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Final Version of Arlington Arts Report Released

by Katie Pyzyk October 25, 2011 at 1:46 pm 3,063 8 Comments

The Arlington Commission for the Arts has released the final version of its report for a long-term plan, called “Arlington Arts 2030.” The report outlines recommendations for supporting the arts in Arlington over the next 20 years, replacing the previous plan that was in place since the 1990s.

The year-long process of devising the report has involved several revisions based on comments gathered at public meetings and through emails. Committee members had noted during the public meetings that although it’s difficult to predict exactly what the county’s needs will be in 20 years, Arlington has experienced a steady push toward urbanization. The report assumes such a push will continue, and therefore arts programs should expand accordingly.

The report suggests that although desire for arts has increased in the community, avenues for acquiring funding have decreased. As a result, among the more than two dozen recommended actions listed is the idea of restructuring grant programs. Other suggestions include raising funds for an arts facility renovation, revising policies for renting facilites and marketing the arts to promote audience growth.

One overall goal of the revamped plan is to offer more low-cost, easily accessible and varied forms of performing and visual arts throughout the county. Another is to improve diversity among the arts community.

Artisphere received a specific mention in the report due to the challenges it faced at the start. However, it was noted that challenges will always present themselves, making government and community support of the arts vital. Despite the initial difficulties, the report deemed the opening of Artisphere a successful first step in implementing the county’s arts vision.

You can read the entire report here.

  • Rosslynite

    Maybe I can get a grant to dump a whole bunch of green dye into Four Mile Run and take overhead pictures of it.

    • TGEoA

      If you filmed yourself taking a dump in Four Mile Run you would probably get a grant as well — if you took it in black & white.

  • that’s art?????

    • Clarendon

      I know, right? It looks like a plexiglass model of a cancer cell from pre-med.

  • Andrew

    I like art as much as the next guy, but this is silly. Why does Arlington need a twenty year plan for supporting art?

    The report suggests that the desire for arts in the community has increased, but one of the suggestions in the report is marketing to promote audience growth?

    Before spending money on this, shouldn’t there be a demand? Does Artisphere not demonstrate that there is no demand?

    • Novanglus

      Artisphere demonstrates poor execution of a metropolitan quality arts center, and a low demand for fringe quality art. It doesn’t say anything about the demand for art in general. There are plenty of successful arts organizations in the area that demonstrate a high demand for high quality art. The key is for the government to be the landlord and seed funder, and to recruit high quality tenants to manage the programs — to replicate the success at Signature and the Crystal Forum.

      Artisphere is failing because it’s run by unaccountable gov-ees with an affinity for quirky, fringy, avant-garde art — stuff that’s well-suited for a burned-out warehouse district, but not an expensive class-A space in a high-end business district.

  • MomOfTeens

    Nice they are going to support art in Arlington, but how about they support artists in Arlington – by featuring some of our art instead of importing it from outside Arlington.

  • Arts advocate

    It’s slightly frustrating to me that “Artisphere” is even mentioned in this article, though it was mentioned in the report, because it brings up all the animosity folks have towards what is, in my humble opinion, a bad example of the Arts in Arlington and NoVa for that matter. I can’t say it’s a total failure (though I won’t say I haven’t said it before) because clearly someone must support it or it wouldn’t still exist, but it’s certainly not on my top 100 Arts projects/organizations in the area.

    I think in general, and again just my opinion, people in the area who don’t participate in the arts (or don’t realize they do by going to any show, concert series, free performance or display, etc.) in the area don’t realize the impact well run arts programs and organizations can have on a community. My views generally stem a little further to the right than a lot of Arlington, although a lot of people are convinced all artists or far off in left field… but just as I am more for local government vs national government, I’m for community in general.

    I think people need to think before they say that arts and artists shouldn’t have government funding or grants and realize that if all arts organizations had to be privately funded you’d get a lot of things you wouldn’t be happy about… that small theater where you took your kids to a show that didn’t cost an arm and a leg (or sometimes even as much as a movie ticket these days) may have to close down after it tries to raise all of its ticket prices to cover the lost revenue from grants, or it succeeds and we have our own mini Broadway… a place where everyone knows the shows and theaters “wow” and are great, but the average Joe can’t really afford to go there, and wouldn’t dream of spending that much to take a child to a $100 show (at best).

    And although every system has its flaws, I fully support Arlington County Schools and I think we need to consider government funding for arts programs OFTEN includes programs that branch out of or off of school programs (or use school facilities at a charge that gives some of the funding back to the county to use). It worries me to know that schools are cutting back on arts hours and classes though I know Arlington has done quite a bit to not drop them completely like a lot of other schools throughout the country. I apologize for going off topic on that one specifically, but just wanted to put it out there while I share my thoughts. 🙂


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