Alexandria Organizations Recognize Artists

Two long-time Torpedo Factory Artists were recently honored with notable Alexandria awards– Elizabeth “Betsy” Anderson (Studio 223) and Gloria Barbré (Studios 14 and 210) received awards from Living Legends of Alexandria and The Alexandria Commission for Women, respectively.

Living Legends of Alexandria is an ongoing portrait photograph art project and award series aimed at documenting and honoring the community members currently making history in Alexandria. The project was started by Torpedo Factory Artists’ Association alumni artist Nina Tisara, with support from the Rotary Club of Alexandria and the Alexandria Gazette Packet. The project aims to encourage all Alexandrians to make a difference in their community.

Nominated because of her significant participation in all of the partner agencies at the Torpedo Factory (the Torpedo Factory Artists’ Association, Torpedo Factory ART Center Board, and The Art League),  Elizabeth “Betsy” Anderson was chosen as an Alexandria Living Legend for her dedication to the arts and artists in her community.

Born in Baltimore but raised globally, Anderson developed an early interest in art which she studied at both Tulane University (Sophia Newcomb College) and Wright State University. When The Art League opened membership to residents outside Virginia, she was quick to join. Anderson’s membership in the Art League served as a motivating factor for her decision to retire in the Alexandria area.

While at The Art League, Anderson served eight years as Assistant Executive Director and eleven times as President of the Board of Directors. During these roles, she established the Art Supply Store, Development Department, and Community Outreach Program.

Betsy Anderson & Executive Director of The Art League, Suzanne Bethel

Betsy Anderson and Executive Director of The Art League, Suzanne Bethel

After joining the Torpedo Factory Artists’ Association in 1980, Anderson served on the board as both Vice President and Treasurer. She became a leaseholding artist in 1988 and her paintings have been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions both locally and internationally. She continues her artistic practice as a painter in Studio 223.

Anderson was appointed by Alexandria City Council to serve on the newly created Torpedo Factory Art Center Board in 2011, also holding the role of Vice President. In addition, she represented the visual arts for six years on the Alexandria Commission for the Arts, including two as Vice Chair.

The “Meet the Legends” reception for the 2016 Living Legends of Alexandria Awards was held on March 15 at the U.S. Patent and Trade Office.


The Alexandria Commission for Women recently presented the 36th Annual “Salute to Women” Awards. Formerly the Woman to Woman awards, the awards recognize women who have made continued and lasting contributions to the Alexandria Community.

A New Orleans native, Barbré moved to Alexandria in 1984. With a degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology, she soon found a new home in the Torpedo Factory artist community. As the creator of the bridal and events rental program at the Torpedo Factory Art Center, she allowed for the sustainability and growth of the center, while increasing the visibility of the Torpedo Factory artist community in the greater Washington D.C. region. Gloria Barbré was awarded the Donna Bergheim Cultural Affairs Award.

Gloria Barbré and her award

Gloria Barbré and her award

Barbré has served as a board member to the Torpedo Factory Artists’ Association and on a variety of arts committees. She also served as the author and editor of a Torpedo Factory Artists’ Association cookbook. Her work expanded into the greater community by organizing food drives for shelters, collecting glasses for the Lion’s Club, and mentoring young women interested in fashion.

The Alexandria Commission for Women also presented the Legislation and Public Policy award– named after Torpedo Factory founder and artist Marian Van Landingham. The award was named for Van Landingham in 2005, after she retired from years of service in the Virginia House of Delegates. This year, the Marian Van Landingham Legislation and Public Policy Award was awarded to Helen Morris for her work as Chairman of the Alexandria Campaign on Adolescent Pregnancy (ACAP). Van Landingham was also awarded an Alexandria Living Legend award in 2007.

“We’re pleased that Torpedo Factory artists always take an important and active role in the Alexandria community” said Van Landingham, after attending the Salute to Women Awards.

The celebrations for the Salute to Women Awards were held at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on March 28, 2016.

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