Torpedo Factory Art Center is excited to welcome new and returning artists this fall 2022




This new annual process demonstrates the City’s commitment to the arts and maintaining the building as an Art Center with the highest quality artists at its heart.

Torpedo Factory Art Center aims to be a 21st-century, leading arts institution with a broad and deep connection to Alexandria residents, visitors, and regional artists built on equity and high performance with a curated building of artists. View the Vibrancy Initiative.

78 artists applied in 63 applications. 24 artists in 20 applications received a studio. 34 became an Artist Pro Tem, eligible to sublease, be on the Art Center’s website, take part in programing, and may obtain a studio should one become available (based on ranking).

Learn about the exhibition of new and returning artists at Principle Gallery, on view August 5 – 21, 2022. 


  • 41% of applicants identified as a BIPOC. Of those 38% received studios.
  • 62% of applicants identified as a woman. Of those 58% received studios.
  • 17% of applicants identified as LGBTQ. Of those 19% received studios.
  • Additional background may also be found in the 2022 Jury Report.

Interested in applying next year? Learn more here.

New and Returning Resident Artists

Courtney Kolker, “White Lotus Collection No.1”, Acrylic, Spray Paint, and Liquitex on Canvas, 36” x 24”, 2021

Starting November 2022

“In the film, A Beautiful Mind, mathematician John Nash discovers what would later be called the Nash Equilibrium while looking at a group of women at a bar. Nash is able to isolate them as they seemingly come towards him, a kind of tunnel vision in which the answers surface as he realizes his vision. This example captures how my brain works as an abstract artist. Whether the inspiration for a piece is an image or a moment in real-time, the subject matter itself fades away as color arrangements begin to surface towards me. They become the subject matter and my goal is to bring these colors to life in a totally different way, revealing a new perspective and/or emotion. As an abstract artist, focusing the majority of my work on commission pieces, themes/subject matters are usually dictated by the client. However, it’s my use of color and structure that continue to tie together my variety of work. While color has remained of utmost importance, my styles have matured and become more focused, as have my palettes. My intention with my work continues to be, connection and emotion, which in turn, are my goals for the viewer and their experience.”






Ruth Gowell, “Striped Series, 10 x 15, #6”, Kiln formed glass and Woven fiber, 10”w x15”h x 1”d, 2021


RHEE: “My art is weaving. I am inspired by my personal experiences of natural phenomena, travel, reading, and social issues. I develop my ideas through drawing and sampling, then realize them through dyeing and weaving. Over time, my work evolved from wearable art pieces to artistic works which parallels my 25-year-long journey experimenting with various weaving techniques from ikat to damask. Recently, my primary work uses digital jacquard weaving. Jacquard weaving has a rich history since its invention in the 18th century. But only recently was a small-scale loom available for individual weavers. For the past three years, using a digital jacquard loom, I have experimented with the weaving techniques to create abstract pieces, natural beauty, and portraits. As my weaving has progressed, I have spent more and more time on the relationship between color and weaving structure. Unlike painting, mixing two colors with unique structures revealed different results and intrigues me the most.

My goal is to create a kaleidoscope of color and texture pieces that satisfy the visual and tactile senses in my works. Also, I want to share my experiences with upcoming artists who are familiar with computer graphic skills.

My goal is to create a kaleidoscope of color and texture pieces that satisfy the visual and tactile senses in my works. Also, I want to share my experiences with upcoming artists who are familiar with computer graphic skills.”

GOWELL: “My work is influenced by Op Art, Washington Color School artists and Scandinavian design. I work in both woven fiber and kiln formed glass, and color, color interaction, pattern, texture and optical effects are the most important aspects of my work. The weaving preceded the glass by 30 years so it was a huge influence on the glass, but as I have worked with the glass I have found that it has changed my work in fiber and now I am working to unify the two bodies of work in a number of ways. I am interested in color that moves (Leon Berkowitz is my favorite of the Washington Color School artists). I dye the yarn in color progressions and layer the warps so that I can produce many color interactions. I’m drawn to Op Art because of the movement and my work uses the bubbles in the glass to distort pattern both in fiber and glass creating this visual movement. The simplicity of Scandinavian design is important to me (I learned to weave as an apprentice in Denmark) and I strive to create well designed yet complex work.”

