Embracing Arlington Arts has put forward a business plan for a future “Arlington Performing Arts Center.”
And it is taking great pains to prove it will survive on private financial support, and won’t take county funds or fizzle out like the county-run Artisphere in Rosslyn, which suffered from ineffective marketing and a relative lack of engagement from Arlington residents and artists.
The arts nonprofit proposes a roughly 14,300-square-foot performing arts space, with a black box main stage theater seating up to 150 people. The center would have four rehearsal studios, dressing rooms, a lobby with a box office, a concession stand, storage, offices and an art gallery wall.
“We are very excited to publish this business plan for a new venue in the County,” Embracing Arlington Arts (EAA) President Janet Kopenhaver said in a statement. “We know this is a challenge, but we also recognize that Arlington is a great County that can be made better with the addition of a performing arts/live music venue.”
Now, the organization said it is looking for the right site, and will announce its pick after consulting with the county. If the Arlington Performing Arts Center (APAC) is built as planned, the facility could cost $8 to $10 million to build, costs the nonprofit aims to cover with corporate and individual donations.
“This plan assumes that EAA will raise funds to support the new venue from investors, corporations, the developer, private individuals, foundations and other entities to cover the capital costs of the building,” the organization’s treasurer, Robert Goler, said in a statement. “Furthermore, this plan assumes no management requirement by the County, no County staff expenses, and all operating expenses being paid by the APAC operating entity.”
EAA already has some support from Amazon, which Kopenhaver thanked for “underwriting the consultant’s fees to research and draft this important document.”
“Our work with Embracing Arlington Arts is a part of our broader support of arts-focused nonprofits across the DMV,” Amazon spokeswoman Hayley Richard tells ARLnow, listing nearly a dozen other arts groups it has supported, including Signature Theatre, Arlington Arts Center and Synetic Theater.
According to the business plan, rent from theater companies and others will not fully cover the APAC’s operating expenses, and the arts booster group will have to raise about $25,000 a year to break even.
Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol has expressed excitement for the proposal.
“The opportunities that a professional mid-size venue will offer in Arlington are tremendous: It will bring high-quality arts experiences to residents and give local arts groups access to professional rehearsals and performances in Arlington,” she said in a statement included in the plan. “It’s exciting to see multiple sectors come together to support this vision, particularly in our current moment, where the arts are essential to help our community make meaning of and heal from the pandemic.”
The nonprofit surveyed residents as part of its research. While much of the feedback was positive, some predicted, according to the business plan, the APAC wouldn’t succeed because the Kennedy Center in D.C. is close by and Arlington already has too many venues.
EAA said APAC would host performances by local groups that would not be able to afford or sell out the Kennedy Center. A more modest theater would keep ticket prices down, expanding the scope of who could attend performances.
As for making do with what’s around, EAA says none of the nearly two dozen venues across the county meet the needs of several professional, local theater organizations.
Schools are too small and lack the ambiance guests expect when going to the theater, per the business plan. Meanwhile, existing privately run spaces like Synetic Theater and county-run spaces like Theatre on the Run wouldn’t be able to provide the flexibility EAA is seeking to host live music, readings, plays, receptions, artist exhibitions, camps and improv nights throughout the week.
Meanwhile, an earlier county plan that would have seen a developer build a Metro-accessible black box theater in the Virginia Square area fell through, leaving it up to private organizations like EAA to envision ways to fill the void.
“Our goal is to have a lively and vibrant facility that also serves as a community partner and good neighbor,” Kopenhaver said.
‘Coffee With a Cop’ Comes to Clarendon, Pentagon City — The Arlington County Police Department is hosting a pair of “Coffee with a Cop” events later this month, at a Starbucks in Pentagon City and Northside Social in Clarendon. In a press release, ACPD said it “is committed to developing and maintaining strong relationships with those we serve, a vital component to ensuring the public’s trust.” [Arlington County]
Potomac Roaring Over Great Falls — Those within earshot of the Potomac River are being treated to an especially loud roar this week as the rain-swollen river “churned and even exploded into the air at Great Falls.” It also flooded parts of Alexandria and the Georgetown riverfront. [Washington Post, Twitter, Twitter]
Artisphere Closing Anniversary — It has been three years since Artisphere closed its doors in Rosslyn. The former county-funded arts venue is now a co-working and events space.
