Arlington, VA

A great example of collaboration between Arlington County and the Community, the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization presents the Columbia Pike Blues Festival for the 24th year.

It’s a collaboration with Arlington Arts, that celebrates artists for this highly anticipated annual event. As ever, the lineup is designed to get you on your feet, headlined by soul/blues vocalist and veteran Marine, Sugaray Rayford. Admission is free.

In addition to an array of available food and beverages and plenty of kids’ activities, the Festival will showcase a new Arlington Art Truck installation — Guggenheim Fellow and Baltimore artist Neil Feather’s interactive sound sculpture Futura Percussion 1860 featuring only mid-19th century technology and built from reused materials.

GRUMP is bringing local arts and crafts vendors from the area to show and sell their handmade work, from watercolor art to handmade soy candles to small batch silk screened shirts.

The Festival covers three blocks at the intersection of Columbia Pike and Walter Reed Drive.

  • Sugaray Rayford — Rayford is nominated for two 2019 Blues Awards: “Soul/Blues Male Artist” and the “B.B. King Entertainer of the Year” Award. The Desert Storm veteran spent ten years in the Marines and says, “…I’m proud of the time I served. I wouldn’t have my wife and the life I have right now had I not served.”
  • Thornetta Davis — In such a musically ‘storied’ city as Detroit, it speaks volumes that in 2015 Thornetta Davis was crowned “Detroit’s Queen of The Blues” by official city proclamation. The winner of over 30 Detroit Music Awards, Thornetta’s 1996 debut solo album Sunday Morning Music (Sub Pop) received raves in the national media. Her song “Cry” from that album was featured on the HBO hit “The Sopranos.”
  • Hardway Connection — The smooth, passionate, sometimes funky and extremely “tight” sound of The Hardway Connection will make you get up and dance! The D.C.-based band has opened for everyone from Johnny Taylor and Toni Terry, to Chuck Brown.
  • Lauren Calve Band — Washington, D.C. area singer-songwriter, guitar and lap steel player Lauren Calve’s dynamic voice, Bonnie Raitt’s smoky aura and Ben Harper’s unique slide style. She released her debut EP, “Between the Creek and the Tracks” in 2014, for which she earned a Washington Area Music Association nomination for Best Roots Rock Vocalist.
  • Funky Miracle — Funky Miracle is an exciting collective that brings a unique organ trio + vocals lineup and an improvisatory approach to classic Soul, Funk and New Orleans tunes. Members of the group have performed with some of D.C.’s funkiest outfits including The Funk Ark, and Three Man Soul Machine.

The Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization (CPRO) is a coalition of businesses, civic associations, property owners and the Arlington County Government. Our Mission: To champion and connect business and community along Columbia Pike, Arlington’s oldest and newest main street, where authentic diverse neighborhoods connect to the world.

Arlington Arts, a Division of Arlington Economic Development, exists to create, support and promote the arts, connecting artists and community to reflect the diversity of Arlington County.

Taking place at the intersection of Columbia Pike and South Walter Reed Drive, the 24th Annual Columbia Pike Blues Festival takes place on Saturday, June 15, from 1-8:30 p.m.

Click here for more details.

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Experience hands-on making and innovation…

Learn new skills, from papercutting, calligraphy and mask making, to weaving, pottery and more. Not an arts and crafts fair, the Make Your Mark! festival on Saturday, May 18 lets you immerse yourself in a multicultural coming together of artists and makers ready to ignite your creativity.

Working in fields ranging from food to crafts to technology, the emergence of these innovators marks a transformative time in history when creatives… make their mark!

The Maker Movement is a community of millions of people who are taking the entrepreneurial leap to start their own small businesses dedicated to creating and selling self-made products. The movement is a feverishly creative intersection of technology and the arts, bringing together the most advanced computer innovations, with artistic skill as ancient as mankind.

Just in time for #BusinessAppreciationMonth, Make Your Mark! is presented by Arlington Arts, in partnership with Arlington Public Library, The Washington DC Modern Quilt Guild and New District Brewery.

Event Sponsorship is provided by ServiceSource-Arlington Weaves, Etc., Palette 22, Food. Art. Fun. and their Artist-in-Residence (AIR) program.

