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Changes coming to the Torpedo Factory Art Center have been among the more contentious discussions in Alexandria over the last few years, but the City of Alexandria is looking for two locals to serve on a board to help direct the art center’s future.

The city is looking for two at-large members for the Torpedo Factory Art Center Stakeholder Task Force.

“The at-large members will be part of a 20-member Task Force that includes, but is not limited to, artists, tourism representatives, local businesses, and Commissioners,” the city said in a release. “The at-large members of the Task Force will be selected through an open application process to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to participate.”

The goal of the task force is to guide the city’s policy toward making the Torpedo Factory more of an active attraction. Some of the current plans for the Torpedo Factory include changes to the ground floor that might bring in other uses at the cost of artist space.

“In alignment with the principles adopted by the City Council, a Stakeholder Task Force was established to develop an approach to address vibrancy and sustainability of the Torpedo Factory Art Center. The Task Force will work with a facilitator, staff, and consultants to broaden the scope of artistic expression and improve artist diversity,” the release said. “Task Force members will be expected to attend scheduled meetings as well as participate in the various community engagement activities (i.e., open house events, town halls, focus groups, etc.).”

The task force is expected to meet for around 10-12 months. Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, June 24.

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Spring gets into full swing in Alexandria this month, and there are dozens of events around the city to get you out of the house.

Visit Alexandria has compiled a list of events this month around town, including Easter egg hunts, book signings, a film screening and musical performances.

April events in Alexandria:

  • Outdoor cello concert: Listen to cellist Amit Peled at The Rectory in Old Town on April 7 (Thursday), from 5 to 6 p.m. and 6:30 to 7 p.m. Tickets cost $45 apiece for adults and $25 for children
  • Book signing at Alexandria Visitor Center: Meet John Adam Wasowicz, the Author of the Old Town Mysteries, Daingerfield Island, Jones Point, Slaters Land and Roaches Run. Two book signings will be held on April9 and 10 (Saturday and Sunday) from 10:00 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Easter Egg Hunt with the Old Town Business Association: On April 9 (Saturday) from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Historic event at Carlyle House: On April 9 (Saturday), learn from costumed interpreters about how Major General Edward Braddock, Commander-in-Chief of His Majesty’s Forces in North America, landed in Alexandria in 1775. Tickets are free, and the event is from 12 to 4 p.m.
  • Cherry Blossom Jubilee: On Sunday (April 10), enjoy live performance by taiko drum group Nen Daiko on the waterfront side of the Art Center, followed by an Art Center-wide exhibition of cherry blossom-inspired works by resident artists and galleries
  • Outdoor vocal recital: On Thursday (April 14), Mexican soprano Judy Yannini makes her Secret Garden debut in a program of selections from vibrant zarzuelas to beloved operas, from 5 to 6 p.m. and 6:30 to 7 p.m. Tickets cost $45 apiece for adults and $25 for children
  • Easter Egg Hunt at Lee-Fendall House: On April 16 and 17 (Saturday and Sunday), there will be Easter egg hunts at the historic property, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tickets cost $15 for children ages 2 to 12, $5 for accompanying adults
  • Outdoor bluegrass concert: On April 21 (Thursday), listen to father-son team Ken & Brad Kolodner, from 5 to 6 p.m. and 6:30 to 7 p.m. Tickets cost $45 apiece for adults and $25 for children
  • Advance screening of ‘TRASHY: a zero waste film’: The feature documentary follows its director as she tries not to throw anything away over the course of a year. The free screening at the Torpedo Factory Art Center starts at 6 p.m.
  • 89th Annual Old Town Alexandria Homes & Garden Tour: The long cherished event will be held on April 23 (Saturday), from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets cost $55 apiece if bought online and $65 at the Alexandria Visitor Center to tour the Carlyle House, Lee-Fendall House, River Farm, Gunston Hall, Mount Vernon and Green Spring Gardens
  • Alexandria Symphony Orchestra performance: The ASO will perform the music of Barber and Brahms at its April 23 (Saturday) concert. The event is from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. and costs $20-$85 for adults, $5 for children and $15 for students
  • Rocklands BBQ meat and greet party: The April 23 (Saturday) event features School of Rock performances and local vendors
  • Soul Food Saturday: On April 23 (Saturday), explore the contributions of African American innovation and tradition to American cuisine with a unique walking tour around Old Town. The event is from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and tickets cost $95 apiece
  • Earth Day tree planting: Join the Alexandria City Council on April 23 (Saturday) for a tree planting on Earth Day in Old Town, from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.
  • History discussion on African American housing crisis in Alexandria: On April 28 (Thursday), Dr. Krystyn Moon will examine how segregationist practices impaired Alexandria’s African American residents. The event is virtual
  • Old Town Alexandria Fine Art And Design Festival: On Saturday (April 30), more than 100 artisans, crafters, independent consultants and other local small businesses in John Carlyle Square
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The City of Alexandria is still mulling over what to do with the Torpedo Factory, but one way of paying for the expensive additions could lie in a program started under FDR.

