January 2019 Update

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Update from Embracing Arlington Arts

Dear Arts Patrons, Aficionados and Supporters,

Happy New Year! Hopefully everyone had a wonderful holiday season. We want to thank you all for supporting and spreading the word this past year about Embracing Arlington Arts and the work we are doing to energize our arts industry in Arlington. We are anticipating another busy year in 2019 and look forward to working with all of you.

Our Venue Dearth:

Many of you are aware that Embracing Arlington Arts is hoping to embark on a major campaign to finally have a quality performing arts/live music venue built in Arlington. The County has a long history of endeavoring to provide a dedicated space for artists of all mediums to perform and showcase their craft, but many local spaces have closed in recent years (i.e., Rosslyn Spectrum, Artisphere, Iota Club and Café and soon Synetic Theatre in Crystal City) due to various circumstances, leaving professional Arlington arts organizations the option of either performing outside of the County, shutting down or performing out of lower quality “found” spaces (i.e., middle schools) which greatly lowers their attendee numbers.

A new facility would be a “game-changer” for Arlington County’s cultural and entertainment offerings to residents and those living in DC and Maryland. The timing is especially critical considering at least five black box theaters are currently being planned and developed in nearby Virginia counties including the state-of-the-art facility and arts complex (with two black box theaters) in Tyson’s, and additional black box theaters in Herndon, Alexandria and Falls Church. Pushing patrons to other Virginia counties, DC and Maryland seriously impacts not only our cultural identity, but also our restaurant industry which is losing hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in income that arts patrons would likely spend here if their entertainment venue was also located in Arlington.

To start getting more visibility to this serious issue, Embracing Arlington Arts submitted a column that was published on the ArlNow outlining this problem. The “Christmas Poem for the Arts in Arlington” was written as an amusing piece, but ended on a serious note. For those who missed it, the article is below:

A Christmas Poem for the Arts in Arlington

(This Community Post was written by Embracing Arlington Arts and underwritten by Washington Workplace.

Twas the night before opening

And all through the cast

Nerves were a-jingling

But that would not last


The set was all built

Flood lights shining bright

But one thing was missing

There was no stage in sight


Iota and Spectrum had closed

Artisphere was no more

And Virginia Square black box

Would never open its door


Synetic Theater

Its future in doubt

Theatergoers in Arlington

Prepare for a drought


Arts groups are leaving

And restaurants are hurting

‘Cause theatregoers spend money

Nearer their play’s curtain


But we are committed

To turn things around

By building a theater

In an Arlington town


We hope you will help us

With support and big hearts

And throughout 2019

Keep Embracing Arlington Arts

While this poem is light-hearted, the concern is real about the dearth of quality performing arts/live music venues in Arlington. Not only does this hurt the County culturally, but economically it dampens our economy. Arts entities employ 6,124 people in 658 businesses representing 5.1 percent of the total number of businesses in Arlington. Over $18 million of economic activity in Arlington is derived from audience expenditures, including dining, parking, ticket sales and other purchases made during their night out.

Let’s build a performing arts venue to ensure continued incorporation of arts and culture in our everyday lives, as well as support local restaurants who depend on Arlingtonians spending dollars in Arlington, not in DC and Maryland.

Stay tuned as we hopefully move forward soon on this campaign.

Radio Show on WERA 96.7FM:

We had so many interesting guests on the Embracing Arlington Arts radio show this past month. First, we found out about a wonderful non-profit organization This Is My Brave from the founder Jennifer Marshall. This organization helps end the stigma of mental illness through stage productions from these patients telling their stories. Back to the performing arts venue problem here in DC, we caught up with Rachel Levitin who is attempting to keep the memory of Iota Club and Cafe alive through her music series The Iota Chair featuring bands who played at the infamous bar throughout its decades-long run. The following week we chatted with local stage actress Regina Aquino Smith about her career and her upcoming role in “Nell Gwynn” at the Folger Theater. Finally, to start out 2019 we learned about a relatively new theater – Monumental Theater – from the Managing Director Beth Amann.

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

2019 Arlington Arts Groups Performances and Events

January 2019

1/8-1/26               –              Judy Garland: A Star Is Born, Cabaret Series, Signature Theatre

1/11-1/20            –              The Enchanted Bookshop, Encore Stage & Studio, Gunston I

1/11-1/26                            Heathers: The Musical, Dominion Stage, Gunston II

1/14-1/15            –              Write On, Educational Theatre Company, McKinley ES

1/19                       –              Mouse in House, Jane Franklin Dance Co., Theatre on the Run

1/19-1/20            –              Beauty and the Beat, Jane Franklin Dance Co., Theatre on the Run

1/23-3/10            –              Ain’t Misbehavin’, Signature Theatre

1/24-2/17            –              Grand Concourse, Prologue Theater, Marriott Key Bridge Hotel

1/26                       –              Mouse in House, Jane Franklin Dance Co., Theatre on the Run

1/26                       –              Picture This, Jane Franklin Dance Company, Theatre on the Run

February 2019

2/1                         –              Reception, Arlington Artists’ Alliance, Gallery Underground

2/1                         –              Creative Age Presentation, Educational Theatre Company

2/2                         –              Picture This, Jane Franklin Dance Company, Theatre on the Run

2/2-2/17               –              Arsenic and Old Lace, Arlington Players, Thomas Jefferson MS

2/4                         –              Play Reading, SigWorks, Signature Theatre

2/4-2/24               –              Scripts in Play Festival, WSC Avant Bard, Gunston II

2/6-3/10               –              Cyrano de Bergerac, Synetic Theater

2/8                         –              Reception, Arlington Artists’ Alliance, Gallery Clarendon

2/9                         –              The Romantics, National Chamber Ensemble, Gunston I

2/10                       –              Winter Concert, Arlington Philharmonic, Wakefield High School

2/16                       –              Adoration of Dora (Play Reading), WSC Avant Bard, Schnider Gallery of Art

2/22-3/3               –              Robin Hood, Encore Stage & Studio, Gunston I

2/26-4/7               –              Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible…, Signature Theatre

March 2019

3/1                         –              Reception, Arlington Artists’ Alliance, Gallery Underground

3/8                         –              Reception, Arlington Artists’ Alliance, Gallery Clarendon

3/9                         –              Fairfax Symphony Orchestra and Bowen McCauley Dance Co., George Mason University’s Center for the Arts Concert Hall

3/12-3/13            –              Devising Hope, Educational Theatre Company

3/16                       –           MOVE ME Festival, Bowen McCauley Dance Co., Kenmore MS

3/14-4/14            –              Top Dog/Underdog, WSC Avant Bard, Gunston II

3/23                       –            The Viennese Classics, National Chamber Ensemble, Gunston I


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