City of Alexandria to Celebrate Torpedo Factory Art Center’s 45th Anniversary

Page archived as of September 16, 2019

City of Alexandria to Celebrate Torpedo Factory Art Center’s 45th Anniversary 

For Immediate Release: September 9, 2019

The City of Alexandria will host a free public reception to celebrate 45 years since the Torpedo Factory Art Center opened in 1974. The 45th Anniversary Salute will take place on Sunday, September 15, from 2 to 5 p.m., at the Art Center (105 N. Union St.). 

Several special guests will honor the sapphire anniversary with remarks starting at 3:30 p.m. Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson and U.S. Rep. Donald Beyer will both present proclamations. Marian Van Landingham, the Art Center’s founder, will speak and meet with visitors. 

To commemorate the anniversary, guests will be able to create silkscreen prints to take home, visit select studios for artist demonstrations, and craft hands-on projects. Light refreshments will be provided. 

Housed in the former U.S. Naval Torpedo Station in Alexandria, the Art Center is one of the nation’s earliest examples of creative reuse of an industrial space and has inspired similar cultural spaces around the world. It is now America’s largest community of publicly accessible working artists’ studios under one roof. 

As a member of Alexandria’s Bicentennial Committee in 1974, Van Landingham proposed to renovate the then-derelict plant into usable studio spaces. The City agreed and hired her as director in what was expected to be a three-year experiment. 

Almost a half-century later, the Art Center is a cultural destination in Alexandria with 165 visual artists, 82 studios and seven galleries, including Target Gallery, the Art Center’s contemporary exhibition space. The Art Center is managed by the City’s Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities through the Office of the Arts. 

This year also marks the building’s centennial on the waterfront. To celebrate the combined anniversaries, the Art Center will host an Anniversary Ball on Saturday, November 16, from 7 to 10 p.m. Tickets will be available soon at

For media inquiries, contact Andrea Blackford, Senior Communications Officer, at or 703.746.3959.

For reasonable disability accommodation, contact or call 703.746.4570, Virginia Relay 711.

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