Each Tuesday afternoon, Janet Kopenhaver airs a new “Embracing Arlington Arts Talks” podcast. Each show features an Arts organization representative, visual artist, arts expert, dancer, musician, actor and everyone in between to talk about their profession, productions, events, economic and health benefits of the arts, and many other topics. We also have, and will continue to feature several dignitaries on the show, including northern Virginia’s “First Lady” Megan Beyer, former NEA Chair Jane Chu, and Arlington County Board Members Katie Cristol, Christian Dorsey, and Matt de Ferranti.
To follow the Podcast so that you don’t miss any episodes, follow the link to your preferred platform: Apple Podcast, Spotify, GooglePodcast, and now Amazon Music AND check out our education series – see details below.
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Jean Sausele-Knodt, Visual Artist
November 30, 2021
Visual artist Jean Sausele-Knodt appeared on the podcast to talk about her unique sculptural artwork using oil paint, wood, embroidery, metal and even concrete. Find out more about these three dimensional wall pieces that are being shown at the Fred Schnider Gallery of Art, as well as some fun events including an artist talk and Artists Holiday Tour. Also hear how the theme of “fragmentation” relates to all her work and how the pandemic impacted her work.
Tina Leone, Ballston BID
November 16, 2021
The Executive Director of the Ballston BID Tina Leone returned to the “Embracing Arlington Arts Talks” podcast to update us on the Ballston business and non-profit community in a post-pandemic world. Also she gave us all the details about their upcoming Ballston Holiday Wreath Market which will be raising funds for several non-profit organizations, and offering entertainment, art projections, a pop-up outdoor bar and an appearance by Santa. Plus get a sneak peek into some fun happenings in 2022 being sponsored by the BID.
Bob Wood and Anne Carolyn Bird, Urban Arias
November 9, 2021
Urban Arias’ Artistic Director Bob Wood and Executive Director Anne-Carolyn Bird appeared on the “Embracing Arlington Arts Talks” podcast to talk about the organization’s exciting new commissioned opera entitled “Unknown.” The productions encompassed five poems set to operative music and depicts personal reflections about the emotions that people int he military experience. Learn how the idea came up for the work, who will be performing, the premiere film event details and more. Also hear about their spring show – a comedy to reopen their live performances again.
Danielle Guy, Director, Dominion Stage
November 2, 2021
Director Danielle Guy gives us all the details about Dominion Stage’s upcoming production of “Five Women Wearing the Same Dress.” Find out about this interesting show, the actors performing in it, safety protocols for actors and patrons, and whether she agrees that this is a “feminist” show. Also find out what is on her director bucket list and her process for directing shows, including the importance of having the actors involved.
Matthew Gardiner, Signature Theatre
October 26, 2021
The newly named Artistic Director of Signature Theatre Matthew Gardiner appeared on the “Embracing Arlington Arts Talks” podcast and gave us all the details about the upcoming production of “Rent,” as well as his goals for the theater. Also get details about the rest of the season, as well as his anti-racism initiatives he is implementing in the theater and goals he has as Artistic Director.
Matthew Powell, BalletNova Center for Dance
October 19, 2021
The Artistic Director of BalletNova Center for Dance Matthew Powell returned to the show to give us all the details about their upcoming in-person production of “The Nutcracker,” including brand new choreography, new costumes and new sets that will surprise the audience from the moment the curtain opens. Also find out how he felt when seeing his students in person again, how they are keeping their dancers safe during classes and performances, safety protocols for patrons and where some BalletNova alum are now professionally dancing. Always fun catching up with Matthew.
Scott Brown, Synetic Theater
October 5, 2021
The associate director of Synetic Theater’s upcoming production of “The Madness of Poe” Scott Brown joined us on “Embracing Arlington Arts Talks” to give us all the details about the show, some teasers about some unique props on set, how it felt being back on stage in person with cast and crew and what they have planned for a special celebration on Halloween. Also find out how he got into the theater business and his experiences going on tour with Synetic to the countries of Georgia and Mexico.
