Mr B. Reeves
Nov. 20, 1976
Torpedo Factory Art Center,
The Torpedo Factory Art Center was proposed by
the Alexandria Bicentennial Commission to the Alexandria
City Council in December, 1973, as a three-year, self-
supporting, tourist attraction experiment to open on the
City's 225th birthday, July 13, 1974. The location was
to be a structure built in 1917 and used in World Wars
I and II as a torpedo factory and later as a Federal
records storage center until purchased by the City of
Alexandria in 1970.
The building itself is in the "Old Town" section
of Alexandria, located on the cities Patomic River
waterfront, and is 1 block long by J block wide and 2i
stories tall. The city wanted a bicentennial tourist
attraction and the artists wanted a place to work. Many
of the artists were pursuing their crafts in kitchen
pantries, cold garages and high rent studios. The fact
was that unless the city did something to help, the artists
would be priced out of Old Town within 5 years.
The Bicentennial asked Council to request that
the General Services Administration vacate the building
by early summer, 1974, and also asked the City to
appropriate $140,000 for minimal renovation of the block-
long, two-story building. On the basis of tentative rental
agreements with numerous artists, the Bicentennial was
able to prove there was a demand for studio space at
$3 a square foot a year (including utilities) and that
rental income would
1) repay the $140,000 over a three-year period
2) pay annual maintenance of $69,000 per year
Some citizens figured the loan to fix up the
massive "pigeon roost" was tantamount to pouring wet
cement over quicksand.....precisely the method engineers
used to secure the building's footings when it was
built more than 50 years ago. Some feared that it would
become a political liability.
The Bicentennial pointed out that in 1977, the
City would have the choice of keeping the Center,
modifying it, or eliminating the project (in the latter
case there would be no financial loss incurred by the
experiment.) On this basis, the project was approved
unanimously and with bipartisan support by the City
Council and the American Revolution Bicentennial
Administration requested early vacancy from the General
Services Administration and received action. Almost all
Federal storage was moved from the property by June, 1974.
In a city so thoroughly taken with the stately
architecture of its colonial period, the Torpedo Factory
Art Center, as it has come to be known, is not only
inconsistent, it is ugly.
Not much can be done to improve the buildings
exterior, but fortunately most of its unattractiveness
is only skin deep. The building is incredibly sturdy.
It was built so that if a torpedo exploded inside,
nothing went out but the windows. There were many people
who wished the building to be torn down and replaced
by a park, and there are those who wish it to remain
standing as a reminder of war. Some people now consider
it fitting that the same building that housed the
creation of destructive devices is now used for peaceful,
In May, 1974, artist volunteers began painting
the interior of the building.....changing very dirty
government grey-green to antique white. A giant ceremonial
opening party was possible by July 13. The building then
closed for construction of eight-foot partition walls,
the painting of the exterior (Colonial Gold), and the
installation of additional utilities by City contractors
(private contractors supervised by the City's General
Since there were no planning funds and the
Bicentennial Commission could not pay an architect, the
now director of the center, Ms Marian Van Landingham,
worked with an architectural apprentice friend to lay
out the partitions. As spaces as square footages were
rented, they would juggle them around with those already
on the list, and gradually worked out a very rough
architectural plan which was given to the City's
contracting supervisor, who worked with the outside
contractors building walls, installing plumbing, etc.
Unfortunately, the contracting liason man in the
City's General Services Department did not confer
adequately with the City's building code inspectors or
the fire department and there were several rounds of
negotiations between the three City departments during
the fall of 1974, resulting in some additional improvements.
By September, this work was largely completed and artists
moved into their studios.
The artists decorated and painted their own work
areas and also helped with the surrounding public areas
(passageways, stairs, etc.). A talented graphics designer
was appointed design czar and given final authority for
decoration of public walls. Considering the number of
artists with different aesthetic ideas, the czar concept
was a necessity. She developed a logo, signs, publications,
and colorful supergraphics.
The interior of the center has been planned so that:
1) both public access and artists privacy is
maintained by a system of doors and windows. When
an artist wants privacy for concentration, he or
she closed his or her door and visitors must look
through stationary, three by three foot windows. When
the public is wanted, studio doors are opened.
Very public activities like potting, weaving, and
jewelry making are located near King Street and
the doors while more private activities like painting
and drawing are located on the second floor.
2) there is compatibility of activities, i.e., dusty
noisy sculptors are isolated behind a floor-to-
ceiling wall separating them from galleries and
painters. Silk-screen printers are put in areas
where fumes can be exhausted out windows. Dust-
creating potters are restricted to a separate
area adjacent to a room wired for electric kilns.
Gas kilns are put in a tin shed outside the building
on the dock (kilns, like all other equipment, must
be furnished by tennents). For fire reasons wood-
working sculptors are separated from metal sculptors.
3) there may be four to eight or more studios in a
"compound". The walls surrounding the compound were
built by the City. Artists put up interior dividers.
The demand for studio space has been enormous. The
average artist living in a small apartment or home simply
does not have room to work and yet the availability of
outside space is quite limited. This building could easily
have been filled two or three times had all been accepted.
During the spring and summer of 1974, renters were taken on
a first-come, first-serve basis provided they were working
in the fine arts or the art-end of high-skill crafts (had
leather workers, dried flower arrangers, decoupage makers,
and creative dress makers been accepted, the fine aritsts
would have left.) With the September, 1974, opening of the
Center and greatly increased demand for space, the Director
began getting outside judges to juror applicants......the
procedure is still in effect and 8 or 9 out of every 10
applicants is rejected.
Approximately 202 artists now occupy 100 studios in
the Center. There are about 60 painters, 25 sculptors, 20
potters, 15 fiber artists, 10 print makers, 2 stain glass
workers, three jewelry makers, and assorted others, including
a harpiscord maker, banjo maker, and a blacksmith.
Leases for studio spaces require that the artist or
craftsman use the space for working and that nothing is sold
that is not created in the Torpedo Factory by the renter. To
make sales, artists must have business licenses, but no
commission is charged by the Center. In a day when commercial
gallery commissions are climbing to 50 and even 60 percent,
this is a valuable break for the artist. Sales people are not
allowed, of course.
The four galleries in the Center are run by five non-
profit organizations of over 1000 artists and craftsmen and
present only juried shows, i.e., shows are composed of works
chosen by outside judges from entries submitted by member
artists. While the work should be the best produced by
member artists, it may or may not be the most sellable.
Because of these rules, Torpedo Factory operations are
sharply differentiated from the operations of neighboring
shops and commercial galleries and therefore justify City
In addition to the studios and galleries, there is an
art school offering day and evening classes for 350 students
operated by the Art League, Inc., a non-profit organization
The Torpedo Factory has proved itself a formidable
tourist attraction with 1500 to 2000 visitors a day on week-
ends and significant, if smaller, numbers of visitors during
weekdays. Artists have found they are able to work in the
surroundings and rents have been paid regularly so the center
is truly selfsupporting. (Rents are paid directly to the City
Finance Office), The 7000 persons per week as visitors are
part of the reason behind the commercial resurgence of Old
Town. This downtown area is now crowded with expensive
restaurants and specialty shops where once only vacant
With many school buildings coming available as a result
of dropping student populations, and many other structures in
need of new uses, it is believed that the Torpedo Factory may
well be a prototype for other communities.....if strong
volunteer energy is available. In fact, this project has already
sparked interest in other Virginia Cities such as Yorktown,
Charlottesville and others, and has had as many as 115 other
inquiries from across the country and from other countries.
In addition, it has caught the attention of urban planners.
Without the work of artist volunteers, the renovation
of the Torpedo Factory would have cost an additional $40-
50,000. And without volunteers, the operation would not, and
could not, now be run by a staff consisting of the director
and one janitor. An advisory Torpedo Factory Artists Association
has been formed to help make decisions and to assist with the
work that needs to be done. Through their sense of responsibility
and cooperative spirit, the artists and craftsmen have dispelled
the impractical, prima donna image sterotype often held by the
public. And at least a half dozen of the artists have proved to
be obsessional workers. The Torpedo Factory came into being and
functions because there are those who care enormously about this
project.....and feel it is their artistic creation. This is
further borne out in figures that show that fully one-third of
the artists do not earn enough money from their work to even
pay the rent for their studio spaces. The nominal fee charged
must be obtained from their own finances. A second third of
the artists make only enough money to pay the rent and break
even. The thrid one-third earn a small profit.
To briefly summarize, the Torpedo Factory would not
have been possible if:
1) the building had not been in City ownership.
2) if the City had known what else to do with the building.
( the Torpedo Factory moved into a vacume)
3) if the Torpedo Factory had not offered a temporary trial
period so the City could be sure the plan worked
before long-term commitment.
4) the project were not self-supporting.
The latter two items made the project politically palatable
and might be used by other communities. (as already mentioned
several have shown interest in the project) To keep the project
self-supporting with renovation ammortized over only three years
has meant that the factory has had to run on a shoe-string
basis with a very small staff and lots of volunteer effort. It
also has meant that the initial renovation was quite minimal and
not a drawing boaed dream solution. The result is that the
operation is constantly aggravated by housekeeping maintenance
problems and over-burdened in trying to serve the public and
the artists, keep the lights working, and the leaking pipes
At the present time the three year trial period for the
Torpedo Factory is about to run out, but there is now some
planning being done by an architect in Alexandria, working
through the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce, on some new plans
for the Factory. This is an obvious indication that the
trial has been considered a success and that there are plans to
make the Torpedo Factory Art Center a permanent part of the
Old Town section of Alexandria.
