Creative Economy

What is the Creative Economy? Over the last decade, cities and countries worldwide have studied how creative industries like design, advertising, media, film, theater, architecture and more are influencing technology, place making, workforce and economies.

In Arlington, the creative economy has significant impact in both for-profit and non-profit realms. In its most recent Arts and Economic Prosperity report, Americans for the Arts calculated Arlington’s direct economic impact of the non-profit arts alone at more than $97 million.

Art Inspires People to Just Vote

As one of the nation's most established grassroots advocates for active citizen participation in government, the League of Women Voters leads efforts to educate and engage people around voting. 100 years after the group's founding, a pandemic and turbulent election season made the Arlington chapter decide that this was the year to try something new to bring people's attention to their mission. This year they looked to art.

The League and its partners, Arlington County and sponsor JBG SMITH, selected Gensler to design a creative campaign called "Just.Vote." that will run through early voting season and up to Election Day on November 3 as a public service announcement.

The six designs in the Just.Vote. series are intended to inspire and empower people to register to vote and choose the voting method that works best for them. In line with the LWV non-partisan stance, the campaign doesn't support candidates, but directs people to the clear and simple resources at to learn about contests on the ballot, check their voting status, and learn how to get an absentee ballot, vote early or find the right polling place.

Gensler's artwork is available through the LWV's Instagram page @lwvarlington and this link to download and share through self-print posters and, of course, social media. Large-scale installations of the posters are displayed at JBG SMITH residential and commercial properties in National Landing, Rosslyn and throughout Arlington.

Creative Economy Programs in Arlington

Made in Arlington vendor Mira Jean
Photo by Shelly Han

Programs that foster a creative sector have come out of a great array of partnerships with businesses, higher education and professional organizations.The ADClub of DC, YES&, Fors Marsh, Virginia Tech Research Center, Arlington Community Federal Credit Union, Columbia Pike Artists Studios, APAH and CPRO are some of the leaders putting creativity on par with innovation.

Arlington's two flagship Creative Economy programs are the Return on Creativity: An Arlington Asset speakers series and Made in Arlington pop-up retail market events.

Recent Project: NOT FORGOTTEN: The Yorktown Seniors

Photos by Matt Mendelsohn

In an extraordinary tribute to high school seniors, Arlington photographer Matt Mendelsohn created a portrait essay of the graduating class of Yorktown High School.

On Saturday, June 13, from 6:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m., this collection of images was projected on the large lobby screen at JBG SMITH Central Place Tower at 1201 Wilson Boulevard in Arlington and visible from a distance.

"The COVID-19 crisis completely upended the region, interrupting our daily lives and the landmark occasions that so many of our neighbors were looking forward to celebrating as spring and summer approached," said Andy Vanhorn, JBG SMITH Executive Vice President. "As a longtime investor and partner in Arlington County, JBG SMITH was excited for the opportunity to recognize the accomplishments of the Yorktown senior class."

COVID-19 Resources for the Creative Sector

While government and public health officials continue to publish up to date information to keep everyone safe, the Virginia Commission for the Arts has created a roster of resources for creative organizations and individuals.

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