March 2020 Update


Dear Arts Patrons, Aficionados and Supporters,

Before we delve into new developments on the arts front, we want to provide these two reminders to our readers. First, remember to RSVP (space is limited and seats are going fast) to for the April 6th County Board Democratic Candidate Debate on the Arts in Arlington being held at the Gallery Underground in Crystal City. Hear from the two Democratic County Board candidates – Libby Garvey and Chanda Choun – about how they would help retain and invigorate the arts and culture industry in Arlington. For all the details, follow this link.

And second, we wanted to again ask our readers and arts supporters to contact Amazon about their Met Park project, which includes 65,000 square feet of retail space, and would be a perfect spot for a flexible quality performing arts venue! Amazon officials are reaching out to Arlingtonians to get their ideas for this retail space. Send them an email at and ask them to partner with Embracing Arlington Arts to build a theater venue. You can simply refer to the letter we sent to them, send them this link to our one pager on the infrastructure initiative or just tell them why you believe Arlington needs more entertainment options so that folks come to Arlington for arts and culture (and therefore dine here in the County). (NOTE: If you send an email, please send us a copy so that we can compile them for our own advocacy purposes.) Several letters have been sent already, but we want o deluge them with emails.

Now on to our latest news!

2020 Arlington Arts Groups Performances and Events

March 2020

2/18-3/29            –              Easy Women Smoking Loose Cigarettes, Signature Theatre

2/27-4/5              –              Suddenly Last Summer, Avant Bard, Gunston Arts Center

2/27-4/5              –              Ada and the Engine, Avant Bard, Gunston Arts Center

2/28-3/8              –              The Three Musketeers, Encore Stage & Studio, Thomas MS

3/6                        –              Reception, Arlington Artists’ Alliance, Gallery Underground

3/6-4/4                –              Interior Design Faculty Exhibition, Barry Gallery, Marymount

3/14                      –              Arlington Centennial Celebration, New District Brewing

3/20                      –              Interior Design Faculty Exhibition Reception, Barry Gallery, Marymount Univ.

3/16                      –              The Story of Walter, SigWorks, Signature Theatre

3/21                      –              The Remarkable Four Seasons of Vivaldi, National Chamber Ensemble, Gunston Arts Center

3/24-4/19            –              Camille Claudel, Signature Theatre

3/27-4/2              –              Artfest Week, Arlington Artists Alliance, Ft. Smith Park

3/28                      –              Annual Greek Independence Day, New District Brewing

April 2020

4/3                        –              Reception, Arlington Artists’ Alliance, Gallery Underground

4/8-5/3                –              Juried Student Exhibition, Barry Gallery, Marymount University

4/17                      –              Juried Student Exhibition Reception, Barry Gallery, Marymount

4/11                      –              Spring SOLOS 2020, Opening Reception, Arlington Arts Center

4/11-6/6              –              Spring SOLOS 2020, Arlington Arts Center

4/11-6/6              –              Ryan McCoy Solo Exhibition, Arlington Arts Center

4/11-6/6              –              H-B Woodlawn Student Exhibition, Arlington Arts Center

4/14-5/24            –              Nijinsky’s Last Dance, Signature Theatre

4/18-5/3              –              Spamalot, Arlington Players, Thomas Jefferson MS

4/22-5/17            –              Life Is a Dream, Synetic Theater

4/24-5/9              –              Hand to God, Dominion Stage, Gunston II

4/25                      –              Family Friendly Performance, Jane Franklin Dance Company, Theatre on the Run

4/25                      –              Going Polar, Jane Franklin Dance, Theatre on the Run

4/25                      –              Forty+, Jane Franklin Dance, Theatre on the Run

May 2020

5/1                        –              Reception, Arlington Artists’ Alliance, Gallery Underground

5/2                        –              Something Borrowed, National Chamber Ensemble/Bowen McCauley Dance Co., Gunston I

5/2                        –              Family Friendly Performance, Jane Franklin Dance Company, Theatre on the Run

5/2                        –              Going Polar, Jane Franklin Dance, Theatre on the Run

5/2                        –              New Compositions, Jane Franklin Dance, Theatre on the Run

5/9                        –              Family Friendly Performance, Jane Franklin Dance Company, Theatre on the Run

5/9                        –              Going Polar, Jane Franklin Dance, Theatre on the Run

5/9                        –              Soiree Reception, Jane Franklin Dance, Theatre on the Run

5/16                      –              Argentine Festival, Festival Argentino, Thomas Jefferson MS

5/19-7/12            –              Hair, Signature Theatre

5/21-6/21            –              Julius Caesar, Avant Bard, Gunston Arts Center

5/29-6/7              –              The Frog Prince of Spamalot, Encore Stage & Studio, Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre

To view the entire 2019-2020 Calendar of Events, click here.

Arlington County 2021 Budget/Advocacy Alert:

The County Manager released his proposed budget for 2021 and while work still needs to be done, for the most part our advocacy efforts were successful and he has reversed his previous proposed draconian cuts to the arts, specifically with respect to the scene shop, the costume lab, the mobile stage and laying off personnel who handled joint use scheduling for arts organizations and Arlington’s public schools. THANK YOU to all who sent letters, had meetings, made phone calls and everything else to fight these cuts.

In summary, the County Manager is providing funding to retain the Facilities Manager and Scene Shop Director positions, as well as proposed changes to the scene shop hours to allow more flexibility for theater groups. He also is providing one-time funding for a pilot program with Signature Theatre to manage the costume lab. County funds were also allocated toward contracting with a mobile stage rental company on behalf of arts organizations. To partially offset these expenses, rental fees for using the scene shop would be increased, with Arlington organizations receiving a discounted rate.