This report has been quoted from the brief history
and description of the Torpedo Factory Art Center by Marian
Van Landingham with supplementary information added at the
Sources of Information
Alexandria Chamber of Commerce
400 South Washington Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22313
Americas Forgotten Architecture
National Trust for Historic Preservation
Tony P. Wrenn and Elizabeth D. Mulloy
Pantheon Books, New York, 1976
Southern Living Magazine
The Packer, Alexandria, Virginia
newspaper article by Marian Van Landingham
September 9-16, 1976
The Gazette, Alexandria, Virginia
newspaper article by Kat Bergeron
June 19, 1976
The Times-Herald, Newport News, Virginia
July 26, 1976
Public Relations Document of the Torpedo Factory Art Center
Brief History and Description of the Torpedo Factory
by Marian Van Landingham
Ms Marian Van Landingham
Director Torpedo Factory Art Center
101 North Union Street
Alexandria, Virginia, 22313
will be of great assistance
For work bein ted as of 12/76 try contacting
Architect Jo n er
c/o The Alexandria Chamber mmerce
Index of Slides
- Torpedo Factory Logo Graphic
- Torpedo Factory Logo Graphic
- Torpedo Factory Logo Graphic
- Map of Old Town Section of Alexandria, Virginia
- View down King Street toward the Torpedo Factory
- The Torpedo Factory from King Street
- The Torpedo Factory from the Patomic River Waterfront
taken from Americas Forgotten Architecture
- First Floor Plan
- Second Floor Plan
- Mez. Floor Plan
- Interior Graphic
- Interior Gallery
- Interior Gallery
taken from Southern Living Magazine
taken from Southern Living Magazine
taken from Southern Living Magazine
FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL:
Marian Van Landingham
THE TORPEDO FACTORY ART CENTER
King and Union Streets, Old Town
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Telephone: (703) 836-8564
____- ,HI- CL IEi
I-' ". .- *.- l i '
A waterfront building once used to manufacture
torpedoes has been turned into an art center by
the Alexandria, Virginia, Bicentennial Commission.
One hundred and forty-two artists and craftsmen
have studios and workshops and support the
operation of the Center with their rents.
Five non-profit organizations of artists and
craftsmen operate four juried show galleries: the
Art League, Inc.; the Washington Kiln Club and
Ceramics Guild of Bethesda (Scope Gallery);
Potomac Craftsmen; Enamelist Guild.
The final component is the Art League's 350-
student school offering day and evening classes.
The Center building is now owned by the City
of Alexandria. Torpedoes were manufactured
here during World Wars I and II, and after 1I :I
captured war records were '.I ._.i'iht, here lor
study by historians in what was then called the
Federal Records Center. More recently, the
structure was used for storing furniture for the
initiated by the Alexandria Bicentennial
Commission, the art center is a three-year
experiment on the part of the City of Alexandria.
It was dedicated on the 225th Birthday of the
City, July 13, 1974.
Headquarters for the Alexandria Bicentennial
are located in the C j., Washington Bicen-
tennial Center, 201 South Washington Street,
Alexandria, Va. 22314.
Works may be purchased directly from artists
if the artists are in their studios, or messages
left for future purchases.
Each of the galleries has sales staff.
The Center is open 10 a.m. 5 p.m. seven days
a week during the winter. Phone for longer
ARTISTS .'*~. : I'. FTSMEN AT WORK
Painters School Jewelry Makers
Sculptors Potters Lithographers
Fiber Arts Galleries Sill i.-i. Printers
-I,,i I I
UH O STREET
THOUGHT YOU IdOULD LIKE TO SEE THIS REPRINT:
U BICENTENNIAL CITIES
A Monthly Newsletter Published By The United States Conference of Mayors 77~6_1~
1620 EYE STREET, N.W., WASHINGTON, D.C. 20006 Vol. 2, No. 9 October 1, 1976
ALEXANDRIA PIONEERS IN DEVELOPMENT OF CITY ART CENTER
Labeled as an eyesore by some and a city budget liability by others, the Torpedo Factory Art Center in
Alexandria, Virginia, is proving to be a self-supporting haven for local artists. Once a wartime torpedo
factory, the art center provides working space for 202 artists and craftspeople, four galleries run by nor
Ss.. profit groups of artists, and the Art League school for 350 students. The
.i. public is admitted free to observe working artists and to purchase their wor
:d Artists lease space directly from the city. They may sell their work at the
center provided it was made there. No commission is charged, but the
J artists must purchase a city business license to make sales.
s In 1973, the Alexandria Bicentennial Commission proposed the Art Center a:
a three-year, self-supporting, tourist-attraction experiment that would
4 open on the city's 225th birthday, July 13, 1974. The Commission guarahtei
the city that it could rent the space if the city would provide $140,000 for
minimal renovation of the block-long, two-story building. The Commission
assured the city that a space rental of three dollars per square foot would
A re ay the $140,000 investment over the three experimental years and provide enough for $35,000 to
.I- O in yearly maintenance. In 1977, the city would decide to maintain the program, modify it, or
eliminate it. The proposal was approved unanimously by the City Council.
In a city known for its elegant colonial architecture, some people consider the center's bulky factory-
structure inconsistent and ugly. But, despite its uncertain future, the Torpedo Factory has been a boost
to artists and city alike. The demand for space is so great that waiting lists are long and applicants are
chosen on the merits of their work. The city has realized $114,000 in space rentals in the first year
plus thousands of dollars in business license fees. The Center has become a city tourist attraction and
an educational center. In addition, Alexandria has received 115 requests from across the country for
information on establishing similar centers. The concept may well offer a weapon against city blight
and the budget drains made by unused schools, warehouses, and other buildings.
DON'T MISS! !
Byrdann Fox of the Fibers Jorkshop in the Factory (first floor, King St.
end,) will be the guest of Tom Gauger at 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 6, on
TV Channel 53 or 14. She will be talking about fiber art today.
P r.r Dan '
NOVEMBER 1976, VOLL'N.E-. NUMBER 2
HavingSpecial Thigs Made forYour Home
By Jo Ann Lewis
N o one knows when the first craftsman make a little history of your own. It takes
got the first commission to make courage and imagination, but it is an excit-
something beautiful for a rich man's ing and rewarding creative act.
house, but it is clear that the ancient n .arianVan Landingham,_fQuder_.of
mosaic floors at Pompeii weren't cut off a aIVltn-To edj~oin Alexandria,
roll by the local Armstrong linoleum man. thinks creativelll te timeTie-apot
Until a century ago, the craftsman and ter-Holly Rosenfeld's trinplelazesand
the handmade object were the only alterna- commissioned Rosenfeldto make a sink
tive in furnishing and decorating the for ithstine-- land figh home Shaped
domiciles of princes of the church and like-a-bowlw, with colors that meltLfrom
commerce. Even artists like Raphael and browntodeep blue, ithas to beone of the
Michelangelo decorated the walls and ceil- rmos beautiful sinks ~in tfowfi'iLCani ad-
ings of the Vatican with tapestries and ingham, an artistherself, traded a painting
paintings-a higher form of decoration, to fr the sink, and say shewishess-omone
be sure, but decoration nonetheless. would commission her to make a multi-
It wasn't until the arrival of the machine panelfire enamel for a garden wall "be-
age that appreciation of handmade objects causef-ve always wato ian mae~ one, but
gave way to a preference for the glittering tjsttoo expense wt-Ut a commis-
multiple in gleaming chrome-chrome sion."
chairs, chrome and glass tables, and even Joan Farrell, founder of the Ap-
chrome picture frames, to insure that at palachiana crafts shops in Bethesda and
least from a distance, all pictures would Alexandria, came upon Jane Larson, a
look alike, ceramic artist whose work she admired,
No wonder people are turning back to and commissioned her to make tiles for the
the artisan and searching for ways to assert Farrell hearth. "They cost about $10
their individuality and in a sense their im- apiece at the time, but would no doubt cost
mortality, just as the popes did. Beautiful more now," says Farrell, pointing out tha
wall hangings were used in medieval times the only problem with such installations ih
to warm damp castle walls; now hand- that you can't take them with you whet
crafted works designed for a specific space you move. In her new house, Farrell
or use are being commissioned to warm the solved the problem of an awkward high
cold, endless white of modem interiors, window in the living room, which she
The difference is that there are a lot more didn't want to curtain, by commissioning a
customers around now than there were white porcelain wind chime to hang in
when Pope Julius II had a corer on the front of it. Open the window and the music
talent market in Rome. There also are a lot begins.
more craftsmen. There are endless ways a ceramic artist
As a result, most people who aren't out can individualize and enhance a home.
of work can afford to have a craftsman Most obvious are handmade dinner plates,
(many of whom are out of work) make bowls, cups, and mugs that cost little more
something especially for them. It may be than (if as much as) imported china. Man)
as simple as a coffee mug or as elaborate as young couples who eschew formal enter
a bentwood stair railing by furniture maker taking are investing in this sort of din
Peter Danko or a pair of bronze doors by nerware, either in sets (in which a plat
sculptor Jose Bermudez. Washington is generally costs between $8 and $15) or ir;
bursting with possibilities, and though you collections of one-of-a-kind pieces
may not have the space, money, or inclina-
tion to make history by having some Jo Ann Lewis writes art criticism for the Washing-
latter-day Michelangelo fresco for your ton Post and The Washingtonian. She concentrates
latter-day Michelangelo eon the fine arts but her interest in crafts is
ceiling, you can, by putting the right longstanding: Her master's thesis at Harvard's
craftsman together with the right problem, Fogg Museum was a show of textiles.
