ALEXANDRIA, VA–The City of Alexandria has recently released its plans to renovate the Torpedo Factory Art Center. Plans which could severely impact the livelihood of artists who work within the Center.
The City’s proposal includes three potential plans:
- An incremental revitalization, to include “Modest improvements and changes,” as outlined and budgeted in the Action Plan
- A Custom Program, to involve an entire ground floor renovation, building space for restaurants, a makers space, and more entertainment spaces, which the City would fund itself
- A Ground Lease, which would involve giving all renovation license to a private entity
The second and third options, while they appear to be the most viable by the City and the certainly conducive to further waterfront development, would completely demolish the artist studios currently occupying the ground floor of the Center to make room for restaurant and entertainment space.
One of those artists, painter and engraver M. Alexander Gray, has decided to take action. Gray has started a petition to save the studios on the ground floor, and the livelihoods of the artists those studios support.
“They are threatening my livelihood,” stated Gray when asked about the City’s proposal. “None of the artists support it either. They regard it as a threat.” If the City were to follow through with either of the latter two plans, they would be eliminating up to 40% of artist studios at the Torpedo Factory, including all studios on the first floor.
“I’ve had several people endorse my flyer,” says Gray, having garnered nearly 50 signatures already in support of this cause.
That flyer (pictured above) includes two QR codes, one which directs you to contact the Mayor and City Council, another which directs you to change.org, where you can find a link to sign the petition.
Gray is looking for at least 100 signatures, but the artists need as many as possible before the City Council meeting in December. He asserts in conclusion, “We don’t want to leave.”