Last month, the non-profit arts organization at 3550 Wilson Blvd in the Virginia Square area announced that it is conducting a national search to hire a new leader.
The search is being headed up by D.C.-based Good Insight, which specializes in recruiting executive-level talent for non-profits.
Former executive director Holly Koons departed in October to become director of the newly-opened Christopher Newport University Fine Arts Center in Newport News. Koons was with AAC for four years.
In the meantime, the arts center’s Board of Directors has named Blair Murphy, Curator of Exhibitions since 2018, to serve as acting director.
Murphy said the organization has received more than 75 applications so far for the position, which pays in the $90,000s, according to the job announcement.
She says that many applicants are local, but they have received qualified applicants from California, Washington, Indiana, and even internationally. Many of the applicants are professional arts administrators, but she says they have also gotten some from folks “who care about the arts personally but pursued another profession.”
The quality of applicants, Murphy writes, is impressive, though she noted that there is “no one perfect profile.”
The organization is looking for someone who will deepen the Arts Center’s impact in Arlington by strengthening community partnerships, raising visibility, and broadening support.
As one of the only dedicated venues for visual arts in the county, the Arlington Arts Center and its new director will need to be able to communicate with various types of audiences.
“Our new director will be someone who can connect with all of the audiences and communities we serve,” Murphy writes. “Adults and kids who participate in our education programs, art-lovers who come to see our exhibitions, and artists who exhibit in our galleries and participate in our residency program.”
The job listing also notes that the organization is in “stable immediate financial position” due largely to a PPP loan from 2020 and a bequest received in 2019. The annual budget has been in the range of $650,000 over the last several years, the listing says, which is supported by individuals, grants, foundations, and revenue from education programs and rentals.
There are currently three full time staffers but there’s room for at least two new hires in 2021, including the executive director.
One of those hires, Murphy tells ARLnow, would be to replace a recently-departed staff member who was in a marketing and administrative role. That is in addition to part-time, contract, and volunteer support as well as 15 to 20 class instructors.
The announcement requests that those applying for the executive director position do so by February 4 for “best consideration.” However, Murphy says that they will continue to review applications through the month and expects to announce the new hire in late spring.
Arlington Arts Center was founded in 1974 and is located in the historic former Maury School. The building is leased through a partnership with Arlington County; it holds nine exhibit galleries, studio space for artists, three classrooms, offices, and event rental space.
Currently, the galleries remain closed, but a public art project that first debuted in the summer remains on display on the front lawn. The project depicts 25 wooden slave ships formed from driftwood found in the Chesapeake Bay.
Overall, the arts scene in Arlington was decimated in 2020 due to the pandemic, losing more than $10 million in revenue.
Photo courtesy of Amanda Browder and Arlington Arts Center
This column is written and sponsored by Arlington Arts / Arlington Cultural Affairs, a division of Arlington Economic Development.
The scenery audiences see on stage can be one of the most impressive aspects of a performance, virtually transporting audiences into a different time and space.
But for small and mid-sized presenters, the labor and skill intensive construction of elaborate hand built sets can be cost prohibitive. Arlington Cultural Affairs/Arlington Arts has found innovative ways to bring new advances in digital projection technology to impact performances ranging from chamber music and outdoor festivals, to student productions.
“Projections have opened up an entirely new way for smaller groups to enhance the production quality that was previously unavailable to them,” says Arlington Cultural Affairs/Arlington Arts Theater Technician Andres Luque. “A graphic designer can create either a static or a moving backdrop. We can create the sensation of flying, falling snow, a dense forest or bustling city streets.”
Arlington Arts repurposed projection equipment from larger venues such as the Rosslyn Spectrum Theatre, located in the soon-to-be redeveloped Rosslyn Plaza complex on Wilson Boulevard. Now installed in smaller venues such as Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre, and Gunston Theatre Two, it is having a profound impact on a broad range of ensembles, including Avant-Bard and Dominion Stage.
The impact of the technology isn’t limited to the confines of a theater. For the last few years, thousands of patrons and passersby have enjoyed the 3D Mapping projections on the façade of Arlington Arts Center for their annual Dia De Los Muertos Celebration (coming up on Saturday, November 2).
Last year, in partnership with the Center, Arlington Cultural Affairs/Arlington Arts commissioned artists Mas Paz and Robin Bell to design striking work (in 2017, Bell collaborated with Edgar Reyes). “Using 3-D Mapping technology, we can bend the artists image to create a striking, color-saturated image on the varied surfaces of the building,” says Luque, “all without a drop of paint on the historic brick façade.”
“It’s like being inside an MTV video,” is how a patron described the experience to Leo Sushansky, Artistic Director of the National Chamber Ensemble (NCE). Check out their video clip below from NCE’s May, 2019 world premiere performance of Alexander Goldstein’s “Introspective Piano Trio” for violin, cello, piano and computer.
The Ensemble’s 2019 season begins with a Mozart Celebration on Saturday, October 19, but the season includes an encore presentation of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons — the work for which they first began using multi-media presentations.