Actor and Director Holly Twyford
September 28, 2021
The Helen Hayes award-winning actor and director Holly Twyford appeared on “Embracing Arlington Arts Talks” to give us all the details about her return to the director’s chair with Theater J’s “Becoming Dr. Ruth.” Also hear her laudatory words for her designers, what it felt like for her to be back on stage with cast and crew in person, and her unique experience teaching 90+ year olds theater and what they taught her. And what was Holly’s first theater job at Arena Stage? Such an entertaining and interesting chat we had!
Alden Michels and Paige Rammelkamp, The Arlington Players
September 21, 2021
Director Alden Michels and Music Director Paige Rammelkamp appeared on the “Embracing Arlington Arts Talks” podcast to give us all the details about The Arlington Players’ upcoming event “Together At Last: A Musical Revue” in an outdoor venue. Learn how the numbers were chosen, how Paige adapted the songs, the three sections of the song lineup based on how people got through the pandemic, and a teaser of some of the songs that will be performed. Also learn how music and singing helped both of them during the COVID shutdown.
Daniel Manzoni, Festival Argentino
September 14, 2021
Daniel Manzoni, Executive Director of the Festival Argentino, updated us with all the details about this upcoming event. Forced to cancel last year’s festival, this will be a live, in-person production. Find out which dancers and singers will be performing, including folk singers, tango dancers, rock and roll musicians and pop music singers. Also learn about the safety protocols that will be required for patrons, as well as some interesting insight into traveling to and from Argentina.
Rick Davis, Dean, College of Visual and Performing Arts, George Mason University
September 7, 2021
The Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at George Mason University (GMU) Rick Davis joined us for a very interesting chat about educational programs and careers in the arts. Find out about the many diverse arts programs available to students at GMU, why their School of Arts is an amazing success story, why the arts are so important, and his insight and advice about the benefits of an arts education. Also get all the details on the upcoming productions at the Hylton Performing Arts Center and the opening of a GMU gallery in the Latitudes building in Virginia Square.
Shanara Gabrielle and Jorge Acevedo, Working in DC
August 31, 2021
“Working in DC’s” Artistic Producer Shanara Gabrielle and Casting Director Jorge Acevedo joined us for a discussion about their organization which celebrates the working class and labor. They also give us all the details about their upcoming Labor Day (3-weekend) event featuring performers that are a true reflection of the community. The discussion includes their views on why theater is so important (i.e., theater teaches us but does not preach), their unique honor of being the first organization in the DMV to be Allied with Broadway for Justice, and their thoughts on whether we finally will see some pronounced change on the equity front in the theater industry.
Dr. Jatin Ambegaonkar, College of Education and Human Development at George Mason University
August 24, 2021
Dr. Jatin Ambegaonkar, Associate Professor at the College of Education and Human Development at George Mason University gives us the updates in the research field on the many benefits of dance and movement therapy for seniors. Overall, dance allows for healthy aging or seniors remaining active members of their community physically, mentally and spiritually. Also learn about recent studies done in the movement therapy field, work that still needs to be done and his overall advice and views with respect to dance and seniors. Very enlightening interview!
Jennifer Mulchandani and Heather Myklegard, Arlington Strategy
August 17, 2021
Jennifer Mulchandani, CEO and Founder, and Heather Myklegard, Director of Marketing & Communications from the marketing company Arlington Strategy discuss the many critical services they provide non-profit organizations including marketing, branding, social media and communications strategies. Also get insight and advice about marketing and communications for arts organizations as they start to reopen and relaunch after the shutdown. Most importantly, find out why you must “say what you are going to do and do what you say.”
Dr. Niyati Dhokai, Veterans and the Arts Initiative Program, George Mason University
August 10, 2021
Dr. Niyati Dhokai, the Director of the Veterans and the Arts Initiative Program at George Mason University talks in this podcast about how effective music therapy is for Veterans returning from active duty, battling PTSD and other injuries, and how their families and children benefit from these sessions. Among some of the benefits achieved are more feelings of relaxation, improved sense of well-being, more effective social interaction skills and the development of a sense of comfort outside the rehab center. Also find out what additional research she is working on and what areas she sees necessitate additional study.
