Alexandria Commission for the Arts

Information on the Alexandria Commission for the Arts.

Page updated on Feb 14, 2018 at 11:26 AM

Alexandria Commission for the Arts

The City of Alexandria has a strong commitment to citizen participation as evidenced by the number of citizen boards and commissions established by City Council. These bodies compose a formal system through which citizens can advise City Council on all major issued affecting the City. 

As established by ordinance Article K, Sec. 2-4-90 - Sec. 2-4-91:

Creation, composition and organization

(a) There is hereby established a standing commission known as the Alexandria Commission for the Arts.

(b) The Commission shall consist of 16 members to be appointed by the City Council. The composition of the Commission shall be as follows:

  1. Four members shall have expertise in the arts, including, but not limited to, arts educators, professional practitioners of various art disciplines and professional administrators working in the arts;
  2. Three members shall have specific expertise in visual arts either as professional practitioners of visual art, curators of visual art, or as professional arts administrators currently working in the field;
  3. Three members shall represent the public at large, as arts consumers or participants;
  4. Three members shall be professionals in fields relevant to arts and cultural development, including cultural planning, marketing, finance, funding, tourism, promotion, non profit organizational development, and real estate development;
  5. Two members shall be professionals in the field related to the visual appearance of the cityscape, such as architecture, environmental design, landscape architecture or urban design; and
  6. One member shall be a student who resides in the city and attends a high school located in the City of Alexandria.

Function; powers; duties

(a) The functions of the Commission shall be as follows:

  1. to advise City Council with regard to policies that will strengthen the arts and further public access to the arts and cultural matters identified by the City Council;
  2. to establish and periodically review criteria and standards for arts grant applications for city funds and accountability for the use of such funds; the allocation from such funds to eligible organizations and activities as may be appropriated by the city council for such purpose; 
  3. to review the public art annual work plan as developed by the office of the arts and a work plan task force and make recommendations to the city council as part of the budget process; 
  4. to review and approve public art project plans for specific public art projects, and to review and approve artist selection and concept development; 
  5. to create committees and task forces, as necessary, to focus on public art project development and artist selection; 
  6. to review proposals for donations of public art and commemorative art and make recommendations to the city council; 
  7. to collaborate with the office of the arts on public art project evaluations; and 
  8. to support public communication and outreach as related to the arts and;
  9. to serve as citizen liaisons to city planning initiatives when public art is involved. 

(b) The commission is empowered to adopt rules and regulations in regard to procedure and other matters so long as the same are not inconsistent with the city code, including, but not limited to, the establishment of committees, through which to carry on its functions and purpose.

(c) A commission chair, vice-chair and secretary shall be elected annually by the commission members at the organization meeting designated in the commission's bylaws. (Ord. No. 3782, 2/25/95, Sec. 1; Ord. No. 4482, 5/12/07, Sec. 1; Ord. No. 4920, 1/24/15, Sec. 1) 

The Commission meets on the third Tuesday of the each month at 7 p.m., at the Lee Center (1108 Jefferson Street, Alexandria, VA 22314) unless otherwise posted on the City Calendar. All meetings are open to the public.  


3-year term


For a list of vacancies and information on how to apply, please click here 

 List of Members:

  • Catherine Ahern, Vice Chair, Public at Large/Arts Consumers
  • Beth Coast, Professional in Field/Arts Disciplines
  • Susan Cohen, Expertise in Visual Arts
  • Gayle Converse, Public at Large/Arts Consumer
  • Michael Detomo, Professional in Cityscape/Architecture
  • Shirley Downs, Public at Large/Arts Consumer
  • Kate Elkins, Professional in Field/Arts Disciplines
  • Susan Amber Gordon, Professional in Arts/Cultural Development 
  • Tamsin Green, Public at Large/Arts Consumer
  • Allison Heck, Professional in Cityscape/Architecture
  • Chris (William) Kurowski, Professional in Arts/Cultural Development
  • Sara Lavan, Professional in Field/Arts Disciplines
  • Allison Nance, Vice Chair, Expertise in Visual Arts
  • Shaan Shuster, Student Member
  • Matthew Stensrud, Chair, Professional in Field/Arts Disciplines 
  • Karen Thomas, Secretary, Expertise in the Visual Arts


Fiscal Year 2018 Meeting Information

September 19, 2017: Regular Monthly Meeting - Lee Center, Activity Room, 1108 Jefferson St., Alexandria, VA 


Approved Meeting Minutes for 09-19-17 with Attachments

September 14, 2017: Public Hearing - Arts Grant Program - Lee Center, Activity Room, 1108 Jefferson St., Alexandria, VA


• No Minutes taken.

  August 24, 2017: Arts Commission Retreat - Lee Center, Activity Room, 1108 Jefferson St., Alexandria, VA

 No Regular Monthly Meeting was held.

July 25, 2017: Special Meeting - Lee Center, Activity Room, 1108 Jefferson St., Alexandria, VA


• Approved Meeting Minutes for 07-25-17 with Attachments


City Staff Contact:

Matthew Harwood, Public Art Manager
Office of the Arts
Recreation, Parks & Cultural Activities Department


 Arts Commission Logo