While hearing the familiar music, audiences see images of landscape paintings by Italian artist Marco Ricci that were the inspiration for Vivaldi’s 1725 masterwork. Each concerto also is accompanied by sonnets, believed to be written by Vivaldi himself to accompany the compositions transition between the seasons.
“After seeing the Four Seasons by NCE,” audiences tell Sushansky “they’ll never hear it the same way again.”
Arlington Cultural Affairs plans on surveying artists within a 50-mile radius of the county as part of a proposal to bring affordable artist housing to Arlington.
A feasibility study said that such a survey would “definitively reveal whether a market for artist housing exists and whether an affordable housing-funded model… would be considered affordable by prospective, income-qualifying tenants.”
The survey will ask artists to “express their interest” in the affordable housing project and detail their “current and future needs in a live/work space,” according to an event page for a presentation and question and answer session which will kick off the “Arts Market” survey.
That presentation, on Thursday (March 22) from 6-8 p.m. at the Arlington Arts Center, will precede a reception where artists can take the survey and mingle.
The survey is expected to cost between $30,000 and $42,500 and would be paid for by the nonprofit Arlington Foundation for Arts and Innovation, which also paid for the preliminary feasibility study.
Artspace, the national arts non-profit based in Minneapolis, Minn., that is collaborating with Arlington Cultural Affairs, has so far led four focus groups to discuss area artist housing needs, according to the study.
The feasibility found that “affordable housing and live/work space was expressed as a need, particularly in the context of anticipated rising rents and the increasing lack of affordable for-sale housing” and cited community feedback that there wasn’t a central artistic gathering place.
That study pointed out four potential neighborhoods for the project — Virginia Square, Columbia Pike, Crystal City, and the Four Mile Run Valley — but specifically noted that central Rosslyn didn’t make sense for the project because of the density and traffic congestion.
Artspace has already finished two projects in the area, in Washington and in Mount Rainier, Md., and is set to launch another in Silver Spring, Md., later this year.
“It is clear that area jurisdictions are finding that communities are strengthened and made vibrant by a strong arts presence,” wrote Jim Byers, the Arlington Cultural Affairs marketing director, in an email to ARLnow.com.
“The Arts Market Survey is the next step towards determining how Arlington might best leverage the creative energies that exist in our region and encourage still more artists to make their home here.”
ACPD Cameo on ‘Homeland’ — The Arlington County Police Department made a brief appearance last week on the TV show “Homeland.” [Twitter]
EFC Development Stalled — “Seven years ago, the county blessed a vision of new ‘transitown’ development of stores, greenery and new pedestrian access around the East Falls Church Metro. But that utilitarian commuter site is largely unchanged.” [Falls Church News-Press]
New Logo, Website for AAC — Thanks to a philanthropic grant, the Arlington Arts Center has new branding and a “new, mobile-friendly site reflecting our enduring commitment to excellent contemporary art, quality educational programs, and our artist residency program.” [Arlington Arts Center]
A total of 21 financial grants were distributed, totaling $215,810, with the majority of recipients also being granted the use of county facilities and technical services. Twelve other organizations were granted the use of county facilities and technical services under the so-called Space and Services Grant.
“The arts enrich our lives and enliven our community,” said County Board chair Jay Fisette in a statement. “The Arts Grants program supports a diverse arts community in Arlington.”
There was a rigorous application process to receive the grants, which total $215,810. According to a report by county staff, the Arlington Commission for the Arts Grant Recommendations used a two-step grant application process that also included a mandatory attendance at grant preparation workshops.
Of the 28 grant applications asking for financial support in FY 2018, the Commission received 21 from nonprofit art organizations and seven from individual artists. The county received 54 applications in total.
The commission allocated three different kinds of grants for artists:
- Individual Artist Grants — direct financial support for an individual artist on a proposed work that they describe in their grant application
- Project Grants — direct financial support for a specific project proposed by an organization
- Space & Service Grants — grants for performance/rehearsal space and technical services for an organization.
The biggest organizations to receive grants include Washington Shakespeare Co., UrbanArias and the Arlington Arts Center.
The full list of grant recipients after the jump.
It’s finally going to feel like May today, with the temperature nearing 90 degrees — just in time for some outdoor chocolate sampling.
The event is being held from 6-8 p.m. at the Arlington Arts Center in Virginia Square (3550 Wilson Blvd).
Andelman and Springfield will be discussing their methods and how they got their start in art and business. Chocolate samples and light refreshments will be provided. Admission is free, but registration is required.
