Tag Archives: Featured

Holiday Festival

On Alexandria’s most festive weekend of the year, the Torpedo Factory joins the merriment with its annual Holiday Festival. The Torpedo Factory will be the afternoon destination for visitors after the 46th Annual Scottish Christmas Walk Parade and before the 25th Annual Holiday Boat Parade of Lights on the Potomac, which floats past the Torpedo Factory’s riverfront entrance.

More than 150 artists of the Torpedo Factory Artists’ Association share sweet treats in their studios for shoppers who want to buy gifts of art this year. Handmade jewelry and ornaments, original ceramics, family portraits, couture fashions, and other original works will be available for purchase.

The afternoon will also feature a children’s scavenger hunt, live music with the Alexandria Choral Society and Braddock Brass Quintet, and a visit from Santa. Several giveaways will occur during the festival, including coupons from a number of artists.

Festivities run 2 – 6 pm, but the doors stay open until 9 pm to welcome visitors in from the waterfront.

 Schedule of Events

  • 2:30 pm: Alexandria Choral Society performance I
  • 3 pm: Santa Claus arrives by boat at the start of the Holiday Boat Parade of Lights
  • 3:15 pm: Braddock Brass performance I
  • 4 pm: Alexandria Choral Society performance II
  • 5 pm: Braddock Brass performance II
  • 9 pm: Doors close

Shop Local, Buy Handmade

In 2014, Alexandria was estimated to be home to nearly five time the national average for creative business (Americans for the Arts), thanks in large part to the Torpedo Factory Art Center, which is home to the nation’s largest community of publicly accessible artists’ studios under one roof.

All of the artists in the Torpedo Factory Art Center are also independent small-business owners. Not only do they help to shape the distinctive creative personality of Old Town Alexandria, but on average, dollars spent at local businesses return three times more money to the local economy compared to a chain. (Civic Economics)

Material as Medium

Public Reception: Thursday, December 8 • 6 – 8 pm • Juror Talk at 7 pm

From a pelt made of keys to a concrete tube lined with shag carpet, the new exhibition in Target Gallery, the contemporary exhibition space for the Torpedo Factory Art Center, turns an eye toward the future of textile art. Material as Medium is on view Saturday, December 3, 2016, through Sunday, January 15, 2017.

This exhibition stretches between two poles. Artists were asked to create traditional work with unconventional materials, such as with Kathleen Kennedy’s Pelt, made with found keys and chainmail. Alternately, they could use orthodox materials in a new context, such as in Diana Baumbach’s Meditation on White IX, which uses cotton reclaimed from baby clothes, lace edging, and other ephemera to create her monotone image. The result is a gallery full of fiber art, textiles, and soft sculpture that incorporate a diversity of media, including some less traditional ones, such as glitter, plastic, chainmail, and pig intestines.

“In this body of work, planes are permeable, texture is also structure, and borders are fringy,” said Aaron McIntosh, juror for the exhibition and assistant professor in Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Craft/Material Studies. “The opportunity to organize such a wide range of works has been a special opportunity to engage further with the interdisciplinary of fiber and the pliable plane.”

Though the exhibition looks to the future of textile work, McIntosh selected work that was in conversation with the art-historical influences like cubism, surrealism, dada, abstract expressionism, color field, and minimalism. “This nebulous field of fiber and materials-based making has become an anti-territorial medium. Makers ground their practice in using the soft, the flexible, the structured, the portable, and the social towards artistic ends.”

“Fiber and textiles aren’t usually considered as high art,” said Leslie Mounaime, director of the Target Gallery. “We organized this exhibition because there is a growing trend of artists who have been challenging this, just by using materials as their media. They are pushing the boundary on the very idea of what is art. We hope this show sparks local conversation about this conversation in contemporary art.”

The participating artists are:

Material as Medium runs Saturday, December 3, 2016 through Sunday, January 15, 2017. The public reception will be Second Thursday, December 8, 6 – 8 pm, with McIntosh’s comments at 7 pm. The Target Gallery is open daily from 10 – 6 pm and until 9 pm on Thursdays.

