Visit the Workhouse Arts Center and you’ll find a campus bustling with activity. Students hurry to dance classes while young couples tour our galleries. An emerging artist assembles a sculpture on the quad, a stone’s throw from a band warming up for an evening concert. A group of seniors leaves a painting class and exchanges greetings with a company of actors relaxing between performances.

But it hasn’t always been this way.

Only a decade ago, our campus was without life, the crumbling shell of a long-closed prison. It took the vision of forward-thinking community leaders, the tireless work of artists and staff and volunteers, and the support of community members like you to transform a blighted region into a premier destination for arts and education and entertainment in Northern Virginia. These past 10 years have truly given the Gift of Art to our local communities and national and international visitors, from performances by Mikhail Baryshnikov and the US Navy Band Sea Chanters to fireworks shows, world-class visual arts exhibitions, arts education classes and workshops, and so much more!

But revenue generated from ticket sales, rentals, and class fees accounts for only 70% of the Workhouse’s $2.6 million operating budget. We rely on the generosity of corporations, foundations, governments, and people like you to fill the gap. You are an integral part of the continued success of the Workhouse. Your support has been essential to our first decade of success and will continue to be invaluable as we begin our second decade of service as an arts and cultural hub for the community, regional destination, and catalyst for the local economy.

Each year, the Workhouse Arts Center raises the funds needed to fuel inspiration and provide engaging arts experiences for our artists, students, and visitors. With these funds, we offer affordable studio space to artists, classes and scholarships to those in need, free community events, free exhibitions, a free history museum, and art sales opportunities for struggling artists. And with our 10th anniversary fast approaching in 2018, we have many dreams on the horizon: exhibitions and performances by world renowned artists; a new 350-seat theater; a 1,000 seat music barn and amphitheater; glass blowing hot shop renovations; metal working/wood working studios; restaurants; and new outdoor sculpture.

But none of these are possible without your help. Your Gift of Art pledge will support the arts, education, history, and community programs at the Workhouse that enrich more than 100,000 people each year through:

Visual Arts: In addition to nearly 100 Resident and Arches Gallery Artists creating and exhibiting on our campus, the Workhouse hosts nationally and internationally acclaimed visiting artists for exhibitions, talks, and workshops. Curated art exhibits of the highest quality are displayed alongside the inspiring work of local groups such as Fairfax County school students, and veterans and servicemembers in our dedicated Warrior Way Gallery.

Performing Arts: More than 300 performances are held each year in the W3 Theatre, galleries, and the Rizer Pavilion. The original Workhouse Cabaret and Ballroom Social series are presented to sold out crowds; notable acts like Cool Cow Comedy and Tom Teasley attract regional audiences; theater spaces serve as a much-needed home for talented local ensembles.

Arts Education: Introductory arts classes for beginners and advanced studio arts classes for established artists are offered on a year-round basis. Our rapidly growing youth arts program has recently expanded to include a new music program. In addition to the thousands who study art in various media at the Workhouse, thousands more are reached through outreach in the Fairfax and Prince William County school systems.

Prison Museum and Suffrage History: A vital component of our mission is to preserve and share the history of the Workhouse within Fairfax County as well as the important history of the Workhouse role in the women’s suffrage movement in the United States. To that end, 2018 will see the opening of the Lucy Burns Museum in Building W-2, a $2.5 million dollar project that reimagines, enhances, and relocates the existing prison museum into a newly renovated, 8,000 square foot space.

Community: A collaborative community spirit enriches our programs, broadens our reach, and deepens our impact. Our Second Saturday Art Walks inspire tens of thousands of guests each year while our GMU Art Lab highlights the work of MFA students from George Mason University. The new NOVA Arts and Cultural District – a joint venture with the Town of Occoquan and Occoquan Regional Park – will reinforce the region’s status as a destination of choice for commerce, recreation, and entertainment. Our annual fireworks show, haunted trail, and Brewfest events delight guests by the thousands. And each year, the Workhouse strengthens the local economy by infusing more than $620,000 through artwork sales, performing artist salaries, and teaching artist salaries.

While community and government leaders were the first to see the potential in the Workhouse a decade ago, it is only with your generous and continued support that the Workhouse will be able to serve our community – to continue sharing the Gift of Art – in the years ahead.

With sincere thanks for your support,

Ava Spece
President + CEO

PS – To give today, simply click this link or on the DONATE buttons in the right column.