Downtown Asheville is a burgeoning arts district. On the First Friday of every month galleries, craft studios and two major regional art museums throw open their doors for a special evening Art Walk sponsored by the Downtown Asheville Artists Association.
December 6 marks the last and possibly the best Art Walk of the season. There will be a number of special exhibitions on view.
All 25 participating galleries are in easy walking distance of one another. A free map and downtown gallery guide is available at every stop. Everything lies within a half-mile radius of the downtown center. The downtown trolley service is also operating to take gallery-goers around.
Downtown shops and restaurants will offer First Friday specials. It’s a good time and place to do a little Christmas shopping. Asheville is well known for its vibrant crafts community.
Here are a few of the highlights of the December Art Walk:
Asheville Art Museum
This award-winning art museum stays open late for First Fridays. The Asheville Art Museum hosts workshops, art talks, family activities and exhibitions throughout the year. There will be a special historical exhibition to see in December.
“Rebels With a Cause” showcases 100 years of art by American women artists. The exhibition covers 1850-1950, a time when Americans were influenced by French Impressionism and developed their own Impressionistic school of landscape painting. Women were active participants in this historical art movement.
Woolworth Walk is an old Woolworth’s drugstore that has been converted into an artist’s space. The gallery represents mostly local artists who work in a variety of media, including painting, photography, glass, metal and digital work.
The old-fashioned soda fountain is in working order. The gallery is a popular family destination.
Black Mountain College Museum
Black Mountain College was an influential experiment in progressive education that lasted from 1933 to 1957. The school brought many famous artists to the Asheville area, and many of its students went on to become famous as well.
The Black Mountain College Museum continues the legacy of the college with exhibitions, publications and public programs. In December, “Shaping Craft + Design” includes furniture, ceramics, textiles and sculpture by famous students and faculty of Black Mountain College. It tells the story of the college’s influential crafts programs with historical posters and prints.
Blue Spiral 1
Blue Spiral 1 showcases Southern fine arts and crafts. In December, Blue Spiral will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Piedmont Craftsmen. A survey of work by members of this Winston-Salem area guild includes pottery, porcelain, sculpture, tapestry and more.
The December Art Walk offers an opportunity to meet local artisans at Ariel Gallery. Ariel Gallery is an artist-run gallery that shows work by its members. It was started by a group of like-minded craftspeople in 2002.
Ariel artists work in ceramics, fiber, wood, jewelry, metal and mixed media. Ariel Gallery is across the street from Blue Spiral. This will be a hot spot for contemporary crafts on the Art Walk.