There are many reasons to love Asheville. From easy access to the great outdoors to its award-winning food scene, Asheville delivers on many levels and art is no exception. If you’re an art lover, you’re sure to be dazzled by the number of amazing art galleries and studios that open their doors and welcome you in like friends. And, if you’re interested in trying your hand at making some art of your own, you’re in luck there too. Asheville has numerous classes – from pottery to glass, jewelry making and more. The city’s eclectic vibe is just waiting to surprise and captivate you from the moment you set foot on its streets to the moment you pack up and go.
Artsy things to do in Asheville
Take an art class
The River Arts District is home to several different types of art classes. Learn how to make a mandala, fuse glass, hammer out a silver stacking ring or create a collage that represents your soul. These are only a few ideas to light your fire. View the complete schedule.
If pottery and ceramics are more your thing, Odyssey ClayWorks is a large ceramics school, gallery and studio that has a variety of classes for adults and kids, alike. They even offer a summer camp. And finally, how about a marbling class at Majik Studios? You’ll learn how to create a marbled work on fabric or paper and it’s guaranteed to help you relax and de-stress. Sounds pretty good to us!
Take an Asheville art tour
While you’re more than welcome to grab a map and explore the River Arts District on your own, some folks prefer to leave the planning to others with an intimate art tour focused on specific art interests. You may even get some cool behind-the-scenes intel that you may have missed otherwise. However, most working artists are happy to answer your questions as you stroll the studios and take in all the wonderful art that just seems to be – everywhere!
Self-guided art tours for the Downtown Asheville Art District (DAAD) are also a fun way to navigate the city streets. Download a map. It highlights more than 21 galleries and museums within a half-mile radius. You’re sure to work up an appetite and thirst while navigating your way around so make sure to stop into one of Asheville’s enticing eateries or cool cocktail lounges for something to eat or drink – or both!
Visit Asheville art museums
The Asheville Art Museum is located right in the center of downtown Asheville. