Press Release

Embracing Arlington Arts Applauds County Board for Approving Arts Strategic Plan; Looking Forward to Next Steps

(Arlington, VA) – Embracing Arlington Arts – an independent citizens group comprised of Arlington arts supporters – applauds the County Board for formally adopting Arlington’s Strategic Plan for the arts – “Enriching Lives” at their Board meeting yesterday, June 18. This well-researched plan brought together arts professionals, experts, stakeholders and citizens in its development. “Board approval of this document was critical as the County moves to reevaluate and develop arts priorities in Arlington,” explained Janet Kopenhaver, Chair of Embracing Arlington Arts. “Now that it has been adopted, Arlington County arts organizations, County decisionmakers, community groups, developers and others will have more concrete standards by which to judge and decide on future projects, initiatives, plans and actions with respect to keeping the arts in Arlington vibrant, strong and healthy,” Kopenhaver added.

In anticipation of this vote, the County Board members were sent a letter signed by all known non-profit arts organizations in Arlington urging them to formally adopt this plan. The arts community is united in their desire for a formal arts plan in Arlington to help steer the arts policy in the County. “as the “Enriching Lives” strategy itself emphasizes, supporting the arts is so much greater than just one County department’s work plan,” asserted County Board member Katie Cristol. “The Board’s adoption of “Enriching Lives” adds our official support for this thoughtful, stakeholder-developed set of goals and strategies to guide our collective – public and private – work to grow and sustain the arts in Arlington,” Cristol added.

According to a report from the Americans for the Arts entitled The Creative Industries: Business & Employment, Arlington County arts entities employ 6,124 people in 658 arts-related businesses. This represents 5.1 percent of the total number of businesses located in Arlington County and 3 percent of the people they employ. According to another economic study, over $18 million of economic activity in Arlington is derived from audience expenditures associated with arts events, including eating at restaurants, parking, ticket sales and other purchases made during their night out.

As a next step, the County Manager at yesterday’s Board meeting also announced the formation of a Community Arts Advisory Committee whose purpose is to develop and propose alternative business models for the Scenic Studio, CostumeLab and Mobile Stage for consideration in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 budget development process, and to develop a new scheduling process for joint-use theater space between Arlington County and Arlington Public Schools (APS). Several Arlington arts organizations, stakeholders, APS representatives and community leaders will serve on this Committee. “I am honored to be chosen to sit on this important Committee,” Kopenhaver stated. “I look forward to working together with all stakeholders to derive a plan for moving forward on these issues that is fair and conducted in a transparent manner,” she concluded.

Embracing Arlington Arts is an independent citizens group comprised of Arlington arts supporters whose mission is to inform others about the importance and diversity of the arts, artists and arts organizations in our community; celebrate the critical contributions the arts make to all sectors of our County; spearhead initiatives that maintain and grow the County’s cultural identity; and spread the word about the extremely diverse performance and cultural events held in Arlington. Interested residents are encouraged to visit our website (, “follow” and “like” us on Facebook; and follow us on Twitter, #EmbracingArlingtonArts.