About the Juror

Aaron McIntosh is a fourth generation quiltmaker and cross-disciplinary artist whose work mines the intersections of material culture, family tradition, desire, and identity politics. His works include quilts, sculpture, collage, photography, and writing. McIntosh received his bachelor’s of fine arts from the Appalachian Center for Craft and his master’s of fine arts from Virginia Commonwealth University. He has exhibited work widely throughout the United States and his critical writing has appeared in the Brooklyn Rail, Hyperallergic and Sculpture magazine. McIntosh is a recipient of two Windgate Fellowships and a Maryland State Arts Council Grant, as well as residencies at Haystack Mountain School of Craft and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. McIntosh has taught in the Fiber Department at the Maryland Institute College of Art and at James Madison University. He currently lives and works in Richmond, Virginia, where he is an assistant professor and Fiber Area Head in VCU’s Department of Craft/Material Studies.




Connecting the Dots: The DMV

*Due to popular demand, this exhibition is extended through January 31*

In the New Project Studio, The HRCHY CIA + Merimart present an exhibition of up-and-coming artists from the metropolitan area.

Connecting the Dots is a hyper-intimate, yet eccentric show. Using the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s train line structure as inspiration, artists are exhibited via Metro stops and state lines, highlighting the unique experience and identities of being a young artist living in the DMV (DC/Maryland/Virginia).

The project serves an an incubator for local artisans, influencers, and creatives to network, create, brainstorm, and share ideas.

Participating artists

Rockeats Alcoreza  ●  Maurice Andrades  ●  Jarell Brodgins  ●  Aisha Jemila Daniels  ●  Santiago Cursi Fletcher  ●  Lloyd Foster  ●  Mignon Hemsley  ●  Jamon Jackson  ●  Daniel Katz-Hernandez  ●  Nia Keturah  ●  Keyhan Lee  ●  Sana Manejwala  ●  Constantine Mihailidis  ●  Conrado Muluc  ●  Paulette Palacios  ●  Marc Pekala  ●  Isa Plz  ●  Merima Repesa  ●  Ania Sinuik  ●  Dani Smith  ●  Sloane Tucker  ●  Kevin Wilson  ●  Jordann Wine  ●  Hillary Wright

Opening Reception and Party

Saturday, December 10
8 pm – midnight

This after-hours event will bring people together for a night of art, music, and inspiration in celebration of DMV art and artists.

The night connects the new/old, established/emerging, classic/contemporary. Enjoy surprise guests and pop-up performances to keep the night engaging and enlightening.


Closing Reception and Conversation

Friday, January 27
7 pm – 9 pm

Join us after-hours to celebrate the growing diversity of the arts in both Alexandria and the greater DMV (DC/Maryland/Virginia).

What is the role of the DMV artist in 2017? How can artists and art supporters embrace both the heritage that inspires this region and the future that awaits? Join us as The HRCHY CIA + Merimart open a conversation on the state of the current art scene in the DMV, along with thoughts and ideas by several of the Connecting the Dots participating artists. The exhibition may be ending, but the ideas carry on.


Veterans Comedy Show with Armed Services Arts Partnership (ASAP)

asap-horizontalThe Torpedo Factory Art Center and Armed Services Arts Partnership (ASAP) hosts a special comedy show featuring veterans, service members, and military family members from the DC Metro Area. The event will provide a platform for veteran artists to showcase their talents, express themselves, and have their voices heard in front of members of the local community. This is an opportunity for the civilian and military world to connect through comedy, dispel stereotypes and misnomers, and engage in an honest dialogue about the veteran, military, and human experience.

Tickets: General admission tickets are $15 online and $20 at the door. Eighty percent of the proceeds from ticket sales will directly support ASAP’s programming.

Buy Tickets

logoAbout the Armed Services Arts Partnership: The Armed Services Arts Partnership (ASAP) empowers veterans, service members, and military family members to re-enter and thrive in their communities through classes, performances, and partnerships in the arts. ASAP focuses on promoting artistic expression and skill development in supportive, six- to twelve-week classes in stand-up comedy, improv, creative writing, and music. Thereafter, ASAP partners with local colleges and arts organizations to provide its graduates with continuous opportunities for artistic and personal growth. In the process, ASAP’s programs can improve well-being among participants, allow them to develop a renewed sense of identity and purpose, and bridge divides by connecting veterans and local communities through the arts. To learn more visit asapasap.org.