Mehmet Uskul, “IGUANA”, Oil on Canvas, 19 ‘’ x 19’’, 2020

MEHMET USKUL . Studio 25
Starting November 2022

“The main point of my work is the concept of time. My aim in line with this concept is to bring together a single moment or moments on the same ground by utilizing different perspectives. In my works, I modulate parts of objects or field images such as sky/ground by bringing together various surfaces and forms with a metaphysical depth. I use cold – warm color harmony together, creating the perception of different spaces. I place these patches of color sometimes in sharp geometrical fashion, mostly randomly but always in an intuitive arrangement.

The nature theme that I include in my compositions is the leading role of stories for me. The fact that nature is always miraculous, wise and full of surprises is the most important motivation that influences me in my art production. I believe that the expression of nature in any form of art is only a momentary expression. Even though the artist records what belongs to nature in their memory or work, nature continues to produce and change. I focus on these moments of change, give clues to the audience through impressions, and design all real or surreal scenes and species that may belong to nature.”


Sarah Bentley, “Justice by Just Us”, Oil on Canvas, 68” x 36”, 2020

SARAH BENTLEY . Studio 204
Starting November 2022

“I have always been drawn to allegorical and historical artworks from western art history, captivated by both the realism and the narrative aspects of the works preserved throughout time. I spent my early career outside of the classroom struggling to find my voice, and realized that I am driven to create my own allegorical work as inspired by the politics and current events that direct our lives. While I love to create beautiful paintings that capture moments of quiet and peace, while I do enjoy painting small objects into still lives so I can share how I view inanimate objects as something beautiful to be cherished, I needed to find a way to process everything that is happening in the world and my feelings of inaction and my lack of power. While I can’t change policy, I can look at Ruth Bader Ginsburg and paint a portrait of her that shows everyone how I see her. I can create works that reflect my despair at the climate crisis playing on themes of mythology and allegory. As a representational artist using traditional techniques, I can use allegory to bring politics into art and to share my point of view.”





Matt Liptak, “Morning gift”, Digital Photograph, 10”x 14”, 2020

MATT LIPTAK . Studio 210
Starting November 2022

“Jeff Wall’s “A Sudden Gust of Wind” had a profound hold on me when I first saw it. The photograph depicts four people outside in a barren landscape, caught in a gust of wind. There is poetry in the way the first figure’s briefcase has opened, releasing a stream of papers into the air. The image is full of both movement and silence and the almost immediate reaction of “was this staged?”

I believe my work lives somewhere in that space– a moment that demands stillness and movement, seriousness and irreverence. I strive to explore my battles with anxiety, with loss and with the desire for more calmness and open space in a hectic world. My recent work is starting to play with larger negative spaces and a desire to permit my subjects more room to exist– a longing for stillness. My ever-present inspirations are Stephen Shore, Alfred Stieglitz and Cindy Sherman.

I have also included two additional pieces separate from my photographic art. I am a digital illustrator and find myself creating art for specific events and moments in time. I’m also a scenic designer for local theaters and feel that work is an extension of my skills.”



Tony Man, “Moonstone & Star”, Silver, 2020

TONY MAN . Studio 212

“My fascination with metals and the beauty of gemstones is what inspired me to design and handcraft fine art jewelry. I strongly believe there is a close relationship or oneness between jewelry and the handmaking process. In my art jewelry design and creation process, I try, albeit sometimes difficult, to focus on the ultimate user’s desires and needs, and the essential relationship of the piece to the body – how the piece becomes a part of the wearer’s presentation. However, most of my gemstone pieces are ultimately birthed through a struggle between designing to appeal to a population with a particular sense of style and the need to accentuate the beauty of the gemstone(s).

My design inspiration is strongly influenced by Mother Nature – trees, wildflowers, flowing water, and mountains with all they encompass. I use precious metals like gold and platinum as a canvas and nature’s beautifully colored gemstones as the paint that merge to become a delightfully wonderful piece of wearable art. The continuous challenge for me is balancing between the needs of the wearer and how best to bring out the beauty of the gemstones; also express my design and craftsmanship. A delightful challenge indeed!”




