New Programming Director Named at Artisphere

by Katie Pyzyk October 26, 2011 at 9:10 am 3,805 18 Comments

Arlington’s year-old arts venue has named a new programming director. Artisphere (1101 Wilson Blvd) welcomes Rosanna Ruscetti, who has previously worked as a programmer at George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium.

This announcement comes the same week the Arlington Commission for the Arts released its final version of a long-term plan, called “Arlington Arts 2030.” The report specifically mentioned Artisphere and the challenges it faced when opening a year ago. But the report also called Artisphere a successful first step in implementing the county’s arts vision.

Low revenue, low attendance, a lack of a restaurant for seven months and staffing issues plagued Artisphere from the start. But it revamped its business plan earlier this year and appears to be on a better track. Earlier this month, the venue hosted a birthday party to celebrate one year in existence.

In a press release, Artisphere Executive Director José Ortiz said he’s pleased with the addition of Ruscetti.

“We are thrilled Rosanna has joined the Artisphere team,” Ortiz said. “With her rich background and demonstrated success in programming in this market, Rosanna will continue to strengthen and build Artisphere’s innovative, diverse and thought-provoking programming.”

Ruscetti has previously served as a consultant for arts programming and business development as well as event promotion.

Ruscetti said, “I am excited to be part of a new arts center that is unique to this region. It’s a terrific opportunity to connect DC-area audiences with artists in innovative ways.”

  • TGEoA

    Back on track? Evidence please.

    • Read closer

      That’s not what the article said…

  • CW

    I think this is a cool development. GW consistently has a lot of great speakers and presenters come to Lisner. Of course, that’s due to the name and connections of GW. But she probably has some personal connections and knows how to run a good show, so it’s a step forward.

  • Justin Russo

    Now if they could just open a decent resturant in there, things might pick up.

    • Clarendon

      Yes, because what this area lacks is restaurants. Well, maybe Rossyln does.

      I’m reminded of a visit I had to the Glassgow Gallery of Modern Art. They had a nice little cafe out back in a courtyard and I had a very good egg salad sandwich and Pelligrino water. That gallery is interesting because it is in a beautiful, classic greek revival building with masive columns which was a shocking contrast to the disturbing displays it housed. I remember when I was there, most of the exhibits were apparently designed to make you ill. They had a small room where a movie of a fiber-optic camera passing through someone’s digestive system was being played in 360 vision on the walls ceiling and floor, they had a large construction of wood with old-style bare lightbulbs hung with electrical shorts being somehow passed through it so it sounded (loudly) and looked like you were being electrocuted and they had several everyday objects that were designed to mess with your senses like a barren wheelchair that had razors where someone might put their hands to push someone.

      I’ll never go back there, but the cafe was good.

    • Juanita de Talmas

      Here! sucks.

    • FedUp

      Here! had signed a horrible contract with the County. I don’t know of any business owners who would have given up so much to the County just to have a food operation in the Artisphere. I feel badly for the owner. It’s good to be well informed and study every contract you sign with the County.

  • KalashniKEV

    Arlington Arts 2030? Won’t the ArtisFAIL completely bleed us dry by 2017?

  • Novanglus

    I’m willing to keep an open mind, but I’m not optimistic about this. I imagine that programming at Listner involves taking calls from booking agents whose acts need a venue for their DC tour, coordinating dates, and executing contracts.

    For Artisphere to be successful, it will need a lot more imagination and vision than I’d expect from someone who’s been in the same university job for 19 years.

    But Ms. Ruscetti could surprise us all. I hope she does.

    • Carl

      Yeah, Lisner is GW’s prime on-campus venue. That helps. Arlington is not a big college town.

    • actually

      You’d be surprised at what’s involved in being programming director at a place like Lisner Auditorium. There’s more to it than just waiting for the phone to ring and scheduling acts (which, from the sound of it, is what has been happening at Artisphere so far). She would have done quite a lot of research and scouting, and then approached various groups and acts herself, in addition to being aware of what was going on at all the other venues in the area on a given date; it would have been her responsibility to make sure that the marketing department had something compelling to market, as it will be at Artisphere. Even if she’s only good instead of great, having a professional with experience at Artisphere will surely make a lot of difference.

  • Novanglus

    – “DC venue for their tour”, not “venue for their DC tour”

  • DL

    I completely support what Arlington is trying to do with Artisphere and hope that they don’t alter the programming to make it more middle of the road. We’re already inundated with MOR events and activities and I enjoyed the fresh programming that Artisphere has offered. It will take time to build an audience – that doesn’t just happen overnight in a region where MOR and government oriented “high” art are the norm. Take a look at what’s going on in the vibrant art community in Baltimore and try to bring a little taste of that to Arlington. Maybe partner with (or learn from) the Visionary, the Creative Alliance and other Baltimore groups that are pulling together large audiences for alternative programming. For just a taste look at the Lantern Parade in Baltimore (this Saturday!), or the Kinetic Sculpture race to take things outdoors so people can see more of what Artisphere can do inside its walls. Also – watch what some of the bars are doing in DC to bring people in – game nights, trivia, etc. The restaurant would benefit, as would the programs. Artisphere can do this kind of thing with an artistic twist to get people in the door – that’s all they need. Any of the “after hours” events that are big in DC (i.e. Hirshhorn) can easily be translated to Artisphere. On a smaller scale – 14K Cabaret has a long history of bringing inexpensive alternative acts to the stage in Baltimore way before the main stages think they are viable, and then see some of them off Broadway with huge followings. Once I ventured inside Artisphere I was wowed! Keep up the good work Artisphere!

  • DL

    Another idea for Artisphere – have a food truck round up at night, with the street blocked off and chairs & tables set up. After hours – get the bar and club folks over to eat and keep the galleries open extra late (with extra support staff to make sure the patrons don’t knock over the art!). Look at what Austin Tx does with food trucks. There are so many great ideas out there to get people in the door – grab a few and run!

  • DL

    Lunchtime speakers to get the Rosslyn daytime crowd in the door!

  • The metropolitan area is one of the nation’s most prominent centers of experimental music (e.g., http://dc-soniccircuits.org/); however, few venues are willing to host performances featuring this genre’s rich diversity. The Dome Theater is an ideal venue for experimental music; a regular program featuring local, national and international artists active in this genre could do much to place this remarkable facility on the leading edge of the nation’s musical culture. Together with its proximity to the Metro and the Vamoose bus stop facilitating its access to NYC (Saturday and Sunday afternoon programs could be scheduled to permit folks to come down from NYC for the day), such a program could make it a destination drawing visitors to Arlington.

    • buddy

      You think people might come down from NYC for the day
      To do WHAT?
      Holy Smoke!

  • buddy

    Location, Location, Location!
    That’ means everything… This location has not been successful
    For much of anything in our lifetime.
    The streets are slanted, traffic heavy, nothing nearby to really draw
    People in…
    It galls me as a taxpayer that the county has spent this much money
    When the county has NO idea what draws people in.
    They are terrific at throwing good money at crappy, unresearched


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