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Democratic candidates make their case for support of the arts

Embracing Arlington Arts hosts forum in advance of primary vote

It may not come as a complete surprise, but the five candidates vying for the Democratic nomination for County Board recently came out in favor of the arts.

At a forum sponsored by an arts-advocacy organization, no less.

The advocacy group Embracing Arlington Arts recently hosted the five contenders in the June 18 primary. The event provided the opportunity for the public to note the nuances among them, said Janet Kopenhaver, the organization’s president.

“We were so pleased to not only have every candidate participate in this important discussion, but we also had some very insightful questions from the audience,” she said.

Much of the evening was spent discussing the lack of performance and rehearsal space in Arlington, and how each candidate would help solve the problem, Kopenhaver said, and “there was general support for a new facility and an acknowledgement of the importance of the arts.”

“Key candidate takeaways” from the forum, as provided by Embracing Arlington Arts:

• James Devita: If you invest in it, they will come.

• Julie Farnam: Art makes a community a community. I am not a one-note song, but rather a symphony.

• Tenley Peterson: We need to invest in art for art’s sake. Art is a community benefit.

• Natalie Roy: Lift up and get art out of the shadow of Arlington Economic Development.

• J.D. Spain Sr.: Art should be part of a package of wrap-around services. Art is essential to everything we do.

The Democrat selected in the June 18 primary moves on to the Nov. 5 election, which also will feature independent Audrey Clement and potentially other contenders. The winner will fill the seat of Libby Garvey, who has served on the County Board for 12 years and is not seeking re-election.

For more on Embracing Arlington Arts, see the Website at