Arts Focus: The Beat Goes On at The Library — Groovin’ On The Pike Dance Party Series

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

What better way to kick off the New Year than a heads-up about the upcoming schedule for the Groovin’ On the Pike: After Hours at the Library dance party series which was recently recognized with an Arlington County Manager’s Excellence Award!

This award is given to an individual or team in each department to recognize a suggestion, invention, superior accomplishment, productivity gain or other personal or team effort that contributes to the efficiency, economy or other improvement of County operations.

Here, the collaboration between Arlington Cultural Affairs/Arlington Arts and Arlington Public Library was noted for bringing new audiences to Columbia Pike Branch Library.

Featuring a diverse line-up of musical groups from near and far, upwards of 200 patrons now come to the library to dance in the stacks and enjoy a brew from the cash bar every first Friday of the month at 7 p.m.

Here’s a quick look at the schedule when it resumes in February:

February 1 — Little Red and the Renegades

Blues, zydeco, funk, R&B, country, gospel, pop, compas direct, latin, jazz and carnival flavors from all over the world have been blended and distilled into the Renegades’ sound.  This is party music, best served with good friends, food, drink and lots of dancing.

Check out their recent video of a performance at D.C.’s The Hamilton Live!

March 1 — Bitter Dose Combo

The Bitter Dose Combo is DC’s premiere gypsy jazz band, playing gypsy jazz and swing standards at social dances, bistros, supper clubs, weddings and special events in and around the District.

The BDC’s sound combines the improvisation and swinging guitar made famous by Django Reinhardt with spirited jazz vocals, Paris musette accordion and upright bass.

April 5 — Los Gallos Negros

From rural son jarocho to urban mariachi styles and contemporary Caribbean rhythms, Los Gallos are an eclectic musical ensemble working to make the modern more traditional and the traditional more modern.

Members of the group hail from throughout the U.S. and all have strong roots in Mexico. Los Gallos perform regularly across the East Coast, including National Mall marches, Smithsonian museums and even the 2016 White House Cinco de Mayo celebration for President Barack Obama.

Come on out and discover another side to your local library! Click this link for free tickets.


Arts Focus: Workshop for Artists On Writing Successful Grants

As we head into the busy holiday season, artists and creators in all genres are invited to mark your calendars for Saturday, January 12, and sign-up for an Arts Grant Writing Workshop.

Gain a greater understanding of writing a competitive and compelling grant proposal as you get a better grasp of basic grant writing skills for national, regional, and local arts grant proposals!

The workshop is part of an ongoing series presented by the Arts Enterprise Institute, a project of Arlington Arts.

Instructor Glen Kessler is an internationally collected and awarded artist, as well as the founder of The Compass Atelier in Rockville, Maryland. Kessler has an MFA from New York Academy of Art and a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art. He has work in the public collections of Prince Charles, Amazon Web Services, Ford’s Theater and Capital One Bank, as well as hundreds of private collections around the world.

He is a 2-time recipient of the Elizabeth Greenshields Grant for Outstanding Figurative Art, a Prince of Wales Fellow and a Maryland State Arts Council Grant awardee. He has taught at Maryland Institute College of Art, George Washington University, George Mason University, among other institutions.

In 2013 he founded The Compass Atelier in Rockville in order to teach a cohesive curriculum of artistic study of his own design. Check out the video below about the school!

The workshop takes place on Saturday, January 12, from 1-4 p.m. at the Arlington Cultural Affairs Arts Enterprise Institute.

Note: Registration for this workshop will close at 7 p.m. on January 11, but class size is kept small in order to maximize the benefit to the participant, so register now as sessions fill up quickly.


Arts Focus: Local Artists Make Holiday Gift Shopping A Snap

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

Small Business Saturday is this weekend, but there are plenty of upcoming opportunities in Arlington to shop local for creative, distinctive artist-made gifts for the holiday season!

Made In Arlington Pop Up Shops
Every Thursday (excluding Thanksgiving Day) thru December 20 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Sponsored by Arlington Economic Development’s Creative Economy program, Made in Arlington returns just in time for the holiday season!

Visit the Plaza Branch Library (in Courthouse Plaza lobby) for this pop-up retail market dedicated to unique things beautiful, wearable and edible from innovators and artisans in Arlington.