Photo courtesy @jimcollierjr
The former Artisphere space in Rosslyn has a new lease on life, as co-working area Spaces opened earlier this week.
Spaces is located at 1101 Wilson Blvd, in a building owned by Monday Properties. The chain’s Rosslyn location offers 303 desks in a 37,000-square-foot office space. Members can use any workstation, or can pay more to reserve one. Suites are also available for small businesses. Up to 800 members can be accommodated.
A large open area with a full kitchen, bar/café and eight beer taps can be reserved for meetings and parties, and doubles as a co-working space when not in use for events.
Members can also access 9,000 square feet of outdoor space, including a large balcony, while its upper atrium connects to Rosslyn’s Freedom Park.
At a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday, Rosslyn Business Improvement District president and CEO Mary-Claire Burick said the new co-working space, one of several open or planning to open in Arlington, will foster community.
“We love how Spaces encourages a sense of community with its design, programs and overall empowering atmosphere,” Burick said. “That’s what we’re all about here in Rosslyn, so I know you and your clients will feel right at home. I want you to know that you have the full support of the Rosslyn business community, because when you succeed, we all succeed.”
Welcome to @ArlingtonVA @spacesworks! @ARLnowDOTcom @RosslynVA pic.twitter.com/VVWlzH2Uo9
— Arlington Chamber VA (@ArlChamberVA) November 13, 2017
Photos via Mary Parker Architectural Photography, courtesy of Monday Properties. Disclosure: Monday Properties is an ARLnow advertiser.
A large new coworking space will breathe new life into the former Artisphere in Rosslyn this fall.
Coworking firm Spaces expects to open its new Artisphere location in November. The location will feature 22,000 square feet of office space, an event space, an outdoor patio and a gym with showers, we’re told.
Renderings show sleekly-designed communal spaces designed for collaborative work.
“Take your creativity to new levels in uniquely inspired workspace in Rosslyn’s vibrant urban sector,” the Spaces website says. “The Artisphere’s sophisticated modern design cultivates an empowering social atmosphere that fuels innovative thinking.”
In April, Spaces opened a large coworking space in D.C.’s Uline Arena
The former Artisphere cultural center in Rosslyn will get a new life as a 45,000 square foot co-working space, its owner announced today.
The building at 1101 Wilson Boulevard will host a “flexible workspace,” called “Spaces,” from office space provider Regus, according to a news release from real estate firm Monday Properties.
Geared toward tech businesses, the redeveloped property will have an open layout that is intended to encourage collaboration among workers.
“Co-working is becoming increasingly popular with millennials and those who prefer a more flexible workspace,” Monday Properties president Tim Helmig said in a statement. “1101 Wilson Boulevard, with its diverse services and prime location, is the right home for Spaces and for other cutting edge firms that are looking to optimize and effectively grow their businesses.”
Regus and Monday Properties are working to transform the former Artisphere building over the next year. It wasn’t immediately clear when the co-working space will open.
When the co-working space does open, it will compete with Arlington-based MakeOffices, which has a location in a Monday Properties building at 1400 Key Boulevard in Rosslyn.
Arlington County terminated its lease on the Artisphere space last fall. Before the county used the building, it housed the Newseum.
The full press release, after the jump.
A mobile art and performance venue may be coming to Arlington.
The Arlington County Board on Saturday is set to consider the purchase of an “arts truck.” In a staff report, officials said the truck could bring the arts to various locations across the country, partially filling the void left by the closure of the Artisphere in Rosslyn.
“When closing the Artisphere, the County Manager and County Board made a commitment to continue programming for artistic and cultural events, specifically through the use of mobile and periodic programming along major commercial corridors,” says the staff report. “Cultural Affairs staff believes that an Arts Truck that delivers innovative, professionally-curated pop-up style arts events is an excellent mechanism for expanding the reach of arts, entertainment and culture throughout the Arlington community.”