Ahmed Akari, “Feeding Folk”, Archival Inkjet Print, 45” x 36”, 2021

AHMED AKARI . Studio 214
Starting November 2022

“As a collection, these photographs are meant to represent two separate parts of myself.

A part lost in an impulsive stream of consciousness and another desperately trying to regain control. The former unknowingly proceeds within a desert of ignorance, whose tool relies on a submission to instinct. A gaze and electric signal determining the shutters release. I adore the great American documentarians like William Klein, Gordon Parks, and William Eggleston. For me, work like theirs shows a divine nobility in everyday life. While also conveying an uncomfortable darkness.

The piece of me grasping for control is a rare moment of clarity. A moment trying to rebuild a memory. Obsessively working towards a singular specific result. I am influenced by religious art and portraiture. Through the eyes of those who sit for me I hope to see myself. Through their expressions understand my own. The portraiture of Platon informs a lot of my work in this regard.

The contrasting duality within work have become one and the same, a means to understand and manage emotion. Only different in setting. Through my practice I have learned to let coincidence become the guide, the goal will become clear.”



Rashad Ali Muhammad, “Channeling”, Paper, drapery fabric, and fabric flower petals on paper, 18” x 24”, 2022

Starting November 2022

“My ongoing journey to expand my emotional intelligence ignited my desire to explore the complexities of the human experience and the vast intersections that shape our lives (culture, race, identity, spirituality, upbringing, and so on). Recognizing we’re all living through our own unique perspectives and experiences makes it easier to relate — knowing that we all seek the same essential needs to feel fulfilled in life: security, value, connection, variety, growth, and contribution.

At the core of my art practice, I endeavor to cultivate a space where individuals can explore authenticity, self-love, and connection by highlighting the universal needs we all seek. Once I honored my needs, releasing the pressures to conform to what I thought others wanted of me, I felt a weight lifted. Embodying that revelation, I use collage to reflect my desire for people to relate and understand each other on a deeper level while addressing stereotypes and misconceptions that (continue to) confront people of color and queer people today.

Collage combines intention, investigation, and innovation, dissecting established references and reassembling them to create new captivating notions. The limitless opportunity to incorporate found objects and unconventional elements fulfill my passion for exploration and continued learning.”



Rosemary Feit Covey, “Descartes Died in the Snow”, wood engraving, magnets, moveable components, painting, recycled plastics, thread on canvas, 54 x 42 inches, 2022


“My current focus on environmental concerns is informed by 20 years of collaborations with scientists, during which biology, ecology, and mortality have remained steady themes of my artist practice. In the past three decades I have moved beyond my work as an established wood engraver, and expanded my medium to include large scale installations, experimental printmaking and mixed media. From the replication of the printmaking process to the carving of the printing block, my works attend to personal analogies of physical and emotional fortitude, evoking a darker psychological sensibility within complex figural representations. While maintaining my long-standing engagement with psychologically challenging—and oftentimes troubling—subject matter, this diversification of mediums highlights my continued innovation in the arenas of both technique and narrative.

Moved by recent climate disaster scenarios in South Africa—the country of my birth—my most recent work responds to the fleeting nature of news cycles and the failure of journalistic channels to manifest sustained public awareness of such crucial issues. Having witnessed this subject matter quickly fall from the front pages, my practice serves as an enduring reminder of environmental crises within a global consciousness.”





Susan Cohen, “Forest Light”, Stoneware clay, flashing slip, black liner brushwork, and ““natural” ash glaze, 5 3/4” high x 5 1/2” wide x 2 3/4” deep, 2022


MICHELLE: “I am a colorist and my primary material is recycled wool. I rescue vintage garments and blankets from thrift stores and their fibers live on in new objects of beauty. Color, pattern and texture are the constant of my work, with each year’s collection reimagined around a narrative theme. I make a range of textile objects including gloves, scarves and my self-portrait dress, but my handbags are central to my vision. I think of the bags as “public art,” not cloistered with a small audience, but bringing beauty and quality out in the world. Artists like Cy Twombly and Joan Mitchell delight me with their expansive use of color and texture. In tune with the “slow fashion” movement, my work carries a crucial message: there is an alternative to our culture’s mindless consumption that can be found in a beautiful and meticulously handmade object.”

STURGIS: “My parents used to say “If you give Leah enough paper and tape, she will build a house.”