Upcoming pop-up’s include;

  • Melanie Lee handcrafts and District Line Clothing — November 29
  • bakt by Ingrid and Luna Blu Mar — December 6
  • Village Sweet and Diane Felice jewelry — December 13
  • Pinup Preserves and Sik Imagery — December 20

Click here for more information.

GRUMP Rosslyn
Saturday, December 1

With 45 unique vendors, free arts workshops and the opportunity for your kids to meet a Yeti or two, GRUMP is a fantastic way to shop handmade and local this holiday season.

Vendors range from Potomac Chocolate, and the popular regional bakery Whisked DC, to inspired textiles by vendors like Scarvelous, Seeing in Fabric and quirky creatures for the kids by TigerFlight! Meet your creative neighbors, all while hanging out in the beautiful SPACES building in Rosslyn, sponsored by the Rosslyn Business Improvement District and Arlington Arts. Click here for more information.


Arts Focus: Arlington Arts & Libraries Partnership Has Patrons Dancing In the Stacks

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

Arlington’s newest spot to catch great music is one you might not expect: Columbia Pike Branch Library!

With nearly 300 people dancing in the aisles for the season two’s opening concert last month, Groovin’ On the Pike: After Hours at the Library dance party continues Friday, November 2 with internationally-renowned West African musician and griot Cheick Hamala Diabate. As evidenced by Diabate’s NPR Tiny Desk Concert (see below), it’s going to be a great time!

A co-presentation between Arlington Arts and Arlington Public Library, the free event represents a partnership across Arlington County Government divisions that broadens the scope of performing arts venues in the County, while also bringing new and different constituencies into the library. The series continues with the New Orleans soul of Funky Miracle on Dec 7, and Little Red and the Renegades on February 1, 2019.

Featuring a diverse line up of musical groups from near and far, guests can dance in the stacks and enjoy a brew from the cash bar every first Friday of the month!

Washington may be chock-a-block with lobbyists and consultants, but only one of them rocks the n’goni, the West African plucked lute covered with animal skin.

Cheick Hamala Diabate advises presidents and the World Bank. He’s played for everyone from a struggling couple trying to save their marriage, to the U.S. Congress. He’s hobnobbed with American string and Blues legends — from Bela Fleck to Corey Harris — and along the way reunited his beloved instrument with its long-lost grandchild, America’s banjo.

While partying at your local library has been somewhat rare in recent years, they have a long history as special event venues. Historically, the Library was often among the more spacious and attractive public facilities in communities both large and small. Today architects and urban planners are increasingly viewing Libraries as ‘third places’: that space between ‘home’ and ‘workplace’ that serves multiple recreational and civic functions.

As detailed in this article in American Libraries magazine, more and more these spaces are being reimagined as “the “living room of the city,” and as such it was less focused on books and more focused on human needs, providing space for performances, meetings, children’s activities, art installations and general public gatherings.”

Come on out and get ‘balanced’ as you sway to the lilting rhythms of Cheick Hamala Diabate — free on Friday, Nov 2 at Columbia Pike Branch Library.

Click this link for free tickets.


Arts Focus: Artists & Performers Gear Up for the FY 2020 Arlington Arts Grant Applications

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

Arlington-based non-profit arts organizations and individual artists, mark your calendars: the FY 2020 Arlington Arts Grants application cycle is about to begin, starting with workshops throughout the month of November to help you put your best foot forward.

In discussing Arlington Cultural Affairs Division’s work earlier this year, WTOP 103.5 FM observed that “Arlington has spawned some of the D.C. area’s most creative and forward-thinking attitudes toward art projects for the past four decades, ranging from music, to community sculpture, to providing creative workspaces for artists.” Central to this growth has been the Arlington Arts Grants Program.

Administered by the Arlington Commission for the Arts, the Cultural Affairs Division’s Arlington Arts Grants Program artists and arts organizations in establishing and maintaining artistic and cultural programs in the County. We do this by providing facilities, financial and technical support; developing a broad base of financial and community support; and enhancing their artistic, technical and managerial competence.

Additional resources available to Arlington Cultural Affairs Division grantees range from discounted access to the Arlington CostumeLab with a 20,000-piece costume library, sewing machines and a dye vat, to the Arlington Scene Shop outfitted with the tools and space necessary to build sets.

