Twice a year the River Arts District hosts an open house for all the galleries in this secion of town. I took advantage of the lovely fall day and went by myself on Sunday.
This was a very marginal neighborhood for many years after the mills closed in the 60's and 70's. The old and vacant warehouses along the French Broad River in Asheville are becoming a source of pride once again, with many being converted into studios and living quarters for aspiring artists. Today, more than 100 working artists have set up shop in the River Arts District. Many of these studios are open on a regular basis. Their "River Arts District" signs are easy to spot along the small triangle of streets and avenues with road names such as Clingman, Depot, Haywood, Lyman, Riverside and Roberts.
Almost all of the studios are open for the Studio Stroll, now in its 14th year. Artists welcome you into their studios to talk with them, see their latest artwork, watch demonstrations, and experience for yourself the magic hidden inside the old factories and warehouses along the French Broad River. More than 110 artists are participating! The Studio Stroll is free and open to the public. Most studios are within walking distance of each other, and there is plenty of free parking.
The Clingman Cafe was doing a booming buisness and was selling food to go by the sidewalk. The first studio I checked out was 240 Clingman with these large abstract and colorful paintings by Jonas Gerard. They had quite a spread with music, lots of appetizers - strawberries, chocolate, veggies and dip with beverages.
I head back down the street to where I parked and crossed the railroad track to the the Warehouse Studios which houses several artists including Wendy Whitson - I loved her soft landscape paintings.
Next to them is a group of buildings called Curve Studios and Garden. Fabric artist Pattiy Torno bought the building in 1989 back when there was no "District" here. One of the buildings then housed a punk rock bar. It is come a long way since then They had a great selection of pottery and clothing with many artists on hand to demostrate their craft.
|Colorful fabric from Pattiy Torno's studio.|
|The kids were sounding the tube shaped bell.|
|Potter Patty Bilbro at work.|
|Some of the garden metalwork|
There is more to see on my next post. It is great that this area is being lovingly brought back to life by such creative folks. Be sure to check back later this week for the announcement of the winner of my drawing - leave me a comment that you want in, if you haven't already. The Giveaway page under the header will divulge the details.