Zoning Board Rules in Favor of Gun Store — Arlington Board of Zoning Appeals has rejected a challenge to the Certificate of Occupancy for Nova Firearms, the gun store at 2300 N. Pershing Drive in Lyon Park. A group of residents filed the appeal, claiming that the store’s owner submitted false information to the county. [Daily Caller]
Complaints About Aircraft Noise in Barcroft — Residents of Arlington’s Barcroft neighborhood are organizing a working group to address the issue of aircraft noise, particularly noise from low-flying helicopters. [Chamandy.org]
Another IRS Phone Scam — Arlington residents are reporting yet another phone scam. If someone calls you out of the blue, says they’re from the IRS and tries to get you to reveal personal information, it’s probably a scam. [WJLA]
New Leader for Arlington Arts Center — Holly Koons McCullough has been named the new executive director of the Arlington Arts Center. Previously, McCullough served as director of the Greater Reston Arts Center. [Washington City Paper]
New Director of Transportation for APS — The Arlington School Board has approved the appointment of Angel Garcia-Ablanque as the school system’s new Director of Transportation. He was previously Assistant Director of Transportation for Montgomery County Public Schools. [Arlington Public Schools]
Fundraiser at Celtic House — Celtic House (2500 Columbia Pike) is holding a fundraiser for two veterans organizations today. The Irish pub, an ARLnow.com advertiser, will be donating a portion of all sales today to Wings for Warriors and Links to Freedom.
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
‘No Drone Zone’ Reminder for Pope’s Visit — Pope Francis begins his three-day visit to D.C. this afternoon. The Arlington County Police Department and the FAA are reminding residents and visitors that the airspace around the District, including Arlington, is a “no drone zone.” [Twitter, FAA]
Widening of I-66 Inevitable, Says VDOT Chief — Widening I-66 to three lanes between the Dulles Connector Road and Ballston is an inevitability, says Virginia Transportation Sec. Aubrey Layne. However, VDOT will exhaust every alternative before moving forward with expansion, Layne said. [WTOP]
Celeb Posts Pic from Arts Center Installation — A giant dart on the front lawn of the Arlington Arts Center in Virginia Square is gaining some fame. Comedian Nick Swardson over the weekend posted on Instagram a photo of a woman jokingly posing as if the dart had hit her in the rear end. He was apparently unaware that the woman was DC’s 107.3 FM personality Sarah Fraser. The dart is part of a well-reviewed installation at AAC called “Play.” [Sarah Fraser]
Prescription Drug Take-Back Day — Arlington County will participating in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day this coming Saturday. The police department will be accepting anonymous returns of pills and patches at fire stations 2, 8 and 9 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. [Arlington County]
New Office Lease in Rosslyn — Tax services Ryan, LLC has signed a lease for the 21st floor of the Rosslyn Twin Towers building. The towers at 1000 and 1100 Wilson Blvd are also home to Raytheon, SRI International, Sands Capital, Strategy&, Politico, WJLA and the Washington Free Beacon. [GlobeSt]
Pope Prayer Protest at DCA — Airport workers and a local pastor will hold a “worker pray-in” at Reagan National Airport this afternoon, in advance of the pope’s visit to D.C. Workers are seeking “a living wage, improved training and adequate resources.” [SEIU 32BJ]
Flickr pool photo by Edobson22207
More on Texas Jack’s BBQ — Texas Jack’s Barbecue, which is replacing the former Tallula and EatBar in Lyon Park, will be helmed by a pair of Hill Country BBQ vets. The 145-seat restaurant will also have a 26-seat patio. It will serve meats that are smoked on site and plans to remain open until 2 a.m. seven days a week. [Washingtonian]
CEO’s $3.7 Million Rosslyn Condo — Gracia Martore, the former CEO of Gannett and current CEO of the newspaper company’s broadcast and digital spinoff, Tegna, has purchased a condo in Rosslyn for $3.65 million. The 4,447 square foot condo in Turnberry Tower (1881 N. Nash Street) features a 900 square foot outdoor balcony with sweeping views of D.C. [Washington Business Journal]
Police Chief Prioritizes Community Engagement — New Arlington Police Chief Jay Farr says he will make community engagement one of his top priorities. Farr plans to “realign how we do business a little bit,” adding more interaction with residents, he told the local Kiwanis Club. [InsideNova]
Arlington Arts Center Director Departs — Stefanie Fedor, executive director of the Arlington Arts Center, is leaving her position next month to head the Visual Arts Center of Richmond. AAC’s Director of Exhibitions will take over as Acting Executive Director while the organization’s board searches for Fedor’s permanent replacement. [Patch]
Rosslyn Employer Leaving for D.C. — The American Psychiatric Association, currently based at 1000 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn, has signed a lease at The Wharf project on the Southwest D.C. waterfront. The association has about 250 employees. It is expected to move in 2017. [Washington Business Journal]
Flickr pool photo by David Giambarresi
The neon light sculpture which has graced the facade of the Arlington Arts Center’s historic Maury building for the past 10 years will be moving on this summer.
The piece is moving across the river to the Anacostia Arts Center. Kraft’s studio is located in Anacostia.
“I’ve been proud for the piece to call AAC home for the last 10 years,” Kraft said. “Following refurbishment and conservation in my studio, the piece will be re-installed at the Anacostia Arts Center where it will be a part of Anacostia’s renaissance for years to come.”
Arlington Arts Center said in an email that they are “thrilled that the piece will live on in the region.” Once it’s gone, AAC plans to use its portico space and grounds to feature the works of other artists, including an artist who’s part of the center’s new PLAY: Tinker, Tech & Toy exhibition, which starts next month.
“AAC will also be working with Arlington Public Art to select and install a longer-term sculpture to be sited on the portico in 2016,” the center said.