Modern technology allows the individual to create and distribute unique items, skipping the middlemen like manufacturers. This entrepreneurial mother and daughter are just two examples of the entrepreneurial spirit that will inspire you at Make Your Mark!:

During her 20+ years in corporate America, Tracy Wilkerson raised an entrepreneurial daughter who learned early how to market her own artistic talents. But Tracy’s own creativity didn’t kick in until 2006, when she began making hand-made greeting cards that continue to be sold in retail stores, online and at vendor shows.

In 2008, she expanded to working in 2D and 3D mixed media artwork utilizing anything that might otherwise end up in a landfill, including VCR tape, CD’s, floppy discs and circuit boards.

Meanwhile, her youngster Tamara Wilkerson got a head-start on mom, started to make jewelry in 2003. In 2006, she realized the potential of her hobby, earning enough money to pay her own way on international travel. Through high school and college, she focused on designing and improving the quality of materials to launch a fun small business, also incorporating her love of graphic design, marketing and dance.

Today, her company WiRealm is the result of a natural creator and entrepreneur who creates wearable art while staying true to her style and passion.

Make Your Mark! is fun for your whole family (…including those with four legs).

Join us on Saturday, May 18 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., at 3700 South Four Mile Run Drive, Arlington, Virginia 22206. Admission is FREE.

For info call 703-228-1850, or visit www.arlingtonarts.org.

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Few commuters would consider their morning rush to the office to be an artistic experience.

But thanks to the nine year-old Art on the ART Bus program — a partnership between Arlington Arts and Arlington Transit — instead of the ads for soap, salsa and soda that usually are installed in the overhead frames, thousands of Arlington commuters regularly experience original artwork as they head to their jobs.

The latest installation is Immigration/Assimilation, a series of collages by photographer Gail Rebhan. Currently installed on a specially-outfitted Arlington Transit (ART) bus that is scheduled randomly on routes which take it to different parts of the county each day through the Summer of 2020.

However, replicas of the panels are now on display in the lobby of the Ellen M. Bozman Government Center (2100 Clarendon Boulevard) through the Summer of 2019.

“Except for Native Americans, this country is made up of immigrants,” Rebhan said of the exhibit in a recent article in The Washington Post. “I really liked the idea of doing this as a public art piece and to foster empathy and understanding.”

The stories are varied and fascinating: from a Dominican who went from being a health club laundress to a Business Systems Analyst; to a family journey from indentured servitude in London, to plantation owners, to sharecropping, to real estate wealth.

Artist Gail Rebhan has fashioned these remarkable stories and artifacts from six Arlington residents and digitally assembled into thirteen panels that will be displayed inside the bus. The artist’s goal with this project is to convey a message of tolerance and to promote understanding.

The subjects for the project were identified with assistance from the Arlington County Department of Human Services.

Currently, there are two specially outfitted Art on the ART Bus vehicles in circulation, each scheduled randomly each day, bringing art to a different route through Arlington. The exhibit in the Bozman Center (2100 Clarendon Blvd) is free, and open during lobby hours.

For more information about the Art on the ART Bus program, click here.

Photos via Gail Rehban

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Ready to get down to business with your artistic endeavors?

Arlington Cultural Affairs, in partnership with Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts (WALA) announces the Creative Entrepreneurs Series @Arlington Arts. The six sessions (all presentations with Q&A) will be held on consecutive Wednesdays, from March 27 through May 1, from 7-9 p.m. at Theatre on the Run in Shirlington.

WALA’s Creative Entrepreneurs Series (CES) is designed to help creatives of all kinds take the next step in their professional career by creating their own business. Explore the basics of forming a business for your creative endeavors, from deciding whether to incorporate as a non-profit or for-profit entity, to understanding copyrights and trademarks, to contract and negotiation skills, and finally to taxes and understanding the grants process.

The Series offers tips on every skill you need to help you bring your best and most creative self to the community.

