Asheville Arts: Talent with a Special Touch

Asheville Artist Painting

Asheville and its neighboring mountain towns are not lacking in talent! From the potters, painters, and jewelry makers in the River Arts District to the broom makers and ceramic artists in Leicester, expressive artistic talent abounds.

Tucked away in West Asheville along the railroad tracks is a very unique art studio unlike any other in the town. It’s called the Open Hearts Art Center; a non-profit arts education program for adults with physical and mental health challenges. Serving approximately 60 adults annually, Open Hearts was incorporated in 2005 by three artistic woman (Sonia Pitts, Jessie Francis, and Debbie Harris) with a passion to serve western North Carolina’s underserved community. Weekly art teachers at Open Hearts include students from local colleges/universities and retired community volunteers.

Although North Carolina offers other day programs for adults with disabilities, Open Hearts is unique, due in no small part to its Boundless Arts program. Boundless Arts offers participants/artists the opportunity to explore local art galleries and studios (travel!), while simultaneously building community volunteer skills at festivals, recreational events, and unique arts exhibits. In short, Open Hearts allows its special artists the opportunity to operate physically and artistically in a non-restrictive, creative environment that embraces physical, emotional, and mental health challenges. The opportunity to express raw emotion and life frustration with the stroke of a brush produces powerful art work.

Asheville Art Painting

Asheville’s broader professional artistic community has enthusiastically embraced the Open Hearts Center, with frequent invitations to display work in local galleries, at fundraisers, on the walls of restaurants, and even in local homes. Perhaps you’ve read other media articles about Open Hearts, including a January 2016 Asheville Citizen-Times piece, or you’ve seen their artistic work on display. If not, then you’re missing a treat! Stop by the Woolworth Walk (25 Haywood Street) in downtown Asheville during the month of February, as Open Hearts is the “featured artist.”

If you’re reading this and thinking, “That’s pretty cool! I’d like to get involved with this unique arts effort and give back to my community,” then have no worries. Open Hearts has plenty of volunteer and donation opportunities.

If you’re also reading this blog and thinking, “I’d like to explore Asheville’s broader arts scene,” or “I’d like to volunteer, but the arts are not really my thing,” then we can hook you up with information. Click on the links below to identify galleries, studios, festivals, and other volunteer opportunities.

Plan now to hit the streets of Asheville and its vibrant arts scene, with special attention to the artists who have made “giving back” their life’s mission.

Links to the Asheville area Art Scene:

Local Volunteer Opportunities

This blog post was brought to you by Lori Brown!

Allure – Photography Art Show in Asheville June 21, 2012

“Allure – the secret life of flowers,” my upcoming show – only one week left until the opening reception, and I do so hope to see you there. A portion of sales throughout the June 21-Aug. 15 show and an auction to be held at the opening reception will benefit The Hope Chest for Women, a non-profit organization that assists women in WNC with breast or gynecological cancer, and supports awareness and education programs, so it is a wonderful cause.

Here are the details:

What – “Allure, the secret life of flowers” – featuring new photographic works on metal by Julie McMillan of Silver Birch Studio Photography
When – Opening reception Thursday, June 21, 7 – 9pm, show runs June 21-Aug. 15
Where – West One Salon, 372 Depot St., Suite 20, in Asheville’s River Arts District


ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA —   More than 80 contestants carved, sculpted and painted their way into the 12th Annual Decorated Birdhouse Competition at The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa. The competition was held on Saturday April 16. Contestants used everything from paper cups to bottle caps to create dozens of creative and colorful birdhouses.

An intricate wood carving that resembles a tree house by Howard Atwood of Barnardsville, N.C. took first place honors at the 12th annual Decorated Birdhouse Competition.  Atwood’s prize included $1,000 in cash and a two night stay at The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa.

Second place winner in the adult competition was Jennifer Goff of Asheville, who received a $750 cash prize and a one-night stay at The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa. The third place winner in the adult category was Claire Simpson-Jones of Burnsville, N.C. She received a $500 cash prize and dinner for two at the Blue Ridge Dining Room.

In the teen division, Joshua Hodges of Leicester N.C. took the top spot winning $250. Second place in the teen division went to Kayla Barnett of Asheville who won $150 and third place went to Amber Martin of Weaverville, N.C. with a $100 prize.

In the youth division, Jacob Goff of Asheville won first place and $150. Spectrum 3 Class with Sarah VenRensselaer of Sylva, N.C. took second place and $75. The third place winner in the youth division was Janna Thompson of Hickory Grove, S.C. who won a $50 prize.

New to the 12th Annual Decorated Birdhouse Competition this year was a category for employees of The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa and their families. Winners in the adult category were: First place – Debbie Knight of Barnardsville, N.C., second place – Heather Brannan of Candler, N.C. and third place – Hilary Thomas of Asheville.

In the employee youth category winners were: Madeline Grassette of Arden, N.C. – first place, Sophia Grassette of Arden, N.C. – second place and Kerrigan Duncan of Swannanoa N.C. – third place.

The field of creatively designed birdhouses will remain on display at the resort from April 18 to May 9.

Asheville Electronic Dance Music + Live Artists – Sat March 26th

Peripheral, Disc-Oh!, Beat Repeat, Woodwork, Rah Bee, FlyPaper, TR, Laura Sellers, Infinite Geometry, Clay Wilson

Doors Open: 9:00PM | Location: 191 Lyman Suite 101, Asheville NC 28801 (directions)

Happy Spring! Its time for you to get down and dance to some of the best funky electronic music on earth! This Saturday night Dj Bowie and the Definition crew are producing an awesome dance party on behalf of Asheville Green Drinks. The third of Definition series event based in the Asheville area. Definition is back as a multi genre, multi venue event highlighting the finest that Asheville and the south-east has to offer dance and electronic music culture.

Get down! This Saturday Mar 26th at The Star Factory (River Arts District) with a smooth grooves meets eclectic, and rinse-out evening of mind inspiring and body moving musics!!

Music By:
– Peripheral
– Disc-Oh!
– Beat Repeat
– Woodwork
– Rah Bee
– FlyPaper

Live art:
– TR
– Laura Sellers
– Infinite Geometry
– Clay Wilson

18+ $12
21+ $7

Event starts at 9:00 pm with limited capacity be sure to get there early to make sure you get in, and to check out all the styles we’re bringing to the table.

Valid ID required. We are making an exception to allow for an 18+ show. Extra security will be present to control this to allow everyone a fun and safe event.

A benefit for Asheville Green Drinks (Social Networking for Sustainability)

The Star Factory
191 Lyman St. Suite 101
Asheville, NC 28801

The Village Potters – Coming to the River Arts District this May!

The Village Potters is a fully equipped Pottery housing the Personal Studios of 7 Professional Resident Potters. The Village Potters is the home of an exquisite Gallery exhibiting and selling the exceptional work of the Resident Village Potters as well as other regional artists. The Village also includes an Education Center committed to the advancement and development of Professional Ceramic Artists as well as interdisciplinary classes in the Arts for children. The Founding Potters are Cat Jarosz, Judi Harwood, Melanie Robertson, and Sarah Wells Rolland. They are all active members of The Southern Highland Craft Guild. Our grand opening is the 2nd Saturday, May 14th 10- 7pm. Come visit us at The Village Gallery, with pottery demonstrations, and tours of the studios and teaching facility. Celebrate with us this dream made real! Location: In Riverview Station in The River Arts District Asheville NC
The Village Potters
191 Lyman Street #180
Asheville, NC 28801
(Just 2 miles from Biltmore Village on the River)