Christina Papnicolaou, Arlington Artists Alliance
August 3, 2021
The new Executive Director of the Arlington Artists Alliance Christina Papanicolaou briefed us on her plans for the organization including a revamp of the organization’s website, creating a centralized online site, opening an educational center/artist studio spaces, build up their social media presence and reopening the Academy. Also learn about how her New York City gallery helped emerging artists with their first shows, the unique “gold leaf” art technique, and two exciting upcoming events at the Alliance.
Eleanore Tapscott and Simone Jackson-Charles, Dominion Stage
July 27, 2021
Director Eleanore Tapscott and Actor Simone Jackson-Charles appeared on the “Embracing Arlington Arts Talks” podcast to give us all the details about Dominion Stage’s production of “The Bluest Eye” based on the novel by Toni Morrison. Find out how they both got into the theater business, what it felt like to rehearse in person with the other cast members and how they dealt with the hard issues in the play of racism, violence, sexual abuse and mental illness. Also learn where Toni Morrison got the idea for her book.
Agata Peszko, Visual Artist
July 20, 2021
Visual artist Agata Peszko joined us to talk about her unique artwork with felt (which is working with wool, soap and water). Find out how she learned about this unique art medium, her creative process of working with the felt, her career journey from Poland through Paris through London and ultimately landing in Arlington. Also hear how the pandemic has impacted her, where her work has been exhibited and where she loves to see her work shown. And find out her very original thoughts on why art is like teenagers.
Liz O’Hara Stahr and Matt Richardson, 9th Street Chamber Music
July 13, 2021
Musicians and duo founding members of the 9th Street Chamber Music organization Liz O’Hara Stahr and Matt Richardson talked about their new entity (which evolved from the 9th Street Chamber Quartet) and its focus on three primary areas: Education, Concerts and Community Collaboration to help achieve their vision of becoming ore involved in their community through chamber music. Also get all the details about the July 16th launch party and the origins behind those “clapping non-no’s” between movements during concerts.
Scott Taylor, Black Heritage Museum of Arlington
July 6, 2021
The President of the Black Heritage Museum of Arlington Scott Taylor joined us on the “Embracing Arlington Arts Talks” podcast to talk about the museum, how it came into existence, its mission, exhibits, and plans for the future. Also hear about Scott’s experiences growing up in Halls Hill, the wall that surrounded the community, and background on Freedmen’s Village which was created for freed slaves and also welcomed Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass as special guests. Such an interesting chat we had!
Catie Anchin, Arlington Arts Center
June 29, 2021
The new Executive Director of the Arlington Arts Center (AAC) Catie Anchin discussed her goals for the Center and how to prepare it for the next 50 years. She also gave us all the details on three current exhibitions: “We Can’t Predict Tomorrow” featuring the works of 9 artists with the theme of the pandemic, resiliency and ironically optimism; “Portrait of a County by a Young-ish Man” that honors County employees who take care of the AAC grounds and facility; and “Parking Lot is Beautiful at Dawn” which is sculptures and other art pieces made from paper pulp left in parking lot cracks. Also learn what she has noticed about artwork made during the pandemic.
Dr. Thalia Goldstein, Applied Developmental Psychology Department, George Mason University
June 22, 2021
Dr. Thalia Goldstein from George Mason University’s Applied Developmental Psychology Department, talked about the many studies providing strong evidence on the benefits of being involved in theater and children developing social and emotional understanding and empathy. Also learn how visual arts, music and dance helps children of all ages. Less detention issues, higher school attendance, better grades and test scores, more regulated emotions, being able to express themselves in a healthy way, and better social skills are only some the benefits of theatrical activity for children
Kim Klingler, Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization
June 15, 2021
The Executive Director of the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization (CPRO) Kim Klingler appeared on the “Embracing Arlington Arts Talks” podcast to give us all the details about their upcoming Hybrid Columbia Pike Blues Festival with both in-person and live-streamed concerts by local bands. Also find out what movies will be shown this summer as part of the Drive-In Movie Nights, other events being planned for the fall and how they plan to celebrate the 35th Anniversary for CPRO.
