16 July, 2015

Why You Should Visit the Torpedo Factory Art Center

Alexandria, Virginia is a special place.You’ll find  top-notch restaurants, and King Street is teeming with unique boutiques. You can get in a great workout and the city’s art scene is vibrant and thriving. And the brightest star on the scene is, without a doubt, The Torpedo Factory. The hallowed halls of this former weapons factory are the home of many creative, innovative artists. More than 500,000 visitors visit this museum annually, and that many people can’t be wrong, right? Here’s what you need to know about this impressive space.


Get Swept Up in the History


The building was constructed in 1918 as a U.S. Naval Torpedo Station. For five years, the building served as an actual torpedo factory and then functioned as a munitions storage facility before ramping up production on torpedoes again at the start of World War II. The building today pays homage to its storied history with a bright green torpedo that was made in the building in 1945 displayed in the lobby. Interesting fact: the green color was to make it easier for the Navy to spot the torpedo under the water.

Following the war, the building was used, according to their website, for keeping “Congressional documents, valuable dinosaur bones, art objects from the Smithsonian, and German war films and records were stored in sealed vaults.” In 1969, the City of Alexandria purchased the building from the government. The City of Alexandria accepted a proposal to turn the space into artist studios, and construction started in May of 1974. After a staggering 40 truckloads of debris were removed and the building was rehabbed, the space opened to the public in September of 1974. Today, more than 165 artists call the Torpedo Factory home.


Interesting Fiberworks


One true highlight of the Torpedo Factory is that it’s filled with fiberworks. What exactly are fiberworks? They are wearable pieces of art. If you’re searching for some truly one-of-kind pieces to wear, you’ll find them here crafted out of silk, paper, leather, wool, cotton, and recycled materials. You’ll find scarves, rain jackets, and even dresses that can really spice up your wardrobe. We’re particularly fond of this stunning neck decor featuring oversized roses—something Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw would have worn.


The Amazing Enamelist Gallery


Located on the ground floor of the Torpedo Factory, the Enamelist Gallery was one of the founding galleries. You’ll be amazed by the glass fired into enamel paintings, sculpture, jewelry, bowls and boxes in this studio. Personally, we’re crazy about this stunning plate and this charming necklace. And we have a feeling you will be too.


To find out how you can live in a luxury apartment close to all that Alexandria has to offer, contact us.


Image: Photo by JPG Photography / Courtesy of Torpedo Factory Art Center

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