Arts Focus: Connecting Artists & Community

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

By Michelle Isabelle-Stark, Director at Arlington Arts

2018 included many positive changes to Arlington’s economic and cultural profile, most dramatically the Amazon decision to bring its HQ2 to “National Landing” (Crystal City, Potomac Yard and Pentagon City).

The arts in Arlington are also experiencing many changes and Arlington Arts staff used this year as an opportunity to evaluate our mission, programs and our organization. Our take-away was a clear message proclaiming our main contribution to Arlington as “creating, supporting and promoting the arts, by connecting artists and community to reflect the diversity of Arlington.”

This mission embodies our new innovative arts delivery method with more emphasis on bringing artists and resources directly to you in the places you live, work and play.

We were excited to launch the Arlington Art Truck mobile artist-in-residence program, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, and introduce our Award Winning First Fridays: Groovin’ on the Pike Concert Series at Columbia Pike Branch Library.

Over 6,000 people interacted with our Arlington Art Truck artist activations, creating unique artwork in parks, schools, farmers markets and festivals. At each activation, County and nonprofit partners were paired with the artist to provide the public with important information about services that were in some way connected to the content of the art project, establishing the Arlington Art Truck as a new method to increase and diversify civic engagement.

In 2019, we’re expanding our model of artistically enhanced civic engagement by continuing to pursue an affordable housing initiative for creatives with Artspace. The Arlington Art Truck will partner with the Solid Waste Bureau and EcoAction Arlington to raise community awareness about conservation and consumption issues.

We will undertake several ambitious public art projects, including commemorating Arlington’s civil rights past, placing public art along the National Landing transit corridor and further integrating public art into civic and private projects with a revised Public Art Master Plan.

I encourage you to check out the debut issue of our quarterly Arlington Arts e-Magazine. The four articles celebrate Arlington Arts success in connecting arts and community through our support of resident artists and ensembles, including Arlington Arts Center and the Arlingtones.

Arlington Arts has also been successful by collaborating with local businesses and residents through our partnerships with organizations such as the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization and the Rosslyn BID.

Arlington Arts programs book artists for major events such as the Columbia Pike Blues Festival and the Rosslyn Jazz Festival. This years Jazz Festival featured Grammy award winning and nominated acts such as Cory Henry & the Funk Apostles and Cuba’s Orquesta Akokan.

You can read my full article and learn more about the arts in your community in the Arlington Arts e-Magazine!

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