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The Dogs Of Del Ray mural (staff photo by James Cullum)

Here’s a roundup of all the events, live music, and entertainment happening around Alexandria this weekend; enjoy! 

Are you organizing an event? Submit events to ALXnow.

Friday, April 12

Things To Do

Live Music & Entertainment

City of Alexandria

Saturday, April 13

Things To Do

Live Music & Entertainment

City of Alexandria

Sunday, April 14

Things To Do

Live Music & Entertainment

City of Alexandria

  • There are no events or public meetings scheduled.

Ryan Belmore is an award-winning news publisher, editor, and journalist. Born and raised in Rhode Island, he now resides in Alexandria with his wife and two rescue dogs. He was recently appointed to the City of Alexandria’s Board of Zoning Appeals and previously served on the City’s Commission For The Arts. Email listings and events to Ryan at [email protected]. Follow Ryan on Instagram at whatsupalexandria.

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Sculpting at The Art League (image via The Art League/Facebook)

Alexandria’s Office of the Arts has opened grant applications to the Foundant! Annual Arts Programs.

The grants are designed to help local arts organizations, artists, and service providers, according to the application, with each application reviewed by a Grant Task Force.

The arts programs must occur between July 1, 2024, and June 30, 2025. The deadline to apply for a grant is March 29.

The grants require a 1:1 cash match from the artist or organization.

“Grants made through this category are up to $12,500 and shall not exceed 50% of total program budget,” the application said.

According to the release:

The Office of the Arts will conduct a series of webinars to assist interested applicants navigate the Foundant online grant management program and to prepare their grant applications. All applicants are required to attend one of the grant webinars. If applicants are not able to attend a webinar, they must set-up an appointment to receive one-on-one training.

Grant Webinars:

  • Thursday, February 8 at 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday, February 13 at 5 p.m.
  • Thursday, February 15 at 2 p.m.
  • Tuesday, February 20 at 4 p.m.
  • Wednesday, February 21 at 1 p.m.

To request a webinar link, email [email protected].  With the request, state the date and time of the webinar you wish to attend along with the name and email address for the person who will be attending.

Photo via The Art League/Facebook

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George Washington Masonic Memorial at Night (photo via Daniel Horowitz)

A nighttime photo of the George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Old Town took fifth place in the Wiki Loves Monuments 2023 photo contest.

The annual contest, held by Wikipedia, highlights photographs of historic sites from the National Register of Historic Places.

Photographer Daniel Horowitz, who specializes in nighttime and long-exposure photography, took sixth place in the competition last year with a photo of a British fortress on Lake Champlain. Horowitz’s photo of the George Washington Masonic National Memorial won fifth place in the 2023 competition.

According to Wikimedia:

This night-time photograph showcases the George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia. The memorial, a National Historic Landmark, stands as a modern tribute to the architecture of the ancient Lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Captured in a long-exposure shot, the moving clouds create a dynamic backdrop to the illuminated structure, emphasizing its grandeur and its importance as a Masonic site and historical edifice.

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The Torpedo Factory Art Center in Old Town (staff photo by James Cullum)

A task force recommended to the City Council at a meeting last week that the Torpedo Factory Art Center (TFAC) be converted (item 9) to a “quasi-public entity.”

The recommendation from the task force, which included representatives from the Torpedo Factory Artists’ Association, The Art League and more, is to transition ownership of the Torpedo Factory to “to a
Quasi-Public entity that has autonomy and authority to run daily operations.”

According to a presentation, the task force said:

  • Any new entity will need to meet defined performance metrics established by the
    City.
  • City will likely continue to supplement funding for TFAC operations and capital
    improvements, but the funding expectation of the new entity may increase over
    time.
  • The City has developed successful public-private partnerships with Visit Alexandria
    and the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership that may be viable models
    for a new quasi-public entity for TFAC.

The task force said that the transition to a ‘quasi-public entity’ could occur over a two-to-three-year period.

The Torpedo Factory Art Center has a long and tumultuous relationship with the City of Alexandria. Back in 2016, the city stepped in to oversee operations at the Torpedo Factory after studies found maintenance and improvements to the facility would prove costly.

The quasi-public entity could be a middle ground between direct city ownership and the previous complicated relationship where the building was leased to the Torpedo Factory Art Center Board and subleased to the Torpedo Factory Artists’ Association and The Art League.

James Stevens, a principal with consultant ConsultEcon, said the idea would be to run the Torpedo Factory similar to Visit Alexandria and the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership (AEDP), bodies that receive supplemental funding from the city but have a degree of autonomy in their operations.

“We’re going to be bringing information out to stakeholders and other people in the community to get feedback,” said City Manager James Parajon.

Earlier this year, artists expressed concerns about city plans to reduce the amount of rented artist space in the building to make way for other uses, like a cafe or hands-on activities like gloryholes (spaces for reheating glass).

Some on the City Council were skeptical of this plan. Mayor Justin Wilson said he was concerned that the new governance structure would do little to change the Torpedo Factory being a money pit for the city.