At a meeting of the Waterfront Commission, representatives from the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership (AEDP) outlined one potential path to financing the Torpedo Factory overhaul as part of a “public real estate entity.”

Christina Mindrup, VP for commercial real estate at AEDP, said the partnership has been considering the creation of a new public real estate entity that could help “unlock new financial resources” to assist with arts development in Old Town North, some of which has been stalled and fallen behind the pace of attached developments.

Mindrup said that AEDP is working with the city to assess whether this public real estate entity could absorb the Torpedo Factory.

“AEDP working with city manager office to evaluate whether [Torpedo Factory Art Center] building could be included with assets financially managed by public real estate entity in Old Town North,” Mindrup said. “We’re now exploring options for expanding role of the real estate entity to include governance of TFAC.”

The topic of TFAC changing governance has been a touchy one, but Mindrup said the change could open up a new source of funding in the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) of Alexandria. The low range of cost estimates, essentially the “do-nothing” build with only the most basic of needed repairs and improvements, is still estimated at $16 million. Cost estimates for more substantial improvements range up to $41.5 million.

“For those who don’t know, the Industrial Development Authority has been around forever,” Mindrup said. “It’s been around back to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It was used to help jurisdictions rebuild and put investment in the area.”

Specifically, Mindrup said the IDA can issue tax-exempt bonds to borrow at lower interest rates to fund improvements. It’s a program already in use at other developments, such as the hospital development at not-Landmark Mall.

“This would become a financing tool to help us fund improvements towards the Torpedo Factory,” Mindrup said. “It’s really just a low-interest loan that’s a tool for non-profits.”

AEDP leadership emphasized that the program is just one of several tools being considered, but AEDP President and CEO Stephanie Landrum said one benefit is it could be a revenue source outside of the already strained city budget.

“[We were] asked , as the city is looking at particular governance models, some of which might create a nonprofit or ownership of building not by the city, what models are available to finance improvements,” Landrum said. “There is a cost for improvements that needs to be made that is large and we do not have the money to pay for it. The only way we’ve been looking for that money is traditional CIP or city budget.”

Landrum said AEDP is examining changes to funding that could be made under a different governance model.

“We’re looking at: if the government model changed, could IDA funding be made available?” Landrum said.

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The Alexandria Archaeology Museum announced on Twitter that a new exhibit coming to the Torpedo Factory will offer a digital guided tour of one of the ships found buried under Old Town’s waterfront.

In 2018, hulls from three mid-18th century ships were found buried underground during an excavation at the Robinson Landing development. The crown jewel of the archeological discovery, however, was a mostly intact lower hull from one of the ships.

The ship has become an object of intense study and even some belated shipbuilding criticism. The hull was even carefully taken apart and sent in pieces to Texas A&M for further study.

The eventual fate of the ship still remains unknown, with the idea of a new Waterfront Museum having been floated around as a possible home.

The new exhibit won’t take up as much space as the full ship eventually will: it’s opening in Studio #9 on the Torpedo Factory’s first floor.

The exhibit is scheduled to open Friday, April 1, and will be there until June.

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There’s been some drama around the future of the Torpedo Factory, but applications are opening next month for local artists looking to get in ahead of those changes.

“The City of Alexandria will be accepting resident artist applications for studio space at the Torpedo Factory Art Center (105 N. Union Street) beginning March 1,” the city said in a press release. “Individuals or groups of up to four artists are invited to apply for the studio jury for a three-year lease in one of the available studios. The deadline to apply is April 19.”