Potential arts truck programming could include:
- “Pop-up visual arts exhibits”
- “Lunchtime mini-concerts”
- “Lounge and learn educational and civic programming”
- “Temporary public art activities”
The truck is expected to cost about $55,000. Another $14,000 is being allocated for one-time costs and “pilot programming.”
Nearly $30,000 of the costs is being provided by donations that were made to Artisphere but never spent. Close to $40,000 is being provided by existing Arlington County arts funds.
“While the Artisphere was in operation, the [Arlington Community Foundation], on behalf of the County, managed a fund dedicated to Artisphere donations,” says the staff report. “Now that the Artisphere has closed, the remaining balance in the fund must be used in a manner consistent with the intent of the fund – to support innovative cultural programming throughout the County. After consulting with both ACF and public stakeholders, Cultural Affairs staff have determined that an Arts Truck providing such cultural programming in the major commercial corridors would broaden the reach of arts in the community and complement existing arts outreach.”
(Updated at 12:40 p.m.) One of the most recognizable features of the former Artisphere cultural center in Rosslyn is not on the chopping block, after all.
On its Nov. 14 meeting agenda, the Arlington County Board is scheduled to consider a site plan amendment for 1101 Wilson Blvd, “relating to the demolition” of the Artisphere dome.
The county terminated its lease on the Artisphere space last month, five years after the center first opened. Previously used by the Newseum, when it was located in Rosslyn, the dome theater may narrow down the kind of tenants property owner Monday Properties can attract.
From a public notice about the site plan amendment:
SP# 89 1101 Wilson Owner, LLC to delete Condition #4 relating to demolition of dome structure on Wilson Boulevard; in C-O zoning district under ACZO §15.5. Property is approximately 60,700 sq. ft.; located at 1101 Wilson Blvd.; and is identified as RPC# 16-039-002; -003; -021. Applicable Policies: GLUP “High” Office-Apartment-Hotel; Rosslyn Sector Plan.
However, county officials now say that the dome is not in danger, at least for now.
From Helen Duong, the Chief Marketing Officer for Arlington’s Dept. of Community Planning, Housing and Development:
This condition currently requires that the Newseum Dome be demolished if the County moves forward with construction of the Loop Road in Rosslyn (the Dome is located partially within what would have been the right of way for the Loop Road). Given adoption of the new Rosslyn Sector Plan this past summer, in which the Loop Road concept was abandoned, there is no longer a need to demolish the dome, and therefore the property owner wants the condition requiring demolition removed. As is my understanding, Monday Properties does not want to demolish the dome, but would like to market the space without the encumbrances required by Cond. #4.
Flickr pool photo by TheBeltWalk
A little more than five years after Artisphere opened, the doors are shutting for good on what was once touted to be Arlington’s cultural crown jewel.
Without any discussion, the County Board unanimously voted to end the county’s lease for the Rosslyn space formerly occupied by Artisphere during its meeting last night. Artisphere, which opened on Oct. 10, 2010, shut is doors in June 2015, following financial problems.
It will cost the county $447,436.24 in payments to break the lease, which will end on Oct, 31. The lease on the property was originally written with an expiration date in April 2023.
Negotiations with landlord Monday Properties resulted in about $100,000 in savings on the lease termination, county staff said. Utilities and maintenance for the space cost the county nearly $1 million per year.
At this time, the county has not calculated the final cost for closing the cultural center, county staff said.
The Artisphere cultural center in Rosslyn closed in June, but on Saturday the County Board is expected to shut the door for good by terminating Artisphere’s lease.
Arlington County leased the 62,000 square foot former Newseum space at 1101 Wilson Blvd in November 2008. It opened Artisphere on Oct. 10, 2010.
Intractable financial losses at Artisphere — contrary to rosy projections made prior to the center’s opening — combined with a lack of local community participation to doom it. An effort to have the Artisphere space used for a tech incubator and conference center apparently fell through, leading to the lease termination recommendation from county staff.