“I’m trying to see where this succeeds,” said Wilson. “I remember hearing from members of the previous board that it was set up to fundraise, and there was never a compelling [donate]. They didn’t have anything, so it was hard to fundraise. Nobody was going to donate to nothing.”

The conversation also touched on plans for the Torpedo Factory Art Center’s 50th anniversary event next year.

Diane Ruggiero, deputy director of the Alexandria Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities, said the city will be putting together a committee next month (January) to start planning, with an event ultimately taking place sometime in September.

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Hope Bachman (on left) and Leslie Jones have led the Alexandria City High School theatre department for 20 years (staff photo by James Cullum)

It’s the end of an era for Alexandria City High School’s drama program. After 20 years directing and producing dozens of theatrical performances, the partnership between co-teachers Hope Bachman and Leslie Jones will come to a close at the end of this school year.

Known informally as “Bach and Jones” to students, parents and staff, the pair were honored in a gala at ACHS last week. Bachman says that deciding to partner with Jones was one of the best decisions she ever made.

“Partnering up with Leslie was the second smartest decision of my life, with the first smartest being my marriage,” Bachman said.

Bachman is a 1998 graduate of Alexandria City High School (back when it was named T.C. Williams High School), and was hired in 2003 after she graduated from the University of Mary Washington. When hired to replace a retiring drama teacher, she was also put in charge of the drama program’s extracurricular activities.

“I was a brand new green baby teacher,” Bachman said. “I was drowning my first year. First year teaching is hard for everybody, but I had all the responsibilities of a first year teacher plus this entire program of afterschool things, which is incredibly time consuming to run.”

Jones, at that point, had been working at the school for eight years as an English teacher and cheerleading coach, and felt that she’d been passed over. It ended up taking a full year for the pair to come together, with Bachman swallowing her pride by asking Jones for help.

Jones said that once they started working together on the fall and spring productions that their relationship was no longer competitive.

“The nature of theater is collaborative,” Jones said. “At the end of the day, it’s about the production and about the product… because all along we want to teach our kids how to be good theater people, period.”

ACHS shows by Bach and Jones (staff photo by James Cullum)

The pair say a secret to their success has been presenting a unified front.

“It’s a sisterhood,” Jones said. “Believe me, we have been through it all. We don’t always agree. Who does? But we work it out. We always have a mantra between the two of us — ‘Hey, we’ll duke it out behind closed doors and then when we walk out the door we’re a united front.”

ACHS Executive Principal Alexander Duncan III thanked the duo for their work.

“How many teachers can say they regularly bring an auditorium full of people to their feet, either in tears or cheers, as well as having affected the lives and aspirations of countless students?” Duncan said. “We are so appreciative of the unwavering commitment that Leslie Jones and Hope Bachman have shown in their two decades of service to Alexandria City High School students and our school community.”

After a 33-year career teaching, Jones said she’s looking forward to retiring. She and Bachman are now prepping, their final work together, the 2024 spring musical Bring It On.

“This is our swan song,” Jones said. “Once the final curtain (falls) and we’re at the cast party, we’ll be sobbing.”

Bachman said someone will have to step in to help fill Jones’ shoes.

“Just just like Leslie and I had to at the beginning, I will have to learn her successor’s strengths and weaknesses,” Bachman said. “And that person will have to learn mine, and we’ll figure we’ll figure it out as we go.”

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For nearly 20 years, firefighter Corrin Pumphrey has been the Alexandria Fire Department’s resident artist.

Last month, Pumphrey unveiled a 12-by-six-foot-tall mural of first responders at AFD’s health and wellness Station 202  (213 E. Windsor Avenue) in Del Ray.

The piece includes 12 portraits of AFD personnel who modeled in full regalia for Pumphrey. The mural is painted on four large canvases — just big enough for Pumphrey to move in her car.

“(The department) had a huge wall and they wanted something health and safety oriented,” she said. “That was the challenge, trying to figure out what I could put up there.”

A native of Annapolis, Pumphrey has been an artist all her life and earned a bachelor’s degree in illustration from the Columbus School of Art and Design.

She graduated college at a time that her skillset was largely being converted to digital artwork and after multiple rejections from companies like Disney, she started applying to be a firefighter. Alexandria was the first to respond to her application and she’s been fighting fires in the city ever since.

“I can’t remember how the first person (at AFD) found out I was an artist,” she said. “It’s the same way with every trade. Like, there’s always one (AFD employee) who knows how to do tile work, there’s always a carpenter. So, one person found out and I started making T-shirts and stuff for people.”

One thing led to another and Pumphrey has since contributed art to multiple stations over the years, including a mural at Station 210 at 5225 Eisenhower Avenue and a collage of pencil drawings of every fire station in the city.

She can also be found selling oil and watercolor paintings and her sketches from a booth at Del Ray’s Art On The Avenue festival and other art festivals around the region.

Pumphrey wants to retire after 25 years with the department and then move to Spain to be a full-time artist living on her AFD pension.

“I want to move to Spain to paint,” she said. “That’s the plan. I want to chill. Life is short. I just want to walk to the Mediterranean and look at it and look at the pretty colors, and use their wonderful public transportation to get around and look at other places and just paint them all.”

