Open call for resident artists at the Torpedo Factory Art Center

Photo: Kelly MacConomy/The Zebra Press

ALEXANDRIA, VA – The City of Alexandria will accept applications from resident artists for a studio at the Torpedo Factory Art Center (105 N. Union St., Alexandria, Va.) beginning March 1. Individuals or groups of up to four artists are invited. to apply to the studio jury for a three-year lease in one of the available studios. The deadline to apply is April 19.

Visual artists at all levels of their respective careers, over the age of 21, are eligible to apply for the 2022 Studio Jury. The fee is $45 for new applicants or groups of applicants, but will be waived for artists current residents and people for whom fees are a barrier. Artists can apply to be a resident artist with a three-year lease or to become a pro tem artist and eligible for subletting.

City Council approved an action plan based on the findings of a 2019 meta-analysis to improve the vibrancy and sustainability of the Torpedo Factory Art Center. The action plan includes an annual jury/re-jury process as a key part of this effort. By the end of 2024, all resident artists at the Torpedo Factory Art Center will have been selected through this new system. This is the first time a new jury for current artists has performed in the Art Center’s 48-year history.

Open appeal process

The Torpedo Factory Art Center selection process is guided by current best practices with scoring on a variety of blind and non-blind criteria. Candidates can score a maximum of 100 points in total in three phases and must meet the minimum scoring requirements to advance to the next phase. Artists will be judged by studio, so group entries will be scored together. The studios will be allocated according to the scores of the jury in three phases:

· Phase I considers artistic merit and is judged blind, with jurors only seeing art. Jurors will be looking for artwork deliberately crafted with an authentic and original point of view that reflects an awareness of current trends and aesthetics in the wider art world.

· Phase II is non-blind and takes into account the candidates’ backgrounds. Jurors will be looking for artists who can explain their art and who want to engage and interact with the public through their work. They will review the nominees’ career highlights and how they have marketed themselves or made their work known.

· Phase III gives jurors the opportunity to examine the contestants’ ability to communicate about their works and to understand their desire to engage positively with the public. These presentations are open to the public. Visit torpedofactory.org/events for the schedule of presentations.

For more information on this process, attend an educational webinar on March 30 at noon or March 31 at 7 p.m. The webinars will allow potential applicants to review the process with City staff and receive live answers to questions related to the application.

Jurors

The City recruited four experts in the art field, with specialties such as conservation, galleries, museums or academia, to evaluate the applications. Jurors represent a wide range of demographics and philosophies, including age, ethnicity, gender, physical ability, education and work experience.

Zoë Charlton, MFA, acclaimed artist and professor of art at American University

Photo: Linkedin

Jaynelle Hazard, MA, Executive Director and Curator of the Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art

Photo: Prathibha Polapragada

Jack Rasmussen, Ph.D., Director and Curator of the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center

Photo courtesy of American University

John Ruppert, MFA, acclaimed artist and professor of art at the University of Maryland

Photo courtesy of University of Maryland

Studio Re-selection of the jury and benefits

Studios will be re-judged based on the time elapsed since the artist’s last judging. About a third of the studios will be retried in 2022, and the following studios will be divided over the next two years.

group A is juried again this year and contains studios occupied by artists who were last judged between 1975 and 2003, 19 to 47 years ago. Such long lead times exceed industry standards for artist communities, which typically replenish every 3-5 years to maintain competition, quality, and changing standards in the art world. Group A applications are due by April 19, 2022.

Group B the studios represent artists who were last judged between 2004 and 2017 and who will be judged again in 2023.

Group Cthe studios represent artists who were last judged between 2018 and 2021 and will be judged again in 2024.

Founderswho held a studio in 1974 and today, as well as their studio mates, will not be required to re-swear and are eligible for renewable one-year leases for the duration of the founding member’s tenure in the studio.

Tenure Resident Artists can apply at no cost and will have priority access to their current studios if they score high enough to win a studio and list it as their first choice. This process also allows tenured artists in residence to consider moving to another location in the building and adjusting their roommate relationships with other artists.

Accepted applicants receive a three-year studio lease with subsidized rent of $16.88 per square foot per year. This cost includes access to Alexandria’s heavily trafficked Potomac waterfront and King Street shopping corridor, building utilities, property taxes paid by the art center for the space, marketing of the art center, art center staff, professional development opportunities, common area/bathroom custodial services, Art Center programming and other day-to-day operations. Resident artists can sell their art commission-free, which is a unique advantage in the art world.

Visit torpedofactory.org/studiojury for complete information on jurors, the jury process and studio availability.

About Torpedo Factory Art Center

The City of Alexandria operates the Torpedo Factory Art Center through the Bureau of the Arts, a division of the Department of Recreation, Parks, and Cultural Activities. Alexandria City Council has approved an action plan based on the findings of a 2019 meta-analysis to improve the vibrancy and sustainability of the Torpedo Factory Art Center. The action plan included an annual jury/re-jury process as a key part of this effort. By the end of 2024, all resident artists of the Torpedo Factory Art Center will be selected through this new system.

Founded in 1974 in a former munitions factory, the Torpedo Factory Art Center is the nation’s longest running community of publicly accessible artist studios in a family of converted industrial space programs and facilities. Just south of Washington, DC, the Art Center overlooks the Potomac River in the Old Town section of Alexandria, Virginia. Each year, more than half a million national and international visitors meet and interact with more than 160 resident artists in 74 studios and 8 galleries. For more information, visit torpedofactory.org or follow the Art Center on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest via @torpedofactory.

Live music: Alexandria Symphony to perform Bach and Vivaldi on March 19



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