Marian Van Landingham

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Marian A. Van Landingham
Born (1937-09-10)September 10, 1937
Albany, Georgia, United States
Nationality American
Occupation Artist
Community leader
Known for Creation of the Torpedo Factory Art Center

Marian A. Van Landingham (born September 10, 1937) is American community leader, politician and artist. She served in the Virginia House of Delegates for 24 years and spearheaded the transformation of a decrepit former military storage building into the Torpedo Factory Art Center, in Alexandria, Virginia. In 2006 she was designated Women's History Month Honoree by the National Women's History Project.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Marian Van Landingham was born in Albany, Georgia and graduated from Druid Hills High School in Atlanta in 1955.[2] She received her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in political science[3] at Emory University.[1] In 1967 she moved to Arlington County, Virginia to work as an information specialist for the National Air Pollution Agency before moving to Alexandria to work under Phil Landrum.[2] She is a member of her local Methodist church, is involved in numerous local neighborhood associations, served as vice chairman as the Alexandria Democratic Committee and is a Delta Kappa Gamma.[3] In December 2004, she was diagnosed with cancer, which led to her retirement in 2005. A painter, she lives and works in Alexandria, Virginia with her two dachshunds.[4] In 2010 Van Landingham was honored as one of the Library of Virginia's "Virginia Women in History" because of her contributions to the arts.[5]

Torpedo Factory[edit]

The Torpedo Factory Art Center

In 1973 Van Landingham proposed that a 20th-century,[4] "leaky, drafty, pigeon infested" former military factory, located in Alexandria, Virginia, be transformed into an artist studio space and art center.[1] The space would also provide regional artists an affordable option to the overpriced rental spaces of the area.[4] She served as the volunteer president for Alexandria's Art League, and she succeeded to persuade the city to fund the $140,000[4] for the renovation. Artists volunteered and cleaned out the building and creating studio spaces. The Torpedo Factory Art Center opened in 1974 with 140 artists. The Factory's renovation also helped trigger the revitalization of the city's waterfront along the Potomac River, housing 150 artists.[1][4]

Virginia House of Delegates and community service[edit]

The Torpedo Factory Art Center was Van Landingham's first political campaign, which helped launch her political career in the Virginia House of Delegates, serving parts of Alexandria, Arlington and Fairfax.[3] In 1980 she established Volunteer Alexandria, and in 1982 became a delegate.[5] As a delegate, she has supported education and community based legislature to teach English as a second language, reduce class sizes and fund public schools with money from the lottery, and she has sought funding for the handicapped, homeless, and for poor families to obtain child care.[1] Van Landingham was the first woman to chair the Privileges and Elections Committee, and served as chair of the transportation and public education subcommittees.[4] She retired in 2005,[4] leaving as Virginia's most senior female delegate and the 11th most senior member of the house.[1][4] Mark Warner, who then served as Governor of Virginia, described her work in the house as being "the voice that would step up and argue for what was right," in a conservative legislature, "even those that didn't agree with her views had a great respect for her."[4]

Notable awards[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Van Landingham, Marian. On Target: Stories of the Torpedo Factory Art Center's First 25 years. Self-published (1999). ISBN 0-9671375-0-0


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Barbara Haney Irvine". Women's History Month. National Women's History Project. Retrieved August 15, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Marian Van Landingham Papers, 1979–2010". Personal papers collection. Library of Virginia. Retrieved August 15, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Virginia House of Delegates". Commonwealth of Virginia. 2011. Retrieved August 15, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Tara Bahrampour (January 26, 2005). "Van Landingham Stuck to Activist Roots". Government. Washington Post. Retrieved August 15, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c "Virginia Women in History: Marian A. Van Landingham (1937– )". Library of Virginia. Retrieved March 2, 2015. 

External links[edit]