This column is written and sponsored by Arlington Arts/Arlington Cultural Affairs, a division of Arlington Economic Development.
The COVID-19 pandemic has influenced a return to ‘The Basics’ and the simple pleasures of some ‘retro’ technologies.
Thanks to the old-school medium of radio, Arlington Arts is able to forge ahead with Lubber Run Live on WERA 96.7 FM –LIVE performances and discussions broadcast weekly with host Ken Avis (The Antidote), Saturdays at 5 p.m., July 11 through August 8 (live streaming on wera.fm ).
Lubber Run Amphitheater is a summertime tradition for Arlington residents. But during the pandemic, the shoulder-to-shoulder audiences that we’re accustomed to at this sylvan venue located just off of Route 50 in the Arlington Forrest neighborhood, just aren’t possible. Through the magic of radio, audiences can still enjoy a range of music, with no threat of ‘rain-outs’: Jazz and Go Go, Roots Rock, Soul and Blues are all part of the mix.
This partnership between Arlington Arts and WERA was a natural. Arlington’s only radio station, WERA’s mission is to enlighten, enrich and entertain Arlington’s diverse community by promoting and facilitating independent radio. A project of Arlington Independent Media, WERA’s programming is produced by and for the community.
The lineup for Lubber Run LIVE is brimming with a mixture of toe-tapping Amphitheater favorites, and a splash of new talent, including:
July 11: The Jogo Project
The JoGo Project is a fusion ensemble with Jazz and Go-Go at the core. Founded in 2014 by D.C. native Elijah Jamal Balbed, the band is dedicated to keeping Go-Go music alive while also exploring new sounds.
July 18: Nkula
Ethiopian-born “Ras Abel” Mekonnen’s band Nkula features a unique blend of foundational reggae with infusions of African influence (e.g. zouk and soukous riddims). Their high-energy groove exposes audiences to musical styles that broaden horizons.
July 25: Caz Gardiner
A 2019 Wammie (Washington DC Area Music Association) nominee for best Soul Artist/Group, Caz Gardiner is a high energy performer who writes songs of overcoming struggles and celebrating life with a Soul Rock and Reggae sound that is as diverse and driving as she is.
August 1: Justin Jones
A native Virginian, Jones started playing open mic nights in Charlottesville in his early teens, and has appeared at the Virgin Mobile Festival and the Floyd Festival. At the 2012 Austin City Limits Music Festival (ACL), Speakers in Code named his one of the Event’s top-ten performances, and Bob Boilen of NPR’s All Songs Considered lists Justin Jones “as one of the top performances of the year.”
August 8: Lauren Calve
Washington, D.C. area singer-songwriter, guitar and lap steel player Lauren Calve has brought a vital new energy to the Americana scene. On her latest EP, Wildfire, Calve delves into complex issues ranging from the increased polarization and divisiveness prevalent in the U.S. and around the world, corporate greed and their role in both the climate crisis and gun violence, women’s’ stories that are dominating public consciousness, and even the precarity of online dating.
So tune-in for Lubber Run LIVE on WERA 96.7. Bookmark their website to listen to the live-stream. Create your own Live Listening Experience when you fire up the car radio or pull the speakers onto the porch! Listeners are encouraged to recreate their own Lubber Run picnic experience and order take-out and beverages from local restaurants.
This column is written and sponsored by Arlington Arts/Arlington Cultural Affairs, a division of Arlington Economic Development.
Over these last challenging months, Arlington Arts has been harnessing our community’s arts resources under the Arlington Arts at Home web page.
We also want to share how Arlington’s arts organizations are reaching out to all residents during the pandemic. One example is Arlington Arts Center’s partnership with the non-profit Bridges to Independence to bring creative options to the door-step of children in-need.
In their own words from their website, rather than allowing COVID-19 to stop their outreach work, here’s how Arlington Arts Center drew even closer to the community:
As the COVID-19 crisis has unfolded, Arlington Arts Center has continued doing what we do best: providing high-quality opportunities to explore, create, and be inspired by contemporary art and artists. A diverse array of online projects, classes, workshops, and virtual artist interviews, many offered at no charge, are currently available on our website.
Our goal is to provide thoughtful, engaging, and enlightening experiences that add value to our individual lives, and our collective existence.
Beyond the virtual realm, AAC has continued its partnership with Bridges to Independence, an organization that leads individuals and families out of homelessness and into stable, independent futures.
Prior to the lockdown, AAC was providing regular “Art Club” meetings for children in residence at Bridges to Independence. When that effort was derailed by COVID-19, AAC began delivering project kits complete with art supplies to keep the kids creatively engaged.
