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.

Page updated on Dec 11, 2018 at 1:47 PM

City of Alexandria Fiscal Year 2020 Arts Grant

On Wednesday, November 14, 2018 the Alexandria Commission for the Arts will hold a public hearing regarding changes to the Fiscal Year 2020 Arts Grant. The meeting will begin at 7:00pm at the Lee Center (1108 Jefferson Street, Alexandria, VA 22314).

Since 1985 the City of Alexandria has been offering an Arts Grant and has awarded over $4.5 million to local arts organizations and artists. As noted in the Arts and Culture Master Plan “Since 1985, the AGP has awarded grants to 61 different organizations and 30 individual artists. Of the 61 organizations, 28% (17) have received funding for 15 or more years; 15% (9) between 10 and 15 years; 22% (14) between 3 and 9 years; and 35% (21) received program funding only once or, in a few instances, twice.”

In accordance with other grants offered by the City of Alexandria, beginning in Fiscal Year 2020 the Arts Grant program will offer a "Program Grant" and an "Emerging Organization Grant" and will no longer offer an "Operating Grant".

This shift will enable the Office of the Arts to better track and measure outcomes of grant organizations and emphasizing the community impact of the grant organizations.

Program Grant

  • Up to $12,000 not to exceed 50% of the program cost
  • 50% of the grant funding can be used for administrative and overhead expenses related to the program (venue rentals, administrative staff, etc.)
  • Funding cannot be used to purchase capital equipment
  • Applicants will be awarded at least 80% of request

Emerging Organization Grant

  • For organizations 5 years or younger
  • Must be a formed organizations (non-profit, LLC, etc.)
  • 2-year Grant, $15,000 (per year)
  • Up to 2 grants to be awarded per fiscal year 

Grant eligibility, funding cycles, and review process would not be changed. Currently, grant applications are scheduled to go live in February (due at the end of March), reviewed by the panel in April, funding recommendations presented to the Arts Commission in May, grants awarded in July. 

City of Alexandria 2018 Voting Sticker Design Poll

As soon as participants cast their ballots in the November 6 General Election, they will receive an “I Voted” sticker with a talented twist -- a brand new design created by local artist Christina Mazurkevich. Additionally, for the first time in Alexandria, those too young to vote will receive official "Future Voter" stickers also designed by Mazurkevich. The election will include contests for U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, Alexandria Mayor, Alexandria City Council and Alexandria School Board, as well as two proposed amendments to the Virginia constitution.

The public art project was initiated by the Commission for the Arts in conjunction with the Alexandria Electoral Board and Office of Voter Registration and Elections back in winter 2018. Through an open call, local artist Christina Mazurkevich was selected to design the City's official 2018 "I Voted" and "Future Voter" stickers. In September, three designs were presented to the public and over 1,300 votes were received from people across Alexandria!

For questions, please contact Matthew Stensrud, Chair, Alexandria Commission for the Arts by email to

Creation, composition and organization

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

(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.  

Term of Service:

3-year term

 List of Members:

  • Catherine Ahern, Public at Large/Arts Consumers
  • Marta Ali, Cityscape/Visual Arts
  • Beth Coast, Professional in Field/Arts Disciplines
  • Susan Cohen, Expertise in Visual Arts
  • Gayle Converse, Vice Chair, Public at Large/Arts Consumer
  • Shirley Downs, Public at Large/Arts Consumer
  • Vacant, Professional in Field/Arts Disciplines
  • Susan Amber Gordon, Professional in Arts/Cultural Development 
  • Tamsin Green, Secretary, Public at Large/Arts Consumer
  • Allison Heck, Professional in Cityscape/Architecture
  • Brian Kelley, Expertise in Visual Arts
  • Chris (William) Kurowski, Vice Chair, Professional in Arts/Cultural Development
  • Vacant, Professional in Field/Arts Disciplines
  • Allison Nance, Expertise in Visual Arts
  • Shaan Shuster, Student Member
  • Matthew Stensrud, Chair, Professional in Field/Arts Disciplines 

Vacancies: Vacancies and application information 

Fiscal Year 2019 Meeting Information

  • July, 2018: No Meeting

Fiscal Year 2018 Meeting Information

City Staff Contact:

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

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