About the Torpedo Factory’s Community Partnership Program: The Torpedo Factory Art Center regularly co-presents programs with outside groups to bring new artists, works, and disciplines to our visitors. Recent partnerships have included Eames Armstrong, Heloisa Escudero, ReelAbilities Film Festival, AIA Northern Virginia, USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore, Nomadic Jazz, DC Public Opera, Underground Kitchen, Alexandria Choral Society, and Alexandria Symphony Orchestra.

Second Thursday Art Night: Honoring Our Veterans

Enjoy an special after-hours event at the Torpedo Factory Art Center every month. Browse open studios and galleries, interact with artists, and enjoy special programming. Stop by on your way to dinner and make an evening of it!

Join us in November as we honor America’s veterans and those who have supported them over the generations.

Afterward, stop by the Potomac Riverfront to see El Galéon Andalucia, a replica of a 16th century Spanish Galleon that will be docked behind the Torpedo Factory for the weekend.

Honor Our Veterans

  • Drinks in the Main Hall are provided by Vermilion Restaurant & Bar and Neighborhood Restaurant Group, in support of Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food & Agriculture’s Veteran Farmer Program. All proceeds and donations at the bar will go to benefit the program’s mission of training and equipping military veterans to meet the growing needs of our nation’s agriculture field.
  • Main Hall: USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore partners with the Torpedo Factory Art Center to feature a series of works in the main hall by USO’s vibrant community of veterans.
  • Studio 8: In the New Project Studio, see ceramic and bladesmithing work created by injured military personnel as part of The Art League’s IMPart Program.
  • Studio 12: Post-Graduate Resident Jihee Kang guides visitors to cut and color miniature fold-up Army hats.
  • Studio 327: The Alexandria Archaeology Museum will have on view the list of men and women from Alexandria who served or supported the military during The Great War. Then, visitors can create WWI-style dog tags or a red poppy.
  • 3rd Floor Landing: Create Navy-themed stitchings on recycled fabric with members of the Torpedo Factory Artists’ Association.
  • Preview Andy Yoder’s Highest Honor project. Read about how he converted military hospital gowns into paper for this three-story banner, which celebrates the Torpedo Factory’s wartime legacy.

Gallery Receptions

  • Studio 2: Target Gallery hosts the exhibition for the 2016 Post-Graduate Residents and formally announces the names of the 2017 artists.
    • 7 pm: Artist talk and presentation
  • Studio 21: The Art League hosts openings for MiniMax,  The Artistic Frame, and Soomin Ham: Sound of Butterfly.
    • 7:30 pm: Gallery talk and awards
  • Studio 325: Printmakers Inc. hosts an opening for MerCreatures and Fairy Tales.
  • Sites 2 & 3: Students from Marsha Staiger’s abstract painting class are on view in Emerge.
    • 6:30 pm: Artist talk and presentation

Live Music

  • 6 pm; 8:15 pm: The Improbables perform an eclectic selection of original songs and covers including folk, country, bluegrass, and pop.

Art on Tap

Craft beers from local breweries have been artfully paired with a work of art from an Art League instructor. Local restaurants have chosen a brew/artwork coupling to serve as their muse to create the perfect complementary appetizer. Enjoy the brew, bite, and artwork trifectas on Friday, November 4 from 7:00 to 10:00 pm at The Art League’s third Art on Tap event.

Sample the creative combinations while drinking from a take-home Art on Tap beer tasting glass, and then vote for your favorite at the end of the event!

2016 Post-Graduate Residency Exhibition

Public Reception: Thursday, November 10 • 6-8 pm • Gallery talk at 7 pm

Now in its second year, the Torpedo Factory Art Center’s Post-Graduate Residency Program is the subject of Target Gallery’s newest exhibition. Target will feature the work of the four residents in a group exhibition, Saturday, October 22 – Sunday, November 27, 2016.

