The Artisphere is thriving

Process—————30 August 2010

The experience of the arts and the nature of arts education need to be expanded.   Beyond viewing the performance itself, an engagement with the arts should include an understanding of the alluvial confluence of experiences that brought forth the creative act.  

This is the vision of the founders of a newly opened cultural arts center located on the Virginia bank of the Potomac River adjacent to Washington, DC.   The new facility – christened “The Artisphere” – is a place for people and the arts to collide.  “Think Barn Stormers meet cyber-collaboration while painting and performing,” is how one of the founders described the programming of the new facility.   Similar to a hub in a digital communication network, the Artisphere is a hub in a network of creative centers throughout the urban region and around the globe.  Full of intimate, co-located spaces with multiple programs occurring simultaneously, the Artisphere is a new model for arts education and the community cultural center.

Like movie rental stores and stationary phones, twenty-first century technology is rendering the traditional model of the community arts center obsolete.  No longer are students or young artists content with static presentations or viewing single events.  They seek active rather than passive educational opportunities and information from multiple sources.  Called “Millennials” by many educational and demographic experts, these new students demonstrate the following common characteristics; they are gadget fanatics; social networkers; internet enthusiasts; and inductive learners.   More significantly they are dragging the older generations with them in their enthusiasm to understand the myriad of cultural experiences available to them through the internet.

The Artisphere is a facility that opens doors to the self-initiated and anticipates the changing venues of creative expression.  It features four distinct performance venues, three visual art galleries, a 4,000 square foot ballroom, and a free Wi-Fi Town Hall.  Retail and Food are available as amenities and opportunities for artists to sell their wares or provide refreshments as a component of their performance. The building’s unique existing entry condition encourages familiar visitors to try something new.   Open 85 hours a week with free admission and continuous arts education classes, the Artisphere presents the arts in a fresh and interdisciplinary environment.  

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