Artisphere Is A Black Hole

Arlington Green Party chairman John Reeder was taken to task in the Sun Gazette for his LTE criticizing the Artisphere as a white elephant project and recommending that the county shut it down. Reeder wrote back:

I neglected to mention that on top of this $800,000 loss is the expected $800,000 loss that the county government had already anticipated and budgeted. In other words, the Artisphere is now running a $1.6 million loss so far this operating year.

I appreciate the arts, but I appreciate learning and reading at our public libraries as well, and value homeless people having a roof over their heads and a daily hotmeal. I suggest that the county government could transfer park employees and maintenance funds now used at the Artisphere to repair and operate a closed and widely attended summer performing arts venue in Arlington—the Lubber Run Amphitheater.

Actually Reeder underestimates the Artisphere’s deficit. In a March 30, 2011 report on the Artisphere the County Manger reported that County Board had budgeted a $957,000 shortfall for the facility into its FY11 budget. In other words, it not only anticipated a $1 million shortfall, it expected taxpayers to pick up the tab. This was BEFORE it discovered an additional $800,000 operating loss in March.

While support for the arts is a laudable goal, asking taxpayers to subvent a $1.8 million deficit is anything but entertaining. The solution is to unload Artisphere from the budget and get a private philanthropist to pick up the tab. I thought privatization of public functions was all the rage these days. So why is Arlington County Board socializing the cost of a traditionally private function?

14 thoughts on “Artisphere Is A Black Hole

  1. Barry May 2, 2011 at 4:23 pm - Reply

    For the $16 million taxpayers lost so far on the Artisphere we could have placed solar panels on all Arlington’s schools and saved Arlington’s taxpayers another $30 million over the next 15 years.

  2. Miriam May 2, 2011 at 7:34 pm - Reply

    I am not sure where energy is better spent closing the back door or opening the books. Every tax payer whether you have school children could benefit from greater investment in our libraries and recreation centers. I agree the Artisphere though it sounds nice does not attract the majority of residents, yet we are the one’s paying for it. Investments should pay dividends or yield savings, especially with all the bonds floating around. I hope the new PoolPlex is not another money pit.

    Oh please get elected Audrey!

  3. Julie May 4, 2011 at 9:52 am - Reply

    The next mega projects will be the $65 million aquatic center and a huge field house-sports arena next to the aquatic center (both in Long Bridge Park) which will cost $200 million. As for Arlington’s increased school enrollment, the plan is to lease hundreds of trailer classrooms and up the class size.

  4. Progressive Dem. May 4, 2011 at 12:47 pm - Reply

    Appears that the County Board is embarked on a massive urbanization program together with massive borrowing to fund a billion dollars worth of vanity projects over the next five years.

  5. Linda May 4, 2011 at 9:22 pm - Reply

    Zimmerman and the rest are going to totally destroy middle class Arlington with luxury building redevelopment so they can spend the additional tax revenue and borrow heavily to pay for their extravagant vanity projects.

  6. Peter May 5, 2011 at 2:56 pm - Reply

    Phase 2 development for Long Bridge Park will be a huge sports arena and field house that will cost at least $200 million. We are talking NCAA and ACC championship basketball tournaments and indoor track and field and perhaps lacrosse, field hockey, tennis, etc. The indoor track will be 400 meters.

  7. P.Y. May 6, 2011 at 12:12 pm - Reply

    Linda, you are correct. They are crazy spendthrift idiots but they are going to be outta Arlington in 2021, so what do they care?

  8. Pikester May 6, 2011 at 5:41 pm - Reply

    Form Based Code will put as many as 10,000 new parking spaces in garages on the Pike by 2021. No wonder the County Board incumbents are telling us to ride bicycles.

  9. Karyn May 7, 2011 at 6:51 pm - Reply

    I can’t get my street repaved but the County Board is telling everyone to ride bicycles.

  10. 22205 May 8, 2011 at 12:16 pm - Reply

    Latest from PRCR is that lots of money is available to groups for parks grants up to $15,000.

  11. Joan May 10, 2011 at 12:10 am - Reply

    There is more money being spent on vanity projects and entertainment than ever. Also the County has a huge PR department that thinks up more ways to spend money on things like festivals.

    My street needed to be repaved 5 years ago. And the street lighting is terrible. This County’s priorities are all concerned with sports, entertainment and recreation.

  12. Joan May 10, 2011 at 9:22 am - Reply

    There is a huge bond issue coming before the Arlington County Board this Saturday which funds the outrageous NC program that funds vanity beautification projects in neighborhoods where the streets are crumbling.

  13. Jeremy May 15, 2011 at 5:30 am - Reply

    Great analysis of the County’s dismal recycling program at the County Board meeting yesterday. A+

  14. Delilah October 9, 2011 at 2:12 pm - Reply

    Artisphere was poorly planned financially and artistically. I have worked in the performing and visual arts for over 3 decades. I interviewed
    for a position with Artisphere and they were
    CLUELESS as to what was needed or how to plan for
    such an operation.

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