The Torpedo Factory Post-Graduate Master’s of Fine Arts Residency is a competitive program, housed in Studio 12, where four emerging artists had an opportunity to create and sell work, interact with the public, and network with other working artists.

“With this program, we are inviting emerging artists into our space and providing them with practical resources and professional development opportunities in that critical period shortly after graduation,” said Leslie Mounaime, director of Target Gallery. “This culminating exhibition offers an exploration of the work they completed during their time here.”

The 2016 artists are: Paulette PalaciosAnne SmithDanielle Smith, and Jihee Kang.

Paulette Palacios’ prints are often her own her self-portrait. She turns her own visage into a pattern to be repeated over and over again. Regardless of how painstakingly designed and crafted it is, her portrait becomes a background object. Looking at it too long begins to wipe it of its meaning. It is not driven by narcissism, but more as an attempt to understand her own existence. To her, a face is a pattern in itself, as well as an object in the pattern of humanity. At the end of the day, it just becomes a beautiful object. Considering it from this perspective gives it new breath.

Anne Smith’s Potomac Prints series developed over the course of her spring residency at the Torpedo Factory, from April to June. Inspired by Torpedo Factory’s location on the Potomac River, Smith observed the conditions on the river each day before returning to the studio to make a small edition of silkscreen prints to represent what she saw. The result was 36 different print editions in the entire series. Though the images are all monoprints–one-of-a-kind–each individual print is part of a “variable edition” of five to sixteen similar prints made on the same day. Each print is titled with the name of the series and the date on which it was made.

Danielle Smith’s work is both a template and a self-portrait. It is a guide to examine select facets of blackness as she discovers new boundaries of her identity and the social arenas it occupies. The space she explores through painting, installation, and writing is the feeling of being neither here nor there, belonging but displaced, being black, being white, French Creole, female, a fetish, a threat, a dream, a reality, an ideal, a hybrid, a sellout, suburban, the little yellow girl, high yellow, whitewashed, minority, mixed, a mimic. Her paintings investigate what characterizes the transparency or opacity of labels, and where meaning is situated within the intersection of gender, race, class, and medium.

Jihee Kang creates her surreal sculptures with a variety of materials and processes, but consistently returns to the themes of identity, shelter, and life. Originally from South Korea, she continues to express her ever-changing identity through her work, using it as a conduit for her memories, ideas, and thoughts. Her creations, though labor-intensive, are playful and offbeat, often incorporating irrational juxtapositions of ideas as well as media. Her current series is focused on objects with goose feet attached to them. One called Scuba Diaper is an 11-foot soft sculpture that is a play on the term “scuba diver.” Incorporating this visual puns, in such an absurd yet memorable way, grabs the viewers’ attention and paves a way for Kang to convey her history and experience to her audience.

 About the Artists

Paulette Palacios earned her master’s of fine art from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. She received her bachelor’s of fine art as well as a master’s of art in teaching Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington, D.C. Palacios has shown her work in and around the D.C. region at locations like Pyramid Atlantic, Washington Print Makers Gallery, Carol Square, and Hillyer Art Space. She predominately works in printmaking and alternative processes.

Anne Smith is an artist and teacher based in Washington, D.C. Smith received her MFA from George Mason University, where she was honored with the 2015 School of Art Graduate Award for Academic and Artistic Excellence. She received a BA in Studio Art from Williams College, Williamstown, MA, in 2007. Smith has also studied woodworking at the Penland School of Crafts in Baskersville, NC. She is currently a teaching artist with the National Gallery of Art.

Danielle Smith is a Washington, D.C.-based painter and writer, originally from Monterey, California. She received her BFA from the California College of the Arts in San Francisco and graduated from the MFA Studio Art Program at the George Washington University in 2016. Dani has traveled to China and Australia to participate in artist residencies and her work has been featured in the Franklin Furnace artists’ book series.

Jihee Kang was born in South Korea and currently lives and works in Washington, D.C. She completed a BFA with distinction at the Corcoran Gallery of Art and Design in 2013. She graduated from the master’s of fine arts program at American University in 2016. Kang works predominantly in sculpture and her work crosses media including installation, painting, drawing, and printmaking.

