The Fund for Arlington Arts

Image The Fund for Arlington Arts

An endowment to support the soul of Arlington: a vibrant and diverse arts community

As we look to Arlington’s future, with its inventive and nationally recognized arts community, we know the arts cannot survive without diverse sources of fiscal support. Reliance on earned income or government support is not enough. Arlington’s nonprofit arts organizations and its local artists – performing and visual – need diverse philanthropic support, and this endowed Fund is established to be one consistent, resilient funding resource for years to come.

Why the Arts?

Community Builder

Nonprofit arts organizations weave the social and civic fabric of our community, creating the places and experiences that make our community more inclusive and compassionate.

Pictured: Arlington Arts Center offers year-round arts classes for novice and seasoned artists of all ages, from toddlers to adults. [Photo: Dawn Whitmore]

Economic Driver

Arts and culture-related industries attract employees and investments, generate tax revenue, and infuse other industries with creative insight.

Pictured: Public artwork “Cupid’s Garden” at Wilson Boulevard and Clarendon Boulevard.

Health Promoter

The arts offer therapeutic benefits and improve the quality of life when integrated into healthcare. Several studies point to the health benefits of the arts in a variety of populations, from veterans with PTSD to seniors with chronic illness.

Pictured: Lucy Bowen McCauley, the 2021 Spirit of Community Award recipient, leads free “Dance for PD” classes for those living with Parkinson’s Disease and their caregivers.

Why the need for a Fund for Arlington Arts?

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Arlington County has a rich history of supporting vibrant and diverse community-based arts programming.

The impacts of the 2008 recession and the 2020 pandemic have wrought havoc on the fiscal underpinning of many of the County arts organizations. The loss of financial support, due to static or reduced government funding and unpredictable earned revenue streams, has severely challenged many of our Arlington arts organizations.

Even in the best times, for most arts organizations, earned income from ticket sales and similar revenue streams, along with government support, accounts for only about half of what is needed to survive.

Establishment of the endowed Fund for Arlington Arts at Arlington Community Foundation is one step that we, as Arlingtonians, can take to help provide a reliable funding resource for our many Arlington-based nonprofit arts organizations.

Just as the Foundation’s COVID-19 Prompt Response Fund provided effective, flexible support to Arlington’s safety-net nonprofits, this new Fund is designed to provide County arts organizations with sustained, flexible support that can help them keep thriving — in good times and in bad.

How the Fund works

The Fund for Arlington Arts is a permanent field-of-interest fund to support the broad and changing needs within the arts organizations of the Arlington community through annual grants.

Gifts to the Fund will be managed by Arlington Community Foundation and invested for long-term growth. Grant applications will be reviewed and assigned by a panel of local arts experts and enthusiasts.

The Fund will accept contributions from individuals, businesses, companies, corporations, and foundations to support and enhance the community’s commitment to the arts. Memorial and Legacy gifts will also be accepted.

The immediate goal for the Fund is $1 million. The long-term goal for the Fund is $5 million so that $250,000 annually could be given in grants to arts and cultural organizations presenting arts programming in the County.

We invite you to join us in investing in a bright and sustainable future for the arts in Arlington. If you have questions or would like to know more, please contact Christy Cole, our Director of Philanthropy.

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