City manager to propose that Torpedo Factory remain under city management

City manager to propose that Torpedo Factory remain under city management
Torpedo Factory Art Center (File photo)

By Alexa Epitropoulos |

City Manager Mark Jinks is proposing that the city’s Office of the Arts continue to be the managing body responsible for the operations of Torpedo Factory Art Center, according to a memo released to artists on Tuesday.

Jinks will bring the recommendation forward at city council’s legislative meeting on Nov. 13. A final vote on the city’s management would take place at the Nov. 17 public hearing.

Management of the Torpedo Factory by the Office of the Arts began on Oct. 1, 2016 and was intended to be temporary and for up to three years. Jinks said in the memo, however, that the management structure has “proven to work well promoting broader community engagement and open communication.” 

Several artists at the Torpedo Factory, who spoke to the Times on the condition of anonymity, have criticized the timing of the city’s attempt to make its management of the Torpedo Factory permanent. The announcement came the evening of the General Election on Tuesday and the final decision is anticipated to come less than two weeks later on Nov. 17. 

Jinks said in the memo that the Torpedo Factory was a key fixture in the city’s future and an “anchor” of the King Street Corridor Initiative. He said because of that, the city’s ongoing management is “critical” and emphasized that the city is the “only organization capable of the level of investment needed that can ensure the community’s interests are also considered in future substantial capital improvements to the building.”

The docket item itself calls for the development of a “Vibrancy and Sustainability Plan,” for an acknowledgment that capital funding of between $10 to $15 million will be required to be invested in the Torpedo Factory and that the Office of the Arts continue as the “long-term managing entity” for the Torpedo Factory. The full docket item can be read here.