Workhouse Arts Center to celebrate 10th anniversary with special events week

(Workhouse Arts Center image)

Lorton’s Workhouse Arts Center — the prison facility turned cultural center that opened its doors to the public in September 2008 — will celebrate its 10th anniversary next month with over a week of free or low-cost special events and activities.

Among the many anniversary events planned for September 8-16:

  • Community Mural Project. Featuring Washington, D.C.–based graffiti artist Asad Walker, this event will enable attendees to help paint a community mural celebrating the Workhouse’s anniversary. The project will take place on four days over two weekends (see schedule here)
  • Education Open House on September 8 from 12-3 p.m. The open house will feature various art demonstrations, workshops, a ceramics sale by students, the opportunity to learn about “cheftrepreneur” Chef Gilmore & Co., and a variety of children’s activities.
  • 10th Anniversary Walking Tours on September 9 and 16 at 2 p.m. These free 45-minute walking tours will cover all the outbuildings on the property for which the Workhouse is responsible. Registration is required and limited to 15 people per tour.
  • Art of Movement Program Luau on September 9 from 4-6 p.m. This free event will include food, Lava Flow drinks, music and hula performances.

Ava Spece, president and chief executive officer of the Workhouse Arts Center, said the anniversary celebration is a way of thanking the community for its support over the past 10 years. She’s enthusiastic about the future of the center as well.

“In 10 short years, we’ve renovated and activated 11 buildings and green spaces on campus, with many more goals and dreams on the horizon,” she said. “We look eagerly to a bright future, which includes the addition of renovated theaters, a glass blowing hot shop, locomotive shed and various other buildings, all in support of the arts in our region.”

Besides attending the 10th anniversary events, Workhouse visitors can enjoy the newly completed section of the Cross County Trail that cuts through the cultural arts center’s property.

According to Workhouse marketing director Frank Pappas, the redesigned trail — which supports walking, running, biking and horseback riding — connects visitors with neighboring Occoquan Regional Park. Alternatively, visitors can follow the trail in the opposite direction to Giles Run Meadow at Laurel Hill Park, site of the former maximum security prison. Both destinations are about 1.25 miles away — or about a 25-30 minute walk — through wooded areas that are lush and green, said Pappas.