Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Arrogant Artists?

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Arrogant Artists?

My compliments on the excellent article on the status of the Torpedo Factory by Gerald Fill. After reading it I was outraged at the arrogance of the artists who appear to think that they are the owners of the Torpedo Factory. They need to recognize that they are tenants in a building which is owned by the city. The fact of the matter is that as tenants they have absolutely no right to provide input on management issues. Their responsibility is to pay the rent and actually use the spaces during the day.

It is about time that the building is being managed by the actual owners. For too long it has been neglected by city leadership who actually cared more for the tenants (many of whom were not even residents of the city) than they did for the taxpayers who subsidize the below market rental rates that they pay. I once brought visitors to the Torpedo Factory at 10 in the morning and there were only 2 or 3 studios that were open so I support the management position of requiring them to be present during a specific time period during the day. The practice of specifying a schedule when all the studios is common in similar settings (such as a mall).

One additional change I would suggest to the director is that they need to increase the rent on these spaces. They could consider have a tiered rate structure where Alexandria resident artists have a preferred rental rate (lower) while all of non residents artists would pay a higher rate. That would ensure that Alexandria taxpayers are not subsidizing nonresidents.

There are bound to be people who are upset with the thought of having adult supervision — I am sure that it is a rude awakening for the artists that the Torpedo Factory is no longer their personal playground but a commercial concern operated by competent management. Those tenants who object need to remember that this is America. Nobody is forcing them to be there and if they are unhappy with their situation they need to remember that they are free to look elsewhere.

Micheline Eyraud