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Artisphere Gets New Programming Director

by ARLnow.com August 16, 2012 at 11:40 am 8,280 38 Comments

(Updated at 2:10 p.m.) Four months after the sudden departure of Artisphere Director of Programming Rosanna Ruscetti, the county-run cultural center in Rosslyn has a new programming director.

Josh Stoltzfus, 39, has been named Artisphere’s new Director of Programming. He faces the daunting task of attracting programming that will bring more people to Artisphere, which has been suffering from a lack of consistent attendance and continued financial losses that have necessitated increased taxpayer support.

Stoltzfus’ music-centric resume includes roles as the tour manager for The Holmes Brothers, production coordinator at Wolf Trap and, most recently, programming manager for the Columbia Festival of the Arts. He has a bachelor’s degree from the Berklee College of Music and a graduate degree in Arts Management from American University, according to his LinkedIn page.

On Twitter, Artisphere said it was “thrilled” to announce the hiring of Stoltzfus, whose “passion for the arts is perfect for us.” The cultural center also issued the following press release.

Artisphere has named Josh Stoltzfus as its new Director of Programming. Stoltzfus brings more than 16 years of performing arts experience working in creative, programmatic and administrative positions. Stoltzfus has extensive programming experience collaborating with performing artists and their representatives, as well as expert knowledge of American music, specializing in jazz, blues and popular music, with advanced knowledge of other major artistic disciplines including dance, theatre, comedy and the visual arts.

“We are thrilled to welcome Josh to the Artisphere team,” says José Ortiz, Executive Director of Artisphere. “His diverse experience and passion for the arts is the perfect blend for Artisphere.”

Stoltzfus joins Artisphere from the Columbia Festival of the Arts in Columbia, MD, where he spent the last five years planning strategic partnerships and working with the team on selection of artists, program content and budgeting for an annual sixteen day multidisciplinary arts festival. He previously worked with the Wolf Trap Center for the Performing Arts and spent a graduate fellowship with the Cyrus & Myrtle Katzen Arts Center and Harold & Sylvia Greenberg Theatre at American University. Stoltzfus also brings experience as an artist representative, tour manager and more than two decades’ experience as a musical performer.

“I am incredibly pleased to be a part of the Artisphere team,” said Stoltzfus. “Arlington is quickly becoming known as a hub of cultural activity. I am eager to engage Artisphere audiences with innovative and thought-provoking art in all disciplines.”

Photo courtesy Artisphere

  • Fernando

    seasonal job for real, nobody commits to that dump.

  • Zelora

    As long as it’s in Rosslyn, the Artisphere is not going to do well. America is tied pretty closely to the suburban-parking-lot way of doing things. Arlington is not New York City.
    Also, there is a kind of mental divide between the part of Rosslyn east of Lynn Street and the part that’s west. The part that’s east might as well be in the river, for all the urge most of us have to go there.
    “I has spoken!”

    • Roycroft

      Artisphere has free parking in the large garage in the building.

    • NoVapologist

      In what location do you believe Artisphere would succeed?

      That’s kind of a rhetorical question. I think it would fail anywhere based on its programming. The record fair is the only worthwhile thing I have ever seen held there.

  • Thes

    This might actually not be a bad gig for him. There’s nowhere to go but up!

  • Elmer

    Hint to Mr. Stoltzfus (and I’m being positive here) instead of:
    “I am eager to engage Artisphere audiences with innovative and thought-provoking art in all disciplines”, try some mainstream programming at the Artisphere for a change.
    We might all be pleasantly surprised. 🙂

    • speonjosh

      As much as it pains me to say this, I agree with you. Avante garde, cutting edge, innovative, etc – it’s all boring and self-serving.

      • MustHaveTaro

        even if its not boring and self serving, it may not be popular enough to cover the costs of a space that big. they may be condemned to be more mainstream.

      • Tabs

        If he’s worked at Wolf Trap, he’d know all about the viability of “mainstream programming.”

        Peter, Paul, and Mary, anyone?

    • VC


  • Smitty

    He looks thrilled.

    • Please note that we have updated the article with a newer photo, supplied by Artisphere.

  • Anon

    Artisphere doesn’t need a programming director. It needs an undertaker.

    • Bingo

      “…a lack of consistent attendance and continued financial losses that have necessitated increased taxpayer support.”

      Nope, increased taxpayer support is not necessary. Let’s just defund the damn thing and let it die already. Or turn it into a small-business incubator as someone suggested months ago. But an idea that good has no chance with the County Politburo.

      • Richard Cranium

        The idea of turning it into a BINGO parlor is highly underrated.

        Just sayin’.

  • CW

    Not going to say that I love the Artisphere or that it’s destined for greatness, but I think that if we’re going to have it, this guy looks like a great person to lead the programming work. I would think he has a pretty good list of contacts and maybe he can make something happen.

    • Tabby_TwoTone

      Yup, agree.

    • Jeff


    • JohnB


      It’s a shame that the previous programming director left so soon because she seemed to be turning things around. I hope this guy can continue the trend. Poor programming and marketing for Artisphere have been a great deal of the problem.

      • Anon

        Really? Financial results to back this up, please?

  • Guy LeDouche

    Turn Artisphere into a real gentlemen’s club (not like CCR) under the guise “art” performances and the place would be packed nightly. Shakespeare done nekkid. Plus it would pay homage to the houses of ill repute in Rosslyn of yesteryear.

  • so that’s a smug picture

  • nom de guerre

    I realize the Stoltzfus name is pretty common, especially in the Mennonite and Amish communities, but I wonder if Josh is related to the proprietors of the Stoltzfus Meats that is located in famous Intercourse, PA.

    • Tabby_TwoTone

      What’s the special at Stoltzfus’ Meats today?

      • nom de guerre

        Today’s daily special features a genuine Stoltzfus repurposed free range fried scrapple sandwich with smoked provolone, avocado crema, and pickled ruby chard on lightly toasted ciabatta bread. Only while supplies last.

        • Tabby_TwoTone


          • Tabby_TwoTone

            I think I’ll try ordering that at 2 am at Bob and Ediths.

  • South Awwlington

    Artisphere =/= Newseum

    It never will be. We should have tried harder to keep it. That ship has sailed. How much more money do we need to waste on this when we could reprogram it for services that are actually used?

    • Huh?

      Well, the Newseum was no raging success either. (What could be more boring than a display about news reporting? I’ve seen old fedoras and microphones before.)

      • speonjosh

        Yeah, I went to the Newseum when it was in Arlington and can’t remember a single thing I saw.

        I think the new Newseum has a lot of flaws, but it is memorable.

        • Huh?

          Well, to charge people to go to a museum in a city full of free museums, it better be incredible.

        • j

          The $20 admission fee is memorable.

      • drax

        500,000 visitors a year to the old Newseum.

      • Tabby_TwoTone

        A big chunk of the Berlin wall.

  • he reminds me of a newt or some kind of lizard. cute.

  • Artisphere….The Movie

    And who can forget:


    I’ll save the one of Jay and the giant check for later….

    • Jay Speak

      I especially like how Jay condescendingly says that we mere mortals can’t understand what a great deal the ‘sphere is going to be…

  • bobbytiger

    “A lack of consistent attendance and continued financial losses”?
    No problem there. The Democrat County Board will insure its survival. After all, it’s only money, and the Board loves spending yours.


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