Simple objects like salad bowls, punch
bowls, tureens, casseroles, candle holders
of various sorts, and lanterns can be made
your own. "If someone wants a set of eight
soup bowls, for example,..saa
Touchstone Gallery's JudTodd, 'I show
them my glazes. and shapes and they can
say more or less what they'd like."
But Todd, like most other potters, pre-
fers to go her own way. She made some
lamps for a neighbor who stipulated the
height but left the rest to the artist. "It
worked out well because she left it wide
open," says Todd. "What I don't like is
when someone brings a drawing and says,
please make these. That leaves no latitude
either for my imagination or for what
might happen in the firing, and that's no
fun at all. In fact, it's a pain in the neck."
Most craftsmen agree, and for that rea-
son some prefer not to take commissions at
all. Most, however, strike a compromise.
Potter Solvei Cox makes all kinds of in-
dividualized objects, includ- gT-cm-
memorative cyaseroles--aiicFdlocks for
wedding_and anniversary presents. (The
cIocks run oanbatteries -fridequire only
one new battery a year, which can be given
as an _anual anni erary gift. ?hen-
someone comes to me and know and likes
the-i-doff -f-rrkod c make an
adaptation for him. Otherwise t's
strained and usually doesn't work out _lo
well." Virginiaarchitect Tom Kerns often
includes one of Cox's handmade bricks in
his houses, often inthfjreplace wall. _Her
work can be seen at Appalachian Spring,
as well as at the T edoactory
I tTashin2ton is particularly strong
ut where does one begin to look for a
craftsman to do a particular job? The fact
is that it doesn't usually happen that
way. More likely, you'll come across
something in an exhibition or crafts fair
or in a shop and a light bulb will come
on in your head, posing a solution for a
problem you'd thought insoluble, or
simply putting something before you that
you can't resist.
But where? There is, of course, the
Renwick Gallery, along with various art
galleries and innumerable shops that
show ceramics and fiberwork, from
Alexandria to Kensington to Gaith-
ersburg. Among the best are Appala-
chian Spring, Appalachiana, American
Hand, Tiffany Tree, Chelsea Court, Full
Circle, Touchstone, and the new A. D.
Smull gallery in Kensington, an art
gallery that will specialize in fiber
sculpture and ceramics (10419 Armory
Avenue, Kensington; 946-6262).
Perhaps the most important sourlc of
all is the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria,
which boasts two outlets for fiberwork
and several others for ceramics. You'll.
also fin there everything from
enameists and stained glass makers to
craftsmen who can make you a fabulous
i toy wooden i giratre.
The growing use of craftsmen 121
chitects, designers and ,-
View from the balcony in the Torpedo Factory shows a maze of partitioned studios.
Art in an Old Torpedo Factory
On any given day, more than 100
people are at work in the Torpedo Fac-
tory in Alexandria, Virginia. But their
product is art, not weapons. And you're
invited to watch while they create.
Potters, painters, sculptors, weavers,
and jewelers work either alone or in
groups behind the partitions that form
a maze in the old building at 101 North
If the artists are feeling friendly and
A family watches a clay sculptor at work
in the old factory in Alexandria, Virginia.
want company while they work, the
doors to the studio areas are open for
you to walk in, watch, and ask ques-
tions. If they're not inclined to have
visitors and the doors are closed, you
can watch anyway. Each area has a
large window looking into it.
The Torpedo Factory Art Center rep-
resents a new concept in community
involvement in the arts. The city of
Alexandria owns the building, and the
artists rent the spaces. The idea belongs
to Marian Van Landingham, director of
plans and projects for the Alexandria
According to Miss Van Landingham,
"During World War I and II, this build-
ing was used to manufacture torpedos.
In more recent years, it was used to
store government records and furniture.
Then in 1970, it was purchased by the
city of Alexandria.
"I felt it would be a prime location
for an art center, which would be bene-
ficial to area artists, the city, and the
public. Rental rates for private studios
in the area are steep, and few artists find
it feasible to maintain one. Here, they
can rent a space for $3 per square foot
per year. They pay no commissions on
the work they sell, and the only require-
ment for selling things is that they must
have been made here at the factory."
The building is open from 10 a.m. to
5 p.m. daily, but the artists' hours vary
according to their personal schedules.
Weekends are the busiest times, so you'll
find more artists at work then. Many
studios are closed Mondays.
No admission is charged to wander
through the center and watch the artists
For more information, contact the
Torpedo Factory Art Center, 101 North
Union Street, Alexandria, Virginia
22314, or phone (703) 836-8564.
Artists work while visitors wander through
the partitioned studios.
Torpedo Plant: Many
Q e ons"/n
actor Fu ure Unclear
By MARGARET L RYAN related activities and continue to provide for artists now in the Torpedo Fac
SStaff Writer ,, :,'- tory Art Center, though not necessarily la their current spot,
In June, 1975 the Alexandria Planning Commission discussed three-basicl WHATEVER IS done, or not done, at the Torpedo Factory, the building
decisions that needed to be made on the future of the Torpedo Plant on the going to cost the city money.
city's waterfront: how much of the four buildings to save, what mix of private Estimatesmade five months ago by the city staff show the city loses about
and public uses to allow and what specific uses to aim for. ,000 annually just operating and maintaining the buildings.
* In June, 1976 City Manager Douglas Harman asked the same three questions Five different models of development considered feasible by the city staff
of the outgoing city council, and listed the same:staff recommendations that last February called for city capital investments ranging from $1.2 million ti
had gone to the planning commission the year before. $6.1 million,'depending on what amenities are included and which are con
tnn v ,Il. d dt ...... .4 .......m A .a o... , .n ,,4n I -tracted out to private developers.
XI AV U1ev qUesJUU1 ons a UU UnanOsWeIr, an4u DUJ IIe neOJ ac&= c
probably be asked once more to answer them before making final decisions on
this year's budget.
Harman said one of the-, first public
hearings he attended when he assumed the
job of city manager early this year was on
the Torpedo Factory. "I had no idea there
was so much background to it" before the
hearing, he admitted.
But with all the background, Harman
said the building's future is still in "a con-
fused condition" and he would like to "sort
fim~h and try to simplify some issues in-
EARLIER ESTIMATES for more elaborate redevelopment of the building
had price tags over $10 million. .
Today, the questions are still
inmanswered. and the new city
"Iotuncil will probably be asked
once more to: answer them before
making final decisions on this
I"vanr' hulti ot ,
FOR INSTANCEI he said, actual conditions in thabuildings vary, and he
wants to review them individually with experts familiar with construction
Peter Schumaier, president of the Old Town Civic Association, agreed with
Harman's assessment of confusion; Though the association itself reached a
consensus calling for some selective demolition of the buildings, Schumaier
says there are still diehards who want the whole thing torn down and others
who want all the structures left intact. '
THE ASSOCIATION, in a formal position taken in June, 1975, was most con-
cerned that traffic generated by any redevelopment of the Torpedo Plant
would not adversely impact their neighborhood.
The association called for "sufficient parking" for the restaurants, shops
and other uses that are generally planned for the structures but added "no
development should be undertaken that requires more than 400 parldng
spaces, including the needs of Carlyle House and the city."
City studies that year suggested more than 700 spaces, including 200 for
parking for activities outside the Torpedo Factory.
The association's position endorsed objectives~ i city studies that develop-
ment of the plant enhance public access to the- waterfront, encourage water
4 i i i i
Demolition is one of the costlier alter.
Natives, because the structures, built foi
wartime arms manufacturing, are heavily
, reinforced concrete.
Selective demolition favored by the Ok
Town Civic Association, with one or mort
buildings knocked down and a story ,' w(
taken off others is also fairly tricky and ex
But the possibilities for the Torpedo Fac
tory have fired the imagination o
both citizens and city'staffs. Normally staid planners wax eloquent and conr
pare a plaza proposal to Venice's famed Piaoa San Marco, for instance.
STAFF RECOMMENDATIONS for the past year and a half have included
mix of public and private uses, some oriented to the waterfront and som
oriented to the King Street commercial center.
Water-oriented uses would include a school rowing facility and docking fc
transient boats. Commercial uses could include shops, restaurants and cafe.
some office space, a farmers' market and a motion picture theater. (The 01
Toin Civic Association opposes the office aid theater uses as "not desirable
with "no need to be located on the waterfront.")
"A MAJOR concern is that any uses be compatible with the surroundir
area," Harman said. "Any reasonable balance of uses should not adverse
affect the positive trends in the redevelopment of old town."
But money i a big factor, he added. "The thing that Is going to be most d
ficult is to make any change at all in the status quo economicaly feasible
....: : ';'-L ^- *' "' ****'' - L ,
Thursday, October 28, 1976
* .- - .