“During these uncertain times, Bridges to Independence’s youth have been able to depend on Arlington Arts Center. Our youth in shelter have been weighed down this year, and Arlington Arts Center has given them a creative outlet to shine through. This amazing group has provided bi-weekly interactive, fun art activities for all our youth in shelter. They understand that our families do not have basic art supplies and provide a new set each time. We are so thankful to have them as community partners!” — Alexandra Gavin, Youth Development Manager, Bridges to Independence.
Along with many other Arlington arts organizations, Arlington Arts Center also continues to offer a broad range of virtual activities.
For more information on arts offerings from Arlington’s arts organizations — everything from art-making projects to self-guided tours of our internationally acclaimed Public Art Collection — visit the Arlington Arts at Home webpage.
This column is written and sponsored by Arlington Arts/Arlington Cultural Affairs, a division of Arlington Economic Development.
With a centuries-long tradition of bringing people together in groups large and small, the impact on the Arts has been seismic.
Arlington Arts continues to pro-actively look out for resources to assist arts organizations, arts administrators and individual artists impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Here is just a sample of resources available to performers and artists of all disciplines who have been impacted by the pandemic.
COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and Arts Funding: Update and Action items from Grantmakers in the Arts.
- Field-wide responses & calls to action
- Racial equality & justice response
- Webinars, articles & resources
- Information hubs
- Rapid Response & Emergency Funds
Coronavirus Resources for Artists, Creative Workers & Organizations from Springboard for the Arts, an economic and community development organization for artists and by artists.
- Emergency Relief Fund Resources for Individuals
- Emergency Resources for Organizations
- Links to other resource pages
- Principles for Ethical Cancellation
Workforce Relief, Charitable Giving Incentives, and NEA Funding Included in Third COVID-19 Relief Package.
- The Association of Performing Arts Professionals and League of American Orchestras have sourced key points and are providing an in-depth analysis of the relief package
Resources for COVID-19 Crisis from Embracing Arlington Arts.
- Well-being of ourselves
- Financial Assistance
- Continuing Programming Through the Community
- Pro-Bono/In-Kind Expertise Available
For a full list of resources, visit and bookmark our web page. Updates will be provided as new resources become available.
The COVID-19 pandemic has all of us adapting to new ways of spending our free time. Arlington’s artistic community has stepped up to the plate to offer a broad range of activities to help you manage the stresses of social distancing.
Arlington Arts has showcased many of these on our ARLINGTON ARTS AT HOME webpage. Some are free, others offer you a way to support a local small-business while engaging in healthy and positive activities at-home! Here’s a small sampling:
Bowen McCauley Dance
Arlington dancer Lucy Bowen-McCauley developed a unique stretching technique that was officially adopted by U.S. Olympians such as Dominique Dawes. You can avail yourself of her expertise in virtual stretch classes on Mondays and Saturdays. The Company also is offering a range of movement classes for those with Parkinson’s Disease on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. For details, email: [email protected] or visit www.bmdc.org
Encore Stage & Studio
From stretching and storytelling, to structured classes in theater and dance, Encore has a wide range of Zoom-based offerings for everyone from toddlers to teens. (Some Free. Some Fees Apply). More Info.
Jane Franklin Dance
Keep it moving with free online dance classes occurring daily. Learn different approaches to movement from different instructors each day in genres ranging from ballet and jazz, to clogging and improv. Classes are live-streamed and are not recorded. More Info.
Stay connected to your favorite Signature performers every week with Signature Strong — Live! Join the weekly Facebook Live conversation with Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer and celebrated guests as they chat about musicals, sing a few songs, answer your questions and more. Tuesdays at 8 p.m. More Info.
From fitness classes by their award-winning movement-based performers, to storytelling for children, the award-winning Synetic Theater has much to offer that you can now enjoy right at home. This includes live-streaming of past shows, such as Sleeping Beauty (thru May 25) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (extended thru May 10). More Info.
In addition to programs by the above organizations, Arlington Arts also has assembled a range of art activities you can partake of drawing upon past programs.
Everything from art-making projects to self-guided tours of our internationally acclaimed Public Art Collection. For more info, visit the Arlington Arts at Home webpage.
(Updated 04/13/2020) Utilizing existing resources and equipment from another program, for the last week Arlington Arts has been sewing masks to be distributed through Arlington County Department of Human Services and the Arlington County Police.
The basic, non-medical grade cloth masks resulting from this effort are being supplied to high-risk populations ranging from homeless shelters and the County jail.
