Open Call for Resident Artists at Torpedo Factory Art Center

By Editorial Team on March 2, 2022

Deadline: Tue, 19 April 2022

Courtesy of Torpedo Factory Art Center.

Details: torpedofactory.org/artopps

The City of Alexandria will be accepting resident artist applications for studio space 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 for 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, who are over the age of 21, are eligible to apply for the 2022 studio jury. The fee is $45 for new applicants or applicant groups, but will be waived for current resident artists and individuals for whom the fee is a barrier. Artists can apply to be a resident artist with a three-year lease or to become an artist pro team and eligible to sublease.

The City Council approved an Action Plan based on the findings of a 2019 meta-analysis for improving the vibrancy and sustainability of Torpedo Factory Art Center. The Action Plan includes an annual jury/re-jury process as a key element toward this effort. By the end of 2024, all resident artists at Torpedo Factory Art Center will have been juried in through this new system. This is the first time that re-jurying for current artists is occurring in the Art Center’s 48-year history.

Open Call Process 

The Torpedo Factory Art Center’s selection process is driven by current best practices with scoring on a variety of blind and non-blind criteria. Applicants may score a maximum of 100 total points in three phases and must meet minimum scoring requirements to proceed to the next phase. Artists will be juried by studio, so group applications will be scored together. Studios will be awarded based on juror scores in three phases:

  • Phase I considers artistic merit and is judged blind, with jurors only viewing the art. Jurors will be looking for deliberately crafted artwork with an authentic and original point of view that reflects an awareness of current trends and aesthetics in the broader art world.
  • Phase II is non-blind and considers applicants’ backgrounds. Jurors will look for artists who can explain their art and who want to engage and interact with the public through their work. They will review applicants’ career highlights and how they have marketed themselves or their work.
  • Phase III gives the jurors an opportunity to consider the applicants’ ability to communicate about their artwork, and understand their desire to positively engage with the public. These presentations are open for the public to attend. Visit torpedofactory.org/events for the presentation schedule.

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

Jurors

The City has recruited four experts from the field of art, with specialties including curatorial, galleries, museums or academia, to evaluate applications. Jurors represent a broad range of demographics and philosophies, including age, ethnicity, gender, physical abilities, educational background and work experience.

  • Zoë Charlton, M.F.A., Acclaimed artist and Professor of Art at American University 
  • Jaynelle Hazard, M.A., Executive Director and Curator of Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art 
  • Jack Rasmussen, Ph.D., Director and Curator of the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center  
  • John Ruppert, M.F.A., Acclaimed artist and Professor of Art at the University of Maryland 

Studio Re-jury Selection and Benefits 

Studios will be re-juried based upon the time frame since the artist’s last jury. Approximately one-third of the studios will be re-juried in 2022, and subsequent studios divided over the next two years.

Group A is being re-juried this year and contains studios occupied by artists who were last juried between 1975 and 2003, ranging from 19 to 47 years ago. Such lengthy time frames exceed the industry standards for artist communities, which typically re-jury every 3 to 5 years to maintain competition, quality and evolving art-world standards. Group A applications are due by April 19, 2022.

Group B studios represent artists who were most recently juried between 2004–2017, and will be re-juried in 2023. Group C studios represent artists who were most recently juried between 2018–2021, and will be re-juried in 2024. Founding members who held a studio in 1974 and today, along with their studio mates, will not be required to re-jury and are eligible for renewable one-year leases for the duration of the founding member’s tenure in the studio.

Incumbent resident artists 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. This process also allows incumbent resident artists to consider moving to a different location in the building and adjusting their co-leasing relationships with other artists.

Accepted applicants receive a three-year studio lease with publicly subsidized rent of $16.88 per square foot per year. This cost includes access to Alexandria’s high-traffic Potomac Waterfront and the King Street commercial corridor, building utilities, Art Center-paid property taxes for the space, Art Center marketing, Art Center staffing, professional development opportunities, common area/bathroom custodial services, Art Center programming and other day-to-day operations. Resident artists may sell their art with no commission taken, which is a unique benefit in the art world.

Visit torpedofactory.org/studiojury for comprehensive information on the jurors, the jury process and availability of studios.

About Torpedo Factory Art Center

The City of Alexandria manages Torpedo Factory Art Center through the Office of the Arts’, a division of the Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities The Alexandria City Council approved an Action Plan based on the findings of a 2019 meta-analysis for improving the vibrancy and sustainability of Torpedo Factory Art Center. The Action Plan included an annual jury/re-jury process as a key element toward this effort. By the end of 2024, all Resident Artists at Torpedo Factory Art Center will be juried in through this new system.

Founded in 1974 in an old munitions plant, Torpedo Factory Art Center is the nation’s longest continually operated community of publicly accessible artists’ studios in a converted industrial space family of programs and facilities. Just south of Washington, D.C., the Art Center overlooks the Potomac River in the Old Town section of Alexandria, Va. Each year, more than a half-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 TwitterFacebookInstagramYouTube, and Pinterest via @torpedofactory.