In years past, the Torpedo Factory Art Center teemed with upward of a half-million visitors every year, but all that changed with the coronavirus. It’s one of Alexandria’s top tourist destinations, and despite the cancellation of all in-person scheduled programs and private facility rentals, the Torpedo Factory Artists’ Association will soon be looking for new artists to participate in its jury process.
The Torpedo Factory, which is owned by the city, is currently open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Wednesday through Sunday and closed Monday and Tuesday. Visitors are required to wear face masks and observe social distancing. The Target Gallery, for instance, now only allows 10 people at a time.
There are 82 artist studios in the art center. Nine artists ended their leases because of the virus, 41 asked for a temporary reduction in hours and 19 asked for rent deferrals, according to Alexandria’s Communications Director Craig Fifer.
“Artists were eligible for total deferment of rent through June 30 and then a 12-month repayment program, similar to the relief program for business taxes,” Fifer told ALXnow. “Artists with at least two employees were also eligible for the business grant program administered by AEDP (the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership).”
Artist studios take up 70% of the building, and the largest tenant, The Art League school, art supply store, gallery and offices takes up 12% of occupancy and will reopen to the public on July 15. Its next largest occupant is The Alexandria Archeology Museum, which remains closed until further notice.
The Torpedo Factory Artists’ Association (TFAA) is a thriving professional artists community of more than 250 juried…
Staff photo by James Cullum