Asheville, North Carolina, is known as an artists’ mecca, and rightfully so. Artists have flocked to the Asheville area for the creative environment, the liberal mindset and the cheap rents in the Riv Asheville, North Carolina, is known as an artists’ mecca, and rightfully so. Artists have flocked to the Asheville area for the creative environment, the liberal mindset and the cheap rents in the River Arts District. The city has its share of art galleries, street corner buskers and living statues.
Asheville holds a weekly drumming circle in a public park. The city holds fairs and festivals almost every weekend during the summer and early fall. Fine dining in Asheville means the food is dressed up; you don’t have to be. In short, Asheville is laid back, the perfect attitude to draw artists.
And draw them it has. Artists flocked to the River Arts District, where worn-out, beat-up, empty warehouses were converted into artists’ lofts. The combination of cheap rents and those creative surroundings launched hundreds of art careers. All you have to do is wander around town to the many galleries to see Asheville’s finest on display. Luckily, you can do just that.
First Friday Downtown Asheville Art Walk
Every month from April to December, the downtown museums, art galleries and jewelry studios (all 25 of them) open their doors on the first Friday of the month from 5:00 to 8:00 pm. From fine art to pop art, Asheville holds art treasures of all stripes, including sculpture. Stop into the famous Blue Spiral 1 with its 14,000 square feet of floor space. Then check out Gallery Asheville, find Updraft Fine Arts Gallery and then head over to ZaPow! Downtown not only has fine art, it has the Fine Arts movie theater. You won’t be bored.
Second Saturdays in River Arts District
You can’t talk about art in Asheville without including the River Arts District, popularly known as the RAD. It started the arts boom in Asheville, and it gets more popular with every passing year. From May through December on the second Saturday of the month, you can visit artists’ studios and lofts throughout the area. The artists put on classes, demonstrations and special events. The RAD is home to a wide variety of artists and craftspeople, from painters and fabric artists to sculptors and pottery makers.
Special Event: Heritage Weekend
On September 20–21, 2014,
the Southern Highland Craft Guild hosts demonstrations and presentations in arts as diverse as storytelling and quilting at the Folk Art Center. The Center is at milepost 382 on the Blue Ridge Parkway just east of Asheville. Normally an art store and museum, the Folk Art Center has space to exhibit crafts, as well as house classrooms. On Saturday, September 20, from 2:00 to 3:00, the Center presents the Annual World Gee Haw Whimmy Diddle Competition. The whimmy diddle is a traditional Appalachian children’s toy that takes dexterity, perseverance and a sense of fun. Learn more about the gee haw whimmy diddle.
Weaverville Has Artists Too!
Also on September 20, 2014, Weaverville holds its annual street festival celebrating its artists in an event called Art in Autumn.
Just to the north of Asheville, Weaverville turns its Main Street into fair grounds with art exhibits, live music and lots of food. It’s a short drive from Asheville and the Asheville Cabins of Willow Winds.