- .-.T- ......... .........., ,.., :,,......i-;34 (733) 836-8564
yr'CIUI ii tlLliQb~C
Tuesday, May 4, 1976 Alexandria Va. The Gatette 7-B
Trp do ,
Torpedo- datory SbetOfI
Representatives from near-
ly 100 communities have'c6n-
tacted the Torpedo Factory
Art Center in Alexandria dur-
ing the past year and a half to
find bout how to start similar
art centers, according to Fac-
tory Director Marian Van
"BECAUSE OF the uni-
queness of our center, we
have received an enormous
amount of publicity in the
news mediaand so the word
of the Factory's success has
spread widely," explains Ms
"Individuals or groups
from 98 communities in-
cluding Eugene, Ore., the.
Republic of Chile, New York
City, Dayton, Ohio,
Tarrytown, N.Y., Brooklyn,
York' Harbor, Maine,
Winston-Salem, N.C., Pom-
pano Beach, Fla., Westport,
Conn., Detroit, Atlanta, Myr-
tle Beach, S.C., Baltimore,
Minneapolis, Yorktown, Va.,
Colorado Springs, Fort
Worth, Texas, Scranton, Pa.,
University of California in
SRiverside, Columbus, Ohio.
Sullivan Island, S.C., Cape
'Coral, Fla., Boise, Idaho,
Boston, Mass. and others'
have written t.dth Factory
since we opened.
"Unfortunately we do not
have the staff to follow up
most of these inquiries and
fihd out how their plans have
developed but we know that
several locally have' made
progress," Ms Van Lan-
"Charlottesville; Va. opened
a center in September 1975
and Arlington County is due
to initiate one this month.
Prince Georges County has a
former dairy barn n the
"I'M delighted to see
others interested in the con-
.~ept. They will all do it
.differently and gradually a lot
of experience in the
economics and aesthetics of
art centers will be developed.
"Also, every art center will
expand the opportunities for
the public to get a first hand
knowledge of the processes
involved in the creation of art
"A person who has seen a
silkscreen print be!ng
printed, for instance, is much'
more likely to understand the
process and someday buy a
silkscreen print. The public is
educated and artists gain sup-
port. When I think of all the
empty >walls. and empty
spaces in America, I am sure
the market is almost un-
limited if there is under-
standing and appreciation."
She went on to say that she
believes that even if many
more are built, the factory
will not lose its uniqueness.
Its sheer size with nearly 200
artists in studios and 1,000
represented by" Ilt tour
galleries make it unusually
interesting, she said.
She said location also is im-
portant. "The'visitor can en-
joy the arts, peer into history.
nearby, consume a good meal r
a block or two away and shop'
in i nearby shops. ,
Neighborhood shops benefit
from the factory's publicity
and drawing power, while the
factory benefits .from their
convenience. The effect i.
aJ : l .. .
mutually benefiting to ,
*everyone and Would be hard. ;
to duplicate elsewhere."''
A FINAL factor, MV Van
Landingham said, is the
"marvelous volunteer spirit" '
of the artists.. Their friends
and families have poured
enormous effort into pain- "
ting, cleaning and fixing uip
the rough old building. Most
of them also have spent large
amounts of money on their
studios, she points out.
"And the artists have been
terrific in welcoming: the
'public .. often Interrupting
their work to explain to i.n-
terested visitors what they.
il years a t
its as silk
ifs the I
Ju lt Edd
YorK, n.r. .. -.
and Kenya Tourist Office, Dept. WD, 15 East 51st Street,
New York, N.Y. 10022, or 9100 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite
111, Doheny Plaza, Beverly Hills, California 90212.
HISTORY IN ALEXANDRIA
Now, closer to home. Bicentennial crowds have eased at
last in Alexandria, Virginia, a few (continued on page 35)
32 WOMAN'S DAY/NOVEMBER 1976
"Theworld is so fullof
a number of things..."
miles south of Washington, D.C., across the
Potomac, and November should be a fine
month for sight-seeing in one of America's
most historic towns. Handsome major res-
torations have opened this year, including
Carlyle House, where General Braddock
planned his campaign against the French
in 1755, and Gadsby's Tavern, an elegant
eighteenth-century coaching inn favored
by George Washington. Virtually the en-
tire ballroom of Gadsby's was removed
years ago for display in the American Wing
of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New
York City, but it has now been copied in de-
tail on the site. Gadsby's, incidentally, is a
restaurant as well as a museum, so you can
stop for a light lunch or enjoy dinner by
It's fun to walk the cobbled streets in
Alexandria's Old Town, passing eigh-
teenth-century houses with walled court-
yards, stopping at places such as the boy-
hood home of Robert E. Lee, Christ
Church, where both Washington and Lee
attended services, the Bicentennial Center
in the nineteenth-century Lyceum and the
unique Torpedo Factory Art enter,
where a hundred craftsmen work. Special
events coming up include: reenactment of
George Washington's review of the troops,
November 12-14 and December 3-5; and
the annual Scottish Christmas Walk with
bagpipe bands, food and craft sales, old-
home tours, December 4. You can always
use Alexandria as a base for touring the
museums in Washington and the mansion
at Mount Vernon (sixteen miles farther
south on the Potomac), a joy to visit when
there are no crowds.
Alexandria has, a variety of motels, in-
cluding the new Holiday Inn (which
doesn't look like one).near the waterfront,
and good restaurants with fitting names
such as the Warehouse, the Wharf and
Seaport Inn. Write Peg Sinclair,Alexan-
dria Tourist Council (headquartered in the
city's oldest house), Dept. WD, 221 King
Street. Alexandria, Virginia 22314.
$ October2 1976 liWsfit -24
Suna:y- wisa zuu*-~i03 r ' ~
By Beniamin Forgey
. 1 On -easlly imagine Agnes Brodie, currently show-
ing new paintings and sculpture at the Art League
Gallery in th Torpedo Factory in Alexandria (101. N.
Union St), wandering through a world made entirely of
blocks of color, for those are the ABCs of her art. She
shows several modelsof rectilinear, simple post-and-lin-
.tel type sculptural constructions and one fully-de-
veloped free-standing piece about nine feet high, built
with cubes of solid color. The vocabulary is familiar, a
pastiche of minimal sculpture and the building blocks of
good old-afahined modern design, and I must say I
much prefer her bright watercolor renditions of the
sculptures as imagined in various famous locations
(e.g., near the Eiffel Tower) to the sculptures them-
selves, which are schematic and oddly oppressive.
101 North Unn Street, Axandrio, Virginia 22314 (703) 836-8564
Page 2 T,
By Marian VanLandingham
No one who wants to see con-
temporary art in the metro area
can afford to miiss Alexandria
With the addition of the Tor-
pedo Factory Art Center to the
fine commercial galleries, "criti-
cal mass" has been achieved in
terms of artists, galleries, and
- And if Washington critics still E
do not come in clusters-some do
come regularly or occasionally =
because one trip usually will ,
yield four or-five shows worthy -
Even three years ago it was a
rare and special event that drew
a critic into the provinces of
Northern Virginia. The signifi- a
cant efforts 'of the pioneering
Northern Virginia Fine Arts
Association (Athenaeum)i were--
too often ignored because there
was not enough other art ation
to warrant an expedition across
the broad Potomac. -
Consistently good juried
shows and one-artist shows pre-.
sented by the 600-member Art
League, Inc. (which moved to
Cameron St. from Arlington in
1968) rarely attracted critics.
In the early -'70's the additionw-
if bright new commercialoperat-
ions featuring entirely contem-
porary art such as the Wolfe:St
Gallery and Gallery 4 began to
ring notice, while Bird-in-Hando
focused attention on photo-
yraphy and the since-closed
Yarns, Etc. Gallery featured ori-
ginal-design fiber work.
But it remained for the Tor-
iedo-Factory Art Center to burst
)n the scene as a "creative ex-
3losion for the- Bicentennial" to
:reate the "mass" necessary flor
-ritics and public to be fully
iware-that art is big in- Alex-
(Note: Interestingly, Post cri-
:ic Paul Richard was a strong
supporter of the establishment of
Sculptor Gaines "Pat"
-.r .. .
No 'Arit l ms-
Torpedo Factory Art Center, seen from King Street.
-- ,.- .- ;- -: *-t ::-- 5 7 -3
the. Factory, recognizing. the Silkscreen, lithography, et&:h-
nhed for such a center.): ing-membossing and- woodblock
-Today; there are four juried- printing is performed' in tbe.
show' galleries-,: Art League,- Factory There are -25 pri~b.'
Scope, Potomae CraftsmenE, Ena- makers. .
melistsYrun by- five- non-profit .Thirty-eigt fiber artists er-
prganizations representing ate original designs in weaving:'.
-nearly 1,000- artists and crafts. nacrame, labe-making, stitchery,.
men; pFus the Art League's 350- sbft-sculpture,, needlepoint;, la
,student sch'or with-day and ugs andbatiks.
- evening classes- phs0 artists- There are even six musicat n-
andtfraftsmen working in studios .Strument makers (viqlin,.harpsr-
and' workshops iun- the Torpedo. sichord, banjos. six- furniture&
Factory. That's-masas' maers or wood-workers. four;
Shows in the galleries and i gold orsilver smiths, five stained-
the Printmaakers, Ine, Fibres and glass- workers, four photogra-
Full of Fibers workshops change phers, a lapidary, two black-
monthly and are generally of smiths, a foundry man, and two
-high quality. scrimshaw engravers.-
In their studios, 58 painters do Because- these- artists- and
everything from portraits and craftsmen work in public view,
other excellent representational they perform a continuous edu-
scenes to Chinese ink painting national function....creating an
andvirtually every form of "hard art-appreciating public benefit-
edge" and "soft edge" abstract ting artists and galleries.far out-
work. side the walls of the Factory.
