Arlington Arts Center, the visual arts anchor in Arlington for nearly five decades, has changed its name to the Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington. The new name was approved by its Board of Directors as a strategic step to increase its visibility and to reflect its position as a premiere hub for contemporary art and artists and as the only art museum in Arlington County.
"For nearly fifty years, Arlington Arts Center has built a reputation for launching the careers of emerging artists and presenting some of the finest contemporary art exhibitions in the Mid-Atlantic region," said Carrie Schum, Board Chair of the museum. "Changing our name to the Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington reinforces the quality of the exhibitions and other arts programming, while still reflecting the deep local ties and commitment to serving our many communities in Arlington and beyond."
Founded in 1974 by a group of contemporary artists, the museum has a long history of launching and supporting artist careers, presenting contemporary art exhibitions, and offering art-making classes for all ages. The museum has been located in its current building since 1976, an historic elementary school across from the Virginia Square metro, that houses nine exhibition galleries, ten artist studios, two classrooms, and outdoor space for public art. The museum's commitment to connect the community to living artists remains central to its mission and programming today.
"It is our goal that, when you visit the Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington, you will experience some of the most cutting-edge art by local, regional, national, and international artists, explore the power of your own creativity, engage with living artists, and further embrace Arlington's place within a global contemporary art sector," said Catherine Anchin, Executive Director of the museum.
In conjunction with the name change, the museum is presenting its first national biennial exhibition Assembly 2022: Time and Attention, which highlights the material and conceptual trends among contemporary artists working today. The exhibition features twelve artists from nine states – Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, and Virginia – who were nominated by curators at peer organizations around the United States and selected by Blair Murphy, the museum's Curator of Exhibitions.
In its Wyatt Resident Artists Gallery, the museum is also presenting Let Them Kids Be Kids, an exhibition by resident artist Lex Marie. Within this exhibition, the playground serves as a framework with which to examine the joys of Black childhood and the ways in which issues of race and equity are inscribed on the site.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington reopens to the public on October 1 where it will celebrate its new name during a special Community Day from 12-8pm. Visitors will have the opportunity to view the fall exhibitions, participate in curator-led tours and special art-making activities, and visit the artists-in-residence studios in the evening.
Art classes for kids and adults are currently open for registration and range in a variety of media. Other upcoming programs include The Practice: Yoga for Creative Minds on Friday mornings, special programs that educate the public on art collecting, and artist talks related to current exhibitions.
The fall exhibitions will be on view from October 1 through December 18. The Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington offers free admission and is currently open Wednesday through Sunday, 12-5pm. Visit mocaarlington.org for a full schedule of activities.
Members of the press are invited to attend an open house at the Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington on Tuesday, September 27 from 1-4pm to view the exhibitions in advance of the public opening on Saturday, October 1.