All organizations and individuals planning to apply for an FY 2020 grant must register and attend one of the following workshops (click on the date to register via Eventbrite):

Workshops for Organizations

Workshops for Individuals

Last year, there were 43 grant applications requesting County support in Fiscal Year 2019. Of the 26 requests for financial support, 15 were from non-profit arts organizations and 11 were from individual artists. Twelve organizations requested performance/rehearsal space and technical services in addition to financial support, and five organizations requested performance/rehearsal space only. Submissions are reviewed by panels of arts experts and committees of Arts Commissioners.

Visit this link on the Arlington Arts website for deadlines and detailed information about the FY 2020 Arlington Arts Grants!


Arts Focus: Take a Weaving Break

Supporting entrepreneurs, small businesses and creatives is all part of Arlington’s Creative Economy initiative. With public/private partnerships, growth of these endeavors is an important part of business sector diversity and economic sustainability.

Check here for ongoing Creative Economy listings and opportunities. More Creative economy stories on the blog.

Want a change from a brown bag lunch at your desk? Try weaving.

This week, from October 1-5, Arlington Weaves, Etc. gets in on the fun of Spinning & Weaving Week, a national celebration of spinners, weavers, fiber artists and basket makers from the Handweavers Guild of America, Inc.

With daily activities from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1-2 p.m. in the Arlington studio, visitors can stop by and weave a sample, watch a guest demonstration and see the weavers at work. Sign up for a weaving time and get introduced to the process of weaving twill, a type of weave noted for its diagonal parallel ridges and its sturdy quality.

A weaving studio isn’t what you’d expect to find in a public school administration building, but Arlington Weaves, Etc. has never been ordinary. From its inception, the Arlington Department of Human Services has been managing this unique weaving program that is part skill training, part integrated socialization, part social entrepreneurship and full on amazing.

Operated by ServiceSource, Inc. the program supports adults with developmental disabilities by integrating technical skills with improved self-sufficiency. Over time, Arlington Weaves, Etc. has become a feature of Arlington Economic Development’s Made in Arlington Initiative with items stocked at the pop-up shop at Plaza Branch Library.

And if you don’t finish your sample or need to rush back to brown bag lunch, the ArlingtonWeaves, Etc. studio also features a storefront shop where you’ll find tote bags, yoga mat straps, small zipper bags, place mats and scarves all produced on site. The studio and shop are open weekdays from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.

Event: The Thrill of the Twill
Date: October 1-5
Location: 2100 Washington Blvd., Suite 301
Time: 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1-2 p.m.

Sign up for a weaving session here.


Arts Focus: Peek Behind The Curtain on The Arlington Visual Art Studio Tour

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

By guest blogger, Arlington artist Melanie Kehoss

Everyone can appreciate a beautiful work of art, but the wider public is not always aware of the hard work, dedication and fascinating processes that lay behind its creation.

That’s why over 50 of Arlington’s visual artists are opening workspaces to the public for the first annual Arlington Visual Art Studio Tour, on Saturday and Sunday, September 29 and 30 (11:00 a.m.-5 p.m.). The online and print directory indicate if artists are open on Saturday, Sunday or both.

This free event allows local artists to feature their work, processes and studio spaces, while showcasing the richness and diversity of visual arts to be found in Arlington County. Visitors will find paintings, ceramics, jewelry, paper art, photography, and more.

The Arlington Visual Art Studio Tour is a joint effort by the Arlington Arts Center, Arlington Artists Alliance, Columbia Pike Artist Studios, Westover Artists and independent artists throughout Arlington County, with support from Arlington Cultural Affairs and the Arlington Commission for the Arts.

“Arlington has many accomplished artists creating significant bodies of work in their homes, garages or rented studio space,” says Katherine Freshley, former Executive Director of Arlington Arts Center. “This open studio tour provides a rare opportunity to see and understand the artistic process that often seems quite mysterious… You’ll walk away with new insights and appreciation for Arlington’s hidden treasures — visual artists.”