Twenty-three sculptors work Becauseof the unique window-
-in wood, stone, metal;, clay or door design of the, Factory,.
plaster...-.aid there are--25 artists can achieve- i degree of-
potters. privacy when necessary, but on
the whole'artists and craftsmen
find interaction wit thhe public is
,exciting Fand only occasionally.
"- It is one of the major reasons
they enjoy being in the Factory.
Another reason is the exciting
reality of being a part of that
"critical mass' of artists- and
galleries,- of being' with, other
artists...sharing ideas, inspirat-
ion and know-how.
A recent survey of artists
renting studios in the Factory
shows that approximately one-
third -did not take in enough on
sales to pay their rent, one-third
hover around break even ahd one
third make some profit.
These results make clear that
the primary motivation of the
artists is not monetary but
rather the sense of personal
growth in ani exciting creative
Monk in his studio environment.
The public pours through the
.. The Packet
VArt. Ceter at the rate of about
7,000 irisitors a week to- catch.
some ofthis excitement, and.it is'
one of the' major, easb s.b tjey:
consider Alexatdia- fuiin place.-
-In; fact, many- out-pw visr-
itors have thoughtcen eug*lofthe-
operation- o encourage theii-6w ) :
communities, to try. qst tisirng
Over the past; two' ars. ; 115-.
iniquiries 'have beeui Feciev '
from .across the .buntry--and,
even -from. abroad- asking foq
detailed inform~ atioir on the work
.i'Ba* to-leanir:.iat, the C'ity
oeed $114,00 in.0 rents- from
.-tistyin fiscal 1975-76, plus
4eusip is more for business
".. ": own special way, Alex-
-andriLd is now, pioneering urn
kspreiing a vital "art scene"
across the nation. The- "critical
.mass' is established a id the
-chair reaction "is power l and
(MiVaf Landinc ha dirmctod r
:- ti Torpedq.F-cu r center
former President of the Art Leegua
Owand a fre-WancIwriter.J
The Torpedo Factory today is a thriving art
center, a place where visitors and area,
residents can come to watch talented artists
and craftsmen at work. They not only can
look, but purchase the end results of the ar-
tisans' talents. At left, Jamie Hayes is keeping
the ancient art of scrimshaw alive in his fac-
tory studio. The ivory carver has practiced the
little known art for over 12 years and has even
invented his !own design system which he
calls tapestry on ivory. At right is 'The
American Dream Machine: 16 Foot Basketball
Player.'. It is a metal sculpture done by "Pat"
Monk. The potter at left is Mildred Gordon who
says she uses more than 100 pounds of clay a
day. Charles Gros, who has one of the fac-
tory's stained glass studios, is pointing out the
highlights in his design for a stained glass
window. These and otherfartists are on public
display throughout the week at the Torpedo
Factory Art Center. (Staff photos by Dan
.' *1 .lI
Torpedo Plant Makes Art, Not Weapons
By KAT BERGERON
During World War I and II, the lower end of Alexandria's
King Street buzzed with industrial noises. Workers wondered in
and out the factory where weapons of war were being mass
produced. Whistles blew, the glare of welding torches lit the
hallways and the sounds of metal thundered through the con-
crete and glass structure.
It was a time of world strife, when the making of destructive
torpedoes was a must, and a time when the humongous
buildings on the corner of King and Union streets were a
matter of course.
Today the structures still stands, labeled eyesores by many
who have begun moves to get the torpedo factory torn down.
Many others say the buildings can be put to good use, and point
to the Torpedo Factory Art Center as an example.
The fight is on.
War is ugly, so ugly, some say, the gray buildings should re-
main as a memorial and rememberance of the time.
But, others say, the factory does not fit in with the normal
colonial Old Town decor. "Wouldn't it be nice to have a grassy
park there or an open-air shopping mall?" they ask.
IF THE latter group wins, there will be. many disappointed
people, especially the 200 artists and craftsmen who now call
the factory home. Since July, 1974, the Torpedo Factory has
provided local artisans working space, something sorely needed
by those who find their talents inhibited by a'small apartment,
little working space and the high prices of private studios.
The factory artisans set up studios for which they annually
pay $3 a square foot. They use those studios as a place not only
to work, but to sell the results of their talents.
Many Old Town shops decried the Torpedo Factory Art
Center concept when it was first mentioned because the owners
feared it would decrease their sales,
But through observation of its near two years of existence,
Paul Schott, city general services manager, said the center
(See ART, 2-B)
Art Center Brings
(Continued From 1-B) ing out of tl
"complements" other shops rather than encroach on Old Town privacy, theJ
sales, it adds to the restaurant business and to tourism in display, a fa
general. tory Art Cen
THE ART center averagesmore than 7,000 visitors a week, BUT FOR
many of them out-of-staters. They come not only to buy the their studios
crafts and paintings, but to watch the artisans in action. What they are wo
they can watch ranges from potters at the wheel, to a craftsmen.
blacksmith recreating his ancient art, from a jeweler carefully "They exc
constructing a necklace to a violin maker at work. become inte
There are metal and fiber sculptors, stained leaded glassers. fascinated wi
a scrimshaw artist, weavers, crocheters, printmakers, silk explained Ms
screeners, painters, art galleries ... the list is long. art center."
Visitors can watch the artisans at work through glass win- To promote
dows. If the artists are feeling friendly and want company while have banned
they work, the doors to the studio are opened so browsers can Factory Arti'
walk in, watch and ask questions, in-house squ
THE ARTISTS keep no definite hours, most have fulltime or cond term as
part-time jobs elsewhere. Only 10 of the 200 located in the tion of the fa
building make a living through their work at the art center. had request
Director Marian Van Landingham recently took a survey of organization
those under her tutledge. Ms Van Landingham said she was not been.
surprised to find that one-third of the craftsmen do not make
enough on sales to pay their rent. MORE TH
"Actually, I think is very good that another third are able to an eye toward
pay their rent and buy art supplies with their sales. The final 30 already begu
per cent are able to pay rent, buy supplies and realize a modest Many eyes
profit for their efforts," she said. next year m
Despite the low profit margin, resident turnover in the art Presently, th
center is very slow. Usually people leave only if they are mov- city of Alex
. the center fi
but that has
talent, as we
i Even if an
he area. A few may leave because, once used to
y find it hard to create when on continual public
ct which cannot be avoided in the Torpedo Fac-
iter petitioned studio setup.
the most part, the artisians are content and find
affable not only because of low rent but because
irking in close proximity with other artists and
change ideas, critique each other's work and often
rested in new media ... a painter will become
ith fire enameling or with sculpture, for instance,"
Van Landingham. "Interplay is a big benefit of the
e good center relationships, the factory's artisians
together in an organization known as the Torpedo
sts Association. They plan get-togethers, work out
abbles and create programs.
1 of Alexandria recently has been elected to a se-
president. Not long ago she took a slide presenta-
tctory to North Carolina. The Winston-Salem area
ed information on the art center's formation,
and how receptive visitors and artisians have
AN 100 cities have asked about the art center with
d creating one of their own, and at least two have
in one, according to Ms Seim.
are on the Torpedo Factory Art Center since the.
ay decide whether its concept will live or die.
e center is considered a 3-year experiment by the
andria, which purchased the factory from the
nment in 1970. What will happen in 1977 after the
are up is still uncertain.
t plus in its favor, points out the director is that it
Sself-supporting. The rents are enough to pay
pay back the $140,000 renovation loan.
i also no-problem in finding studio renters. When
rst opened, space was given on a first-come basis,
changed to jury judging. Interested-artisians must
Work to a judge, and according to Ms Van Lan-
;ht or nine out of every 10 applicants is rejected.
she said, is that the center strives for only the best
ll as variety.
artisian is chosen, chances are there may not be
for many months since there is already a waiting
te the uncertainty of the factory's future, the list
grow and visitors continue to come to the gray
which once bespoke war, but now lie in the
____ -. rr *
nae Art of
'By Je White
*:I. 9*I~tkt tiit
In Boston, a small performing arts
group'pays a $200 monthly fee to tap
a central service for help in payroll
preparation, budgeting, computer
time. legal advice, and accounting and
In Philadelphia, a move to itt out 'a
museum: program in the public
schools was turned around and ended
, up with the program doubled after
"public pressure was generated by the
Metropolitan Cultural Alliance.
Boston and Philadelphia are twi cit-
ies that have had experience with cul-
tural alliances--a kind of voluntary
arts and cultural o
step toward the f
formcd'o plan fbo
a conleretice sport
'ington Center for
lI in September.
