Old Town Alexandria
Inside Torpedo Factory
Q&A with Post-Grad Residency Artist Alexis Gomez
The Torpedo Factory is well-known for showcasing talent through its diverse programming, and helping recent graduates make their way in the post-academic world is no exception. The gallery offers the competitive post-grad residency program as a way for recent BFA and MFA graduates to further their practice in the Target Gallery while mingling with art world peers. We spoke to Alexis Gomez, a Northern Virginia native and the Factory’s resident through the end of June, about his work at the waterfront gallery.
On Tap: What led you to apply to the post-grad residency project, and what has your experience been like so far?
Alexis Gomez: In 2016, there was a show called “Connecting the Dots” where I had a sculpture, and from there, I had another show in the Target Gallery called “Bewitch,” which also extended my relationship with the gallery and the Torpedo Factory in general. This was the first year that people with BFAs could apply, so I did, and I ended up getting it!
OT: What else does the Torpedo Factory offers artists and locals who want to explore the fine arts?
AG: They have a new program that just started called the Late Shift, where the gallery is left open from 7-11 p.m. and artists can come set up tables. There are performances going on, and there are tons of open studios. You can walk in and look around, and lots of artists leave their studios open. It’s definitely a welcoming environment.
OT: What kind of work have you been doing as part of this program?
AG: My focus is in 3D sculpture, primarily life-sized figural sculptures that I make out of wood. A lot of the design aspect is done digitally, and I spend the majority of my workflow just analyzing and moving things around in software. It’s really a translation between virtual and literal, and in a lot of ways it balances the workflow. Working in life-sized scale is hands-on and going back to my laptop is a bit more tedious, and I think that there’s a mental and physical dialogue that goes on there.
Check out Gomez’s work at the Late Shift’s Art Rock City event at the Torpedo Factory on June 15 from 7-11 p.m., and the By The People Festival’s Augmented Reality activation in collaboration with ARTECHOUSE from June 21-24. For more information, visit www.alexisgomezart.com.
Torpedo Factory: 105 N. Union St, Alexandria, VA; 703-746-4570; www.torpedofactory.org
Canines and Coworking at ALX Community
This spring saw Founders Hall transformed into the ultimate work hard, play hard destination just blocks from the Old Town riverfront. ALX Community is a coworking space with flexible membership and dog-friendly digs. In addition to ample office space, the building is now home to well-loved local juice and acai bowl outpost South Block, athleisure boutique Summit to Soul, and yoga and Pilates studio Vikriya. Offering daily, monthly and unlimited access in addition to dedicated desks and offices, this new community center is appealing to locals no matter how you choose to use your space. Come for the limitless productivity potential and stay for the dogs, yoga and juice.
ALX Community at Founders Hall: 106 N. Lee St. Alexandria, VA; 703-362-2901; www.alxcommunity.com
Drinks on the Dock
Whether you want to grab a quick drink before checking out the latest Torpedo Factory exhibit or settle in for a night of leisurely waterside libations, check out these spots offering views as great as their cocktails.
Between Blackwall Hitch’s comfy, outdoor fireside seating and their dockside view of the Potomac, there really isn’t a bad seat in the house – or a bad drink or dish.
“We have a prime location, a beautiful view and something on the menu for everyone,” says assistant general manager Clifton Daniel of the restaurant’s diverse offerings.
With 20 beers on tap and a menu with summer-ready selections ranging from fried green tomatoes to a grilled watermelon and feta salad, there’s truly something on the menu for even the pickiest palate in your group.
5 Cameron St. Alexandria, VA; www.theblackwallhitch.com
This waterfront bar and restaurant offers bright, fresh decor and a stunning view of the river. Situated near the dock and boasting a menu of classics and innovative drinks, there are few better places to enjoy a drink on a lazy summer afternoon while enjoying water views. Pair your boozy slush made with all-natural ingredients (for all of the sweetness with none of the hangover) with one of the savory, seafood-oriented selections from the bar menu (think fried oysters, crab and corn fritters, and even Old Bay-spiced popcorn) for an ideal summer drinking experience.
220 S. Union St. Alexandria, VA; www.hummingbirdva.net
Virtue Feed & Grain
For a drink in a unique setting, visit Virtue Feed & Grain. The hip restaurant used to be the home of a late-1800s feed warehouse, and the rustic decor is reminiscent of the building’s history.
“The patio at Virtue provides an urban oasis on the Old Town waterfront,” says Emily Klassen, sales and marketing director. “We have intimate tables lining the brick patio, surrounded by palms and covered with retractable awnings.”
The menu at Virtue is fresh as well. The spot offers rotating specials through the year (highlights of this summer includes seared scallops and a quinoa burger), and an ever-changing craft beer and cocktail menu.
106 S. Union St. Alexandria, VA; www.virtuefeedgrain.com
Want to picnic, play volleyball or toss the tennis ball to your furry friend? In Old Town, there’s a park for that.
351 N. Union St.
Best for: Keeping Fido fit in the dog exercise area, post-dinner strolls on the walking path and participating in pickup volleyball games
1 Wilkes St.
Best for: Grabbing a bite to-go and enjoying a picnic on the water
1A Prince St.
Best for: Docking your boat (if you have one) and taking in the spectacular views of the river with ample waterfront seating
Can’t decide which waterfront neighborhood to explore? Take the Potomac Riverboat’s new Wharf Water Taxi to river hop your way to these featured destinations. Learn more at www.potomacriverboatco.com/water-taxi/wharf.
Did You Know?
The City of Alexandria is home to a whopping 112 city parks.
Historic Digs: Hotel Indigo
Hotel Indigo sits on the grounds of what is thought to be the city’s first public building. Discovered in 2015, it is believed the wood used to make the building was repurposed from the mast of a ship. 220 S. Union St. Alexandria, VA; 703-721-3800; www.hotelindigooldtownalexandria.com