Sunday, June 15, 2014

A visit to Alexandria's Torpedo Factory Art Center

The Torpedo Factory Art Center is nestled along the Potomac River in Alexandria, Va. It's an interesting building and is filled with 20th-century history.  Visitors can explore both art and history as they tour this facility.

Today the facility serves as an art center that boasts 82 artist studios, a number of art galleries, and the Art League School. There is also an archeology museum upstairs. However, the building truly did once serve as a torpedo factory, hence its name. Originally built in 1918, this site was the location of many torpedoes which were developed for the Second World War.

Torpedo Factory Art Center

After the war, the building torpedo production ceased and the building sat empty. Eventually, it was used as a storage facility for the Smithsonian, to hold Congressional papers and other U.S. government-related records.

In 1969 the building was sold to the City of Alexandria and a plan was formulated to revamp the buildings. In the early to mid-1970s the former factory was renovated to house art studios and support the art community. Over the years this has thrived and you see the bustling center that thrives today.

Visitors can also see torpedoes that were manufactured on site in the center to reflect the building's rich history as an active factory.

Interior of the Torpedo Factory Art Center

Torpedo at the Torpedo Factory Art Center

The individual art studios are open to the public and most artists are happy to talk to visitors who enter their space. There are three floors for visitors to browse through and there are all kinds of art to view; you'll see traditional painting and drawing, print work, ceramics, jewelry, glasswork, and more. If you're shopping for a gift for an art enthusiast, this may be the perfect destination to find what you're looking for.

Interior of the Torpedo Factory Art Center

The Torpedo Factory Art Center's prime location on the waterfront makes a visit a nice outing. There's a calendar of events and admission to the building is free to the public. The building's hours are 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. every day, except Thursdays, when hours are extended to 9 p.m. Keep in mind, individual art studio hours may vary.

Located at 105 North Union St. in Alexandria, the Torpedo Factory Art Center is a great place to stop in and spend a few hours during a visit to Alexandria or the Washington D.C. area. From D.C., it's just a Metro ride away (along with a free Trolley to bring you down to Old Town). While in Old Town, there are also many other interesting things to see and do.

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