Representatives of Northern Virginia's major arts groups are asking state legislators to double funding for the arts during the General Assembly session that began this week.
"Virginia spends only 52 cents per person on art," said J.W. Kaempfer Jr., president of the Kaempfer Co. and host of the Northern Virginia Arts Reception, which was held in Rosslyn last Thursday. "That's less than half of Maryland's $1.08."
The District of Columbia spends $5.62 per person and West Virginia spends twice as much on art per person as Virginia, according to participants in the reception.
The Virginia Commission on the Arts was allocated $3 million by the General Assembly last year.
Dixie Kennett, president of the Arlington Cultural Council, said the purpose of the reception was to lobby the legislature to increase the art commission's budget to $6 million this year.
James C. McKeever Jr., president of the Fairfax County Council of the Arts, told the group that funding from the General Assembly makes quality art possible. More than 40 Northern Virginia arts organizations received funding from the commission last year.
Del. Kenneth R. Plum (D-Fairfax) told the group that the key to getting money from the state is to tie funding for the arts to economic development. "It sells better in Virginia," Plum said.
Kaempfer said public art is good business. "Our building is over 50 percent leased," Kaempfer said. "This is twice as high an occupancy level as a typical building in Rosslyn would have attracted in the same four-month period. Clearly one of the main contributing factors is that this building is home to 'Anna and David.' "
"Anna and David" is a striking, brightly colored sculpture by Miriam Schapiro that stands 35 feet high in front of Kaempfer's building at 1525 Wilson Blvd.
Mary Ann de Barbieri, chairwoman of the Alexandria Commission for the Arts, thanked members of the state legislature "for their strong and steady support of the arts" in the past.RECIPIENTS OF VIRGINIA COMMISSION FOR THE ARTS GRANTS
ARLINGTON COUNTY Arlington Arts Center Arlington Ballet Arlington County Division of
Cultural Affairs Arlington Dance Theatre Arlington Metropolitan Chorus Arlington Symphony Northern Virginia Opera Wordstage Readers' Theatre
CITY OF ALEXANDRIA Alexandria Choral Society Friends of the Torpedo Factory
Art Center Kinney and Company Youth
Theatre Northern Virginia Fine Arts
Association (The Athenaeum) Performing Arts Association of
FAIRFAX COUNTY Fairfax Choral Society Fairfax County Council of the
Arts Fairfax Symphony Council for the Arts of Herndon Great Falls Concert Series Greater Reston Art Center McLean Choral Society McLean Orchestra McLean Project for the Arts Northern Virginia Youth
Symphony Reston Chorale Virginia Chamber Orchestra