"We foUlhd moir
president of the ci
on for theaters, mu. Arts and cultural organizations in- flee supplies to printed programs and' tudieba, flred haS'mad. sal stir-
g groups, and other creasingly are finding strength and ticket Vey. d and co
organizations comfort in such alliances. Arl6ng the le rt nd tdcument theirt im- tidvoch mon the chltlral group them-
n has taken the first benefits mentioned by Shider are 'te t o ddcgeheral public t, senes. '. .t. i.
oscha the: te the W*6ad geheral ibblic', selves.,'
ormation of such an these: (a (telp. incidentally, in raising funds- Thli bai Hld p ease misunderstandc
.committees drawn *Cost-ellicient administrative im .t -om busianes corporatlotls and is jtd i'ailrles, leadto ebtperativP
here chaabeen agement. fbtndationsi and to Ahow- their 'Pc6- .* jrram hil add give the united a111
metroltan cu- i., t is no longer possible for the artist. nomic contributions to. te local 6om-. h'.a' ,tithorititlve;vdice in speak.
e effort grew out of or performer to ignore efficient busl.- ,'munity. The GreAter Philldelphia alli- ng to thel geneUr l publtcd rIedia, dnd
isored by the Wash- ness managenient and place hlmsetf ., g.ee ptroduce'd a tiort showing how tusignes pomutnity-to win both funzO
Metropolitan Stud-' above mundane material concerns,..' important the arts are in the business ad recattio. .' -
The Greater Bostoi Cultural A1tance,. "llfe' of that. community. the money geh- .The Wahitgton working cmmlttee
e:than interest-real for example, has set up a cooperative erbted from cal rides, restaurant 'brings together representative from
ert Alice Shidlcr. buying service for 150 items used by meals, and buying supplies. In Wash- .
enter, cultural groups. everything from of- -Idgton the Center tfo Metropolitan See ARTSB,.Co. I
THE WASHINGTON POST
I' fl i
n yifNv0. 2,j 10 .
Thfe Art of Cooperat I tl AU Od
ARTS, From BI
20 organizations, ranging from large
to small, from professionall to semi
professional. Represented are the
Kennedy Center, the Smlthsonian 'fi-
stltution, Areia Stage, Wolf Trap
Foundation, the Folger Shakespeare
Library, Lettumplay Inc., a booking
agent for jazz groups, and the,,.r
edo Factory Arts Center. The ork-
ing committee includes sh.m~embhers
as Peggy Cooper, director of the
Workshops for Careers in the Atts;
Alice M. Denny, director of the Wash-
ingtoniProject for the Arts, and Pat,
rick Hayes, director.of the Washii-,
ton Performing Arts Society. Stubur-
ban groups are represented, Including
.the Arlrgton Dance Theater and the
Fairfax: Couity Symphony Orchestra,
There aie advantages both for laige
institutions and the small and me-
dium-sized groups, Shidler points' out,
of I 1 -1
The Kennedy Center, fbor instance, 'competition for funding from busi-
which lis been criticiCed for serving t hets. government and the public.
only as a booking ageint for big pro- The BoStdp and Philadelphia alli-
ductions, Wants td be seen as a part of ances have been In operation since
1072 and operate on budgets .within
the local Washington arts community. the range O6t'150,00 to $200,000 a
~'or the small groups, so6it big advanr year.. The Boston group; which has
tages.are centralized services and ad. five full-time professionals on' its
vice. sd r, staff, now operates on I budget which
le. sd e the most impi: consists of one-third members' fees,
Sidlers oe of one-third setrvices charges, and one-
taut benefits of the cultural alliances third foundation contributions. Its
has been the offering 'ot group Insur- aim Is to be self-supporting by 1900.
ance for inidial, life-dnd retirement Shldler said the hope is that the
benefits. This coverage Can offered working committee here will take the
benefits. This coverage Can e next step toward the formation of a
tb Individual artists as well as staff permanent committee and organiz2a
members of the participating groups, tlon plans within sit-to-niln months.
*-One thing that the tiultural alliances Until then the working committee,
stress Is that they are hot a United headed by Delano Lewis, president dt
Givers Fund to raise money for the Capitol Ballet, hopes' to get funds
arts. The last thing that cultural or- from local fdundations, the business
ganizations want is another hand community, and the National Endow-
reaching out for money in the stiff Tnent for the Arts.
, .. ;. ..... .4 '. i i.i . i .i . 'i. i i i l i i i *:('i. "l '.i''., 4 -. i l l l i
"y-te "fl Ffr United WayFund Benefit -' '
!10 e' WL ay
. i I-
Stoff P;Mwt by Cluwk Norm.
erv, 8016, 'The Barrister' 7
fby BEN MORRIS
A group of altists in Alex-
S'andria is offering buyers an
The artists are offering
their customers A chance to
' purchase I piece of art that
Swill not only beautify the
buyers, home, but will
Benefit the entire communi-
'' ty as well.
, Twelve artists, whose.
Studios are located at the
Torpedo Factoty Art Center
I at the end of King Street in
, Old Town, have agreed to
donate 10 per cent of the'
price on certain Items to
Alexandria's United Way
CGampaign.l' the Itms that
go towards the United Way
: will be marked With United
Whay cardA for Ideri. i nlitur
'As part of Alexandria, titeflt
we at the Torpedo Factory every
Uke to take part in what -do n0f
happens in the Comn- thh co
munity," said Belly Rice '... CIjw
Seitn, president o the tintt
Torpedo Factory Artlsts ft Ih
Association. -, tttlied
BUYERS WILL HAVE a differ'
chance to purchase art' l'
w. orks.ranging from pain- rflih
tings, sculpture atldprints tcllal
to fturals, fiber art and H,.. ih
pottery. I iys,
Ms Selm. a painter and .td use
sculptor. is donating a work ,nd
called "The Barrisietr,".a Unli
sculpture of A colonial day t' cne
' ld*yet. '
S"It'd made Ar calt one,'" ,"KN1
Ms Self said, "which is "A ., doti
e 6i Alone base and of a delicious lookfig place
ill. ''I got the of cherry pie in the
oflfithi feve and, like foreground with a luncheon
Mody else, wanted tb aulonlal in the background.
ceiling pertaining to The picture Is called "Have ,
lonial times.': You Tried -The Chicken
INDOLVN GIRAJN' Salad." u
Uliead four collages Ms Duncun Ads. "When r
oe. donation tO the you go In those automats,
SWay. "All tour have the pies always look good in ..
hit subtle messages of those machines but they .' 7
aid beihg good," Ns never seem to tIste as good
. !ays. Ms Gralne'4 as they look." ', 4,
R lin the past did not INGRID. LEkDS 6A also "
Vodl In them and she donating a painting which 4,:-
I've always wanted involves a pie. Ilers Is Called
tords In my collages "A 'Sky In The Pie." It is a
doing this for the round picture of a blue, '_ .
d,. Way gifes me a clouded sky neatly tied to a -:
0. tke them'w lb my wicker frame.
a CONNI9 9,LAC l
Sa il sre t '(ee ARTIS, i Connie Slack, Shenando ah Pain ring
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Va. the Oaiettd
-- --.... -. --45 -
The Collective November 19, 1976
Show is Free, Crafts Cost
By Marian Van Landingham
Two hundred and two artists and
craftsmen create in studios and
Workshops at the Torpedo Factory Art
Center in Old Town Alexandria. Another
1,000 artists .and craftsmen. are
represented by five -non-profit art
organizations in four juried-show galleries
in the Center.
The big old god-colored building by
the Potomac at the foot of King Street,
where torpedoes were built during World
Wars I and II, literally explodes with
Working in public view and selling
directly from their workshops, are 30
potters creating beautiful and utilitarian
objects from clay. Casseroles, dishes,
mugs, and hanging flower pots are among.
the numerous items offered.
Meanwhile, 58 painters do everything-
Sfrom portraits and other excellent
of representational scenes to Chinese ink
'me painting and virtually every form of "hard
wn edge" and "soft edge" abstract work.
le's Twenty-three sculptors work in wood,
ice stone, metal, clay or plaster.
lnd Silkscreen, lithography, etching, em-
'ith bossing, and woodblock printing, is
ing performed in the Factory in an amazing
vin range of styles. There are 25 printmakers.
ef a Thirty-eight fiber artists create original
,hed designs in weaving, macrame, lace-
m making, stitchery, soft-sculpture,
ie needlepoint, rya.rugs and batiks.
he There are even four musical instrument,
makers (violin and harpsichord), six
furniture makers or wood-workers, a toy
maker, four stained glass workers, six gold
and silver smiths, three photographers, a
lapidary, two blacksmiths, a foundry man
and two scrimshaw engravers (practicing
the ancient -art of sailors -decorating
The lapidary cuts beautiful but inex-
persive stones like agates that can be set
by the gold or silver smiths.
The variety of the work being created in
the Factory is almost mind-boggling and
the quality is generally quite high. Prices
for ceramic items, some fiber work (like
quilted items, macrame necklaces and
hand woven scarves), small stained glass
works, and unframed prints, sketches and
watercolors are often quite inexpensive.
Even large paintings and sculpture are
usually quite reasonable because the
purchase is, directly from the artist or from
one of the juried-show galleries.
Factory doors are open from 10a.m.-5
p.m. seven days a week, closing only on
Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and
Easter. Since individual artists have
different schedules for being in their
studios, however, visitors should come to
the Center a number of times to ap-
preciate its full scope. More artists are
generally in their studios on weekends
from'about 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
There is no admission charge for the
Center which is run on a self-supporting,
break-even basis by the City of Alexandria
as a Bicentennial experiment.
''-~- -E I
t .It takes great skill, hard work and a big mess to'reate a vase.