The Series constitutes the official launch of the Arts Enterprise Institute, a program of Arlington Arts to provide resources for artists so they can make a living as artists. Artists teaching artists is a cornerstone of our programs, which have been well received during the last year. The complete series is as follows:

  • Session 1:  Tax Strategies — March 27
    Benjamin Takis (founder, Tax-Exempt Solutions PLLC), Benjamin Grosz (partner, Ivins Phillips & Barker) and Jonathan Holbrook (associate, Ivins, Phillips & Barker)
  • Session 2:  Business Entities Formation — April 3
    Hardeep Grover (attorney, Tresquire)
  • Session 3:  Copyright/Trademark Protection & Use — April 10
    John D. Mason (Copyright Counselors, LLC) Arts/Ent. and intellectual property attorney
  • Session 4:  Contracts & Licensing — April 17
    Karl Means (Miles & Stockbridge, & fmr. Shareholder, Shulman Rogers)
  • Session 5:  Negotiation Strategies — April 24
    Facilitator TBA. Learn tips and tools for being a successful negotiator and collaborator.
  • Session 6:  Grants — May 1
    Paul Marengo (CEO, Promethean Fundraising; Volunteer Coordinator, FilmFestDC)

Since 1983, Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts has supported artistic expression and creative innovation by serving the legal needs of the Washington D.C., Virginia and Maryland arts and cultural communities. A 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, WALA provides access to education, advocacy, and legal services through workshops and seminars, legal clinics and pro bono legal referral services.

The series is free for WALA members, and $20 per workshop for non-members (registration for each individual workshop is required). For more detailed information on the sessions and the presenters, and to register, visit Eventbrite at this link.

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

The Groovin’ On the Pike: After Hours at the Library dance party series continues for March.

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 every first Friday of the month at 7 p.m.

Here’s a quick look at the schedule for March and April:

March 1 — Bitter Dose Combo

The Bitter Dose Combo is D.C.’s premiere gypsy jazz band, playing swing and hot jazz 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.

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

By Michelle Isabelle-Stark, Director at Arlington Arts

2018 included many positive changes to Arlington’s economic and cultural profile, most dramatically the Amazon decision to bring its HQ2 to “National Landing” (Crystal City, Potomac Yard and Pentagon City).

The arts in Arlington are also experiencing many changes and Arlington Arts staff used this year as an opportunity to evaluate our mission, programs and our organization. Our take-away was a clear message proclaiming our main contribution to Arlington as “creating, supporting and promoting the arts, by connecting artists and community to reflect the diversity of Arlington.”

This mission embodies our new innovative arts delivery method with more emphasis on bringing artists and resources directly to you in the places you live, work and play.

We were excited to launch the Arlington Art Truck mobile artist-in-residence program, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, and introduce our Award Winning First Fridays: Groovin’ on the Pike Concert Series at Columbia Pike Branch Library.

Over 6,000 people interacted with our Arlington Art Truck artist activations, creating unique artwork in parks, schools, farmers markets and festivals. At each activation, County and nonprofit partners were paired with the artist to provide the public with important information about services that were in some way connected to the content of the art project, establishing the Arlington Art Truck as a new method to increase and diversify civic engagement.

In 2019, we’re expanding our model of artistically enhanced civic engagement by continuing to pursue an affordable housing initiative for creatives with Artspace. The Arlington Art Truck will partner with the Solid Waste Bureau and EcoAction Arlington to raise community awareness about conservation and consumption issues.

We will undertake several ambitious public art projects, including commemorating Arlington’s civil rights past, placing public art along the National Landing transit corridor and further integrating public art into civic and private projects with a revised Public Art Master Plan.

I encourage you to check out the debut issue of our quarterly Arlington Arts e-Magazine. The four articles celebrate Arlington Arts success in connecting arts and community through our support of resident artists and ensembles, including Arlington Arts Center and the Arlingtones.

Arlington Arts has also been successful by collaborating with local businesses and residents through our partnerships with organizations such as the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization and the Rosslyn BID.

Arlington Arts programs book artists for major events such as the Columbia Pike Blues Festival and the Rosslyn Jazz Festival. This years Jazz Festival featured Grammy award winning and nominated acts such as Cory Henry & the Funk Apostles and Cuba’s Orquesta Akokan.

You can read my full article and learn more about the arts in your community in the Arlington Arts e-Magazine!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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