All artists over 21 are eligible to apply. The fee is $45 for new applicants or groups, but the release says that will be waived for current resident artists and individuals for whom the fee is a barrier. Artists can apply for a three-year lease or can become an artist pro tem and eligible to sublease.

The application is followed by a jury examining the work of an artist studio, the background of artists, how they communicate about their art and other factors.

The jury process was one of the recommendations from a 2019 plan for improving vibrancy at the Torpedo Factory Art Center. For the first time, current artists will have to compete against new artists for spots in the Torpedo Factory, but they have a few advantages. The release said incumbent residents can apply at no cost and will be given priority access to their current studios if they score high enough to earn a studio and list it as their top choice. The release says by 2024, all resident artists will have been juried through the new system.

“This is the first time that re-jurying for current artists is occurring in the Art Center’s 48-year history,” the release said.

“For more information about this process, attend an instructional webinar on either March 30 at noon or March 31 at 7 p.m.,” the release said. “The webinars will allow prospective applicants to review the process with City staff and receive live answers to application-related questions.”

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Ever since he was five years old, local muralist Patrick Kirwin has been drawing on walls. The artist behind the Dogs Of Del Ray mural has been busy during the pandemic, and his work is mostly positive.

Kirwin says that’s what his clients want these days.

“I have a younger brother who was pissed at me because I wasn’t doing political work, but I got to be who I am,” Kirwin told ALXnow in a recent interview. “I’m basically optimistic, try to be happy and don’t want to bring more garbage to the world. I want to have something that connects to people. I don’t want to make people angry.”

Kirwin, an Arlington-based artist, has taught drawing and painting courses at The Art league at the Torpedo Factory Art Center for years. He was raised with 12 siblings in Columbus, Ohio, and was sent to art school as a young child after his parents found him drawing on the walls of their home.

“They sent me to art school so I wouldn’t draw on walls, and now I’m back to drawing on walls,” Kirwin said. “I’ve gone full circle.”

Kirwin, who is married and has two children, moved to the area in 1984 to get his master’s at The George Washington University. He also taught at the Corcoran School of Art and Design, the Smithsonian, and the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton.

Kirwin’s work dried up because of the pandemic, prompting him to lower his prices. When he did that, the work started to pour in.

“I had to make cheaper bids,” Kirwin said. “Not real big things, like a 10-foot-by-10-foot outdoor painting in a backyard on Capitol Hill. I really built up a portfolio, and now people working at home and remotely they want something fresh, they want something exciting at home.”

He continued, “I learned to get a job you have to back it up with a lot of work. If someone wants work, I can bomb then with a lot of examples, and that’s important because competition is tight.”

In Alexandria last year, Kirwin also painted a mural in the alleyway of Union Street Public House. In it, George Washington is looking out of a window inside the pub.

“He is such a lively person, and I was able to see the mural day-to-day until it was finished,” Union Street employee Heather Smith said.

Kirwin also recently painted the interior of the new Tiki bar pop-up in Del Ray, and last year unveiled his “Dogs Of Del Ray” mural on the north side of Stomping Ground. The dogs mural, which faces the Pat Miller Neighborhood Square in the heart of Del Ray, showcases more than 100 of the neighborhood’s pooches.

For the time being, Kirwin is back to a massive project — a 30-foot-tall mural outside an apartment building in D.C.

“It will actually be a giant picture of a group of people taking a selfie,” he said. “It will be very, very big with a D.C. backdrop.”

Kirwin welcomes interruptions from people while he’s working.

“I love to talk to folks while I work,” he said. “Don’t be shy. Come and say hi.”

Courtesy images 

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The underlying idea behind last night’s (Monday) Agenda Alexandria discussion about the Torpedo Factory Art Center is that everyone involved wants the best for the facility. However, there are very divergent ideas about whether stagnation or change will kill the beloved Old Town art facility.

The panel discussion followed months of back-and-forth between city officials and artists over a suite of potential changes to the Torpedo Factory.

Diane Ruggiero, director of the Office of the Arts, and Stephanie Landrum, CEO and President of Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, said the city’s goals are to revitalize the Torpedo Factory by adding new uses to the building that can help make it more financially viable. Landrum and Ruggiero also said they’re working at tying it in more closely with an in-development “arts district” planned for much of North Old Town.