This comes through in my design process. I think of designing as making something from nothing, of using otherwise discarded, overlooked or ordinary materials to create something commanding.

My years living in Alaska inspire my work. I use materials I found in the woods: naturally shed caribou and deer antler, porcupine quills, sea urchin spine, pebbles and fish bone. Landscape and architecture intersect, resulting in contemporary, clean, elegant wearable sculptures.

I was born and raised in Chicago. My Mom used to take my family to pow-wows. I was captivated by the tiny glass seed beads and dancing leather fringe on the native regalia. Now I use old leather garments to cut and form mew creations, sewing on bead accents and giving my materials new life.

When asked “where do you get your inspiration?” I find myself pausing: I’m not sure where I don’t get inspiration. It’s everywhere: in people, in places, in things, and in feelings.

I am looking for balance, I find it in designing. My customers say they find my work peaceful.

I love making art.”

COHEN: “Connections are the focus of much of my pottery. The indentations on my pots establish a human bond with those whose hands trace mine. Isolation during Covid expanded the use of Zoom, the Meta Universe, and Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs), but people also embraced finely-crafted objects. They brought art into their lives. My smaller work is intimate and meant to be touched, used and enjoyed.
Making and firing pottery in wood-fired kilns engages all my senses. I love the quiet rhythm of making pots, followed by intense community activity stoking the kiln. Each stoking magically contributes to the rich variety of the natural-ash glaze. The surfaces of my larger pieces are shaped to capture ash and to give the pieces their unique character. My interest in Japanese pottery was sparked in graduate school by Teruo Hara. Now, participating on Kevin Crowe’s kiln-firing team is a strong influence. I hope my work will bridge the divide between functional and fine art, and that both will enjoy equal cultural importance. Sharing and establishing connections through my pottery has brought me together with many people, all with stories to tell. Every pot evokes a narrative.”

Anna Shakeeva, “Flying Ship”, Oil on gesso box, 16’’ X 16’’, 2020

ANNA SHAKEEVA . Studio 304

“The most interesting subject for me is people. People created the civilization in which we live, at the same time I feel a very deep connection to nature. Our bodies have evolved through millions of years, from water, from fish, from flowers and from birds. In my art I try to show that people have a strong spiritual connection to nature.”







Matthew Johnston, “Listening to Guests”, Acrylic paint, pastel, and Xerox transfer on paper, 54 x 80”, 2020


My figure diptychs are the result of me watching couples and friends at public functions.

I like to capture the awkwardness, in their dress and the unease in certain situations.

And by cropping the eyes, its possible to create ambiguity for the viewer. Almost all think because the couple is presented together/they are together. … but not all…they are surprised when i inform them of my vision.

I have each piece framed separately…to allow each figure to have their OWN space, a concept which has built in meaning as i have dealt with past relationships. Also the space in between the framed figures represents the part of each that the other may never know.

I am continually influenced by the great David Hockney. I admire his use of color and the looseness of his painting manner. And because my studio here is quite small, I am unable to create large works such as his. I am an admirer of Wayne Thiebaud.

These are my newest works. I have been painting images for years..but now ,as most artists find out, I can capture the non tangible, or the ethereal. This allows me to paint with heavy texture and color.”

Dhamin Jassim, “The City of Peace”, Oil on canvas, 24” x 20”, 2020

Starting November 2022 .

JASSIM: “Having fled war and conflict in my native Iraq, I seek to portray what is real in my art. On the white canvas, I practice my freedom and reflect my visions of life. My journey from my homeland to various places becomes an influential factor in my artwork. I take the realistic form of my subject and create movement and activity that portrays this personal journey. I infuse my works with light, color and texture.

I sometimes encase my subject in a prism of color to create movement and energy. The interplay of these elements reveals my emotional responses to an ever-changing environment. When I see that the world is in need of calmness, it manifests in the tranquil and serene nature of my landscapes. When I feel antagonism in the world around me, I use exaggerated brushstrokes and textures to reveal the emotional charge within me.

I put a part of myself in every painting, regardless of the difference in the subject or the theme of the work. My art is my message to humanity. Whether it shows negativity or positivity in the world, I seek to reveal these timeless truths that make up the world around us.”

