Home Local Politics Arlington County Board Member Jay Fisette Comments on Disappointing “Artisphere” Revenues

Arlington County Board Member Jay Fisette Comments on Disappointing “Artisphere” Revenues


I was sad to read ArlNow’s story that revenue at Arlington’s “Artisphere” – which opened in Rosslyn on October 10, 2010 – is running “75 percent below the $789,912 in revenue that planners expected,” because I’m a big supporter of this concept (see the video and also here for more) and would hate to see it fail. I emailed Arlington County Board member Jay Fisette, who has been a champion of the Artisphere, for his thoughts on the article. Here’s Fisette’s response:

I think the article is accurate.  This is a disappointment, but we still believe this model for a cultural center is valid and we’re committed to have Artisphere succeed.  I see the primary reasons for the revenue shortfall at Artisphere to date are:  (1) the original revenue projections were too optimistic and did not provide ample time to ramp up revenues, knowing that Artisphere is essentially a “start-up”, (2) the restaurant isn’t yet open, and it should serve to draw more folks to Artisphere, and (3) the online ticketing got a late start.

A revised business plan is being developed.  I believe rental income can increase.

I sure hope so, but if not, the comments at ArlNow certainly have a broad range of, uh, “interesting” suggestions for what to do with the space: “That space would make a great floor hockey rink;” “If this whole Art thing doesn’t work out I say Dremo’s!”; or “Maybe they can lease the space to a Wegman’s. Just need more parking.” In all seriousness, though, let’s hope the Artisphere finds its footing soon and turns out to be a success story. Although, come to think of it, I love floor hockey (I played for several years on a team in Woodbridge, Virginia), so that wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. Also, Dremo’s is pretty cool, and although I’ve never been to a Wegman’s, I hear it’s great! LOL

  • commentator1

    I think one thing they did wrong was to not take a project approach. All the ticketing and advertising should have been ready before they started having events.

    Very few people even know the Artisphere is there. I think that is a shame. I saw a few flyers here and there, but no advertisments in newspapers or posters.

    They could have had contests for local artists to design posters and had a new poster for the Artisphere every 3 or 4 months. These could have been posted at places throughout Rosslyn, Clarendon, and Ballston.

    In the final analysis the arts are a product which need a product approach. That is to say how do we get people interested in the product? And if they are interested how do we make it easy and convenient to get access (i.e. buy tickets)?

  • … I’m not so sure the County should rescue the Planetarium and Lubber Run Amphitheatre. I completely believe in the role of government funds in building arts & community, but if there’s not enough demand to warrant private development … maybe there’s not enough demand, period.