Arena Stage’s Founding Director Zelda Fichandler has probably thought longer and harder about the thorny relationship between government and the arts than any person alive. Back in the early ’50s, Fichandler helped develop the very notion of not-for-profit arts institutions and helped get Congress to grant the tax breaks that have allowed those institutions to flourish. Without her, there might never have been a regional theater movement. She has also worked with pretty much everyone who’s had any artistic impact on the theater in the past half-century. Her speaking style is articulate and dense—her cast-prepping rehearsal talks at Arena were legendary for their depth and widely regarded as astonishing essays on theatrical form. All of which makes her the ideal speaker for the 15th annual Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy. She’ll be introduced by a guy who’s no slouch himself: Joe Dowling, artistic director of the Guthrie Theater. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater. Free. (202) 467-4600. (Bob Mondello)