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Petition gains steam to save Torpedo Factory artist studios

As plans move forward to revamp the Torpedo Factory Art Center, a petition is gaining steam to get support to save spaces for artists.

As of Today (Monday, Nov. 15), more than 3,200 people have signed a petition asking the city to keep artists in studios on the first floor instead of replacing those studios with amenities, including a completely remodeled first floor, a new restaurant and a roof deck.

“Some of these plans include reduce the number of individual artist studios in the building by up to 40%, as well as sweeping aside ALL artist studios on the first floor and replacing it with cheap money-making venues such as restaurants,” notes the Change.org petition, which was launched three weeks ago by artist M. Alexander Gray.

Per the plan, the second floor of the art center would be artist studios, and the Art League school would move up to the third floor.

“Make your voice heard!” states the petition. “DO NOT let hardworking artists get booted out and replaced with cheap entertainments! DO NOT let the City tamper with this unique cultural treasure!”

City staff acknowledge that there will be a reduction in space for artists, and Council will review the plans in December.

The art center, which receives an estimated 500,000 visitors annually, has been managed by the City since 2018, taking over for the nonprofit Torpedo Factory Art Center Board, which ran it for five years. For a dozen years before that it was managed by the Torpedo Factory Artists Association, and previously was managed by the City for more than two decades.

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