Arlington Cultural Arts Center
The experience of the arts and the nature of arts education needs to be expanded. Beyond the viewing of 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 was the vision of the founders of the cultural arts center located in Arlington Virginia. The 2010 facility christened The Artisphere was 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. Similar to a hub in a digital communication network, the Artisphere was 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 simultaneous, the Artisphere was a model for the arts education environment and the community cultural center.
Studio Twenty Seven Architecture along with Design Army, a local graphic design firm, won a national design competition to work as design architects and artists on the design and construction of the Artisphere.
USGBC LEED CI – Silver Certifications
All photos copyright Hoachlander Davis Photography
In November of 2007, the non-profit organization, Americans for the Arts, published a Monograph entitled, “The Performing Arts center in 2032”. Written by the Founder of Webb Management Services, Duncan Webb, the document summarized two days of panel presentations and discussions that focused around issues such as what a performing arts center should be in the twenty-first century and how it could be transformed to more effectively accommodate the constantly shifting needs and desires of future audience members, performers, artists, and donors. While this panel of 38 industry leaders discussed the potential for a new and expanded Cultural Arts Center – visions that included a more diverse clientele, audience participation in the arts, and flexible programming extending into the urban realm – these conjectures and hopeful speculations have finally been realized in the community, building, and programming for the Artisphere. This article, therefore, takes the form of a case study for the Artisphere, in which we believe is the first Performing Arts Center envisioned and constructed from its onset to align with the goals set forth for the “Performing Arts Center of 2032”.
THE VISION – Guiding County Policy (1990)
~ To create a climate within the County that is conducive to the growth and development of Arlington’s artists and arts organizations through public and private support.
~ To foster the development of excellence and diversity in the arts ensuring that a varied program of cultural activities is available to satisfy the interests of Arlington’s citizens.
~ To guarantee to all artists and arts organizations an open and fair policy which assures equal access to County arts resources.
~ To encourage development of a public/private partnership in the support of the arts.