“This tour addresses a central goal of Arlington County’s Arts and Culture strategy, Enriching Lives — to promote local artists and assist them in developing new audiences,” says Michelle Isabelle-Stark, Director of the Cultural Affairs Division of Arlington Economic Development, which is a sponsor of this event highlighting the County’s diverse range of visual artists. “Moreover, the fact that this initiative emerged organically — by and of the artists — is itself a testament to the continued growth and vitality of Arlington’s creative community.”

Information about the tour, including a directory of artists, is available at arlingtonartstudiotour.org.  You may also pick-up physical copies of the maps with studio addresses at Arlington Arts Center, Gallery Underground, Lee Arts Center and other locations.


Arts Focus: The Science, Data and Inspiration of Creative Genius

Supporting entrepreneurs, small businesses and creatives is all part of Arlington’s Creative Economy initiative. With public/private partnerships, growth of these endeavors is an important part of business sector diversity and economic sustainability.

Check here for ongoing Creative Economy listings and opportunities. More Creative economy stories on the blog.

Creativity drives business innovation and growth. But is it reserved for the lucky few?

In the latest of the Return on Creativity series on October 2, hear Allen Gannett, author of The Creative Curve and Ben Rubin, Director of the Center For Data Arts talk about maximizing the discovery and application of creativity.

Big data entrepreneur Allen Gannett, author of The Creative Curve, overturns the mythology around creative genius, and reveals the science and secrets behind achieving breakout commercial success in any field.
We have been spoon-fed the notion that creativity is the province of genius — of those favored, brilliant few whose moments of insight arrive in unpredictable flashes of divine inspiration. And if we are not a genius, we might as well pack it in and give up. Either we have that gift, or we don’t.

But Allen shows that simply isn’t true. Recent research has shown that there is a predictable science behind achieving commercial success in any creative endeavor, from writing a popular novel to starting up a successful company to creating an effective marketing campaign.

Artist and designer Ben Rubin is the Director of the Center for Data Arts at the New School in New York and knows a lot about applying data to creative output. Rubin engages with social, cultural and environmental data to create large scale media installations and performance designs.

His work has been presented at the Whitney, MoMA, the Science Museum, London and he has been commissioned to create permanent installations for the Public Theater, The New York Times Building, Brookfield Place, Calgary among others.

Rubin’s groundbreaking projection design for Arguendo, a play by Elevator Repair Service that played at Woolly Mammoth theater and earned him an Obie Award in 2014.

October 2, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Marymount University, Ballston campus
Free event, registration is required


Arts Focus: The Partnership Behind The Rosslyn Jazz Festival

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

Now in its 28th year, the Rosslyn Jazz Festival is one of Arlington County’s signature events, annually drawing thousands to hear internationally-renowned musical artists.

Presented by the Rosslyn Business Improvement District (BID) and co-sponsored with Arlington’s Cultural Affairs Division/Arlington Arts, the partnership harnesses the respective strengths of the locally-focused non-profit and Arlington County Government to maximum effect.

“Having a thriving arts and culture scene is key to attracting a residential base and workforce that are vital to the business community today,” said Mary-Claire Burick, president of the Rosslyn BID. “We’re in a competitive region, and collaborating with local organizations like Arlington Arts to host one of the region’s largest festivals gives us an edge when we’re talking to businesses that are looking to relocate or expand in Rosslyn.”

Most of the on-the-ground logistics, such as permitting, promotion and vendor area coordination, are led by the BID. Using their formidable network of staff, volunteers and community connections, the BID transforms the three-acre Gateway Park and the surrounding thoroughfares into a safe, smooth-running festival-site, stocked with some of the area’s top food trucks with options to engage the entire family.

While the County had always provided production and marketing support, since 2001 the programming team at Arlington Arts expanded their role to oversee all elements of the on-stage production and curating the musical line-up. Re-envisioning the festival to highlight more national and international touring artists, attendance quickly rose from 1,200 to an average 7,000 annually.

“Like jazz itself the festival has evolved,” says Josh Stoltzfus, who programs the Festival, as Director of Cultural Development for Arlington Arts. “During the past several years, we’ve been incorporating a more diverse array of music to feature critically acclaimed global music, soul, funk and all manner of jazz-related expression.”

Last year, the festival enjoyed one of its best years to-date, drawing more than 10,000 attendees. It’s not unusual to see audience members who travel from as far away as Philadelphia, Raleigh or Chicago for the event, all of which benefits Arlington’s restaurant and hotel industry as well.

