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Artisphere to Hold Second Anniversary Celebration

by Katie Pyzyk October 3, 2012 at 1:20 pm 3,208 23 Comments

Artisphere (1101 Wilson Blvd) is inviting the public to share in its second anniversary celebration this weekend.

The art venue has often been the target of criticism due to a rocky first year in existence, which included low attendance and revenue. However, there’s been a concerted effort to turn things around by following a revamped business plan.

“We’ve had a really successful year and I think if people engage with the arts they understand the value of it. I would certainly encourage people to participate more to understand the value,” said Artisphere Executive Director Jose Ortiz. “Like any new organization or start-up, you go thorough some growing pains. I hope at this point we would have all moved past that.”

On the heels of accolades over this year’s Frida Kahlo exhibit, Drector of Programming Rosanna Ruscetti suddenly departed in April for family reasons. She had been credited with helping to stabilize the struggling art venue. Ruscetti was replaced in August by Josh Stoltzfus.

In addition to the new Director of Programming, Artisphere hired a Chief Financial Officer in April. Ortiz said the new staff is just one of the factors keeping the venue on track with its new goals.

“It’s definitely a team effort, everyone working together toward a common goal,” said Ortiz. “On the programming side we’re having great appeal. Having a CFO there has helped us to manage our money more closely as well.”

Ortiz said one of the challenges Artisphere continues to battle is how to offer art in a way that’s different from all the other local venues.

“In this business this idea that everyone’s presenting music and art, but how do we do that in a way that distinguishes us?” he said. “The ongoing challenge is always, how do we present a program that’s unique and on-brand and appeals to people?”

One example of the unique art, according to Ortiz, is Craig Colorusso’s roaming exhibit “Sun Boxes” which kicks off the anniversary celebration on Thursday, October 4. It is made up of 20 solar powered speakers that create a sonic landscape. The exhibit will be in different locations throughout Rosslyn this weekend; locations and times are listed online.

“It’s a great example of how we’re able to take our art outside of our walls,” Ortiz said. “People who may not come in to visit us will experience art on the street. It’s an example of how we do something and do it uniquely.”

The big events inside Artisphere take place this Saturday, October 6, and Sunday, October 7. The party begins at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday with Brazilian music from New York City’s Forro in the Dark, followed by the D.C. Metro’s own Alma Tropicalia at 9:00 p.m. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online.

The festivities culminate on Sunday with the Free Family Day Open House, which runs from 12:30-4:30 p.m. Activities are largely hands-on and allow visitors to interact with artists by participating in storytelling, theatrical workshops and creating a commemorative mural.

“It’s a great day for people to engage with the arts in a different way than you would customarily,” said Ortiz.

  • Shut it down

    The only fitting anniversary celebration would be to cut the losses and close it down.

    • Flying Spaghetti Monster

      Art bad. Bombs good.

  • Woo-hoo

    Here we go…

  • Dr_Klahn

    They’d probably get more foot traffic if they had a foot santuary.

  • w h a t e v e r

  • Zelora

    BUSINESS PLAN!? Our young people’s minds are being ruined by attendance at “business school” rather than real school. A “business plan” can’t fix a crappy location where nobody wants to go.

    • veryconfused

      why doesnt anyone want to go Rosslyn? is it a superfund site?

      is it hard to get to? maybe they could build metro nearby?

      • drax

        Have you ever been there?

        If you have, you know why. If you haven’t, well, there you go.

        • veryconfused

          I’ve been to Rosslyn on several occasions. While it may not be as much of a destination (other than for office workers) as some places, it hardly seems like a place people avoid.

  • novasteve

    Why not making it a voting station so they at least get people to come in?

  • drax

    A hip restaurant/bar with street-level access is the only thing that’s going to make this work.

    • Not the only thing…


  • ArlingTony

    Give the food area to Santa Fe Cafe. People will come for the food and stay for the, ok they won’t stay, but at least they can say people are coming in.

    • VC


  • CrystalMikey

    Only 9 comments after 2+ hours? I’m shocked.

  • Patrick

    This place can only be classified as a complete and total disaster. But at least Jay Fisette has a place to have wine parties with his sophisticated friends.

    • confused

      its been around two years?

      what did folks think of the Nats when theyd been around two years?

      • Greg

        Nice try.

        The Nats were awful but they were a baseball team and all baseball teams are successful at one point or another.

        Not all poorly thought out, low demand, publicly funded projects work out. In fact, most of them fail.

        • confused

          but the case that its poorly thought out and intrinsically low demand seems to be based mostly on its attendance and financial numbers in the first two years. Lots of museums/arts venues succeed, and AFAICT they often take some time.

    • Mick Way

      While still problematic the place seems to be showing some signs of life. I’ve been at two sold-out shows at the black-box in the past few months.

      On one of those occasions there was also a group of around 30 young professional types holding some sort of gathering in the lounge.

      What they can’t seem to do is get the bar running right. Both times it was closed just like 15 minutes after the shows let out. Also doesn’t accept credit cards.

  • DynaFlash 8

    Move Chipotle into the space, and then just add an “F” to the name

  • Ronald C

    Make it a year round homeless shelter. Since Arlington County is intent on becoming a homeless Mecca for the DC Metro area. Rosslyn is right across the bridge and more convenient for bums.

  • GodFila

    I hear they’re going to bring in a consultant from
    the Nahem gallery in NY… spruce things up a bit.


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