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Saturday morning rain wasn’t enough to dampen this year’s Art On The Avenue in Del Ray.

As expected, thousands of visitors descended on Mount Vernon Avenue for the 28th annual festival. The Visit Del Ray event featured more than 300 artist booths, live music on three stages, a pie baking contest, as well as a kids corner to create art at Pat Miller Neighborhood Square. City leaders and local business owners also cut a ribbon recognizing new Del Ray businesses.

“Thank you exhibitors, bands, restaurants, volunteers and attendees for another amazing event,” organizers wrote on the festival website. “See you in 2024!”

https://twitter.com/AdamEbbin/status/1710775974961307935

Ribbon cutting photo via Facebook

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Art On The Avenue in Del Ray, Nov. 12, 2022 (staff photo by James Cullum)

Del Ray’s biggest celebration of the year is right around the corner.

Thousands are expected to descend on Mount Vernon Avenue to see the work of more than 300 artists for the 28th annual Art on the Avenue on Saturday.

The free family friendly event is located on Mount Vernon Avenue between Hume and Bellefonte Avenues, and will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Last year’s event was postponed a month due to rain. This year, there’s a 60% chance of rain on Saturday before 8 a.m., and otherwise the forecast calls for a partly sunny day with a high of 67 degrees and wind gusts of up to 25 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service.

The event will also feature live music on three stages, a pie baking contest, as well as a kids corner to create art at Pat Miller Neighborhood Square. The kids corner is sponsored by Dominion Energy, which was lambasted in 2021 by City Council for an all-day power outage during that year’s event.

Parking is expected to be limited, and the city is offering free trolley transportation from the Braddock Road Metro station.

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Flyer by The Little Theatre of Alexandria

The Little Theatre of Alexandria (600 Wolfe Street) is hosting a pair of staged reading events over the next two weeks to commemorate the murder of Matthew Shepard and raise funding for The Matthew Shepard Foundation.

Shepard, a young gay man in Laramie, Wyoming, was beaten, tortured and killed in a hate crime. Shepard’s murder sparked awareness of and advocacy for hate crime legislation, including the launch of the LGBT nonprofit Matthew Shepard Foundation by his parents.

The Little Theatre of Alexandria is producing a reading of The Laramie Project, a play first produced in 2000 to explore and understand what happened to Shepard, including text from real interviews with people connected to the murder.

The readings are scheduled for 8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 6, and Thursday, Oct. 12.

Tickets are $20 and benefit The Matthew Shepard Foundation.

According to the theatre’s website:

Kaufman and the other company members visited Laramie on six occasions and interviewed residents, members of the police force, and Matthew’s friends, in an attempt to understand what happened, and why. They were also interested in the possibility that theatre, more than any other medium, would allow people to engage with and reflect on the issues brought to public attention by Matthew’s murder, such as homophobia, hatred, intolerance, and fear. The Laramie Project takes those real interviews and weaves them into the story of events surrounding the murder and the months beyond. This staged reading at LTA will be performed exactly 25 years from the date Matthew was attacked and the date he died in the hospital.

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Virginia Tech and the Torpedo Factory Art Center are collaborating on a sound installation at the Target Gallery (via City of Alexandria)

Virginia Tech and Alexandria’s Office of the Arts are collaborating on “Innovation and Creativity,” a year-long series of projects at the Torpedo Factory’s Target Gallery.

One of those projects, Sound Horizons, opened Aug. 5 and runs through to Jan. 28. Visitors sit in the tesseract, an array of high-density loudspeakers, and experience an immersive environment of sounds curated for Alexandria by Virginia Tech’s Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT).

Sound Horizons includes four sound installations:

  • “Dear Younger Me,” a project about healing the inner Black girl, which features a series of Black women reading letters to their younger selves
  • “Sonification of Cybersecurity Data,” a music installation that turns cybersecurity data into musical harmony of sounds
  • “Liminal Spaces,” a fixed-media composition inspired by life’s in-between moments
  • “Musical Connection,” a sound installation shedding light on the uncharted neural territories that music traverses when people living with Alzheimer’s disease engage in music-making

“Collaborating with one of the nation’s top innovative universities provides an opportunity to put Alexandria on the cutting edge, proving how art and creativity are a thread that runs deeply through all forms of innovation, be it scientific, cultural, engineering, health, or technological,” Brett John Johnson, the Torpedo Factory’s curator of artistic advancement, said in a statement.

A free grand opening for the latest installation, Synaptic Soiree, will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16.

According to Virginia Tech:

The performances push the limits of sound and performance; they will explore scored data composed of music exploring infectious diseases, neuroscience, including Atrium, meditation, PTSD, and more, as well as the juxtaposition of new technology and the human body.

A facilitated discussion will follow at the end of the show, so you can listen to the researchers and ask questions about their work.

The series of exhibitions, performances and events will wrap next September, which is just is time for the opening of Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus in Alexandria.

“Virginia Tech, with its Innovation Campus, is pushing the frontier of technology,” said Ben Knapp, executive director of ICAT. “Together with the Office of the Arts, we will be showcasing innovation in all of its forms.”

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