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Arlington County Board Tries to Rescue Artisphere

Today’s Washington Examiner reports that “Arlington County officials hope a new rental agreement will be the first step in rescuing the money-losing Artisphere, while artists are pushing for more flexibility in a building that doesn't allow them to hang signs on the wall without permission.” Reporter Liz Essley went by writing:

“The Rosslyn arts center, which formerly housed the Newseum, is bringing in only 22 percent of its expected admission and ticket revenue, after receiving millions in renovations and $2.5 million in fiscal 2011 from county taxpayers. Now the county is scrambling to rethink expectations, promising a new business plan by the end of the summer.

“A new short-term rental agreement could be the first step in drawing more business.

"Sometimes people are like, 'Wow, I want to have a party there for an hour and I have to sign a 15-page legal agreement?" said Artisphere spokeswoman Annalisa Meyer.

"So the County Board of Supervisors slashed pages from the rental agreement in hopes that more people will use the space.

“But that doesn't change concerns that artists have about the rules included in both the new and old rental agreements.”

We previously growled about the Artisphere on January 1, 2011, April 2, 2011, and June 24, 2011. Detailed background information about the revised rental agreement is available in agenda item #32 of the Arlington County Board’s July 9, 2011 board meeting.

Sheesh! As we growled yesterday, “the arts” is one of Arlington County’s special interests. Think the panjandrums on the Arlington County Board view taxpayers as little more than cash registers?

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