Free and open to the public, this year’s Rosslyn Jazz Festival takes place on Saturday, September 8 from 1-7 p.m. at Gateway Park, 1300 Lee Highway (2 blocks from Rosslyn Metro, at the foot of Key Bridge). For information, visit www.rosslynva.org/jazzfest or arlingtonarts.org.

For 2018, the Rosslyn Jazz Festival continues to pack a serious artistic wallop:

Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles (5:30 p.m.) — Uniquely blending blues, soul, R&B, Afrobeat, gospel and jazz, NPR calls two-time Grammy award winner and former Snarky Puppy keyboardist Cory Henry “a master” and says his “musical charisma is a match for a nearly 400 pound [Hammond B-3] organ.”

Orquesta Akokán (3:45 p.m.)  Listening to Orquesta Akokán’s debut on Daptone Records, you feel the spirits of Cuba’s musical giants. Making their DC/Baltimore area debut, you’ll marvel at how this 14-piece big band conveys the power and playfulness of the renowned Latin dance orchestras of the 1940’s and 1950’s yet still manage to sound fresh and new.

True Loves (2:20 p.m.) — Seattle’s eight-piece instrumental soul group makes their East Coast debut. John Rickards of KEXP calls them one of the city’s best bands. “It’s the soundtrack to that car chase you’ve always wanted to be in,” he says.

Aztec Sun (1:00 p.m.) — Known for their infectious songwriting and rhythmic versatility, Aztec Sun has twice landed a top spot on Washington City Paper’s coveted “best of” list. Modeled in the funk and soul traditions, they’re a go-to band for live events and house parties in the D.C. area.


Arts Focus: Vintage Arlington Signs Point the Way to New Interactive Art Installation

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

The aroma of popcorn wafting from Sears…

Mom buying you your first pair of heels at Kann’s…

Hanging-out at the Hot Shoppes restaurant…

The Arlington Art Truck’s newest interactive art installation explores how, beyond fostering commerce, businesses become part of our daily lives.

ARLINGTON ABSTRACTED debuts on Saturday, September 8 at the Rosslyn Jazz Festival in Gateway Park (free admission), followed by numerous activations around Arlington through October. Learn about the County’s social and retail history via this quick, fun project by artist Marc Pekala.

Eight typographically interesting signs were simplified, mounted onto small magnetic sheets and broken into multiple 2″x 2″ squares. Then, visitors let loose and rearrange them into original abstract!

Hash tag your creation when sharing via social media along with #ArtTruckArlington #ArlingtonAbstracted, and have your design considered to become the new ground mural in the pop-up park at 2100 Clarendon Blvd. next spring!

The backstories of some of Arlington’s businesses may surprise you:

  • Weenie Beenie — 2680 Shirlington Road, Nauck, 1960-Present

Arlington’s iconic hot dog stand was originally part of a small chain formed in 1960 by world renowned pool hustler William “Weenie Beenie” Staton, using a $27,000 gambling win as seed money.

He performed trick shots in several movies, including the 1986 Martin Scorsese film The Color of Money. The only remaining location, Arlington’s Weenie Beenie is the title of a song by the Foo Fighters, fronted by Northern Virginia native Dave Grohl.

  • Moore’s Barber Shop — 4807 Lee Highway, Hall’s Hill/High View Park, 1960-Present

Established by Mr. James Moore, Sr. in 1960, adjacent to Arlington’s historically African-American Hall’s Hill/High View Park neighborhood. With limited access to public venues during segregation, Moore’s Barber Shop, fire station and churches were gathering places for Hall’s Hill/High View Park residents.

Continuing to offer not only grooming but important community space, Moore’s is now operated by James Moore, Jr., but the elder Mr. Moore still drops by (look for his 1955 Chevrolet outside).

Mr. Moore, Jr. remembers going to the fire station to watch movies as a child. Today, he is a firefighter working for that same fire station.

Arlington Art Truck activities also integrate a ride-along service to provide information on other County resources. In this case, the Inspection Services Division (ISD) will provide information about residential building permits and newly implemented tools to ease the process.

Visit our website to find out more about the project and the businesses that inspired the artwork!


