous materials and 15 tons of electronics were dropped off, according to Arlington officials. That compares to 41.5 tons of hazardous materials and 11.5 tons of electronics last fall.
No Room in Arlington for New High School — There’s no place to put a fourth high school in Arlington. That’s the conclusion reached by Arlington Public Schools staff, which has been studying options for increasing the school system’s capacity on the high school level. Despite the fact that Arlington’s high schools are all recently built or renovated, they’re all either over or approaching capacity as the student population continues to grow. [Sun Gazette, Arlington Public Schools]
‘Monkeys With Typewriters’ at Artisphere — A local writing group called Monkeys With Typewriters meets weekly at Artisphere. The group includes writers working on novels and other projects. [Ode Street Tribune]
Flickr pool photo by eschweik
Pop artist Andy Warhol’s famed Silver Clouds exhibit opened at Artisphere with a celebratory bash Thursday night.
Attendees got to play with the floating, metallic balloons in Artisphere’s Terrace Gallery. There are more than 150 of the carefully maintained “clouds,” which are on loan from the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.
The exhibit will be on display and open to the public until Sunday Oct. 20, at 1101 Wilson Blvd.
Photos courtesy of Nick Khazal
Andy Warhol’s famous Silver Clouds exhibit is open starting tonight at Artisphere.
The cultural center, at 1101 Wilson Blvd, will be hosting the exhibit’s 150 inflated silver balloons — on loan from the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh — until Sunday, Oct. 20, and it will host a kickoff party for the event tonight (Thursday) from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.
Silver Clouds will be presented free to the public in Artisphere’s Terrace Gallery. The clouds, which are filled with a delicate balance of air and helium, are free for visitors to walk among and touch.
The exhibition will be complemented by a series of public programs, including a commissioned dance performance and interactive workshop by Dance Exchange. Spanish new media artist Sergio Albiac will also be creating a commissioned generative portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama inspired by Andy Warhol’s signature portraiture.
Photo courtesy of Brandon Pass and Artisphere
A local band, with the help of collaborators, will perform for eight hours straight at Artisphere tomorrow to promote its new EP release.
Bella Russia, based in D.C., will perform Sept. 7 from noon to 8:00 p.m. in Artisphere’s Black Box Theatre, at 1101 Wilson Blvd. The band is releasing its new EP, “Epaulet,” Saturday and — once the marathon concert is over — hosting a release party from 8:00 to 11:00 p.m. with performances by other artists and a cash bar.
Visitors will be able to watch the performance from a viewing window above the theater and will only allowed to enter the theater during the afterparty. The Sea Life and Janel and Anthony will be performing during the release party.
“With a live show consisting of manic instrument changes, unexpected arrangements, and blistering instrumentation, D.C.-based Bella Russia falls somewhere between rhythmic avant-indie and progressive instrumental,” according to The Pink Line Project‘s announcement of the event. “On stage, the band layers and builds their driving and occasionally nerdy compositions into sounds that at times seem too impossibly complex to be coming from a trio.”
Photo by Yassine el Mansouri, via Artisphere
Real Estate Tax Delinquencies Rise — The number of real estate tax delinquencies in Arlington rose slightly this year, compared to one year prior. A total of 407 taxpayers missed the June 15 real estate tax deadline this year, compared to 387 last year. Those who miss the June 15 deadline are subject to a 10 percent penalty plus accumulating interest. [Sun Gazette]
Comic-Making Exhibit at Artisphere — Starting today through Nov. 3, comic book artists will be taking up residency in Artisphere for the creation of a new comic. On Thursday evenings and Saturday afternoons, the public can watch the artists at work, and try their hand at their own comic creations. [DC Conspiracy, Ode Street Tribune]
Lt. Gov. Debate at GMU Arlington Campus — A debate between the Republican and Democratic candidate for Virginia lieutenant governor will be held at Founders Hall on George Mason University’s Arlington campus next month. E.W. Jackson (R) will be debate Ralph Northam (D) starting at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 24.
