Workhouse Arts Center

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An Innovative Collaboration of the Arts in a Unique, Historical Setting


The Workhouse Arts Center, a project of the Workhouse Arts Foundation, helps to grow and support a vibrant arts center that offers engaging opportunities and inspiring experiences for all in visual and performing arts, education classes, historical perspective, community engagement and personal enrichment. The Workhouse is housed at a unique historical property—a 55-acre portion of the DC Correctional Complex’s former campus in Lorton, VA that dates back to 1910. After the complex’s closure in 2001, Fairfax County leadership and an adaptive reuse task force transformed the site into a community arts center where people could learn about, participate in, and be inspired by the region’s and nation’s best visual and performing arts talent, and come together for festivals and community building. Opened in 2008, the Workhouse Arts Center now curates and presents a dozen art exhibitions from local, regional and national artists. It houses nearly 65 resident and associate artists who produce 70-plus annual shows, presents 300 performing arts events and offers over 300 education classes, engaging nearly 100,000 people annually.

The Workhouse Arts Center, recognized on the historic registry, has ideal locations for your special events. Epicure and Culture recently recognized the Workhouse on its national list of “best re-purposed historic buildings.”

McGuireWoods Gallery: This 2,700 square foot space makes an elegant backdrop for receptions, seated dinners or corporate events. The gallery features large windows, beautiful hardwood floors, an audio system and USB compatible TV. For a seated dinner the gallery can accommodate 120 guests, and for a cocktail style event it can accommodate 200 guests.

Rizer Pavilion: The Rizer Pavilion is located on the 61,000 square foot quad which is at the center of the Workhouse campus. The seasonal pavilion tent is 5,000 square feet and can accommodate 300 guests. The tent has side panels that can be removed for an open air event or closed in multiple configurations depending on the need. Within the tent there is lighting, a sound system and a stage.