The initiative was conceived and coordinated by the Director of Arts Enterprise, Joan M. Lynch. A professional costumer who formerly ran the Arlington CostumeLab, Joan has many stage and film credits to her name. Working at a safe distance from one another, she and sewing partners Andrea Blackmon and Sharon McDaniel of Arlington Weaves, and Tessa Luque of the Washington Opera started turning out about 50 masks per day. In the week since first posted to social media, the program now has over 100 volunteers.
More volunteers are welcome, and they will be supplied with instructions, fabric, elastic and thread for pick-up, and arrange to drop them off for weekly distribution.
Interested volunteers or those with elastic or fabric to donate toward the effort may email: [email protected].
Arlington Arts is grateful for the outpouring of support from the Community. While there is currently an abundance of volunteers, we still welcome donations of elastic or all-cotton fabric.
Arlington Arts takes pride in providing support and services for the many Arlington-based artists and ensembles that enrich our community.
However, responding to the COVID-19 pandemic requires that we take measures for the safety of our community and staff. As such, Arlington Arts has closed all of our County-run arts facilities to the public until April 6. Productions and rehearsals in joint use theatre’s (such as Gunston Arts Center Theatre’s One and Two, and Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre) are cancelled through Monday, April 13.
Here is a list of facility closures and cancellations among Arlington Arts grantees that are known at the time of publication:
THEATRE ON THE RUN / 3700
- Halau O’Aluani — weekly Sunday rehearsals from through April 4
- Jane Franklin Dance — Saturday rehearsals through April 4
— Monday rehearsals through March 30
- Community Engagement — March 25 (to be rescheduled for Fall, 2020)
- The Writer’s Center — All March Workshops cancelled (their workshops are now on-line)
- Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts — All March & April workshops cancelled. The 6 workshop series will be rescheduled for Fall 2020
- The Writer’s Passage — May 2-3 workshops are cancelled
GUNSTON ARTS CENTER — THEATRE ONE
- National Chamber Ensemble (NCE) — “Remarkable Four Seasons of Vivaldi” concert March 21
GUNSTON ARTS CENTER — THEATRE TWO
Avant Bard Theatre — Ada and the Engine and Suddenly Last Summer (all performances)
- LEE ARTS CENTER — the studios and gallery are closed thru April 6
- SIGNATURE THEATRE — canceling ALL performances and public events thru March 30
- FESTIVAL ARGENTINO — Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre
— Originally scheduled for May 16, it has been postponed until Fall, 2020 (date TBA)
In addition, Arlington Arts offers a range of services in support of presentations by Arlington-based arts organizations. For the safety of both the Artists and Staff, the following services and activities are suspended through April 6:
Arlington Arts will be here for the community as things return to normal. Meanwhile, we urge you to be safe.
The County has a new COVID-19 Related Cancellations page, where we are listing all Cultural Affairs cancellations.
They make it look so easy…! Part of the magic of live theater and dance, or a polished concert or visual art exhibition is the appearance of effortlessness that is experienced by the audience.
But anyone who has spent more than a moment behind the scenes knows that perception of ease is the result of a life-time of practice, hours of rehearsal and the marshalling of myriad resources to bring the project to fruition. Central to how Arlington County addresses its investment in our arts infrastructure is The Arlington Arts Grants Program.
From theatre and dance, to exhibits and workshops, to arts experiences for youth, these resources awarded through the grants program help support a broad array of offerings that make Arlington a great place to live and work.
Administered by the Arlington Commission for the Arts in conjunction with the County’s arts support agency, Arlington Arts, applications the FY21 Grants Cycle have recently closed for the next round of grants.
However, this is opening week for two offerings by notable Arlington-based theater companies whose work is made possible in-part by the County’s support:
Suddenly Last Summer
Avant Bard Theatre
Opening: Thursday, February 27
Gunston Theatre Two (Arlington Ridge)
Set in the hothouse of New Orlean’s Garden District, Suddenly Last Summer has all the hallmarks of a Tennessee Williams masterpiece: exotic locales, tortured psyches, glorious, lyrical language and Williams’ gift for creating vivid, unforgettable characters. An elderly socialite mourns the death of her poet son, who died under mysterious circumstances while vacationing at an island resort.
Eager to protect her son’s image, she hires a doctor to silence the only witness to the tragic event — but the shattering truth fights its way to the surface, as it always does in Williams’ world. Directed by Artistic Director Emeritus Christopher Henley, Suddenly Last Summer will be produced along with Ada and the Engine as a part of Avant Bard’s 30th Anniversary Spring Repertory
Phantom of the Opera
Synetic Theatre (Crystal City)
Paata Tsikurishvili applies Synetic’s signature gothic storytelling to one of the most famous supernatural novels of all time with a physical adaptation of Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera. Deep underneath the Paris Opera House, a deformed and bitter musician develops an obsession with a new singer named Christine. Known only as the Phantom, he terrorizes the opera house and manipulates Christine, tutoring her and demanding she be cast in more prominent roles.
