Public Art Residency with AlexRenew
Commissioned through the City of Alexandria’s Public Art Program in partnership with Alexandria Renew Enterprises (AlexRenew), sTo Len works to elevate the public’s personal connection to the wellbeing and sustainability of local water systems. Visitors are invited to view and participate in his ongoing project, inspired by observations of the wastewater treatment process during his residency at AlexRenew.
This program is the first phase of a collaboration orchestrated through Alexandria’s Office
of the Arts division to bring a public-art perspective into AlexRenew’s commitment to fulfilling
its vital mission to healthier waterways.
Meet AlexRenew's Artist in Residence
Originally from Alexandria, now based in New York, sTo Len is AlexRenew's (AlexRenew) first artist-in-residence. Since September 2019, Len has spent time with various
AlexRenew scientists and engineers and local conservationists and at local
waterfront locations in Alexandria, including Hooffs Run and Oronoco Bay. His
artwork brings to light the water recovery process at AlexRenew and the
public’s relationship to their local waterways.
Get more information about AlexRenew and the River Renew project.
RENEWAL at Torpedo Factory Art Center
“Renewal documents the ways in which I have witnessed and been inspired by the water recovery process,” said Len. “From the behind the scenes access at AlexRenew to exploring the shorelines of the Potomac, this body of work showcases the imprints that I have collected along the way.”
Using suminagashi marbling, block printing, gyotaku fish printing, and cyanotype printmaking techniques, he captures imprints and impressions from pollution, bacteria, and other waste found in wastewater and local waterways. The resulting natural patterns and abstracted forms spotlight the unseen and ignored environmental impact humans have on the Potomac River watershed.
RENEWAL provides a behind-the-scenes perspective into the AlexRenew water recovery process. In Studio 13 at Torpedo Factory Art Center, Len displays his active and growing crowdsourced archive. The exhibition will evolve with a water-themed radio show and a public engagement opportunity called SEEWATER.
A physically distant photo scavenger hunt, SEEWATER engages audiences and raises awareness for the smallest details of water, from Alexandria’s sewer system to local waterfront habitats. The full photo scavenger hunt list is available here and at torpedofactory.org/renewal. It contains 40 items for people to photograph and email to Len at firstname.lastname@example.org to be included in the exhibition.
Torpedo Factory Art Center, located at 105 N. Union Street in Old Town, Alexandria, is open to the public Wednesdays through Sundays, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Capacity for Studio 13 is two people at a time within the space. Those who wish to visit the Art Center are asked to adhere to current Virginia Safer at Home guidelines, including maintaining a social distance with people from different households, wearing face coverings in public spaces, and frequent handwashing for 20 seconds or use of hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
About sTo Len
sTo Len is a printmaker, sound, and performance artist from New York by way of Virginia and Vietnam. Len works within this cultural dichotomy by incorporating issues of place, identity, history, and the environment. Growing up in Alexandria, Sto was influenced by the art and activism of the local punk scene in Washington DC, which he continues to embody through artwork that combines those ethics with experimental takes on traditional craft. Adapting traditional printmaking techniques, Len creates an updated visual language that engages in our relationship to water, waste and its interconnectivity to a multitude of injustices. Sto has exhibited his work internationally including exhibitions in New York, Vietnam, Japan, London, France, Germany, Australia, Denmark, and Canada. He co-founded the alternative arts space Cinders Gallery in New York, which has exhibited hundreds of artists since its inception in 2004. Learn more at stoishere.com and follow him on Instagram via @stoishere.
Led by a five-member citizen board, Alexandria Renew Enterprises (AlexRenew) is a special-purpose wastewater authority serving over 300,000 people in the City of Alexandria and parts of Fairfax County. AlexRenew treats an average of 35 million gallons of wastewater per day at its Water Resource Recovery Facility, located in Alexandria, Virginia’s southwest quadrant. For more information, please visit http://www.alexrenew.com.