Cultural and Recreational Opportunities

Community Outcome Area: Cultural and Recreational Opportunities

Fairfax County is a place where all residents, businesses and visitors are aware of and able to participate in quality arts, sports, recreation and culturally enriching activities.

 

 

The availability of arts, sports, culture and recreation are foundational to the overall quality of life and well-being of Fairfax County residents and visitors and contribute significantly to our community’s social connectivity and health. These programs also play a critical role in supporting the regional economy, through the sale of goods and services, employment and events revenue.

Despite reduced demand for large, in-person events during the pandemic due to social distancing requirements, cultural and recreational opportunities have experienced a dramatic resurgence, as residents and visitors are eager to return to a sense of normalcy and rediscover community connections that were lacking during 2020 and early 2021. Throughout the pandemic, parks and other outdoor spaces served as invaluable community resources, for safe gathering, exercise and promoting overall health and well-being.

However, the financial impacts of the pandemic persist, and county programs and community organizations are coming together in new ways, creating partnerships among economic development entities, community groups, schools and private businesses. It will be necessary to ensure that these efforts represent the diversity of the community, which include many different languages and cultures.

The proposed strategies in this section seek to sustain forward momentum, with a focus on the need for well-maintained spaces and programs and services that constantly adapt to the needs of participants. The recommended approaches focus on quality programming, equitable access and broad inclusion and awareness of all options that are available throughout Fairfax County.

Challenge Questions

  1. How can we effectively and reliably connect the community to cultural and recreational opportunities?
  2. How do we ensure equitable access to, and utilization of, the arts, parks, trails, open spaces and recreational opportunities, regardless of race, ethnicity, ability, gender, age, education, geographic location and income level?
  3. How do we inclusively honor and preserve Fairfax County’s unique and diverse culture, history and traditions?
  4. How does the county maintain, grow and support enriching and quality cultural and recreational opportunities?
  5. How might we measure whether people have a “quality” cultural or recreational experience when that is such a subjective assessment?
  6. How can the county best contribute to realizing new and/or renovated arts, cultural and recreational facilities that align with people’s needs?

Indicators

  • Access to Local Arts, Sports and Cultural Opportunities
  • Satisfaction with Local Arts, Sports and Cultural Opportunities
  • Awareness and Appreciation of Diverse Cultures
  • Representation of Diverse Cultures

Proposed Strategies

These proposed strategies were developed based on the extensive background work completed by the Countywide Strategic Planning Teams. The Board will determine which strategies will be pursued, as well as when they might be undertaken. This process will be highly flexible and will adapt to respond to community conditions as they evolve over time.

Improve Availability and Access to Cultural and Recreational Opportunities

  • CRO 1. Collaborate with the business community to determine best practices to cross-promote programs and events at shared spaces.
  • CRO 2. Evaluate and address barriers (including transportation, language, virtual access and technology gaps) to cultural and recreational opportunities.
  • CRO 3. Evaluate the existing business models for agencies and organizations that support cultural and recreational opportunities, with the goal of devising a consolidated funding methodology that ensures more affordable and equitable access.
  • CRO 4. Ensure land development practices integrate the needs of the community to achieve the equitable (and culturally and racially sensitive) development of cultural and recreation facilities, areas and venues

Heighten Awareness, Appreciation and Promotion of Diverse Cultures

  • CRO 5. Ensure cultural and recreational amenities are included in placemaking designs for development and/or revitalization in targeted areas.
  • CRO 6. Regularly inventory and evaluate cultural and recreational programs provided by the county and its partners based on how they address identified service gaps and how well they positively impact equity.
  • CRO 7. Build awareness of volunteer opportunities and recruit a diverse volunteer base to support cultural and recreational opportunities.
  • CRO 8. Provide varied modes and forums (including virtual platforms) to engage and involve diverse community voices to determine the types of offerings, programming and supports the community is seeking. Utilize the feedback to modify programs to ensure greater participation.
  • CRO 9. Provide comprehensive, up-to-date, accessible information to the public about local artists, creative cultural industries, places of cultural and natural heritage, events and spaces and facilities.

Provide Quality Programs

  • CRO 10. Evaluate and strengthen standards for agencies to establish and sustain quality cultural and recreational opportunities.

Sample Metrics

Indicator: Access to Local Arts, Sports and Cultural Opportunities
Metrics:

  • % of residents engaged in cultural and recreational experiences in Fairfax County within the past 12 months
  • # of acres [or square miles] of recreational space available in the county
  • % of residents who visited a park in Fairfax County within the past 12 months
  • % of residents living within a half-mile walk of a park entrance
  • % of residents who are satisfied with their proximity to a park
  • % of residents living within a half-mile walk of a cultural/recreational center
  • % of residents who feel cultural/recreational opportunities in the county are affordable to them
  • % of residents who feel that county-sponsored cultural/recreational opportunities are offered at convenient times
  • % of residents who indicate that it is easy to access information on cultural/recreational opportunities
  • % of community organizations that feel Fairfax County Government is a trusted partner
  • # of non-Fairfax County residents visiting a county-owned facility, park or attraction for a cultural/recreational opportunity

Indicator: Satisfaction with Local Arts, Sports and Cultural Opportunities
Metrics:

  • % of individuals attending a county-sponsored cultural/recreational opportunity who found it enriching
  • % of residents who feel welcome at county-sponsored cultural/recreational opportunities
  • % of residents who report that they attended a cultural/recreational opportunity in the past year that represented their culture(s)
  • % of residents who say they have gained a greater understanding/appreciation for other cultures in the past year
  • % of residents who believe their feedback on county-sponsored cultural/recreational opportunities is considered/valued/heard

Indicator: Awareness and Appreciation of Diverse Cultures
Metrics:

  • % of residents who are satisfied with the amount/variety of cultural/recreational opportunities available in the past year
  • % of residents who are satisfied with the quality of cultural/recreational opportunities offered by Fairfax County
  • % of residents participating in a Fairfax County cultural/recreational class/program/facility who report being satisfied with that class/program/facility
  • % of residents who are satisfied with the cleanliness of county recreational facilities or parks
  • # of social media geolocated tags/engagements in a county-sponsored cultural/recreational location or event

Indicator: Representation of Diverse Cultures
Metrics:

  • % of residents who feel the county is acknowledging, protecting and preserving their historical and cultural heritage
  • % of Fairfax County cultural/recreational opportunities offered in languages other than or in addition to English
  • # of county-sponsored cultural/recreational opportunities held in non-county spaces
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