LOMANGINO: “My paintings explore the metaphysical, the space between mind and matter, between potentiality and actuality. Abstracted seascapes and landscapes are painted from memory or reference in an extemporaneous fashion. Color, rhythm, brushstrokes, and scent of the oils enhance a subconscious process in which I express a mood, a passion, a sense of isolation, and/or a spirituality.

Layering and scraping away selected areas of paint are techniques that align with my practice framework. We often reveal only certain parts of ourselves, keeping much hidden until we feel safe enough to expose those cracks in the veneer. To me, vulnerabilities are the most appealing aspects of a person. It’s the mysteriousness, the sensitivities, the complexities that draws one in, where a chord of empathy may strike, endearing one to the other.

Subjects of my portraits come from film, biographies, interesting photographs and correlations. I’ve painted a CinemaScope series, depicting dramatic moments in film, Special series of well-known subjects, Gone (those who have passed), Juxtapositions, a Small-Mouthed People and a Long-Necked people series. These last two series question whether physical attributes reflect the inner workings of a personality.”

Anthony Nsofor, “Dismember pool”, acrylic and oil on canvas, 91x122cm, 2021-2022

Starting November 2022

“I consistently travelled in the past. I create work around the stories from living among people of different cultures in the places I visit. It is conversational and exploratory. I also appropriate materials, symbols, and familiar ways of telling these stories, weaving language, interpreting form and colour.
With the internet comes a relatedness where people and places intertwine. My work speaks of the similarities and oneness of humanity. Our views are shared realities unrestricted by physical borders/time zones, spreading and uniting all.

My influences come from the markings that translate as text in sign/language, text/symbol as seen in hieroglyphics, traditional Uli, Nsibidi and modern languages.

Over the years, I have created series drawn from new spaces I visited. These themes evolve over time. The ideas find a voice in foreign lands showing a universality also. My subject matter is drawn from daily events and the mundane- gender, relationships, individuality, fashion, and social and political discourse. Familiar themes in my work revolve around land ownership (a global phenomenon), farming and ranching conflicts in my native country Nigeria, and standing out from crowds. Art becomes a pedestal for addressing people, taking a stand, for adding to the narrative.”

Yuting Chang, “Plycelain collection: Mug and Big Saucer”, Porcelain, .5” x 3.5” x 2.75”/ 5.25” x 5.25” x 0.5”, 2019~2020

YUTING CHANG . Studio 330
Starting Fall 2022

“As a ceramic artist with an industrial design background, my work “Plycelain” is the physical manifestation of the moment of unlearning the rule book and asking: What if I utilize mass production techniques but still keep the genuineness of the craftsmanship spirit?

To me, making objects is not for the known functionality and flawless production but for finding the unknown possibilities from sketches to final pieces. It’s about evolving, exploring, and adapting the process for a new outcome with fresh aesthetic pleasure. My art holds my designer’s aesthetic quality. It’s usually understated and humble, with a meticulous focus on details.

Besides visual sensation, the tactile sense is powerful for me to experience the beauty of the world, especially when our world is becoming digital. My choice of functional ceramic objects as a medium carries the warmth of innovative craftsmanship that people can feel through their hands and bring into everyday life.”



Beverly Ryan, “Algorithm”, Oil and mixed media on aluminum, 20” x 16”, 2020

BEVERLY RYAN . Studio 333

“My work is about discovery. I gather inspiration from everywhere. Sometimes the work starts with an idea, sometimes from the exploration of materials. Experimentation to find new ways of expression motivate my practice. I work in series but more often create “one offs” as I try new things.

Underlying narrative emerges in my painted surfaces. Abstraction and expressionism inform the paintings. Linear and structural visual elements are often what pull the compositions together. Subject matter creates series about personal, social, environmental, political topics. My interest in the human condition is in the work. I love the plasticity and luminosity of oil paint. I, also, want to see what paint alone and paint with mixed media can do.

Multiple areas of interest mix together and lead me to new combinations, new insights, and fresh work.

Over the years, I gradually reinvented myself away from the sciences and became a full-time artist and art teacher. My goal as an artist is not to repeat myself in my work. Exploring the limits of my ability to express myself is the ultimate goal.”




