Artists Take Over the Jail -Lorton Workhouse Arts Center

Real Estate Agent with Integrity Real Estate Group

Lorton Prison TowerWhat do you do when an old prison closes?  in Northern Virginia 

former jail cells will soon open as artist studios.  Where prisoners may have written graffiti on the walls or counted down the days until their release you will find studios filled with artists who specialize in ceramic, glass, fiber and oil painting to name a few.

With great planning by Fairfax County in 2002 many of the original prison buildings, many which were constructed by prisoners making bricks right on the grounds, have been saved and renovated to accommodate the Lorton Workhouse Arts Center. 

With its grand opening looming workers are moving at full speed to make sure that everything is ready.  During the Occoquan River Festival over 400 people toured some of the finished empty spaces to give local residents a sense of what is to come.  Last year Mikhail Baryshnikov toured the facility and received an honor Doctorate degree from Shenandoah University. 

The grand opening event will run from September 19-27th and will include a number of events including performances by concert-pianist Pedja Muzijevic, performances of Alexander and the Terrible for the kids and the gala event on the September 27th with Tony Award winning singer Barbara Cook.  Tours of the new studios with the arts will take place throughout the week and other exhibits will be in place as well. 

The Lorton Workhouse Arts Foundation is a non-profit group which has been working diligently for years to make the new Lorton Workhouse Arts Center a reality.  In addition to the arts center there will be additional commercial space to include shops and restaurants.  Watching the transformation of the area has been amazing.  Seeing buildings being saved, even if their history is dubious, has been refreshing from the usual bulldoze it to the ground mentality. 

Everyone is looking forward to the newest member of the Lorton community making its official debut in September.

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If you are interested in learning more about the Northern Virginia Real Estate market including Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax and Prince William Counties give Cindy Jones and Integrity Real Estate Group a call at 703-346-2213.

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Kate Elim
Dockside Realty - Spotsylvania, VA
Realtor 540-226-1964, Selling Homes & Land a

Hi Cindy...This is wonderful.  What a treat that will be.  I still remember how much I enjoyed visiting the Torpedo Factory.  We'll have to make an effort to get up to Lorton when this if finished.


Jul 31, 2008 03:31 PM #1
Lisa Hill
Florida Property Experts - Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Beach Real Estate

That's an interesting idea. I wonder who thought of that. But aren't the cells awfully small? Or did this prison have larger than usual cells? Regardless, I hope it's a big hit!

Jul 31, 2008 03:50 PM #2
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Kate-please if you are coming this way let me know.  I'd love to have lunch or coffee!  I'm looking forward to the grand opening of the new center and having a glass studio closer to home than Glen Echo.

Jul 31, 2008 11:09 PM #3
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Lisa-the actually took out the old cells and retrofit the interior.  They left the outside structure and architecture intact. 

Jul 31, 2008 11:10 PM #4
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Cindy Jones

Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News
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