Arlington, VA

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

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
Cancellations:

Arts Enterprise Institute Workshops

GUNSTON ARTS CENTER — THEATRE ONE
Cancellations:

GUNSTON ARTS CENTER — THEATRE TWO
Cancellations:

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.

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

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 Theater
February 27-29
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.

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

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].

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

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).

Part of the Springboard for the Arts “The Work of Art Toolkit: Business Skills for Artists” curriculum, the workshops are presented by the Arts Enterprise Institute, a program of Arlington Arts.

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.

Additional Opportunities:

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

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

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.

The posters feature poignant quotes commemorating the 1960 Arlington lunch counter sit-ins

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.

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

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.

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

Rock out with The Grandsons, the last of the fall edition of the Groovin’ On the Pike: After Hours at the Library, on Friday, December 6 at Columbia Pike Branch Library!

The collaboration between Arlington Cultural Affairs/Arlington Arts and Arlington Public Library features a diverse line-up of musical groups routinely drawing upwards of 200 patrons to dance in the stacks and enjoy a brew from the cash bar on the first Friday of the month at 7 p.m.

Moving and shaking into their 3rd decade in the world of rock and roll, The Grandsons recently released their first ever holiday CD, Christmas with The Grandsons, and headlined at the world famous 930 Club in D.C. The Grandsons have also branched out into the kids’ music scene with the release of One Big Orooni under the name “the grandsons, Jr.” The CD won critical praise from the Washington Post, and one of the songs has been in regular rotation on the SiriusXM show Kids’ Place Live.

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

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

Looking for one-of-a-kind gifts this holiday season? Arlington’s artists and creatives have the answer via two upcoming events to help you #shoplocal for unique treasures for holiday gift giving!

Lee Arts Center Fine Crafts Show and Sale
November 9-10
Saturday (10 a.m.-4 p.m.) and Sunday (12-4 p.m.)

Handmade ceramic vessels. Vibrant prints. Luminous jewelry… Undoubtedly the studio artists of Arlington’s Lee Arts Center have created something to delight those on your gift list, and it’s waiting for you to discover at their annual show and sale. Some of our regions finest artists work out of Arlington’s Lee Arts Center, a quaint 1920’s elementary school on Lee Highway that, when it was deemed too historic to demolish, but too impractical for continued school usage, was converted into a community cultural center by Arlington Arts.

Participating artists include:

Ceramics — Connie Bergere, Dana Lehrer Danze, Donna Downing, Susan Elliott, Laura Fall, Jan Filsinger, Mami Grignol, Jyotshna ‘J’ Herbert & Maddie Palmer, Helen Hensgen, Veronika Jenke, Scott Kaye, Klaudia Levin, Polina Miller, Hiromi Minemura, Catherine Satterlee, Victoria Truhn and Terry Young.

Prints — Sue Mason, Wes Muntain and Janis Sweeney

Prints and Ceramics — Janet Gohres

Ceramics and Jewelry — Marsha Lederman, Darlene Tsukamoto and Alanna Rivera

For information on the annual sale, call the Lee Arts Center at 703-228-0560 or click here.

Made In Arlington Pop Up Shops
Thursdays (11 a.m.-2 p.m.)
November 7-December 19 (excluding Thanksgiving Day)

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.

Find favorites like Livin the Pie Life and Kingsbury Chocolates and welcome new vendors like Tried and Truhn pottery and Artisan Confections. Click here for details.

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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.”

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

By guest blogger and Arlington artist Melanie Kehoss

Over 30 of Arlington’s visual artists are opening workspaces to the public for the second annual Arlington Visual Art Studio Tour, allowing the public a rare glimpse into the creative process.

Studios will be open in neighborhoods throughout the county on Saturday and Sunday, September 28 and 29, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Local artists will feature their work, processes and studio spaces, many of which are rarely open to the public. Art lovers of all ages can meet and chat with the artists while enjoying paintings, ceramics, metals, photography and more.

The day before the tour, check out the Launch Party on Friday, September 27, 5-7 p.m., with a Launch Party at Cody Gallery, at Marymount University’s Ballston Center, 1000 North Glebe Road, 2nd Floor. There, art lovers and artists can meet, celebrate and plan their tour route.

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 Artists Alliance, Arlington Arts Center, 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.”

Find more info, including an artist directory, at arlingtonartstudiotour.org. A map with studio addresses will be available online starting in September.

Tour guides will be available at the Launch Party, Arlington Arts Center, Studios ClarendonLee Arts Center, and more. All events are free and open to all ages

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

One of Arlington County’s signature events, the 29th annual Rosslyn Jazz Festival draws thousands to hear internationally-renowned musical artists.

The Artists on this year’s roster are all rooted in the unique synthesis of sounds from the Gulf Coast that evoke jazz, blues, soul, funk and Caribbean genres: the Houston-based band The Suffers, Grammy-nominated New Orleans brass band Cha Wa, singer/cellist Leyla McCalla (formerly of the Grammy award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops), and D.C.’s go-go/jazz ensemble JoGo Project.

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.

“Creating a vibrant arts and cultural scene is a core part of our work to make Rosslyn a more attractive place for both businesses and residents,” said Mary-Claire Burick, president of the Rosslyn BID. “The Rosslyn Jazz Fest brings community together to enjoy music and culture in a way (and at a scale) that no other event in Arlington does; it has brought vitality and energy to Rosslyn for 29 years and we look forward to many more.”

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 experienced 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.”

Now drawing upwards of 10,000 attendees when the weather cooperates, 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 7 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 rosslynva.org/do/rosslyn-jazz-fest-2019 or arlingtonarts.org.

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