Stunningly virtuosic and eerie, Synetic’s adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera will examine the tragedy, heroism, horror and beauty in this classic French tale.
Are you a poet living in Arlington, Virginia?
Submissions are now being accepted for those wishing to be considered for the post of Arlington County’s Poet Laureate for 2020-2022. The Poet Laureate serves as an advocate for poetry and the literary arts and works to advance the community’s consciousness and appreciation of poetry in its written and spoken forms.
The County’s second Poet Laureate will build on Arlington County’s well-received literary programs, including the Moving Words Poetry Competition, now in its 20th year, bringing poetry to a wider audience and strengthening Arlington’s place in the region’s rich literary community. Learn more about the position of the Poet Laureate and the inaugural Poet Laureate Katherine E. Young here.
The Poet Laureate program is managed as a partnership between the Cultural Affairs Division of Arlington Economic Development and Arlington Public Library.
Applicants must be 18 years of age or older, must reside in Arlington during the time of application and for the duration of the appointment, and must demonstrate a track record of experience publishing and/or presenting original poetry within poetry journals, magazines, websites and/or programs that are not predominantly self-curated, personal websites, or personal blogs. Arlington County staff, Board Members and Commission members are not eligible to apply.
Former Arlington County Poets Laureate may reapply after one completed term out of office. Full eligibility requirements and terms are available online.
Terms and Honorarium:
- Two-year term (from July 1, 2020 thru June 30, 2022)
- Annual honorarium of $1,500 per year
Timeline and Submissions Process:
The Open Call for the 2020 Poet Laureate is now active, with a final application deadline of March 24, 2020 by 5 p.m. Applications are ONLY accepted through arlington.slideroom.com. Please sign up for a free account with SlideRoom to submit your qualifications.
For questions about eligibility, duties and requirements, contact Dan Brady, Literary Specialist at [email protected].
Capacity building frequently tops our list of New Year’s Resolutions, and Arlington Arts has a great way for artists to take your work to the next level!
Learn the essentials of grant writing along with resources for searching and structuring your proposals in the first of a new season of capacity building workshops. There are separate sessions geared toward both Individual Artists (January 16) and Organizations (January 18).
Springboard for the Arts is a nationally recognized economic and community development organization for artists by artists. Its mission is to cultivate vibrant communities by connecting artists with the skills, information and services they need to make a living and a life. Springboard for the Arts has a goal of distributing 10,000 “Work of Art Toolkits.”
The instructor for the initial offering, Mary Briggs has comprehensive experience working with multidisciplinary artists and diverse communities. As co-founder and director of the community arts non-profit You Are Here in Jeannette, Pennsylvania, she researches and authors grants to procure general operating and project funding from government agencies and foundations.
Briggs also is an adjunct lecturer at Goucher College, Towson, MD in the Masters in Cultural Sustainability program. From 1989 until 2011 she was on staff of the Cultural Affairs Division of Arlington County, Virginia, where among other duties, she authored and managed grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and other state and local agencies to fund community arts and folklore projects.
Registration for this workshop will close Friday, January 15. The Cultural Affairs offices are located between S. Oakland and S. Nelson Streets on S. Four Mile Run Drive. Parking is limited. Additional parking may be found in Shirlington Village, a 10 minute walk from Cultural Affairs.
In addition to the Arts Enterprise Institute’s offerings, Arlington Arts also is partnering with two literary organizations to bring a broad range of workshops to the community. Here’s just a sampling of offerings through February:
The Writer’s Passage Workshops:
January 11 Romancing the Story
February 4 Introduction to Screenwriting
February 29 Building a Writing Routine
The Writer’s Center Workshops:
January 21-February 18 Conflict & Tension
February 1-15 Whole Brain Poetry
February 5 How to Write a Novel
February 5 PLAYWRITING: Dialogue
February 8 From Novel to Novelist
February 12 PLAYWRITING: Exposition & Process
February 20-March 12 Thursday Night Writing Prompts!
February 22 Meter Crash Course
February 26 PLAYWRITING: Character
Click here for more information about all upcoming workshop opportunities
Being received at a restaurant with a welcoming smile and a warm meal would seem the basic expectation for any customer. Sadly, well into the 1960s widespread segregation denied such everyday courtesies to African-Americans and other people of color.
