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Artisphere, the Arlington County-run multi-media arts space that opened in Rosslyn in 2010, will probably close in July.
Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan, who was tasked with looking into Artisphere’s finances and management to make suggestions on its future, sees no viable way forward for the arts venue, ARLNow reports. “This was a business decision…this was a tough decision, a disappointing one. The reality is that the Artisphere has not lived up to projections,” Donnellan said at a County Board meeting today.
According to Diana Sun, director of communications for Arlington County, the recommendation for closing Artisphere will be reflected in Donnellan’s budget, which will be presented to the County Board in February. The board will have until April to approve, amend, and vote on the budget. In the meantime, county staff will explore options for the space. The building’s lease continues for six more years, so the county could return it to the property owner, Monday Properties, who leases it to the county for free. Or, it may sublease the space to a private entity, or form some sort of public-private agreement. “We would love the focus to be on something like the space around arts and media and technology, but we have to see what is going to come up,” Sun says.
The venue, which is open for free to the public but hosts many ticketed music and theater performances, film screenings, and events, has been steadily losing money. In its first year of existence, it pulled in 75 percent less revenue from visitors than projected, and it’s implemented several cost-cutting and revenue-boosting measures that haven’t delivered as promised.
If the board takes Donnellan’s recommendation, Artisphere would close on July 1, 2015.
Additional reporting by Caroline Jones
Photo by Flickr user Ron Cogswell, Creative Commons license