December 29, 2015

Wrapping Up 2015: AAC’s Year-in-Review

It’s almost time to make your New Year’s resolutions, but before we go merrily onward into 2016, let’s go down memory lane to review some highlights of AAC this year. Now, we may be a bunch of artists but we can still do math, so let’s get into some numbers shall we?

Here are some quick fun facts to get the ball rolling:

  • It would take 52 metro rail cars to fill up the amount of visitors who attended AAC this year – that’s more than 6,000 people who came in for classes, workshops, exhibitions, and events in 2015
  • We presented 160 curators and artists in 13 exhibitions this year alone
  • It took 48 volunteers and interns to make it all happen
  • We relied on 23 instructors to bring the best arts education to our students
  • Our 18 board members supported and guided us throughout this year of change and success
  • And 4 staff members to pull it off

Who We Are


Classes: 97 classes and workshops, 1,075 hours of art-makingThis year alone AAC has enrolled 974 students (ages 2 to adult), with 97 classes and workshops, that’s a 32% increase in overall classes this year compared to 2014!

If we break it down, that would mean students used 76,122 sheets of paper (that’s more than half the surface area of the Washington Monument!) to create awesome artwork.

They spent more than 1,000 hours making that artwork! Just this summer 622 children were enrolled in our summer camps. An eager 8-year-old camper calculated that she spent 75 hours making art this summer. That’s a lot of art making!


Samantha Rausch, The Wormhole (Rainbow Worm), public art installation at AAC. 2015. Photo by Greg Staley
Samantha Rausch, The Wormhole (Rainbow Worm), public art installation at AAC. 2015. Photo by Greg Staley

We’ve also had a great year of exhibitions; AAC has showcased 13 this year. You might recall our Emerging Curators Spotlight: Instigate. Activate – a newly presented exhibition comprised of four emerging curators (Ellen Chenoweth, Danielle O’Steen, Megan Rook-Koepsel, and Caitlin Tucker-Melvin) who created exhibitions with the theme of their choice, and introduced us to sixteen emerging artists.

One of the many great installations in Instigate. Activate. showcased a public art piece The Wormhole (Rainbow Worm) by Samantha Rausch which covered the front and side lawns in January 2015.

Cory Oberndorfer's "Lawn Dart" firmly planted on the lawn of AAC.
Cory Oberndorfer’s Lawn Dart firmly planted on the lawn of AAC.

Another stand-out this year was this summer’s Play: Tinker Tech & Toy exhibition. If you were driving or walking down Wilson Blvd, you might have noticed the huge kite stuck in the tree or maybe the Frisbee lying on the roof or definitely the larger-than-life dart stuck in the grass. No, those weren’t leftover toys from a giant kid. It was a public art piece installed by Cory Orberndorfer for Play.

Thirteen artists were selected to showcase their artistic play on play. Play even garnered a full-color spread in The Washington Post weekend section. The show was very influential in our workshops and summer classes.
We brought our students into the galleries to learn more about the artists and their techniques, which they then brought back to the classroom to create works of art inspired by the exhibition.

They made sketches of the artwork to help them in the creation of their own artworks back in the classroom
Students made sketches of the artwork in the PLAY exhibition to help them in the creation of their own artworks back in the classroom

Resident Artists

"Yes, and" installation view in the Wyatt Resident Artists Gallery
Yes, and installation view in the Wyatt Resident Artists Gallery

Our resident artists have been hard at work burning the midnight oil too, 11,520 hours in the studio to be exact.  AAC houses 10 studios with a total of 12 resident artists. Both in AAC and in outside venues, our residents were featured in more than 68 exhibitions in 2015.

Moreover, AAC’s residents have 24/7 access to their studios; creating art is a full time job. You might remember their group exhibition Yes, and curated by Caitlin Melvin-Tucker. The title of the exhibition was inspired by the improvisational tenet “yes and” which Caitlin attributed to the atmosphere and creative energy she felt while working at AAC.

Rated ART – Best Night Ever!

AAC Board Member Sarah Cash WINNING in Scott Pennington's game room. Photo by Derek Bennion, Tazza Kitchen
AAC Board Member Sarah Cash WINNING in Scott Pennington’s game room during Rated ART. Photo by Derek Bennion, Tazza Kitchen

Who could forget Rated ART? We can’t wrap up 2015 without a shout-out to our amazing spring gala! We partnered with eight of your favorite restaurants and chefs to bring you a night of discovery and invention. This smashing success brought in more than $20,000 to support our programs. With more than 250 art-lovers and supporters in attendance, the house was packed!

All in all we’ve had a fantastic year! We can’t wait to see what’s in store for us in 2016! If you want to make sure that we continue bringing the best contemporary art to Arlington and providing outstanding arts education all year to all ages, please donate now.
Your support is vital to the achievement of our mission; none of these accomplishments would be possible without you!
Join us next year as we come fully-loaded into 2016 with another great season of classes, and an exciting new exhibition!


Artist Talks with Andrew Barco and Elliot Doughtie

Saturday / October 21 / 1pm-3pm

Join artists Andrew Barco and Elliot Doughtie for conversations about their solo exhibitions currently on view at MoCA Arlington.

Neon Nights: Gala & Silent Auction

Wednesday / September 27 / 7pm

Join us on Wednesday, September 27 for a special gala and silent auction to benefit the Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington. Tickets range from $250 to $500 and include a 3-course dinner, silent auction, and the joy you’ll feel knowing you’re supporting the museum! Can’t attend? Consider sponsoring an artist to attend in your place!

MoCA on the Move at Met Park

Sundays 10am-12pm

MoCA Arlington at Met Park
Fun for the whole family! No Experience Required offers playful art making activities for children (and their curious adults) every Sunday morning. There will be collaborative, community-built art works, and opportunities to “make and take” works, too.