One of the benefits of being actively involved in the Occoquan River Communities is the opportunity to get a "sneak peek" at one of the biggest success stories in redevelopment in Lorton. The Lorton Workhouse Arts Center is getting ready for the grand opening the week of September 19th -27th with multiple events planned throughout the week. The week starts with a classic concert concert-pianist Pedja Muzijevic and culminates with the grand opening gala featuring Tony Award winning singer Barbara Cook.
Artists who have studio space are just moving in and getting themselves settled. The staff is putting in long hours to make sure that everything is ready for the crowds who will be coming to check out the new center and registrations are starting to come in for the upcoming classes being taught this fall.
The history of the prison and its connection to our area goes further back in time that many might imagine. From the Women Suffragists imprisoned in 1917, Nike Missile Base in the 1950's and some famous prisoners including Norman Mailer, the prison has seen its share of changes. The buildings on the site themselves tell the story from agricultural beginnings with the barn built in the 1920's to the maximum security cells added in the 1980's.
Residents of Fairfax County are fortunate to live in an area where the vision of the reuse of the 3200 acres that made up the Lorton Prison site has become a reality. Additional buildings on the are still to be refurbished but the area has come along way from the initial planning meetings and this "jewel" of Lorton will be one that we all can enjoy long after the grand opening events.
Previous Posts on the Lorton Workhouse Arts Center and Lorton Redevelopement
Artists Take Over the Jail Cells
Reminders of Prision Life in Lorton VA
Where Old Fences Meet New in Lorton
Nike Missiles and Prisoners-Not Your Usual Neighbors
A New Community Blossoms Where Prisoners Once Lived
©2008 Cindy Jones. "Lorton Workhouse Arts Center-An Insiders View"