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“Fascinating historical building with a new artistic purpose”

Torpedo Factory Art Center
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Ranked #3 of 90 things to do in Alexandria
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: Art in Person and in Progress. Located in Old Town Alexandria, the Torpedo Factory Art Center is home to 150+ working artists, 6 galleries, The Art League, and the Alexandria Archaeology Museum.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 5 Contributor
62 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Fascinating historical building with a new artistic purpose”
Reviewed July 23, 2014

This place really was a torpedo factory for WWII. I read a novel recently, written in the early 70s, and the protagonist had an office in the building. Now it is dedicated to art and is an absolute must to visit. Best way to get there is to take a Potomac tour boat one way from Georgetown. It will drop you off right in front of the Torpedo Factory in Old Town. Spend an hour or more there, then you can wander up the main street until you're ready to take a trolley (free, just hop on) to the Metro.

Visited May 2014
2 Thank Sacred-Valley-Girl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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823 reviews from our community

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Mount Royal, New Jersey
Level 6 Contributor
172 reviews
53 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
“Great array of arts”
Reviewed July 21, 2014

From pottery, to photography, to paintings, there is a little bit of everything. The Torpedo Factory Art Center affords the visitor a diverse presentation of art in its various forms. We enjoyed meeting and speaking with some of the local and visiting artists and having an opportunity to be exposed to many wonderful pieces.

Visited July 2014
1 Thank Caroline C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Iberia, Louisiana
Level 4 Contributor
20 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Great place for artists!”
Reviewed July 9, 2014

This was fun place to see. We love art and loved seeing the various styles of art. We loved seeing the artists at work and speak with them. The only negative is that not all the artists were there. You might need to go to the website to see their schedules.

Visited June 2014
1 Thank Denyse F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC
Level 6 Contributor
91 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 137 helpful votes
“Amazing resource - whether you visit or buy”
Reviewed July 9, 2014

If you have never been to the Torpedo Factory Art Center, you have to put it on your bucket list. The title explains it all - it's an old 3 story US Navy Torpedo Factory that was converted into an art center by the City of Alexandria. In exchange for great space to produce art, artists are required to hold "office hours" where the public can come in, see them working, talk to them, and if desired, buy some art.

I've been to many cities in my travels and I can't recall anything this unique in the art world - you often can talk to artists at art shows, or go to their individual studios, but to see dozens of artists under one roof - I think that's pretty rare and special.

The Torpedo Factory has 3 floors - each of which features a wide variety of artists - painters, sculptors, jewelry makers, photographers, etc. There should be something for just about anyone. In addition to the artists, the 2nd floor contains an art school, and the ground floor contains some local history and a Bread and Chocolate cafe for food and drink.

If it's not obvious - you DO NOT to pay admission or buy any art. You can just go and watch them work, and window shop the various galleries. In the same way you would visit a museum, the Torpedo Factory gives you the opportunity to spend a great day out. Better still - you can get right up to the art, and speak to the artists.

Now if you're like me - and are into art - you have the unique experience to purchase art directly from the artist. In my case, I've purchased lots of art here from a variety of artists. Two of my favorites include Craig Sterling - a fine art photographer, and Matthew Johnston, a painter, both of whom are on the 3rd floor in the same building!

On a recent visit, i was on the hunt for a piece or two from Matthew Johnston, for my kitchen. He was there - and helped us pick out the perfect pieces. It's special when you get to have the artist say "Hang on - i've got one like that but in other colors over here...I think that's even better to go with your wall color...." and have that personal help with their art. He then said "you know i would like the grey frame better- can you come back and I'll switch that out for you? I think it will make the colors pop more." And it did. It's a personal touch - I love that. And after we purchased those pieces, we got to talking with him about another area of our home we're looking to get art. We threw around some ideas - and yes - we've agreed to a commission.

All of this from a visit to our hometown Torpedo Factory Art Center - we just went to spend a Sunday -and got some great art. Whether you're a local or a visitor - don't miss this place

Visited July 2014
Thank Duane G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kernersville, North Carolina
Level 6 Contributor
350 reviews
141 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 170 helpful votes
“"Lots of various art in a great location...but expensive to park!"”
Reviewed July 7, 2014

My husband & I were visiting over the weekend and stepped into the Torpedo Factory to look around. The Factory is a three-stored building encompassing various artist displaying their works and eager to talk with anyone that wanders into their booth. There are booths pertaining to paintings, sculpture and pottery. We liked the paper mache elephant and giraffi that were on display.
We saw several actual torpedoes on display along with numerous memorabilia pertaining to the Factory.
The Factory is located right on the Potomac waterfront. Come for a stroll, go out by the waterfront and watch the boats come in or enjoy one of the restaurants close by.
There is public parking available across front the Torpedo Factory BUT EXPENSIVE! We were at the Factory and did some shopping around and got a short-term parking ticket for only 1 hour 13 minutes: price $11.00 WOW!

Visited June 2014
1 Thank CarolinaNurse323
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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