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Arts Focus: The Arts Year in Review

This is a column written and sponsored by Arlington Arts / Arlington Cultural Affairs, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

From a major grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), to a temporary public art installation that received regional and international media coverage, 2017 has been an incredible year for the Arlington Cultural Affairs and its presenting arm, Arlington Arts!

Arlington Cultural Affairs, the County’s arts agency, partnered with Americans for the Arts to conduct the most comprehensive economic impact study of the nonprofit arts and culture industry ever undertaken in the United States. The Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study reveals our industry generates $189.2 million in annual economic activity in Arlington — supporting 5,156 full-time equivalent jobs and generating $13.9 million in local and state government revenues. 

While the economic benefits of our creative community are impressive, the power of the arts, especially in Arlington, is its ability to foster a sense of community. From a lunch meeting with co-workers in the Meeting Bowls created by Spanish collective mmmm…, to a conversation with your neighbor on the bus after seeing Anne Rowland’s Art on the ART Bus exhibit, the arts provided opportunities to connect with your community.

We partnered with numerous community and business organizations on events such as the Rosslyn Jazz FestivalPresented by the Rosslyn BID and programmed by Arlington Arts, the festival attendance soared to over 10,000 — a capacity crowd at Rosslyn’s Gateway Park. Also programmed by Arlington Arts, the Columbia Pike Blues Festival once again brought participants from across the County to party in the streets of South Arlington, in partnership with the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization.

Arlington Cultural Affairs continued our commitment to increase the capacity and knowledge-base of our creative community via our new ArtLab workshops. These engagements allow participants to sharpen existing skills, and learn new tools to succeed in both the technical and business side of the arts industry. In June, we brought back internationally-known arts engagement expert Donna Walker-Kuhne for part two of her in-depth work with Arlington-based arts groups that began the previous year. In 2018, we will continue our work with the nationally-known non-profit ArtSpace, which is studying the prospect of Arlington as a location in which they will develop their nationally-lauded cultural facilities for artists.

With initial programming funded by a $25,000 FY17 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, we’re especially excited about the coming launch of the Arlington Art Truck in Spring 2018. Breaking out of the confines of a four-walled arts venue, Arlington Arts will bring arts engagements into your community. The curated program will feature both visual and performing artists taking their interactive work everywhere from busy office plazas at lunch time, to community centers and schools near you.

Thank you for your continued support of the Arts in Arlington. We look forward to seeing you all at events in the New Year. Happy Holidays!

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