Not helping matters: it costs about $1 million per year to maintain the space, including electricity, heating and air conditioning costs. Building owner Monday Properties, which gave the space to Arlington virtually rent free, will now be free to attempt to find a new tenant.
Under the staff recommendation, the lease will be terminated on Oct. 31. Arlington County will owe the landlord payments totaling $447,436.24 in order to exercise the early lease termination. (The lease was originally slated to end in April 2023.)
Negotiations regarding the early lease termination have cut the county’s total costs by more than $100,000, staff said.
The money will come from $1.3 million in funding already allocated by the County Board for the closing of Artisphere. The total cost of the facility’s shuttering is not yet available.
“Other expenses associated with the closure of the facility are still processing and a final estimate of the total closure costs will not be available until all invoicing is complete and internal accounts are reconciled,” county staff wrote.
The County Board will consider the lease termination at its meeting this coming Saturday.
Arlington, VHC Agree to Land Swap Terms — Arlington County and Virginia Hospital Center have preliminarily agreed to terms on a future land deal that would give the hospital extra room to expand. The deal would swap the county’s Edison Complex, next to the hospital, for hospital-owned property elsewhere and/or cash and other considerations. The County Board will vote on a proposed Letter of Intent on Sept. 24. [Arlington County]
Arlington Teen Mauled by Pit Bull — A 17-year-old was mauled by a pit bull in his home on 8th Street S., police said. The house was reportedly being used as a babysitting service for pit bulls and the boy suffered serious injuries after trying to break up a fight between two of the dogs. [NBC Washington]
Artisphere Still in County Hands — Arlington County and Monday Properties have not yet finalized a lease termination for the former Artisphere space in Rosslyn. While there has been some talk of a tech-related use for the massive, airy space — which costs $1 million per year just for heating, cooling and utilities — it’s as yet unclear what, if anything, will actually replace Artisphere. [DCist]
Arlington Loses Large Potential Tenant — Despite a push from Arlington County and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, The Advisory Board Co. will be staying in D.C. Local and state officials had hoped to woo the publicly traded company to the vacant 1812 N. Moore Street tower in Rosslyn, but in the end a $60 million incentive package offered by D.C. convinced the company to move to a New York Ave NW address near the convention center. [Washington Business Journal]
Tonight: E.T. Showing at the Planetarium — The Friends of Arlington’s Planetarium will kick off their fall fundraising festival this weekend with a movie screening tonight. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial will be showing at the planetarium starting at 7 p.m. tonight. Other events are planned for Saturday and Sunday. [Friends of Arlington’s Planetarium]
Fall Festival at Bluemont Park — On Saturday, Bluemont Park will host its free Fall Festival, featuring activities for all ages, including cornhole, bocce, a moon bounce, relay races and face painting. [Facebook]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan and the staff of Artisphere are saying farewell.
Today is Donnellan’s last day as the top executive in Arlington County government, before her retirement, which was announced in March.
Deputy County Manager Mark Schwartz will serve as acting county manager while the county continues to conduct a nationwide search for Donnellan’s permanent replacement.
Donnellan sent the following goodbye memo to county staff this afternoon, after spending much of the morning walking around county government headquarters and saying goodbye to staffers in person.
Friends: I could not leave today without thanking you all for your hard work and your many contributions that have helped make Arlington a great community.
How quickly thirty-one-and-a-half years have flown by. It has been an amazing ride. Together, we have accomplished so much. For me, the most satisfying aspect of this job has been the opportunity to come to work each day and interact with such a talented group of people. But all great things must come to an end.
Tomorrow, I start a new chapter, and I’m looking forward to exploring new opportunities. Under Mark Schwartz’s able leadership, I know that you will continue to do great things.
Again, thank you for everything. It has been such a privilege.
All the best,
Also bidding adieu is Artisphere, which is set to permanently close its doors after today.
The staff of the cultural center in Rosslyn sounded a proud, defiant note in a goodbye message sent to its email list this afternoon. That note is below, after the jump.