A Student Publication of the Alexandria Campus, Northern Virginia Community College
- - I _
POTOMAC NEWS, Friday, December 3, 191
Marian Van Landingham running a serigraph through the silk-screen hoto by Kip Seymour
Artists redo building
Old buildings have for
centuries fascinated artists
as intriguing subject matter
for their drawings and
paintings. Over the years -
artistic eyes have also looked
upon some of th'ese- old with Wi
structures as places to be
renovated as studios. It can Art League.
almost be predicted that any Most of the painting studios
group of artists will even- In the management ot me
tually come around to a Center, the Director is
discussion of locating an old assisted by the Torpedo
building which might be Factory Artists' Association,
converted into a meeting which as an advisory role and
place, gallery and maybe a provides much of the
classroom or working area. volunteer help.
Marian Van Lanigham, an The Torpedo Factory
Alexandria artist, and her contains over 100 studios with
associates in the Art League approximately 203 artists;
of Northern Virginia (now over half are painters and the
Art League, Inc.), had a remainder are sculptors,
dream of this sort in the potters, fiber artists and
sixties. In 1968 they rented printmakers, with a few
the first floor of a building on stained glass -'workers,
Cameron Street, expanded to jewelry makers and
the-second and third floors .photographers.
with- workshops and later to 'In money and labor, the
an additional building on studio artists have invested
Cameron Street. Their an-amount exceeding the
dreams could not be con- original appropriation by the
trained, for with each suc- City. The average con-
cessful venture came larger tribution made by each artist
plans and concepts and the was about $750 in cash and
realization that much more $250 in labor, for building
could be accomplished improvements. The at-
through joint planning and tractive graphic designs used
cooperation with -other throughout the building and
o ganizations. Th ayp
toe- Tpeds--Factory-Art-. were c: Anne-
nter on the waterfront of Duncan, assisted by Betty
Old Town Alexandria, which Seim, Nancy Sanford, Louise
attracts as many as 1,500 to prechtl, Barbara Romney
2,000 visitors a day on week- and numerous others.
ends, and smaller numbers In addition to the studios:
on week days. there are seven workshop and
The old.Torpedo Factory is four galleries, the latter
a structure which was ac- representing nearly 1,000-:
tually used as a torpedo artists. These galleries are:
factory in World Wars I and run by five non-profite
II. Later it became a Federal organizations: The Art
records storage center. I-i League, the Enamelist Guild
1974, .with the planning and of Washington, The Potomac
organization led by Marian Craftsmen and Scope
Van Langingham, part of the Gallery, jointly operated by.
building was turned into a the Washington Kiln Club and
lively art center. It is now in Ceramics.Guild of Bethesda.
its third year as a self- The galleries present juried
supporting, tourist attracting shows of works selected by
experiment. outside judges from entries
At the start $140,000 was submitted by artist mem-
appropriated by the City of be
Alexandria who owned the n art school, offering day
building, --for ,inal and evening classes for 350
renovation of th students, is operated by the
U and Jean-Heidorn
attracted national attention.
Its magnetism has even
produced interest on the part
of the Virginia Eighth
District Democratic Party to
press the National Inaugual
Committee to designate the
Torpedo Factory as one of the
locations for the 1977
are located on the second
floor allowing for privacy RIPPLES AND WAVES
when desired. Through large Woodbridge Art Guild's 6th
glass windows visitors are Annual Holiday Exhibit-
able to observe the artists Reception tonight 7-9 p.m.
working and may be invited Saturday 12-6 p.m., Sunday 1-
in by the artists when the 5 p.m., Northern Virginia
doors are opened. Community College
Potters, weavers and Smoketown Road, Lower
jewelry makers are located Level.
near the King Street doors on CORRECTION
the first floor. Dusty, noisy In Friday's column ART
sculptors are separated from CURRENTS, the item under
the rest by a floor to ceiling RIPPLES AND WAVES
wall. Exhaust fans are used should.have read:
in areas such as silk-screen At the Hirshhorn Museum
printing to remove and Sculpture Garden until
dangerous fumes. Jan. 2-Retrospective
As far as the future of the Exhibit of Hans Hofmann
Torpedo Factory Art Center (1880-1966), one of the, for-
is concerned, Marian Van most abstract expressionist
Laningham. sees it as "very painters and teachers in
favorable for the next three to. America; This German born
five years, although some artist's influence can be seen
change may take place." in contemporary American
The Torpedo Factory has art almost everywhere.
"- .. -
ART CENTER W
May 15, 1976
FROm: TORPEDO FACTORY ARTISTS ASSOCIATION
TO: OUR NEW MEMBERS
Welcome to the Torpedo Factory Art Center. In signing the lease
for studio space in the Center, you automatically become a member of
the Torpedo Factory Artists Association. This Association was formed
for the purpose of helping the Art Center and its members work to-
gether as a visitor-oriented point of interest in the city of Alexandria.
As a lease-signer, each member agrees to certain stipulations as
set forth in the 3y-Laws and House Rules (see enclosure). In return,
the artist gets good exposure for his or her work at minimum cost.
Most importantly, the artist also has the benefit of getting to know
many other artists with similar interests.
You may find the following information helpful in setting up
1. For your business license (required by the City), go to City
Hall, market Square entrance. The charge is330, renewed
annually, effective until cancelled.
2. The next step is to get a State Sales Tax Number. The office
is in Seven Corners (the building just beyond Lord & Taylors).
The charge is $5.00, or call Mr. Morris at 534-5791, 534-5796.
Both the City business license and the Sales Tax Number must be
prominently displayed in your studio.
3. The City has fire insurance and liability for public areas, but
you will need liability for your studio, and fire/theft coverage
if you wish.
4. Normal use of utilities is included in your studio rent but there
is a charge for unusual uses of electricity as for power tools,
wheels, kilns, etc. Let the Director know what equipment you have,
its amperage, and the hours used per week.
5. If you need bulbs (flourescent or incandescent) in your overhead
lights, contact the janitor.
6. Each studio should have a mailbox (which may be bought in the
Director's Office for $3.) for Artists Association mail, notices
from the Director and messages from visiting public. If you ex-
pect U.S. mail for your studio, ask for a mail slot at the
101 North Union Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314 (703) 836-8564
7. Interior studio improvements are at the artist's expense.
Check with the Director for white paint for the public
hallways outside your studio.
8. All studio renters have an obligation to volunteer, from
time to time, for projects to improve the appearance of public
areas. The entire interior of the Center has been painted by
9. If you have a problem regarding the physical facilities of
the building, please contact the Director's Office. For
problems relating to other artists, please talk to your
media representative or any member of the Artists Council.
10. Check with Anne Duncan, studio #28, to order lettering and
color-keyed paint for your door.
OFFICERS OF THE ARTISTS COUNCIL FOR THE TF ARTISTS ASSN: 1976-77
President Betty Seim 52 683-6767
Vice President Mary Ann Stevens 2 451-6591
Recording Sec'y. Ruth mcmullen 91 678-2260
Corres. Sec'y. Ellen Glasgow 103 941-9055
Treasurer Marge Alderson 7 569-9690
House Committee Pat Roberts 86 338-8461
Visitor Info Liz Emmett 13 839-4159
Communications Anne Duncan 28 549-7314
Projects&Programs Christine Parson m6 544-7625
,Jays & means Roddy McLean 66 256-0568
Painting Louise Prechtl 79 528-6935
Pottery Joyce Inderbitzen 17 941-7988
Printers Betty Kubalak 95 451-7069
Fibers Jean Thompson 22 292-9687
Sculptors Dick martin 46 521-1091
miscellaneous Charles Gros 9 532-0435
Betty Seim, President
Torpedo Factory Artists Association
Contract with Artists,
Torpedo Factory Art Cents
THIS AGREEMENT made this day of ,
19 by and between the City of Alexandria, a municipal corporation of Virginia
(hereinafter called City), and (hereinafter called
1. That the City, for and in consideration of the conditions and agreements
hereinafter set forth and the payment hereinafter reserved, hereby grants a bare
license authorizing said Licensee to use the space described as follows:
in the building known as the Torpedo Factory Art Center at the northeast corner of
King and North Union Streets, Alexandria, Virginia. Such license shall be held and
deemed a license merely and shall not constitute any interest or estate of land.
2. That said license hereby granted to Licensee shall be subject to said
Licensee paying to the City the sum of $ per month on the 15th
day of each month at the office of the City's Director of Finance (checks to be
payable to the City c' Alexandria, Virginia).
3. That Licensee shall use and occupy the premises for working at his art
or craft (at least eight hours a week, four hours during public visitation times,
three weeks vacation time excluded) as well as for the purpose of displaying,
selling or storing his art or craft work, but for no other purpose.
4. That licensee shall not display or sell art or craft work created by
persons other than said Licensee, nor shall said Licensee display or sell art or
craft work not created on the premises.
5. That Licensee may grant a license for the use of all or a portion of his
premises to a third party only with the prior written approval granted by the
Board of Directors of the Torpedo Factory Art Center and the City Manager of the
City of Alexandria, Virginia (herein referred to as City Manager).
6. That Licensee agrees to defend, indemnify and save harmless the City of
Alexandria from and against any and all claims, suits, damages, costs, losses and
expenses, of or by anyone whomsoever, in any manner resulting from, arising out of
or connected with said license or the Licensee's use of the premises the subject
of this license.
7. That said license hereby granted shall be revocable and terminated at
any time by either the City, in the sole discretion of the City Manager, or by
the Licensee upon giving thirty (30) days notice in writing.
