Amy McWilliams, the Deputy Director of the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization, was appointed last month to the new Community Arts Advisory Committee by County Manager Mark Schwartz. The committee was announced during the County Board Recessed meeting on June 18 with a mandate to advise the County Manager on alternative business models for the Scenic Studio, Costume Lab and Mobile Stage for consideration in the FY2021 budget development process.

This past February, the County’s proposed FY2020 budget included major cuts to local arts spending such as the closure of the Scenic Studio program and Costume Lab at Gunston. The County also considered no longer providing a mobile stage that several Arlington companies relied on for major events, including CPRO’s own Annual Blues Festival that recently celebrated its 24th year.

After public pushback on the cuts, the County decided not to enact them in the FY2020 budget, but instead established the Community Arts Advisory Committee to evaluate the programs and propose new management strategies and funding sources that would keep them from being scrapped in the next round of cuts.

The committee consists of 17 members, each chosen to provide a diverse set of perspectives, experience, and familiarity as a current or past user of these services. CPRO’s Deputy Director joins Pryalal Karmakar of Prio Bangla and Kat Williams of the Animal Welfare League of Arlington on a subcommittee to specifically discuss new processes for use of the County’s mobile stage.

“CPRO is not the only organization in the County that relies on these resources,” says Amy McWilliams. “There are dozens of groups that would be devastated by the loss of the the Scenic Studio, Costume Lab, and Mobile Stage. But I know that together, we can find a way to ensure these vital resources remain available to everyone who needs them.”