In this latest Art on the ART Bus installation, The Desegregation of Arlington Lunch Counters: 60th Anniversary Tribute by Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr., the nationally-renowned printmaker has created placards that commemorate the landmark sit-in’s which took place between June 9 and 22, in 1960. Kennedy interviewed local residents, historians and participants in the sit-ins, and the placards contain poignant quotes from several of these individuals.
While the sit-ins at Maryland’s popular Glen Echo Amusement Park are better remembered today, they were in-fact precipitated by the sit-ins at Arlington earlier that same summer. A pivotal tool in the 1960’s civil rights movement, “sit-ins” were strategic, planned protests that challenged widespread segregation policies.
African-American customers would merely sit down at a segregated lunch counter (often at a major national chain such as a Woolworth’s) and wait for service which, either by custom or local law, was routinely denied. Eventually, the pressure of what we would now call ‘the optics’ brought about an end to such corporate policies nationwide.
Amos Paul Kennedy Jr., creates prints, posters and postcards from handset wood and metal type, oil-based inks, and eco-friendly chipboard. Much of his work is inspired by proverbs, sayings and quotes that are significant to the place he is working.
The decade-old Art on the ART Bus program is a partnership between Arlington Arts and Arlington Transit. Instead of the ads for soap, salsa and soda that riders expect to see in the overhead frames, thousands of Arlington commuters regularly experience original artwork as they head to their jobs. Sometimes there are up to three specially outfitted Art on the ART Bus vehicles in circulation, each scheduled randomly each day, bringing art to a different route through Arlington.
The project is curated by the Arlington Art Truck and Arlington Public Art which are programs of Arlington Arts. It is in collaboration with the County’s Historic Preservation Program, Arlington Public Library, Center for Local History and Arlington Transit’s Art on the ART bus program.
This installation is the first of several commemorative activations based upon printmaker Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr’s work that will continue to unfold during the Spring of 2020. For more information about the Art on the ART Bus program, click here.
The Arts are rooted in entrepreneurship. That’s why Arlington Arts has been a stalwart supporter of the GRUMP Holiday Art and Craft Show: an annual showcase featuring more than 50 vendors and the best in unique handmade gifts and treats!
Offered in partnership with the Crystal City BID, JBG Smith and Arlington Arts, it’s a great example of how Arlington County connects the business and creative sectors. In advance of this year’s event on Saturday, December 14, we chatted with co-creator Tina Henry-Barrus about the continued evolution of the nine-year-old seasonal show!
How did Grump come about?
Beth Baldwin and I became friends while selling our handmade stuff at various local arts and crafts shows. One show, Crafty Bastards, was in the early fall and I thought that the area needed a similar fair during the holidays. I called Beth and said, “Hey, wanna attempt a holiday show of our own?” You should always have a friend who will say yes to your weird ideas.
What’s with the name?
When I asked Beth if she wanted to put on a show with me, the word GRUMP popped into my head. She laughed when I said it, so I knew it would work. It wasn’t until the second year that we added the Yeti mascot. Kids started showing up to get their photo taken with the Yeti and would ask me “Where’s GRUMP?” So now GRUMP is both the name of our show and the name of our Yeti mascot.
How did the partnership with Arlington County take shape?
Beth Baldwin was an Artist in Residence at Artisphere and she worked with staff to move GRUMP there, where it blossomed over several years. Arlington Arts has been such a valuable cheerleader for us. We wouldn’t have made it to year 9 without them!
How do you describe GRUMP to a first-time attendee?
GRUMP isn’t your grandma’s craft show, but it also isn’t super hipster either. The indoor GRUMP show has 40-60 local vendors, 3 or 4 workshops to inspire you to make something, and many Yetis for photo ops. The Yeti is a really fun part of our event. Last year we had a Yeti Board Meeting that folks could watch. This year, the Yetis will judge an ornament-making contest, kind of like The Great British Baking Show.
How is it different than other holiday shopping opportunities?
Our show is highly curated to not only our tastes but to the tastes of our shoppers. Yes, we know who they are! We also try to make sure our vendors are all really kind and lovely and fun to meet. Add in the workshops and Yeti photo ops and you have a really fun day.
What’s the best reaction you’ve ever had from a patron?
The patrons’ reactions to the Yetis never get old, but honestly, I mostly love the patrons who become vendors. The idea that our little idea encouraged someone to get creative and make something is really meaningful to us.
Find out how you’ll react when you attend GRUMP Holiday Art and Craft Show, on Saturday, December 14 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. The event takes place at 2100-B Crystal Drive, Arlington VA 22202 (in the former TechShop venue). You can take the Metro to Crystal City and follow the signs to GRUMP, or drive and park in the garage for free.