Regina Aquino, Actor/Director/Playwright
June 8, 2021
Arlington actor Regina Aquino returned as a guest on “Embracing Arlington Arts Talks” to discuss her new one-person show “We’re Gonna Die” opening at Roundhouse Theatre. Find out how it felt going on stage with a limited audience for the first time, how she prepared for the role, and why she thinks the show is uplifting. Also learn about her exciting new venture as a director coming in August, as well as the first play she has written along with her other gigs at Adventure Theatre, Rep Stage and the Kennedy Center’s American College Theater Festival. Phenomenal work during a pandemic!
Liza Figueroa Kravinsky, Go-Go Symphony
June 1, 2021
Composer, filmmaker and musician Liza Figueroa Kravinsky gives us an in-depth look into the official music of DC – GoGo. Having composed the original “GoGo Symphony” – a blend of go-go music with classical compositions, Liza founded the GoGo Symphony Ensemble to perform the number and other original songs. Hear her unique and interesting story from working with Prince and well known GoGo bands like Trouble Funk and Robin Power’s Uptown Dames in this podcast. Also get insight into how GoGo evolved and its links to pop and funk music.
Architect Paola Amodeo, Paola One Design
May 25, 2021
Architect and owner of the Paola One Design company Paola Amodeo gave us details on the creative process of all types of architectural design in our podcast interview. Find out how she entered the profession via Japanese tea ceremonies, how she begins each design project, assistance she provides clients who do and do not have artwork, and insight into the quality of houses constructed in the 1940s. Also find out her family’s unique living arrangements when her house renovation project was underway.
Amy Wratchford, The Wratchford Group
May 18, 2021
Amy Wratchford, President and Founder of the Strategic Planning (and more) consulting firm The Wratchford Group discussed all the many diversified services her company provides non-profit arts and theater organizations. From fundraising to organizational analysis to storytelling to EDI to financial management, her consultants cover it all. Also get specific insight into a grant program – Employee Retention Tax Credit – which still has money on the table available to non-profits to cover salaries. There is much valuable information in this interview!
Megan Beyer, Arts Advocate
May 11, 2021
Arlington County’s “First Lady” and fierce arts advocate Megan Beyer was a distinguished guest on “Embracing Arlington Arts Talks.” We talked about the need for a White House Office on Arts and Culture, what is Virginia Humanities focusing on, her previous work as the Director of the President’s Committee on Arts and Culture in the Obama Administration, her advice to arts organizations struggling during this pandemic, and much more. So glad Megan is in our corner fighting for the arts!
Mikael Manoukian, “Rug Shop Concerts”
May 4, 2021
Mikael Manoukian, Co-Owner of Manoukian Brothers Oriental Rugs talked about the unique concerts the shop (called the “Rug Shop Concerts”) has been hosting since the pandemic hit. Get the details on the bands set to perform in May, as well as planned concerts in June as part of the Blues Festival. Also hear why he started hosting these events, what types of other artists will be performing in the future, and whether these events will continue once the country reopens. Such a wonderful contribution back to the community!
Kate Fleming, Visual Artist
April 27, 2021
Visual Artist Kate Fleming is interviewed in this show about her ambitious and laudable “50 States Project” which captures the United States at a specific – and tumultuous – time. Find out where they have been, how the project changed after the COVID pandemic hit, how they decide where in each state to visit and some of the art pieces already created as part of the series. Also learn about how she became a professional artist and how to keep abreast of their travels and artwork as they visit the remaining 33 states.