Pete Kledaras, “Raytheon Short Wave”, Mixed Media 3D, Raytheon Short Wave Radio, dual light fixtures with Edison bulbs in a metal lamp cages, 16” x 23” x 9”, 2022

PETE KLEDARAS . Studio 337
Starting November 2022

“I find inspiration all around me, in artwork, music, and through reading or just browsing through periodicals. Imagine a violin set in “The Ride of the Valkyries”, a Lichtenstein might help to bring humor. When using an object with a bulbous shape a Bolero can help in the creation. My goal is to create a piece that, when illuminated, will elicit a familiar feeling, arouse a meaningful memory or ignite the dreamer inside. I create my lamps using discarded domestic objects that are deserving of a second life. I get an exhilarating feeling when I come across a common object that piques my interest, that has a story or is reminiscent of a poignant place or time.”








Iryna Smitchkova, “La Famille”, Watercolor on paper, 23 x 23, 2020

Starting November 2022

“As an artist, I believe in the statement: “Beauty and love can save the world!”. In my opinion art is in dialogue with the Universe. In this dialogue the figure of the artist acts as an intermediary.
Personally, this is very relevant at the moment, since the country where I was born – Ukraine – is at war. At such a time, any person rethinks their personal values. But the principle was and remains one: “Beauty and love can save the world!”

An artist should convey to the viewer something that in ordinary life the audience would not attach much importance to. The mission of the artist is to make the viewer reflect and to stop in time.
Usually my inspiration for creating paintings is taken from observation of the beautiful world surrounding us and from the love for any kind of creature.

Another great influence on my work has been my personal life journey which has given me the chance to live in different parts of the world. Living a different place is a unique experience incomparable with a tourist visit. I have soaked up the cultures and traditions of different countries and this has greatly effected my painting and consciousness.”


Alexis Gomez, “Simulation 4 (Render)”, Digital Render, Dimensions vary, 2021

ALEXIS GOMEZ . Studio 339
Starting November 2022

“Gomez’s work investigates the internal and external spaces we inhabit as human beings. Using illusionistic patterns and figural forms to represent both literal and metaphorical space, he creates settings that bridge the physical and virtual realms. Alternating between 3D modeling software and figural sculpture his work fluxes between the tangible and artificial. How do we engage with literal space and formless space? Can we separate body from mind? These are the curiosities that Alexis strives to address in a dialogue between three-dimensional and digital forms.”







Sally Veach, “Toombs Hollow Ascension”, Oil on canvas, 48” X 48”, 2021

SALLY VEACH . Studio 342
Starting November 2022

“My painting practice is inspired by the natural landscape and ideas relating to memory, the natural sublime, and the universality of change. Employing these ideas and colors of the landscape, I create lush, vibrant paintings full of energetic marks that culminate in an emotional sense of place. Significantly, the work is devoid of people or animals. Often superimposed on the abstracted, gestural compositions are empty icons of human-built structures. They indicate a post-human world.

When I observe nature I am reminded that all living things compete for territory. Every thing is in constant motion, even electrons. Thus, as I vigorously apply marks, I am reminded of the animals, plants, and microorganisms that must battle for the means to survive. Humans have taken this strategy to the extreme. In our quest to thrive at all costs, we have damaged the very ecosystem that sustains us, ensuring that Earth will inevitably become a post-human world.

After years of close, observational study of the natural world (and the deteriorating barns of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia), I have developed a thesis based on concurrent qualities of all life forms and the natural sublime. My goal is to continue exploring these ideas through painting.”


New Artists Pro Tem

See the 2022 Selected Artists Catalog for images and artist statements



































Jessica Valoris, “Harriet’s Door”, acrylic on butcher paper, burlap, and wood, 4.5t x 3ft, 2022

Laurie Fields, “Torn Canvas Diptych”, Acrylic, Oil/cold wax on canvas, 30”x 30”, 2021

Christine Manwiller, “Falling”, Acrylic ink and gouache on paper, 24 x 28 in. 2020

John T Allen, “Blood Section XX”, Digital Collage, 12”x 12”, 2020

Matthew Harwood, “Quantum Prime 5v”, Digital drawing on aluminum. 12000 x 9000 pixels at 300 pixels per inch (40” x 30”), 2020

Gregory Logan Dunn, “Constance Undawning”, Acrylic on Canvas, 27” x 27”, 2021