Arts Focus: Walking Tour Celebrates Dark Star Park Day and the Alignment of Public & Private Interests

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

A free Dark Star Park Day Walking Tour led by Arlington County’s public artist in residence, Graham Coreil-Allen, takes place on the annual Dark Star Park Day, Wednesday, August 1 from 8-9:45 a.m..

Public art helps give a community a sense of place and few works illustrate that better than Dark Star Park (Nancy Holt, 1984). Each year at 9:32 a.m. on August 1, the day that William Henry Ross acquired the land that became Rosslyn in 1860, shadows created by the sculpture align perfectly with patterns outlined on the ground.

The 90-minute tour will explore Rosslyn’s collection of public art, including Liquid Pixels, Cupid’s Garden, the new LED installation Gravity and Grace / Corridor of Light phase 1 at Central Place Plaza, and will conclude with the dramatic shadow alignment of Dark Star Park.

Co-sponsored by Arlington Arts, the Rosslyn BID and WalkArlington, the event itself speaks to the pioneering combination of public and private resources which created this specific work and shaped Arlington’s internationally-acclaimed permanent collection of contemporary public art.

From the outset, when the County, a citizen activist, the late artist Nancy Holt (profiled in this New York Times article), a developer and the National Endowment for the Arts collaborated to create this seminal landscape artwork in Rosslyn, the Arlington Public Art program has been characterized by its unique approach to combining public and private resources and its focus on enhancements to the public realm.

Graham Coreil-Allen is a Baltimore-based public artist who explores the constructs and engages the contradictions of the everyday built environment through videos, maps, public installations, writing and walking tours.

Coreil-Allen received his MFA from Maryland Institute College of Art and has staged projects for numerous spaces, places and events, including the Washington Project for the Arts, Arlington Arts Center and the US Pavilion at the 13th International Venice Architecture Biennale.

Update: While all the slots are full for the Public Art Walking Tour, we  encourage you to come hear the guide tell the history of the work by joining us at the conclusion of the tour at Dark Star Park at 9:15 a.m..


Arts Focus: Arlington’s CostumeLab Helps Superheroes Keep It Together

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

Wonder Woman’s bullet-proof bracelets are falling off… Black Panther’s impenetrable vibranium suit is torn… Superman spilled soy sauce all over his cape… What’s a superhero to do?

Well, CosPlay enthusiasts in the DC Metro area are getting used to stopping by the Arlington CostumeLab Cosplay Repair Booth at local conventions.

CosPlay, a contraction of the words costume play, involves participants wearing costumes to represent a character from anime, cartoons, films or comic books. The conventions, or comi-cons that welcome this growing community of hobbyists are big business, and Crystal City is a major stop on the nationwide convention circuit.

The initial collaboration was sparked a couple of years ago when Arlington’s Convention and Visitors Services (ACVS) called on Arlington Cultural Affairs (which is also a Division of Arlington Economic Development) to see how we might partner with a new cosplay event: Blerdcon.

Derived from the term “Blerd” which is short for ‘black nerd’, Blerdcon welcomes all while celebrating the connection with the differently-abled, and people of color, international and LGBTQ communities.

An immediate hit with CosPlayers, the Booth offers micro-classes, cosplay material/technique demonstrations and a full repair booth with talented costume crafts artisans to mend your cosplay right on site!

Word continues to spread, and now the Arlington CostumeLab Cosplay Repair Booth is a presence at several regional events, including Escape Velocity 2017 and 2018. Blerdcon returns to Crystal City on July 27-29.

The Arlington CostumeLab has been serving the theater and film community in the Washington DC, metropolitan area and nationwide for over 50 years. Offering high quality, theatrical grade costume rentals to nonprofit performing arts organizations and companies in the for-profit theater, television and film industries.

You have seen pieces CostumeLab’s collection in productions as varied as HBO’s The Wire and The History Channel’s Lincoln, to Signature Theatre’s watershed production of Passion.

Managed by Jennifer Biehl, who has a B.F.A. in Fashion Design and Marketing and an M.F.A. in Costume Design and Technology, the costume rental stock includes over 22,000 pieces including period garments for men and women, modern dress, hats, shoes, military service uniforms, capes, corsets, armor and more.


