The Torpedo Factory, on the water in Old Town Alexandria next to Founder’s Park, is pretty cool. Where else can a community of artists turn an old factory into a giant showing room/studio/classroom all in one?
DC does have a convenient convergence of art, culture, energy and history to help make this happen. But of course it also takes determined people who can make something out of nothing.
The waterfront building was, you guessed it, a torpedo factory during World Wars I and II. After its supplies were no longer needed, the building fell vacant until an industrious citizen opened the building as an art center. With its open spaces and ample natural light, the building is perfect for the classes, studios and galleries it houses.
The Torpedo Factory is free and open daily from 10:00 to 6:00. After walking into the cavernous entryway, visitors can peek into artists’ stalls, where many artists sit working on their next creation–there are oils, acrylics, watercolors, pottery, woodcuts, sculpture, papier mache and gum art. They are surprisingly happy to talk to visitors and explain their process.
The second Thursday of every month the building stays open until 9:00 for an open house, with more artists and of course, refreshments.
The Torpedo Factory is a nice respite from the galleries of DC. Most everything is for sale and, like the Artomatic, you have to shop around to find something you really love.