“The Torpedo Factory is a catalyst and I don’t think anyone disagrees with that,” Landrum said. “The conversations we’re having are on how to make sure that continues forward and making sure the physical building that the city owns isn’t prohibiting that type of growth… For this building, we want it to be more vivid and vibrant — to build on the strength of Old Town and the experience.”

Landrum said the plans focus on making the building more accessible and orienting it toward more community interests.

“Discussions are about making the building more accessible and orienting it for the larger community, which has changed,” Landrum said. “We want to make sure people aren’t coming and hanging out at waterfront park or the restaurants and not coming to the Torpedo Factory because they don’t know what’s in there. It’s complicated, but I think everyone’s intent is aligned.”

For the artists, though, there’s a concern that trying to “fix” the Torpedo Factory could be what breaks it.

“My main concern is that I don’t want to lose what the focus of the Torpedo Factory is: open studios with working artists,” said Lisa Schumaier, an artist living in Del Ray. “It’s not looking at a fully formed building, it’s enjoying the craziness of a construction site, it’s that kind of a thing. There’s so much going on in the building that you can come in and see something started, a week or two later it’s in the middle, and a couple of months down the road it’s finished. I think that’s way more interesting to people than a gallery.”

Schumaier said proposals, like putting galleries into the first floor that showcase finished art, shows that city leaders driving the conversation sometimes misunderstand the fundamental appeal of the Torpedo Factory.

Torpedo Factory Art Center founder Marian Van Landingham said that some city discussion of financial viability of the project assumed a more expensive overhaul to the building than what she thinks it needs.

“When you’re talking about renovating the building and how much it will cost, to some degree there are things you think need to be done that don’t need to be done,” Landingham said. “This antique building, this very historic building by its age, and is perfect for the kind of use we put for it.”

There are repairs, like fixing up the restrooms, that Landingham said can be done without closing the art center for two years as is currently called for in city plans. Landrum and Ruggiero said that plans currently in development could see artists relocated to nearby artist gallery spaces being created. Landrum said through development the city is looking at tripling the total number of art spaces across North Old Town, all of which could help house artists if the artists are relocated during renovation.

Landingham argued that such a dispersal could kill the Torpedo Factory.

“I think the worst thing that could happen would be to disperse the artists for two years,” Landingham said. “A lot of them would never come back. It would never recover.”

That dispersal already happened in 1983, Landingham said, and while the Torpedo Factory did recover she said one of the main differences there were that half the artists could stay in the building as it was being renovated and the other half went to a former school building on Fort Hunt Road. But many of those that left never came back, Landingham said.

“If all the artists leave and you don’t have a continuum, you will kill the art center,” Landingham said, “and that may be the purpose for people who want it for real estate purposes.”

In December, the City Council voted to approve a series of guidelines for Torpedo Factory planning, and Ruggiero said her office is currently planning an involved public outreach process that will talk to various stakeholder groups throughout the city to discuss what they hope to see from the Torpedo Factory in the future.

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A group of activists pushing back against city plans to overhaul the Torpedo Factory Art Center have accused city leaders of working with developers to astroturf a pro-overhaul faction, but city leaders said the goal wasn’t to mislead.

A Change.org petition with 7,694 signers at time of writing has become an online hub for those opposing the city’s plans to reduce artist studio space in the Torpedo Factory and replace it with alternative arts spaces (like glassblowing) or restaurant space. A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request made public by the petition organizers highlighted city emails with and about the “Torpedo Factory for All” initiative spearheaded by developer Route 66 Ventures — one of the developers pushing to lead the overhaul.

The Torpedo Factory for All page describes the initiative as being led by “Torpedo Factory for All is a group of Alexandrians who are excited about the potential for a vibrant and sustainable Torpedo Factory Art Center.” The page makes no mention of Route 66 Ventures.

The emails show that city leaders were aware of the distinction. In one email from City Manager Mark Jinks, he pointed out that the Torpedo Factory for All initiative was not the same as the community-based Waterfront for All it was trying to imitate.