Arts Focus: Two Workshops Help You Master the Art of Managing Your Finances

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

For the past couple of years you may have noticed exhibits of fine art enlivening the lobby of Arlington Community Federal Credit Union (ACFCU) curated via connections made through Arlington Arts.

Now, the credit union is bringing their financial expertise to share with artists — and anyone else in the community — through a pair of free financial workshops at Arlington Cultural Affairs!

  • Staying On Track: Money Management 101 — June 14 (6:30-8:30 p.m.)
    Who knew you were spending $50 a week on lattes? Identify your spending triggers and create a plan to curb spending, create healthy savings habits, and use automated tools to help you stay on budget.
  • Credit Basics You Need To Know — June 20 (2-4 p.m.)
    Whether you are buying a home or renting a car, access to credit has become increasingly important. Knowing what your credit report contains and understanding of how credit scores are calculated will put you in the best financing position.

The workshops are presented by the Arts Enterprise Institute, a program of Arlington Arts, in partnership with the Arlington Community Federal Credit Union (ACFCU).

Please use the Cultural Affairs entrance on the south side of the building. Parking is limited at Arlington Cultural Affairs, 3700 S. Four Mile Run Drive. Additional parking may be found in Shirlington Village, a 10 minute walk from Cultural Affairs. For more information, visit http://villageatshirlington.com/parking.

While the workshops are Free, space is limited and registration is strongly suggested. Registration closes at 5:00 p.m. on the evening prior to each respective workshop.


Arts Focus: Synetic Theater & Gallery Underground Take The Reception on the Road

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

In a typical office building, two companies can be located just down the hall from one another for years and barely have an inkling about what the other does. But collaborating with partners is a great way for organizations to network and increase visibility.

Synetic Theater and Gallery Underground, two notable cultural organizations based in Arlington’s Crystal City neighborhood, are partnering for a special one-night only performance and reception!

Paata and Irina Tsikurishvili return to the stage together in a one-night only presentation of Pygmalion & Galatea for the First Annual Synetic Theater Celebration.

The performance honors the theater’s Founding Company Member Philip Fletcher and Founding Board Member Ina Milton. The cast includes Tori Bertocci, Irina Kavsadze, Alex Mills and Dallas Tolentino, well-known names to devotees of this Arlington-based company, the winner of 27 Helen Hayes Awards.

The party then literally moves across the street to Gallery Underground, where the post-performance reception will take place amid their current national juried all-media show, Hot/Cool.

The terms “hot” and “cool” can describe color, temperature, popular culture, appearance, personality… or a theater performance. The works on display will explore and interpret these qualities. Also featured, along with new works by Gallery members, are works by painter Anna Schalk.

Taking the reception on the road is a great way to way to introduce loyal theatre goers to another cultural amenity just steps away from Synetic. The event takes place on Tuesday, May 15 with cocktails starting at 6 p.m. and a 7 p.m. curtain.


Arts Focus: Is an MFA the New MBA?

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

We all know that you have to go to medical school to become a licensed physician and to law school to be a Bar certified attorney. However, companies providing innovative solutions and developing new products are starting to notice that the background of their workforce may need to be more creative and less linear.

Smart, educated workers who demonstrate more than subject matter expertise are more and more in demand.

While you probably won’t find ‘can you draw?’ on a job application, human resource professionals are digging deeper to find a workforce that will make their company stand out.

This month, Arlington Economic Development launches the next series of seminars: “Return on Creativity: An Arlington County Asset.”

The series will feature professionals and educators who are leading business and workforce growth through the application of creativity. This creativity is driven through talent availability, process improvements and innovative solutions.

Additionally, the series offers networking opportunities, first-hand insights and compelling evidence that Arlington County is an accelerator to personal and organizational growth and prosperity.

Arlington’s culture of creativity drives startup, non-profit, association and corporate success. Over the past 10 years, Arlington County has earned a reputation of nurturing a creatively-driven commerce and community through policy, technology, education and development. Arlington County is home to businesses and people who contribute to the county’s fiscal and social prosperity through a focus on creativity.

Join the next conversation and register here for Return on Creativity: An Arlington County Asset, Thursday, April 26 at Virginia Tech Research Center.

Check here for ongoing creative economy listings and opportunities.


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