Flickr pool photo by N ARLINGTON ST
Moran, Wolf Visit Gitmo — Last Friday, Reps. Jim Moran (D-Va.) and Frank Wolf (R-Va.) visited the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, where suspected foreign terrorists are held and interrogated. Moran, who has said that keeping the facility open “is not worth the damage it continues to inflict on our international standing,” said after the trip that he hopes to work out a compromise with Wolf, who supports keeping the facility open. [Sun Gazette]
Shirlington Oktoberfest Date Set — This year’s Shirlington Oktoberfest, the largest of its kind in N. Va., will take place on Saturday, Oct. 5. Over 50 breweries will be represented. [Shirlington Village Blog Spot]
Silver Clouds will consist of 150 silver balloons suspended in the air after being filled with a careful mix of helium and air, according to Artisphere. Artisphere has started an IndieGogo campaign to try to raise $10,000 to offset the cost of maintaining the balloons’ delicate inflation balance.
The exhibit will open Thursday, Sept. 12 in the Terrace Gallery and will be free to the public. Silver Clouds will be on loan from The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pa., and will be open until Sunday, Oct. 20.
Artisphere is located at 1101 Wilson Blvd. Opening night will be from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m.
“This uplifting installation defies the traditional perceived constrictions of art,” the Artisphere press release announcing the event states, “as the Silver Clouds interact with the viewer and each other, inviting response and igniting a sense of wonder.”
The exhibition will be complemented by a series of public programs, including a commissioned dance piece and interactive workshop by Dance Exchange. Spanish new media artist Sergio Albiac will be creating a commissioned generative portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama inspired by Andy Warhol’s signature portraiture.
Photo courtesy of Brandon Pass and Artisphere
The Right Note is a weekly opinion column published on Thursdays. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.
At the State of the County breakfast hosted by the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, County Board Chairman Walter Tejada was asked pointedly about the heavy taxpayer subsidies going to the Artisphere.
The question noted that it cost roughly $40 in taxpayer subsidy for every visitor to the arts center. The question was asked in context of the arts center the board had promised would be ready to turn a profit by now.
As he was assuring those in attendance (again) that the Artisphere was on the cusp of profitability, Tejada wondered aloud what it cost taxpayers for every library card holder. The suggestion was that we are actually getting a good deal on the Artisphere compared to our libraries.
There are approximately 120,000 library cards for Arlington libraries, which have a budget of around $12.4 million. So, the correct answer to the question Tejada asked is around $100.
However, that is not really a fair comparison. The question related to each and every visit to the Artisphere requiring a $40 taxpayer subsidy. So, if we set aside the Tejada reference to library cards and look at library visits instead, the answer is completely different.
According to the County Board work sessions document for Fiscal Year 2013, the estimate was 2,041,288 patron visits to all the library branches this year at a taxpayer cost of $12,429,434. So, it costs taxpayers $6.09 per patron visit for the libraries. In other words, it costs nearly seven times more per patron to visit the Artisphere than it does for each visit to the library. This, of course, does not take into account all of the books that are checked out online and read on various e-readers and tablets. This would almost certainly drive the per “visit” cost down if accounted for in a similar way.
Tejada’s answer also compares the entire library system to one arts center and its cost. However, it is not our only line item of arts-related spending for the year. We could also add the per-patron cost of the $250,000 Signature Theater bailout. And, we could add the per visit cost for any programs sponsored by the nearly $2 million the County spends on Cultural Affairs. These numbers might bring the average cost down, or might drive it up.
Wherever the final per visit cost lands, the Artisphere’s “bang for the buck” is likely going to fall well short of the value our libraries provide. This is not to say the arts are not important to our community. However, the County Board Chairman offered little more than political spin in response to a valid question on a controversial project – a project on which the County Board continues to over-promise and under-deliver.
Mark Kelly is a former Arlington GOP Chairman and two-time Republican candidate for Arlington County Board.
Ladino music and Yiddish punk will be coming to Arlington this week.
Two Jewish-American musicians, Sarah Aroeste (see music video here) and Daniel Kahn (see music video, above), will be playing at Artisphere on Thursday as part of the two-week-long Washington Jewish Music Festival.
“Sarah Aroeste will open with the premiere of an unplugged version of her album ‘Gracia,’ which fuses the Judeo-Spanish sounds of Ladino music with rock, pop, jazz and funk,” said a festival press release. “Daniel Kahn and the Painted Bird employ an inimitable mixture of radical Yiddish song, punk sensibility and re-worked klezmer melodies.”
