While shopping for groceries recently, this writer passed a woman singing “The Bear Went over the Mountain” to the baby in the carrier perched at the front of her cart. Her unexpected operatic singing style of this nursery rhyme and the fact that I hadn’t heard it in decades both caught my attention.
Much like the bear in the song, I thought, people throughout Western North Carolina go “over the mountain” to explore and experience the many things there are to do in each of our surrounding mountain towns. However, there’s more to see here than just the other side of the mountain. Our region is a vibrant, active place, full of fine dining, traditional music, fantastical vistas, and yes, abundant local art.
Whether you’re short on time or just eager to immerse yourself in the local art scene, there are several opportunities to “see what you can see” of Brevard’s many galleries and public artworks. Here are four fun ways to see as much local art as possible in Brevard, NC.
4th Friday Gallery Walk
One of Brevard’s more treasured and long-running annual events is the 4th Friday Gallery Walk series. Since 2006, both residents and visitors have enjoyed congregating downtown on the fourth Friday from 5:00–7:00PM, May–December. Over time, the events grew to include art spots, restaurants, and other local shops, in addition to the galleries. After a two-year hiatus, the event series began anew in June 2022. Head downtown for the next event, and see art at more than a dozen local galleries and participating locations, including Blue Moon Gallery and Frame, Number 7 Arts Gallery, Spiers Gallery at Brevard College, and Transylvania Community Arts Council.
If you don’t have enough time on Friday night to see every gallery in town, come back on Saturday! Saturday Stroll is a “downtown open house” held on the last Saturday of the month, April–August. Sponsored by Heart of Brevard, the free, self-guided event is the perfect way to experience art, live music, and shopping in downtown Brevard. Explore dozens of your favorite local businesses and galleries, each of which will have curated events and business promotions. Grab a bite, enjoy a complimentary wine tasting, shop the sales, and enjoy art openings and demos along the way.
Self-Guided Sculpture Tour
Art in these parts has never been confined to the drawing rooms of the elite. In Brevard, the town itself serves as a canvas on which talented artists display their works for the masses. As you walk through bustling Downtown Brevard, you may feel like you’re walking through nature. On every corner, you’ll find bobcats, butterflies, foxes, and—of course—the town’s iconic white squirrels. The city’s self-guided sculpture tour celebrates both local artists and indiginous animals through 20 life-size sculptures formed of bronze, copper, steel, and stone. (There are also three giant sculptures of musical instruments.) How many can you spot?
Scenic 276 Arts Corridor
Outside of downtown, more local artists are highlighted on the Scenic 276 South Fine Art & Craft Corridor. This 13-mile stretch of state road heading toward the South Carolina line showcases numerous galleries and studios, as well as impressive mountain views. Along the route, you’ll discover a renowned collection of galleries and studios showcasing some of the region’s finest craftspeople. ExploreBrevard.com explains it best: “Many have open studios, some have open classes, and at least a few offer fine porches to sit a spell and admire the scenery.” Linger a little longer and take advantage of one of the lodging options located along the corridor.
Live an Artist’s Life in Brevard, NC!
Brevard, NC has distinguished itself as an epicenter for outdoor adventures, small businesses, education, art, and music. Tucked along the edge of the Pisgah National Forest, Brevard is a hotspot for eclectic in-town living and big mountain views. Downtown is a vibrant and walkable hub of independent shops, boutiques, galleries, pubs, and eateries. And Brevard is rich in year-round events and festivals.
Does that sound like the perfect lifestyle for you? Find your dream home in Brevard now!