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Friday, February 3, 2023
ArlingtonOpinionLetter: Artisans getting no support from Arlington leaders

Letter: Artisans getting no support from Arlington leaders

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Editor: I have been watching with interest the situation for the Lee Arts Center in Arlington for many months now, and finally the straw that put me over the top has landed.

It was an embarrassment for the artists and community when Arlington Cultural Affairs sponsored a column in a local news site for the Alexandria Clay Co-op Holiday Pottery Sale.

It cheerfully boasts support your local artist on Saturday, Nov. 13, which seems pretty good. However, the reason the 10 Arlington ceramic artists are among those participating in the Alexandria sale is because they have nowhere in Arlington available to make and sell their work. For many years, they had their own holiday sales at the Lee Arts Center.

This article is a spin that sounds good on the surface but underneath that surface something not so good is happening with no apparent solution in sight. There has been no real dialogue since March 2020 between the county manager, who is in control of the building, and Cultural Affairs who used to staff the facility, with the artists who have been locked out of their studio space. The situation for the entrepreneurs and creators is real, they have no place to work and many cannot afford to build their own studios.

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The opacity of planning from the top down is unknown, with no apparent plans for the future. This only adds to the frustration.

Now that the county government is opening up its facilities, why are not these artists allowed back into their workspace? I am afraid it might be too late for this holiday season, and who knows the future for them.

David Carlson, Arlington

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