“Bringing together punk-infused Yiddish from Daniel Kahn and Judeo-Spanish sounds of Sarah Aroeste will create an exhilarating and unique experience for our community,” said festival director Lili Kalish Gersch. “This will be a festival that appeals to music lovers of all stripes and all ages and should not be missed.”
The performances will take place at Artisphere (1101 Wilson Blvd) at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $20.
Tickets and the festival schedule are available online.
Coulier is perhaps best known for playing “Uncle” Joey Gladstone on the ABC series Full House in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Other entertainment credits include hosting the show America’s Funniest People, and providing voiceovers for the animated series The Real Ghostbusters. Coulier is also widely believed to the the subject of the Alanis Morissette Song “You Oughta Know.”
Coulier will be performing stand-up comedy at Artisphere in Rosslyn (1101 Wilson Blvd) on Saturday, April 20. He will perform two shows, at 7:30 and 10:00 p.m. Tickets to each are $30.
The Michigan native will also be performing at a comedy, improv and illusion variety show at Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike) on Thursday, April 18, at 7:30 p.m. Coulier will share the stage with a master illusionist and the Porkchop Volcano improv troupe at the family-friendly (PG rated) show. Tickets are $25 and will benefit Patrick Henry Elementary School.
We last reported on Coulier when he performed at Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse in 2011.
Artisphere was budgeted to require only $1.6 million in net tax support for FY 2013, down from $2.3 million in FY 2012. With only about 3 months left in the fiscal year, however, Arlington County is projecting that Artisphere will require an additional $600,000 to $800,000, which would bring bring the actual net tax support to $2.2-$2.4 million.
County officials say the deficit is due to a combination of factors: a shortfall in revenue and higher-than-expected expenses.
“Based on Artisphere’s numbers for the first three quarters of FY13, we foresee shortages in the areas of ticketing and admission income, and overages in personnel and facility expense,” said Karen Vasquez, Cultural Affairs Director for Arlington Economic Development, which oversees Artisphere.
“Ticket and admission income is low due to a decrease in programming during the first half of FY 2013 while we hired a new programming director,” she said in an email. “Catering/concession income from large social events was over-estimated in the business plan and is also low. Temp employees were underestimated and underfunded in the business plan and are therefore running over budget.”
The budget woes come at a time when Artisphere is facing scrutiny as part of the FY 2014 budget process. County Manager Barbara Donnellan has proposed budgeting $1.8 million in net tax support in FY 2014, but dividing that up between on-going and one-time funds — with the goal of weaning the cultural center off taxpayer support.
The county is also working to set up a non-profit organization to solicit tax-deductible donations for Artisphere.
“For next year’s budget (FY14) we are currently reviewing operational options with the Manager’s office which are designed to lower overall net tax support and bring it in line with the proposed budget of $1.8 million,” Vasquez said. “In addition, we are moving toward the establishment of a 501c3 to help diversify revenue sources and to include private–sector funding as well as the current public funding.”
(Updated at 12:15 p.m.) The work of nearly 100 volunteer knitters and crocheters, a group dubbed the “Guerrilla Stitch Brigade,” is now on display for all the world to see in Rosslyn.
A stretch of Rosslyn from the Metro station to Artisphere (1101 Wilson Blvd) was “yarn bombed” on Sunday, as volunteers affixed their elaborate knits to trees, fences, parking structures and even a piano. Most of the knits — more than 1,000 stitched geometric shapes, which took some 20 weeks to create, affixed to a dozen different objects – are along Wilson Boulevard. The piano, however, is in Artisphere itself.
“The intent of this project is to lead people to Artisphere, Arlington’s visual and performing arts center,” Rosslyn Business Improvement District Executive Director Cecilia Cassidy said in a statement.
The yarn bombing is the the first of three temporary public art projects planned by the Rosslyn BID this spring, the organization said. The other projects include another yarn bomb installation, in an as-yet undisclosed location, and a fiber art installation from artist Rachel Hayes that will adorn Rosslyn’s skywalks on N. Moore Street, Nash Street and Fort Myer Drive.
An Arlington resident lauded for her involvement in the civil rights movement during the 1960s, including a stint in jail, will be featured at a special free movie showing and panel discussion tomorrow (Wednesday).
The Arlington Public Library will host a free screening of the movie “An Ordinary Hero: The True Story of Joan Mulholland.” Following the film, Joan Trumpauer Mulholland and her son Loki, who wrote and directed the movie, will take part in a panel discussion. William Pretzer, senior curator of history at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, will also be a part of the panel.