In acknowledgement of the increased rental fees for theater organizations, as well as the success of the Challenge Grant program in stimulating new corporate sponsorships for non-profit arts organiations, the County Manager is also proposing a one-time increase of $30,000 for the Arts Grants programs. While this is definitely a positive development, we have been working closely with the Arlington Commission on the Arts and agree that the time is right to request more funding to keep up with neighboring jurisdictions’ arts grant funding and the rate of inflation. In terms of inflation, and calculating back to first grant year (1992), the level of funding should be at least $354,000+. Additionally, below is a comparison of arts grant funding of nearby jurisdictions as compared to Arlington:

  • Arlington Commission for the Arts – $215,810 or $0.92 per capita
  • Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County – $5,493,890 or $5.21 per capita
  • DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities – $23,646,764 or $33.66 per capita

We are only requesting that the funding totals be returned to the 2010 level of $279,000.

However, in order to convince the County Board members that the funding levels should be increased, we need your help as voters and constituents. We are asking arts patrons, supporters and partners to send letters in support of increased arts grant funding. These letters can be short and to the point. “As a patron and ardent supporter of the arts in Arlington, I am asking that you restore the grant funding for these groups to the 2010 level of $279,000 as requested by the Arlington Commission for the Arts. Not only do they enrich our lives through cultural experiences, diversity, creativity and social events, but more importantly they positively contribute to our economy through increased sales at restaurants and other establishments during performance nights.” Of course, if you want to elaborate in your letters about why the arts are so important, please do so.

Email your letter to the County Board at and please send me a copy ( Letters should be sent by April 1, 2020 at the latest, and should include your name and address.

Corporate Sponsor of the Month:

Our corporate sponsor of the month is the Arlington research firm CNA, and its Educational and Charitable Fund Committee (ECFC). CNA employees make a difference in the quality of their communities and in the lives of their friends, neighbors and those in need. The ECFC reflects the spirit of giving back and pursues efforts to establish CNA as a positive, responsible civic partner and contributor to cultural and human service activities that enrich the quality of life in the community, promote the arts, health, education, welfare and environment in the community, identify charitable activities to serve community needs, encourage and facilitate employee involvement in community work and help fellow employees overcome catastrophic or temporary financial hardship.

“Embracing Arlington Arts Talks“ Podcast:

We are so excited to launch a “Theater/Arts Management” Education Podcast Series, which is a component of our weekly podcast “Embracing Arlington Arts Talks.” The aim is to offer special topical series on Theater and Arts Management topics featuring experts in the industry in the DC region. This could encompass experts talking about presenting a theater production from start to finish, insight into marketing and social media outreach, roles and challenges of being a Managing Director, and so much more. Suggestions and requests for specific series will be solicited from students and young professionals in the industry.

Our first series was recently released – “Artistic Director STEAM AHEAD” featuring Artistic Directors from the five most successful theaters in the DMV – Adventure Theatre, Arena Stage, Round House Theatre, Signature Theatre and Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. These stellar professionals answered questions about their careers, their respective theater organizations, insight into the day-to-day running of a theater, changes they have noticed in the industry over the last decades and much more. This series, and all future ones, can be heard on several podcast platforms: Libsyn, ApplePodcast, Google Podcast, and Spotify.

Speaking of the Artistic Director series, we aired the last three segments during February. First, we had a very insightful and interesting chat with the Artistic Director from Arena Stage Molly Smith. She talked about opening a theater in Alaska, her vision for Arena and offered some very useful advice for those starting out in the industry. Ryan Rilette from Round House Theatre followed with his views on diversity in the arts management industry, his goals for gender equality, and what is needed to succeed in the theater field. Rounding out the series was Chil Kong from Adventure Theatre. He offered the unique importance of children’s theater, the specific responsibility of his theater in creating future theater patrons, and how theater has changed over the years.

We also featured Founding Artistic Director Lucy Bowen McCauley and Executive Director Helen Chamberlin from Bowen McCauley Dance Company who gave us the details on their annual “Move Me” festival, as well as a sneak peek into their upcoming season and celebrations for their 25th Anniversary.

To listen to these interviews, or any others in the past, follow this link.

Media Hits:

Arlington arts organizations continued taking advantage of our Community Post subscription. Specifically, the Arlington Arts Center published a column on their summer camp offerings this year.  Every two weeks, a Community Post will be published on the ArlNow media website penned by an arts organization about productions, openings, developments and other topics of importance and interest to arts patrons and supporters.

Diversity Forum for DC Region Non-Profits Arts and Theater Organizations:

We have begun preparations for our DC regionwide “Diversity Forum” for non-profit arts and theater organizations. Two panels will discuss and offer best practices in “Creating a More Diverse Board” and “Creating a More Diverse Patron and Audience Base.” The event is tentatively scheduled to be held in October and will feature keynote speakers and experts in Diversity and Inclusion (DNI). Stay tuned for more details. We are looking for corporate sponsors to provide attendees with a networking reception after the speakers have finished. Contact us for more details on how your company can not only sponsor a forum about such an important issue, but also provide you a unique marketing and outreach campaign for your company and services it provides.


If you would like to support the work Embracing Arlington Arts by making a donation, here’s how:
*  Make tax-deductible contributions online.
*  Tax-deductible contributions by check: check made out to Embracing Arlington Arts and sent to Embracing Arlington Arts, 754 North Vermont Street, Arlington, VA 22203

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