BreakfastTable with Ava Spece and Jaynelle C. Hazard of Workhouse Arts Center
Quote: “The desire to create isn’t a luxury, it is a fundamental part of who we are. The arts can push communities, people, and society forward.” - Ava Spece
History of Workhouse Arts Center
Originally a prison - the campus was built by prisoners, and there were many famous figures who spent time at Workhouse. The arts were always embedded in the history, such as a jazz festival which was held for free for inmates.
The Arts Center became open to the public in 2008, with around 100,000 visitors every year. There are about 100 artists on the campus, either in residence or exhibiting. There are 65 artists in the studios on the campus, which also offers 800 classes per year.
There are still numerous buildings on the campus to be renovated, such as the theater.
The central mission is to create an arts district, which engages arts legislation such as the Fairfax county land grant.
Numerous exhibitions are held in the three main buildings and two additional galleries. This includes the “Warrior’s Way,” where veteran artists are invited to display their art.
For the 10th anniversary of Workhouse in 2018, a large sculpture will hopefully be installed as public arts.
In order to further develop the space, Workhouse hopes to continue to work with former prisoners, who are very protective of their identities and stories