potential and energy

Formed in 2017, The Mill’s mission is to foster collaborations (on both the individual & organizational levels) with the purpose of developing revolutionary ideas in the arts and humanities. These multi-disciplinary initiatives are coupled with youth education, mentorship, and supportive infrastructure.

The original Arlington gristmill (built in 1764) used the river’s potential energy to create product. THE MILL similarly believes in potential and energy. The original buildings serve as a “Hub” for connectivity, but THE MILL’s reach is far beyond the local campus. 

So - What is THE MILL?

  • THE MILL is a safe-space to create new works of theatre, art, dance, music, literature, poetry, architecture, design, television, film, & digital media.
  • THE MILL will offer Special Events; Classes; Workshops; Performances of Theater, Music, Art, & Dance; Exhibitions, Concerts, Staged Readings, Screenings, and a Resource/Research Center.
  • THE MILL offers the opportunity for established artists to explore their different talents for personal growth.
  • THE MILL provides up-and-coming creatives the chance to learn from the best - and from one another. Mentoring is central to the mission of THE MILL. We hope that established artists will take this opportunity to groom the next generation of aspiring creatives – and that the young talented alumni will return to THE MILL in the future – as mentors. With time, the extensive alumni network will enhance and expand opportunities for future generations. Creative legacy and the direct sharing of artistic traditions from generation to generation are fundamental to the philosophy of THE MILL.
  • THE MILL fosters creative collaborations and welcomes unexpected combinations. It is a meeting place for conversation and debate.
  • THE MILL encourages young creatives to develop key life skills to engage and serve their communities in a positive way. THE MILL builds creative confidence and instills pride of ownership in our youth – with the goal of turning imagination into action. The hopeful outcome is youth retention and increased ingenuity - with the goal of inspiring the entrepreneurial spirit and community empowerment.
  • THE MILL is an historic campus, which will grow over time with a keen eye focused on providing the needed infrastructure for the development of future initiatives and innovation. Creative vision cannot be realized without space and tools. Currently under construction is a state-of-the-art sound studio. THE MILL believes in the adaptive re-use of historic buildings. The rehabilitation, restoration, re-invention and transformation of these spaces not only demonstrates imagination and ingenuity, but signals to our youth that taking care of our past is key to a brighter future.
  • THE MILL is an opportunity to drive awareness and tourism to the region with a focus on the arts and humanities. Supporting the creative economy and fostering collaborations at the organizational level between cultural institutions for optimal synergy and opportunity is fundamental to the philosophy of THE MILL.
  • THE MILL serves as a creative retreat, where artists, musicians, dancers, writers, and historians can pause and refresh – in addition to showcasing their talents.

Education Never Stops

Peter’s Brook never stops flowing behind THE MILL. Similarly, THE MILL is a space for lifelong learning.

THE MILL’s unique arts education program has four key components:

  1. Life skills – THE MILL develops initiatives that encourage active listening, open communication, flexibility, the ability to improvise, skills of observation and organization, time-management, teamwork, conflict resolution, and confidence. At THE MILL, we firmly believe that innovation begins when a) a complex challenge is identified, b) the applied constraints are understood and c) inspired solutions are developed. Of course, the ability to articulate the complex challenge, the constraints, and the proposed solution is the final key skill that must be developed for a successful realization of the vision.
  2. Technical skills – THE MILL recognizes that not everyone will be able to articulate their thoughts in words or share their ideas in pictures. Some great talents are best demonstrated through common trade skills, such as carpentry, sewing, electrical work, welding, lighting, etc. Since the best learning connects technology and the humanities, THE MILL supports the development of these skills, because - while all of these can certainly be applied to theater, film, digital media, costuming, sound recording, etc. - they can also lead to future opportunities in engineering, the sciences and common trades. Not every young artist will desire to pursue a professional career in the arts. Providing our youth with the basic skills and confidence to succeed in their chosen careers is an equally satisfying and very worthy outcome.
  3. History – THE MILL develops programs that explore art and literature in the context of history – and specifically, how history and current events affect the creative process – and vice versa.
  4. Mentoring – THE MILL connects artists of different generations and encourages mentoring. There is nothing more palpable than the kinetic energy that occurs when enthusiastic youth get to learn from experienced mentors. There is nothing more fulfilling to mentors than to share their knowledge, hard-earned skills, and legacy with the next generation.