ARTisSpectrum Vol. 31, May 2014 - page 126

ARTisSpectrum | Volume 31 |
Asheville, NC, USA
by Karen Keil Brown
There’s something special about Asheville, something the rest of the world is just beginning to discover. It’s one of the
most vibrant cities in America, with a buzz all of its own.
I am a working artist in Asheville and I love being apart of this funky, thriving, artistic mountain community. Many people
associate Asheville with the impressive Biltmore House and Gardens, built in 1895 by George Vanderbilt as the largest
home in America or maybe the The Grove Park Inn, with its rich presidential history and home of the National Gingerbread
House contest, or the Black Mt College, which during the middle of the 20th century was a progressive school for artists
and poets including Josef Albers, de Kooning, H.P. Oberlander, Siegel, Jacob Lawrence, Robert Di Niro Sr, Kaprow and more.
But with the city’s rich architectural legacy, its mix of Art Deco, Beaux Arts and Neoclassical styles, it is the perfect retro-
urban backdrop for the edgy energy that finds its expression in the locally owned-shops and art galleries, distinctive res-
taurants and exciting entertainment venues.
Known as an art colony, a healing resort and a home to many notables, Asheville is one of the most welcoming and grow-
ing communities you’ll find anywhere. The town abounds with inspiration of different kinds. The Biltmore Village, with its
brick-paved sidewalks, reflects a rich Vanderbilt history, and is filled with art, shops and restaurants. The River Arts District
supports more than 180 artist studios, great restaurants, music venues and micro breweries (New Belgium is building
their next brewery here next year). I have a working studio in RAD and it allows me to interact with both artists and the
wider public, giving me greater exposure and the opportunity to make direct sales. The other great thing about the RAD
is the atmosphere – at the end of the day I often enjoy gathering with fellow artists at the “Wedge” for a local brew. All
are welcome!
On any given day or night, there will be something worth visiting in downtown Asheville. The downtown art district fea-
tures a diverse community, 30-plus art galleries, great shopping, a delectable culinary scene, over 15 crafted breweries and
intimate live music venues, and, of course, the majestic scenery of the Blue Ridge and Smokey Mountains that inspires a
lot of my work!
Asheville is a great town and I hope it finds its way onto your next travel itinerary.
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