From Ox Road, the Workhouse Arts Center attracts the artist and tourist in southern Fairfax County.
Photo by Mike Salmon.
The Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton moved forward in the main office by hiring Leon Scioscia as its new President and Chief Executive Officer, bringing years of art center experience to the Workhouse. Scioscia is an Alexandria resident with years of experience at the Strathmore Hall Foundation in Bethesda, where he honed his arts management and operations skills that will be needed at the Workhouse.
Although his first official day at the Workhouse is Monday, July 12, he started working with the center in June on a “listening tour,” with the Workhouse staff and board members “invigorating all of the Workhouse’s programs to such an extent that our cultural activity will entice more and more of our public to spend more and more time on campus,” he said.
Scioscia has a strong history of bringing the arts to the public. He has worked in theatrical venues in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Phoenix, Arizona, and his career has also included work in the cultural, governmental, library, and non-profit sectors. Most recently he was the Executive Vice President of Operations at the Strathmore Hall Foundation, Inc., a multi-disciplinary arts center of a similar nature in Maryland.
Scioscia has a master’s degree in Dramatic Arts from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, and a bachelor’s degree in English and Theatre from the University of Tennessee, Martin, Tenn. He has specialized training from the Racial Equity Institute, Leadership Montgomery, North Bethesda, and as a Contracting Officer's Technical Representative that nurtures business communications liaison between the government and a private contractor, which is good for the Workhouse. Scioscia has a license from George Washington University School of Law, Washington, D.C., as well as management training with the Executive Education Program at the Harvard Business School, and with the Leadership Maryland program. Additionally, he served as the Chair of the Alexandria Commission for the Arts and has participated in various National Endowment for the Arts panels.
While at the Strathmore, Scioscia managed the day-to-day operations of the 1,976 seat Music Center, the 250 seat AMP Jazz Club, the Mansion at Strathmore which includes the Shapiro Music Room, educational programs, visual arts/exhibitions spaces, and the Shops at Strathmore. His duties also included the supervision of a 16-acre campus which contains a sculpture garden, a gazebo stage, and a backyard theatre. He also served as the primary liaison with Montgomery County for the $10 million expansion of the Center and a $4 million renovation of the historic Mansion. This artistic environment is similar to the activities at the Workhouse, so the familiarity is there.
Scioscia said he plans to build on the Workhouse Foundation, working with the stakeholders, and the Fairfax County Government to further the arts and exposure of the Workhouse. “I truly want to make the Workhouse Arts Center, with the support of all of my partners, a Fairfax County jewel,” he said.
Kevin C. Greenlief, Chairman of the Board of Directors, said: “The Workhouse is honored to have Leon join us. He is a proven leader with a vast wealth of knowledge and experience in the art world. Having thrived throughout the pandemic thanks to ardent supporters, a solid board of directors, and a creative staff, the Workhouse is now poised for a bright future with Leon at the helm.”
Scioscia is stepping in to take the place of Ava Spece, the former President and CEO for the Workhouse Arts Foundation for nearly 5 years, who resigned in March of 2020 to pursue other opportunities.
The nationwide search was led by DRI Consulting, Inc.