“While the marketing message is similar, in my opinion, the difference between ‘Waterfront for All’ and ‘Torpedo Factory for All’ is that the former was largely a community-based organization and the latter is driven largely by for-profit interest(s) including the largest single property owner on Union and lower King,” Jinks wrote.

Internal newsletters and email indicated that the city and Diane Ruggiero, director of the Office of the Arts were facing confusion about whether the Torpedo Factory for All was a city-led initiative. According to one email titled “DRAFT Talking Points for Torpedo Factory for All Campaign”:

While my recommendation overall would be to not engage in a discussion about this, I’ve edited the talking points. Please do not mention Rt 66. We don’t have any information on that and I don’t want us to be part of what could be seen as a rumor.

I am continually asked about this. My answer is that I don’t know who is behind it or what they’re trying to do. We agree that the Torpedo Factory should be for everyone and of course we agree with the statistics – they’re from our reports. Right now, staff is focused on implementing the vibrancy and sustainability plan and on gathering the information needed to go to council in December. When they ask a follow up, I repeat the above statement.

I know it’s hard to be on the front line, but we can’t get dragged into this.

The petition organizers said in an update that this shows the city knew who was behind the campaign and were in communications with the organizers — and emails show that city staff did have communications with a representative from Route 66 Ventures — but opted not to share that information with the public:

Some of you may remember the “Torpedo Factory for All” campaign that appeared out of nowhere last summer and disappeared just as quickly.

At the time, the staff at the Office of the Arts claimed no knowledge of this project. However, these emails obtained via the FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) show that they not only knew about it, they were in communication with the organizers, and they conspired to lie about it to the artists whose future might be impacted by such a campaign.

Ruggiero told ALXnow she didn’t have concrete information about who was organizing the Torpedo Factory for All initiative and didn’t want to misinform the public.

There were a lot of people (including artists) who thought TFFA was a City initiative (or that we were involved, which we were not) and my team was interested in clarifying it. My request to not mention Rt 66 was that we didn’t have any specific information connecting them to the Torpedo Factory For All (TFFA) initiative. We thought they might be involved (especially since there were signs in their office space), but there was no information on the website or signs that provided a point of contact or anything mentioning Rt 66 and I was hearing from others that there was a “community group” involved so if someone asked why we mentioned Rt 66 we didn’t have anything to point to.

Since we couldn’t be 100% sure, I felt it was best to not mention them in our FAQ in case we were wrong. It was not in an attempt to hide anything.

Alexandria’s City Council recently approved a set of guidelines for potential changes at the Torpedo Factory. Of note: changes at the Torpedo Factory will also be the topic of the next Agenda Alexandria discussion scheduled for Monday, Jan. 24.

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There’s been a lot of discussion about changes happening inside the Torpedo Factory, but at least one group in Alexandria wants a little more attention paid to what will happen to the building itself.

At the Historic Alexandria Resources Commission (HARC) Advocacy Committee meeting last Tuesday, the group said there needs to be a seat at the table in Torpedo Factory discussions representing the historic elements of the building.

“It was disturbing to me that the three options that were presented to the council did in fact address the exterior of the building, the architecture, but it seems the Mayor doesn’t want to deal with those yet, so I’m not sure if the Arts Commission or the Office of the Arts and the City Council are all on the same page,” said committee chair Danny Smith. “I believe the best thing that we can say is we need to stay tuned and see what happens.”

Smith said it doesn’t seem like there’s a clear vision of where the project is going or a solid timetable moving forward, which had been earlier criticisms by the Waterfront Commission.

Earlier this month, the City Council voted to approve a series of principles to guide Torpedo Factory development, but the vote also left some more confused than satiated.

“I always think it’s unfortunate after a long extended debate, Council has a meeting and no one can really tell you for sure what happened,” said Commissioner Martha Harris. “For me, the standout thing in the memo is that the city will set up a separate public entity to coordinate artistic real estate assets in the City of Alexandria.”

HARC members shared concerns that the topic of the Torpedo Factory as a historic building seemed deliberately cut out of the narrative.

Historic Preservation Architect Bill Conkey told HARC that any changes to the building will have to run through a city approval process, where the historic preservation aspect will be a part of the discussion.