8. That Licensee agrees to keep the premises and fixtures in good order
and condition and will, at the expiration or other termination of the license,
surrender and deliver up the same in like good order and condition, ordinary wear
and tear, and damage by the elements, fire, and other casualty not due to the
negligence of Licensee, excepted.
9. That the City assumes no liability whatever with respect to the conduct
of Licensee on the premises nor for any loss or damage to personal property or goods of
Licensee or of anyone in or about the premises.
10. That Licensee agrees to observe and comply with such reasonable regulations
as the City Manager may from time to time prescribe on written notice to the Licensee
for the safety, care and cleanliness of the premises, and the comfort and convenience
of other Licensees in the building.
11. It is expressly agreed by the Licensee that if the payment herein reserved
in Paragraph 2 of this license shall be upaid for ten (10) days after becoming
payable, whether formally demanded or not, or if any provision of this license,
or regulation prescribed pursuant to this license, on the Licensee's part shall not
be performed or observed, then it shall be lawful for the City Manager or his
authorized representative to re-enter upon the premises, and thereupon this
License shall terminate. No waiver by the City of any provision of this License,
or any regulation prescribed pursuant to this license, shall be a waiver of any
succeeding breach of the same provision or regulation.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties herein have affixed their signatures and
seals the day and year first above written.
CITY OF ALEXANDRIA, a municipal corporation
CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS
For the Torpedo Factory Art Association
The name of the organization shall be the Torpedo Factory Art Association
herinafter referred to as the Association.
The purpose of the Association shall be:
a) To represent the common interests of tenants of the Torpedo Factory
Art Center, herinafter referred to as the Center,
b) To assist and advise the city-appointed Director of the Center in its
c) To foster the aims of public education in the arts.
Each lease holder within the Center, to include each separate gallery and
the Art League Workshops, shall be a menimer of the Association and entitled
to one vote in all matters of common interest. Individuals who partici-
pate in activities of the Center but are not lease holders shall be known
as Friends of the Torpedo Factory. These Friends may have no vote at gen-
eral meetings nor may they hold elective office. They may serve on non-
policy making committees.
The Association shall be governed by an Ar:;ists Council, herinafter re-
ferred to as the Council, which shall be empowered to represent the Asso-
,ciation in its dealings with the City of Alexandria's representative, other
entities, and individuals. The Council shEl. consist of the officers of
the Association, one representative from each tenant gallery and the Art
League Workshop, and one representative front each discipline: painting,
sculpture, fibers, ceramics, print-making, plus one representative for the
remaining miscellaneous media.
The Officers of the Association shall include a president, a vice presider.-
a recording secretary, a corresponding secretary, a treasurer and the
chairmen of such standing committees as are indicated in the by-laws of
this constitution. All such officers shall be elected by the membership.
Liabilities and Assets
A member shall not be individually liable for Association debts and fin-
ancial obligations, No part of the assets of the Association shall accrue
to the benefit of a particular m:aber.
Duties' and Responsibilities
A. The Art Center has been set up on a three-year-trial basis non com-
petitive with local merchants, The City'of Alexandria is responsible
for maintenance of the Torpedo Factory building, particularly the public
B. The Director acts as rental agent for the City for studio space and
uses for each jurying different non-member qualified art critics and/or
specialized jurors to select artists to fill vacant space. The Directorr
is the liaison between the Association and the City.-,;,i
C. The City-appointed graphics designer shall be in charge of coord~,~naton
an i su pervising the- design- n production "f all signs and.graphics in
public areas, and also the design of official publications. The in-
d dividual lessee is responsible for costs of graphics related to his or
her own studio.
D. The Association is responsible to the Director in all matters pertaining
to safety, maintenance and rentals.
E. The Council shall exercise authority for the business of the Association
between general meetings.
F. Members shall abide by the rules of the Association and may address sug-
:testia~ts and grievances or questions in writing at any time to the
appropriate committee chairman or the President..
G. When disputes are submitted to the Council for arbitration, the Council
may recommend solutions, .
H. The President 'is -the principal office; o:f the Association and shall pre-
side at all general meetings. The President shall appoint the Nominat-
.ing Committee with the approval'of the- Council and fill vacancies On the
Council that occur between-aninualelecti.ons ..
I. The Vice-President shall maintain a current membership roster.and shbll
asstim-the duties of the Presideft.in the absence of-the President,
J. The Recording Secretary shall keep accurate records of the meetings and
proceedings of the Association.
K. The Corresponding Secretary shall issue notices of meetings and shall
conduct the correspondence of the Association.
L. The Treasurer shall be responsible for the safekeeping of the Association
funds and for maintaining adequate financial records. A petty cash ac-
count shall be maintained by the Treasur.er for incidental expenses. All
other expenditures shall be authorized by the Council. The Treasurer's
books shall be open to members at any reasonable time.
A. There shall be five Standing Committees with elected chairmen. Other
committees may be appointed by the Council. Appointed committee mem-
bers shall be chosen so as to provide a representative cross-section of
Sthe Association members.
B. The House Committee shall ic;ist of thrJe re.b'ers :nclu^.i g the elected
Chairman. The other two members shall be appointed by the Chairman w3"
approval of the Council. The House Committee shall report infractions
of house rules to the Council and notify the Director of maintenance
problems. It shall keep artists informed on the City building code,
fire code and safety regulations as reported by the:'Director. It shall
see that each member is provided a copy of the current House Rules,
C, The Visitors Information Committee shall consist of three members in-
cluding the elected Chairman. The other two members shall be appointed
by the Chairman with approval of the Council. The Visitor Information
Committee shall be responsible for operating the Tourist Infromation d~- k
D, The Communications Committee shall consist of three members including
the elected chairman. .The two other members shall be appointed by the
Chairman with approval of the Council. The Communications Committee
shall be responsible for publication of the TARGET and special notice
as needed. It will also be responsible for the artists' bulletin board.
E. The Projects and Prggrams Committee shall consist of three members in-
cluding the. elected Chairman, The two other members shall be appointed
by the Chairman with approval of the Council. The Projects and Programs
Committee shall be responsible for Special projects and programs.
F-. The Ways and Means Committee shall consist of three members including
the elected Chairman. The two other members shall be appointed by the
SChairman with .approval of thee council,. The Ways and Means Committee
shall be responsible for grant solicitation. and for work .in connection
with special projects.
A. General meetings of the Association shall be held at least once every
sixty days, Members must be notified of meetings at lease one week 4-
advance. One sixth.of the total membership of the Association con-
stitutes a quorum at a general or special meeting.
B, All items to be:-~onsidered by the membership must be submitted ,in writ-
Sing to the Recording Secretary and posted on the Artists' Bulletin Board
'at least threeidays-prior to scheduled meetings.
C. The Secretary will read the minutes at each meeting.
D. Committees will report at the meeting,
E. At the discretion of. the.presiding off cer items not on the agenda may
be discussed at the end of the meeting,
F. The President shall convene a special meetingng for a specific purpose at
any other time whenever:
a) a petition signed by twenty-five o.i more members requests it,
b) the Council requests it,
c) theCity requests it.
A petition or request for a Special Meeting shall indicate the reaRso
for the meeting.
G. The Council shall meet at its convenience and when it deems it necessary
to conduct the Association business, or at the call of the President.
A. The Constitution or By-Laws may be amended at a general meeting by a
two-thirds vote of those voting, provided a quorum is present. Pro-
posed amendments may be recommended by the Council or by petition of
twenty-five or more members and must represented to the membership at
two consecutive general meetings, the vote to be taken at the second.
A copy of proposed amendments must be sent to all members at least tht3..
weeks prior to the first presentation to the members.
B. House Rules may be changed or adjusted as necessary by the Council with
agreement of the Director.
As I explained at the general meeting of the Artists
Association Sunday, April 25, I need some information from all
of you about sales volumes for last year. 'This information may
le given anonymously because I do not want to pry.into your.
private financial matters. The purpose is to provide answers
t"O- businessmen or politicians who have inaccurate sancep ts
of income from the arts.
Based on your last ygar's tax records, please ':heck,on`'
of the following:
1. y art income last year did noPt pay my studio rent.
2. M. My art income just paid my studio rents
3. My art income paid my studio rent plus art supplies
4. My art income paid my studio rent, supplies and
contributed a modest profit.
5. I was able to live off my art income.
Please return to the Director's Office as soon as possible.
Maria- Van Landingham
101 North Union Street, Axndria, Virgina 22314 (703)836-8564
AS YOU MIGHT EXPECT, TRASH REMOVAL FROM THE FACTORY IS A MASSIVE,
EVERYDAY JOB. OUR BUILDING WILL LOOK NEATER AND THE CUSTODIAN'S
JOB WILL BE MORE REASONABLE IF YOU WILL OBSERVE THE FOLLOWING RULESs
1. If you produce an unusual amount of trash due to general
housecleaning, construction, etc., please buy some trash bags
and bag your junk rather than just throw it in one of the carts.
It is very difficult for anyone to empty loose garbage from the
canvas cart into the dumpster.
2. If you have flammable rags please bag these and take to dumpster
yourself before leaving the Factory for the day.
3. Don't dump food scraps into open cans or the rodent, bug situa-
tion is going to get much worse.
4. Rather than empty your studio trash into the public hall cans,
filling same, leave your studio can outside your door and the
custodian will empty before the day is over.
5. Don't put heavy metal items out for trash pickup because the
City garbage truck will not remove. Special removal is
possible by calling 751-5130.
Marian Van Landingham
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