Western North Carolina has a long and rich history of various arts and crafts. From traditional Cherokee rivercane baskets, made for thousands of years, to innovative multimedia art from the area’s newest residents, there is an overwhelming amount of art to experience. If you’re not sure where to start your journey of discovery, our Beverly-Hanks agents are here to help.
We asked them: Where is the best place for art in WNC?
“The art scene is booming in WNC and we are consistently voted one of the biggest art destinations in the country. Each year, more artist studio tours, events, and art shows appear. There are over 70 art events, tours, and festivals planned for 2016 throughout the region. The River Arts District in West Asheville, home to many studio artist of the mountains, is definitely a favorite place to explore! The Folk Art Center in Asheville is a ‘must stop’ on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It showcases the finest in traditional and contemporary craft of the Southern Appalachians. The Asheville Art Museum showcases Western North Carolina’s cultural heritage including Studio Craft, Black Mountain College, and Cherokee artists.”
“I love the Woolworth Walk in the old Woolworth Department Store building in downtown Asheville on Haywood Street. They are known as ‘The Who’s Who of Local Artists’ and feature well-known, accomplished artists like my favorite, Sarah Faulkner. They also have emerging artists, including my other favorite, Deona Fish. The building is so nice it offers an oasis from the busy streets and offices downtown. They also have one of the best cheap lunch spots in all of downtown at the Soda Fountain lunch counter!”
“Twigs & Leaves Gallery in Waynesville is ‘Where Art Dances with Nature’ …and sometimes a craft beer too! It has been voted ‘Best of WNC’ by Mountain Xpress readers five years running.”
“The River Arts District in Asheville is amazing! You’ll find Jeff Pittman and his fabulous watercolors of Asheville, Jonas Gerard with his abstract paintings, David Stewart, plus many more. I also love the glass studio of the Asheville Glass Center, and the pottery options are staggering! The old Woolworth building, in the heart of downtown, is a wonderful place to find local art, also. Don’t forget the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway either! We are so blessed to live in such a culturally rich and beautiful part of the country.”
“One of the best places to see truly local art is on the walls of the local restaurants, bars, and coffee shops. You will see everything from a well-known local artist to works of art from local school children and nonprofits. I’ve even called up a local middle school to see if I could buy an 8th grader’s etching I saw in a smoothie bar! How cool is that?!”
“The Weaverville Art Safari which just happened last weekend is a great place to see local art and how it is made! You get to meet the artists where they work. The Art Safari event is also held in autumn in case you missed the spring event.”
“It is too difficult to choose just one place. The Asheville Gallery of Art is operated by the artists themselves. The Folk Art Center off the Blue Ridge Parkway has featured local artists for decades. John Cram’s New Morning Gallery is another favorite—such diversity. I could wander there for hours. Grovewood Gallery is another fabulous place to find local art from earrings to furniture.”
“The month of May is all about the arts in Saluda. When the first passenger train rolled into Saluda on July 4, 1878, artists started coming into town to get away from the sweltering heat from the lower country and discovered Saluda’s bountiful beauty and cool mountain breezes. Visual artists, performing artists, and writers built a community here, and it is still a growing part of Saluda’s culture. We salute them in May with the Saluda Arts Festival on May 21, and we also wanted to recognize where it all began with the Saluda Historic Depot exhibit of local Saluda artists who are celebrated throughout the country and left a legacy of art here at home.”