Mulholland, who is white, grew up in the South during segregation and emerged as an activist who fought for the rights of others, much to the chagrin of her parents. In 1961, Mulholland flew to Jackson, MS, to take part in civil rights demonstrations and sit-ins. She was arrested, fined $200 and jailed for three months. Despite her punishment, Mullholland continued her activism, and in 1963 took part in the infamous sit-in at the Woolworth in Jackson, MS.
In some of the historic photos above, Mulholland can be seen at sit-ins and demonstrations that took place around Arlington from June 9-23, 1960. In one, she is sitting behind activist Dion Diamond (who was arrested later that day) at the Cherrydale Drug Fair store on June 10, 1960. The two were part of the Non-Violent Action Group (NAG), which is credited with helping to push most Arlington restaurants to desegregate on June 22, 1960.
Mulholland, a long time Barcroft neighborhood resident, later taught for almost three decades at Arlington Public Schools.
The film “An Ordinary Hero” tells Mulholland’s life story and contains rare footage from the civil rights movement. The film screening and panel discussion will take place at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 27 at Artisphere (1101 Wilson Blvd).
Historic photos courtesy of Arlington Public Library and Flickr photostream by washington_area_spark
A staged reading of “The River and the Mountain” will take place at Artisphere’s Dome Theatre this Saturday, March 23, at 7:30 p.m. The dramatic comedy revolves around the life of a gay factory manager in Uganda who encounters violent reactions from family members and colleagues when he comes out at a party. The free event includes a talk back with playwright Beau Hopkins and U.S. producer/director Sarah Imes Borden.
The play made news in August 2012 when it became the first Ugandan play to have an openly gay character. Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda, as well as 36 other African nations, and punished with lengthy jail terms.
The producer of the play, David Cecil, was arrested last September for offending the Ministry of Ethics in Uganda. The charges were dropped in October due to lack of evidence that the play promoted homosexuality. Last month, however, Cecil was detained again and deported from Uganda. The next day, Uganda’s Parliament began debating a new draft of a national anti-homosexuality bill, often known around the world as the “Kill the Gays Bill.”
The original form of the bill sought the death penalty as punishment for those who are gay. Although Uganda’s Parliament has said that there’s a recommendation to drop the death penalty and instead require life imprisonment for gay individuals, the revised bill with the reported changes has not yet been made available to the public.
One of the original actors in the play when it was first staged in Uganda, Okuyo Joel Atiku Prince, was supposed to join in this weekend’s event at Artisphere, but his travel to the U.S. has been denied by the Ugandan government, according to Artisphere spokeswoman Annalisa Meyer.
Among those expected to be evaluated are the money-losing Artisphere, two community centers and two Department of Human Services facilities.
In her budget message to the County Board, Donnellan said “potential facilities to be evaluated” include the Madison and Woodmont community centers in north Arlington, the Edison Complex near Virginia Hospital Center, and the Fenwick Center on S. Walter Reed Drive.
“As our population changes and as technology changes the way we deliver services, I believe we have many opportunities to do things differently, particularly in the area of buildings and facilities,” Donnellan said. “I have asked staff to begin evaluation of some of our facilities that require significant capital investment or are underutilized — with one of our initial tasks being how we engage the community and stakeholders in these discussions.”
Possible recommendations for the facilities could include changes in use or closure, said Arlington County spokeswoman Mary Curtius.
“The evaluations will look at a full range of options, including no change in use, repurposing these facilities for a new use (County or otherwise), or potentially closure — but it’s preliminary to speculate until the process is complete,” she said. “As the Manager’s message noted, one of the initial starting points will be to get public input — and other evaluation factors will include utilization rates and building condition and age, among others.”
Also on the chopping block is Artisphere, the Rosslyn-based cultural center that opened with high expectations in 2010. As previously reported, Donnellan is including $1.8 million in taxpayer funding for Artisphere in her proposed FY 2014 budget, but warning that she’s “assessing its performance and programming model” for next year.
“We’re going to evaluate the fiscal sustainability,” she told County Board members on Wednesday. “I’m forcing them to reevaluate how they operate. It’s an expensive operation to continue and I need to evaluate it to make sure it’s sustainable.”
Photos (top, middle) via Google Maps