The Asheville area has a thriving arts scene and is home to hundreds of fine artists, folk artists and mountain crafters. There are many notable galleries and a variety of featured art events throughout the year both in town and in dedicated arts’ districts in Asheville and other surrounding villages.
Nestled in the River Arts District along the French Broad River are many artist’s studios, galleries and restaurants. There are over 165 artists working in studios, many housed in converted factory warehouses. You can find a mix of traditional and contemporary artists. The River Arts District has a free Studio Stroll two weekends a year (May and November). The artists welcome you into their studios to view their latest artwork, and watch demonstrations. On the second Saturday of every month the artists have workshops, special events and shows. The studios are open year around and the artists often open their studios to the public on Fridays.
Woolworth Walk, located in the heart of downtown Asheville and in the Historic F.W. Woolworth building, features more than 160 local artists. Here you will find jewelry, fine art, decorative art and crafts. Artists range from crafters to trained artists, art hobbiests and Southern Highland Guild Craft members. The building also houses an Old Fashion Soda Fountain.
The Folk Art Center is home to the Southern Highland Craft Guild. The Guild has been serving artists in this area since 1930. The Guild now represents close to 1,000 craftspeople in 293 counties of 9 South Eastern states. The Folk Art Center showcases the finest in traditional and contemporary crafts of the Southern Appalachians. The Folk Art Center is located on the Blue Ridge Parkway, a few miles from downtown.
The Southern Highland Craft Guild holds the Southern Highlands Craft Fair, a tradition since 1948, for 4 days during July and October at the Civic Center in Asheville. Over 200 craftspeople come together to sell works of fiber, clay, leather, mixed media, metal, natural materials, glass, paper, wood and jewelry. Visitors interact with craftspeople selling their work and inform the visitor about their process and inspiration. The Fair also features craft demonstrations. Local musicians perform traditional and bluegrass mountain music on the arena stage. Long known as an arts and crafts destination, Asheville offers the perfect backdrop to this very impressive organization.
Asheville is also home to many specialty shops, retail shops and antique shops. Every street downtown leads to an eclectic mix of businesses and local merchants. There is a diverse mix of shopping, along with clothing stores, jewelry stores, toy and children’s shops, outfitters, specialty beer and wine stores. The block-long Grove Arcade is a shopping and dining destination in the heart of downtown.
Visit the Historic Biltmore Village featuring turn of the century homes once belonging to George Vanderbilt. Here you will find excellent restaurants, small boutiques, specialty stores, and galleries.
Antique shops in Asheville range from unique boutiques to 6,000-square-foot antiques emporia, specializing in estate jewelry, art and imported European antique furniture. The Biltmore Antiques District is home to 9 antique shops and malls. Celebrating its 63rd year is Asheville’s annual Antiques Fair, considered one of oldest Antiques Fair in the Southeast. Swannanoa River Road is home to numerous antique shops and malls, most notably the Tobacco Barn and Regeneration Station.
For a complete listing of local events and shops, please visit the following sites: exploreasheville.com and RomanticAsheville.com for a free Travel Guide.
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