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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Torpedo Factory artists have lots for the hard-to-please

On a bumpy sidewalk along Alexandria's King Street on the way to the Torpedo Factory Art Center/patricia leslie

For samples of local original art, jewelry, vases, mugs, glass bears, cashmere and hand-painted silk scarves, books, paintings (all sizes), cards, sculpture, calendars, tapestries, or pottery about cats (really, it's there), what better place than the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria where reasonable prices abound, and artists are ready to talk, Merry Christmas! 

It's a winter wonderland of art. So much to see! So much to choose! And so much fun.

At the Torpedo Factory Art Center's open house in Alexandria/patricia leslie

What a totally delightful experience to visit galleries and discuss the creations while strolling from piece to piece and sipping champagne. What? You missed this year's open house? There is next year, dearie, and besides, the art remains. 

(Breaking news from a Torpedo Factory tweet: Decadent December Art Night 12/13 6-9pm w/ chocolate, shopping, exhibit receptions + !  Let's go!)

Some of the treats at the Torpedo Factory Art Center's open house/patricia leslie

Have you ever been? It's the home of 160 artists, 82 studios, 2,000 students, six galleries, Bread and Chocolate (!), and a museum, all which occupy three floors in a facility built after the end of World War I for torpedo construction. (Only in D.C.) 

Snowflakes dance in the windows of this Torpedo Factory gallery where Gloria Barbre, Candace Edgerley, AnneMarie Feld, Virginia Irby-Maxwell, Tamara Embrey, Kathy Udell, and Saaraliisa Ylitalo have art they want to show you/patricia leslie

Still on display in the main hall is a (dormant) green torpedo constructed on-site in 1945. Yes, the building definitively suggests the military, if you've ever been inside a submarine or on an aircraft carrier: The environment is similar which is part of the charm.

Music by Wytold, stationed on a second floor walk-through, added merriment to the Torpedo Factory Art Center's open house/patricia leslie
After World War II, everybody used the building for storage: the military, the Smithsonian (dinosaur bones), Congress, the federal government, until Alexandria bought it, and its development as an arts center began in earnest in 1974.

The Torpedo Factory's third floor is also the home of the Alexandria Archaeology Museum where the main exhibit, the Lee Street Site, features one city block and what's been found there. The museum is an excellent introduction to archaeology for children of all ages.  Hands-on demonstrations are part of the learning experience at the museum.

Tory Cowles, Sheep Jones, and Jeanne Garant are the artists at this studio at the Torpedo Factory Art Center/patricia leslie
Alison Sigethy makes and sells environmental art at the Torpedo Factory Art Center/patricia leslie
Is that sculptor Carol G. Levin on the left?  In her studio at the Torpedo Factory Art Center/patricia leslie
A view from above at the Torpedo Factory Art Center/patricia leslie
This handsome fellow greeted guests at the gallery of Lisa Schumaier at the Torpedo Factory Art Center/patricia leslie

What: Torpedo Factory Art Center

When: Open daily 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. (until 9 p.m. on Thursdays)

Where: On the waterfront at 105 N. Union Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

For more information: 703-838-4565

Metro station: King Street. From the Metro you have two choices (excluding a taxi):  Walk a pleasant (flat) 30 minutes down King Street, past beautifully decorated shops on your way, or hop on the free trolley, coming and going, which also takes you past beautifully decorated shops.

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