Second Thursday Art Night: Day of the Dead

Enjoy a special after-hours event at the Torpedo Factory Art Center every month. Browse open studios and galleries, interact with artists, and enjoy special programming. Stop by on your way to dinner and make an evening of it!

Join us in October for a special night celebrating Día de los Muertos, Day of the Dead.

Also: Don’t miss these ongoing exhibitions!

21st Annual Art Safari

An Alexandria tradition for more than two decades, Art Safari returns for a day of hands-on activities for kids and families. Dozens of artists lead budding arts enthusiasts in 12 hands-on projects from plein air painting to silkscreen printing. Get messy constructing a giant papier-mâché tiger or squishing clay between your fingers. The Art League and the Alexandria Archaeological Museum will offer even more engaging programming.

Children should wear clothing that can get a little dirty. Most activities are appropriate for kindergarten age, with parental supervision, through middle school.

List of Activities

  • Potomac Riverfront – Plein Air Tiny Paintings – Led by the Torpedo Factory Artists Association
    Painters from the Torpedo Factory Art Center sit with visitors along the riverfront and create miniature paintings together while enjoying the fall weather.
  • Union and Cameron Street Alley – Relief Printing – Led by the Mobile Art Lab
    Children can check out Alexandria’s one-of-a-kind art truck while making colorful prints.
  • 1st Floor Hallway – Giant Papier-Mâché Tiger – Led by Lisa Schumaier
    In only four hours, children use simple paper and paste to transform a wire frame into a new sculpture. Many of Schumaier’s previous Art Safari sculptures, such as the iconic camel, are on view in the first floor throughout the year.
  • Studio 16 – Bottlecap Necklaces – Led by UpCycle Creative Reuse Center
    Bottlecaps are transformed into sparkling necklaces with the help of sequins and glitter glue.
  • Studio 21 – Gallery scavenger hunt – Led by The Art League Gallery
    This year, The Art League’s scavenger hunt explores the exhibition Op-Ed. Each completed scavenger hunt can be shown at the gallery desk to receive a special prize.
  • Studio 22 – Clay Experience – Led by Susan Greenleaf
    Children play and experiment with a piece of wet clay to mold and shape into any form they can imagine. Potters will demonstrate their technique for throwing clay on a pottery wheel.
  • Studio 29 – Fiber collage – Led by Potomac Fiber Arts Gallery
    Artists help children create a dynamic image using bits of fabric and fiber.
  • 2nd Floor Hall – Easel stations – Led by Christine Cardellino
    With acrylic paint and paper, children paint anything they can imagine at the open easel stations located along the 2nd floor.
  • 2nd Floor Catwalk – Community Weaving Project – Led by Hannah Elmer
    By weaving strips of fabric through the crisscrossed wires along the 2nd floor railings, visitors create a beautiful design that will take form through the course of the afternoon.
  • 3rd Floor Hall – Coloring Tables – Led by the TFAA Community Outreach Committee
    Torpedo Factory artists created black and white line drawings for children to embellish with color.
  • Studio 325 – Silk screen printing – Led by Patrick Sargent
    Children progress through four different color stations to create their own full-color silk-screen image.
  • Studio 327 – Potter’s Art – Alexandria Archaeology Museum
    The Alexandria Archaeology Museum will have a selection of china and pottery from their collection on view. Children create their own sketches and learn to identify 19th-century Alexandria potters from the designs on stoneware pottery.

Workshop: StorySpaces and Visual BioScapes

Post-Graduate resident, Danielle Smith, conducts a series of free writing and painting workshops designed for girls aged 8-16. The goal is to provide a space for girls to discuss aspects of society that affects their lives directly while channeling their emotions–both positive and negative–into artistic processes.

Workshops will run for one hour in the Post Graduate Studio (Studio 12) at the Torpedo Factory, and are two parts: a writing exercise and a painting exercise, followed by a discussion.

RSVPs are encouraged to ensure participation.

  • September 17 and 18 will be part of the King Street Art Festival.
  • September 24 and 25 will have a special focus in honor of the opening of the Smithsonian African American Museum.

Choose Your Dates