Heritage Arts


About the Office of Heritage Arts
Performances and Community Events
Fieldwork and Documentation
Un/Common Places
Artist and Community Services : Hearabouts

About the Office of Heritage Arts

The Cultural Affairs Division's Office of Heritage Arts serves as the County's resource point for folk and traditional artists, folklife researchers and community members. It divides its efforts into three overlapping spheres:  Performances & Community Events, Fieldwork & Documentation and Artist & Community Services. It offers training programs for developing ensembles and organizations; produces documents and events that explore traditional culture in our community; and serves to broaden the general understanding of tradition within our community.

Staff works with traditional musicians, dancers, artists, cooks, poets, and craftspeople to produce, promote, document and celebrate Arlington's rich cultural diversity. 

Performances & Community Events

Each year, Arlingtonians host or participate in a number of tradition-based performances celebrating deeply-rooted values and expressive forms. These programs are supported by arts grants through the Arlington Commission for the Arts.  
PLEASE NOTE!   Applications for outdoor festivals previously administered by Arlington Cultural Affairs are now coordinated by Arlington County's Special Events Coordinator.       Download the Special Events Application
Contact:  abower@arlingtonva.usfax 703-228-4192.     

Fieldwork & Documentation

The Office of Heritage Arts undertakes fieldwork and documentation projects that respect and reflect Arlington's diverse cultural patchwork. Current projects include the development of a Halls Hill/High View Park community archive and the Un/Common Places census of culturally significant places in Arlington.

In December, 2005, the Cultural Affairs Division released the first album of music recorded by Arlington's octogenarian Old-Time fiddle legend, Speedy Tolliver. It was produced at the Cultural Affairs Division's recording studio on Four Mile Run Drive, by sound technician Vander Lockett.

Recent publications and media productions include Up on the Hill, an oral history of one of Arlington's historic African American neighborhoods, From Flower to Goddess, a documentary film on Cambodian dance traditions,  a CD of the music of Speedy Tolliver,  the video, Speedy, Arlington County's Master Musician Roy "Speedy" Tolliver and  a CD of the music of Turkish musician, Hüsnü Aydoğdu.  These CDs and publications are available for purchase -- see our online sales page.

[Back to top]

Un/Common Places

This ongoing series will feature places attached to personal stories we hope will distinguish them as "uncommon places" that help us better understand Arlington County's history and cultural diversity, and perhaps heighten recognition of the importance of place in all of our lives. Some of the qualities that make a place "uncommon" are historic value, longstanding use, aesthetic value, public spaces that facilitate congregation, neighborhood enhancement including qualities that contribute to local character or that may act as landmarks.  
Places profiled on the Un/Common Places page:
     Virginia Hardware
     Judson's Shoe Repair 
The Weenie Beenie 
     Bob Peck Chevrolet 
     Definitely it was a landmark. It happened at Sears. 
     The "Deep Throat" Parking Garage
     In the beginning was vinyl. . . . .Orpheus Records 
     T.A. Sullivan & Son, Stonecutters etch life details 
     The "house of tomorrow" is now on the endangered species list: The Lustron Houses 
      Guatemalan Alfombra (flower carpet)  Good Friday, 2007 
Dunbar Homes

Artist & Community Services – Hearabouts

Service to traditional artists and performers make up the third arm of the Office of Heritage Arts' mission. Working closely with community and performing group leaders, the program provides technical, programmatic, marketing and managerial resources and guidance.

The Hearabouts program, a development workshop for performing artists, provides training for group leaders on subjects ranging from grant writing and budget building to press releases and contracting. This program provides the building blocks that groups use to enhance their program, production and managerial skills. Hearabouts participants represent the wide range of artistic traditions and communities: from jazz combos and Indian classical dance to Peruvian and Colombian folkloric dance, and performing traditions from Hawaii, Turkey and beyond - that are at home in Arlington. The common thread among them is a deeply felt need to share long-held, vitally important traditions - the drive to each, preserve and celebrate the tradition of home.

Participants:  Chino Terrones Peruvian Dance Ensemble; The LaMont J. Mitchell & Friends Ensemble; Requiebros Spanish Dance Group; Turkish-American Dance Dance Ensemble; Sutera Malaysia, Dakshina (Daniel Phoenix Singh); Los Quetzales Mexican Dance Ensemble; Rick Franklin, Piedmont Blues guitar player; Ubaldo Sanchez,  Guatemalan sawdust carpet artist; Shuree, Mongolian classical pianist.

[Back to top]