Dina Soltan, Avant Bard Theatre Company
April 20, 2021
Actor Dina Soltan joined us for such an interesting conversation about how she got into the theater industry via the United Kingdom and Egypt, and finally landing in the DC region. Also find out what exactly a “Donor Relations” job in the theater entails, her responsibilities as part of the Artistic Collaborative managing Avant Bard Theatre Company, why this shared business model is so effective and her favorite types of roles. Also get the details on her upcoming virtual performance at Mosaic Theater Company.
Alyssa Sanders and Megan Behm, Avant Bard Theatre Company
April 13, 2021
Actor Alyssa Sanders and Director Megan Behm joined us to talk about their new Artistic Collaborative with three other theater professionals to manage Avant Bard Theatre Company. Hear about their respective roles in the shared leadership theater business model, and why they believe this new model is a big improvement over traditional management styles, is becoming more popular in the DC region and why it will lead to less hierarchy in theater management. Also learn about some of their upcoming online programs.
Maria Manuela Goyanes, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Co.
April 6, 2021
The Artistic Director of Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company Maria Manuela Goyanes was a guest on “Embracing Arlington Arts Talks” for a wide-ranging and insightful chat. Get details on the group’s jam-packed digital production line up, the “Play At Home” series that put money into playwrights’ pockets, and the Miranda Family Fellowship program to help young theater professionals from historically excluded communities. Also hear her honest assessment of progress on the diversity front in theaters in a post-COVID world.
Sara Barker and Demone Seraphin, Avant Bard Theatre Company
March 30, 2021
Actor Sara Barker and Actor/Director Demone Seraphin give us all the details about the new Artistic Collaborative now managing Avant Bard Theatre Company. Find out about this new business model of shared responsibilities, how the collaborative came about, sneak peek into some upcoming online events and their civic space to discuss important issues in theater like EDI and safe spaces called the “Bard’s Action Corner.” Also find out what Demone labels as the “gift” of the shutdown.
Leo Sushansky, National Chamber Ensemble
March 23, 2021
The Artistic Director of the National Chamber Ensemble Leo Sushansky returned to the “Embracing Arlington Arts Talks” podcast to update us on how the group “pivoted” in response to the pandemic and shutdown by recording their concerts. Get all the details about two upcoming shows rounding out this current season, sneak peek into next season’s productions, and how to get access to the three concerts already aired (Tribute to Beethoven, Holiday concert and Russian Valentine show). Also get his take on performing without a live audience and how that impacted the concerts.
Jason Najjoum and J.P. McLaurin, Synetic Theater
March 16, 2021
Synetic Theater has introduced a new streaming website with both archived content of previously produced shows, as well as new original filmed work and licensed pieces. Get all the details in our podcast with the organization’s Managing Director Jason Najjoum and Associate Producer J.P. McLaurin. Also find out about their upcoming hybrid season of productions, subscription packages available, and the latest on their first expected live performance back in their theater “Servant of Two Masters.”
Natalie Cutcher, National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts
March 9, 2021
Actor and newly named Director of Education at the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts Natalie Cutcher taught us a lot about the Italian theater acting genre of “Commedia dell’Arte” – the highly physical and improvisational style of acting with roots in the 1500’s. Also hear her entertaining story about her first foray into acting during her elementary school days, what is happening at the Conservatory, and her role in the sci-fi podcast entitled EOS10.
Quill Nebeker, The Arcanists
March 2, 2021
The Executive Director of The Arcanists Quill Nebeker chatted with us about his evolving thinking about theater productions which led to his founding of The Arcanists. He sought to change the typical (and frustrating) DC theater production model to one that stresses actual dialogue with the audience and is labeled “creative, non-fiction.” Hear about previous productions of “The Tarot Reading” and get details on the exciting upcoming events called “SHRINES’ which is an interactive and socially-distanced series of activities throughout town.
Sherry Trachtman, Visual Artist
February 23, 2021
Visual Artist Sherry Trachtman chatted about her unique form of artwork called “collage assemblage” which is wall-hung sculptures using obsolete materials that are headed for the garbage. Find out what objects she has been using, her material driven creative process, details about her exhibit at the Fred Schnider Gallery of Art, and some of the current series of art pieces she is working on. Also learn the first “object” she fell in love with, as well as how the pandemic has impacted her work.