“Its location in the historic district provides great protection,” said Conkey. “Linked to that, as this goes forward, preservation staff and of course, the [Board of Architectural Review] are going to be integral to that conversation. Nothing will go forward without those ideas being discussed with us… We’ve made it very clear, we are involved in this as well.”

As Torpedo Factory plans move forward, HARC members reiterated that they want to be part of talks about the future of the building.

“We are in chapter 11 of a 22 chapter saga,” Smith said. “There’s more to come and we definitely do need to do everything we can to be represented on this stakeholder group.”

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Alexandria leadership are sticking to their guns on changes planned for the Torpedo Factory Art Center as it looks at building a new governing structure to plan out the art center’s future.

At a City Council meeting last week, the Council and Deputy City Manager Emily Baker discussed evolving plans for the Torpedo Factory and what direction the city should take. The art center is one of the most popular destinations in Alexandria, attracting an estimated 500,000 visitors a year.

During the discussion, the City Council expressed a general interest in moving forward with the previously approved vibrancy plan, despite pushback from artists and supporters critical of plans to reduce studio space.

As previously reported, plans for the Torpedo Factory could involve replacing some ground-floor space with other types of artist spaces — like glass blowing — or uses like a cafe or restaurant. The idea is to make the location more vibrant and attractive to visitors, although artists in the building have resisted against plans that could reduce the studio capacity in the building.

The city approved a path forward laid out in the following memo written by Mayor Justin Wilson:

I believe that Council should endorse principles and ask that our City staff work with partners (AEDP, etc) to return with a plan in alignment with this approach:

  1. Create a separate public entity (e.g. Arts Community Development Authority) to consolidate Alexandria’s artistic real estate assets (Old Town North arts space, Torpedo Factory and beyond) with the mission to:
    • Strategically manage Alexandria’s artistic real estate
    • Take advantage of unique financing tools to rehabilitate, build-out and sustain real estate assets
    • Provide a framework for future consideration of public/private partnerships
    • Project financing and a schedule of City facility capital investments
  2. Ensure that the Torpedo Factory remains a world-class center for the arts, by defining a structure within the newly-created authority that:
    • Implements the approved Action Plan for Vibrancy and Sustainability, to build and sustain a high-quality arts program and visitor experience
    • Retains a place for Torpedo Factory artists as the facility evolves
    • Broadens scope of artistic expression included in the Art Center and throughout the district (e.g. performing arts, etc)
    • Solicits and incorporates structural changes from the City’s Race and Social Equity Officer to improve diversity of artists
    • Retains a place for non-Art Center tenants (Art League and Archaeology Museum
    • Extends the Torpedo Factory brand: combine with the Old Town North Arts District (e.g. “The Torpedo Factory Arts District”)
    • Engage with all stakeholders to develop a coherent vision/mission for the Torpedo Factory and the connected Arts District

During the meeting, city leaders expressed an interest in combining revitalization of the Torpedo Factory with the Old Town North Arts & Cultural District, and Wilson said revitalization plans can move forward on multiple fronts simultaneously.

“My goal is not to stand still,” Wilson said. “This is not a one-month undertaking to piece all this together. My hope is for us to continue to make progress… With an acknowledgment that we’ve already endorsed the vibrancy plan and will put together a structure that makes sense. We have to be able to do two things at once.”

City Council member Mo Seifeldein added a suggested task force comprised of artists, community members, the Archeology Museum, and potentially City Council members to look at creating a consolidated body to oversee all the city’s artistic real estate.

Baker noted that major renovation at the Torpedo Factory won’t start until 2026, but other changes within the building — like the rearrangement of artist spaces — could happen sooner than that.

“While the studies, debate and acrimony surrounding the Torpedo Factory have continued, the City has worked to expand the amount of space in our community dedicated to the arts,” Mayor Justin Wilson wrote in a memo. “Per our request, our staff has brought us a series of alternatives to consider. While a decision to select an individual alternative would not be immediately actionable in its current form, the areas of broad agreement from the various studies provide a set of principles that can and should be adopted by City Council at this time.”

The city voted to approve the principles laid out in the memo.

“The Torpedo Factory has got a long way to go in terms of — I don’t want to say modernizing, but for heaven’s sake fix the toilet,” said City Council member Del Pepper. “The whole thing looks like it’s 1950. Let’s do some of the things that can be done.”

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