Jenny Wu, Visual Artist
February 16, 2021
Visual Artist Jenny Wu enlightens us in this podcast about her unique style of artwork – sculptured painting. Learn about her process, what final products look like and how she evolved into this style as a professional artist. Also get all the details about her duo exhibit at the Fred Schnider Gallery of Art, what obsolete object is featured in her pieces and why young children will especially appreciate her work. And what amusing point did a couple of patrons tell her about her brightly colored paintings?
Pianist and Music Conductor Leigh Delano and Actor Wyn Delano
February 9, 2021
Pianist and Music Conductor Leigh Delano and Actor Wyn Delano joined “Embracing Arlington Arts Talks” for a chat and told us such a wonderful and heartwarming serendipitous story about how they ended up together as a DC Theater couple. Truly a story worthy of being a play or movie. Also find out how each of them have been staying busy and working during the shutdown, the silver lining of the pandemic for theater professionals, how it felt to perform in person at a Cabaret this past summer and some very insightful words of wisdom for all their fellow actors and theater personnel. Loved chatting with them both.
Music, Performing Arts
Valeria Stewart and Kathleen Huber, Luna Duo
February 2, 2021
The duo members of the band Luna Valeria Stewart and Kathleen Huber were guests on “Embracing Arlington Arts Talks” to discuss the origins of their band, how they ended up focusing on performing folk (with a touch of jazz) music, details on their recently released EP “The Alchemist’s Journey” and future songs coming soon. Also hear about the visual arts and singing/songwriting contest they organized for local high school students in order to build a better community through the arts.
Playwright AJ Campbell and Cameron Lee Conlan, The Quarantine Players
January 26, 2021
Playwright AJ Campbell and Actor Cameron Lee Conlan joined us to talk about the new collective formed after the COVID shutdown called the “Quarantine Players.” Find out how to get involved (both playwrights and actors), the mission of the group, past play reading themes and future ones coming soon (including “Settlements” about former Theater J Artistic Director Ari Roth and how they uniquely work with playwrights on their plays. Also find out how Cameron had to acclimate to performing online. This group is doing wonderful work for playwrights during the pandemic.
Jose Sacin, Opera Nova
January 19, 2021
The Artistic Director of Opera Nova Jose Sacin appeared on “Embracing Arlington Arts Talks” for a discussion about the group’s emphasis on introducing children to opera. From “Monkey See, Monkey Do” to “The Barber of Seville” Jose attempts to show children that they already know opera songs and makes opera more accessible to them. Also the group is releasing a concert a month for the next five months: Holiday Songs (December); Songs for Seniors (January); Highlighting African American Singers (February); Children’s program (March); and Three Peruvian Baritones (April). Kudos to Opera Nova for making opera available to both children and seniors during this shutdown.
Anne-Carolyn Bird, UrbanArias
January 12, 2021
The new Executive Director of the opera company UrbanArias updated our listeners on the company’s upcoming release of the one-woman contemporary opera “Driving While Black” starring Karen Slack that promises to bring the subject of racism to the forefront of opera discussions. Also learn about her background both on and off the opera stage, her advice to listeners who are intimidated by opera productions, what she is most looking forward to in her new role at UrbanArias and much more. And find out why she believes opera is the most complete art form.
Performing Arts, Music
Actor Judy Lewis and Stage Manager Shayne Gardner, Dominion Stage
January 5, 2021
Actor Judy Lewis and Stage Manager Shayne Gardner give us all the details about the virtual edition of the WATCH award-winning production of “Last Summer at Bluefish Cove.” Find out the when and where, as well as how these two had to adapt from their live performance experience to a “ZOOM” one. Also get insight into how an online production is “stage managed” and how the ensemble will be adapting their “set.” And with whom did Judy recently record another play recently?? Interesting take on “pivoting” from live performances to online ones.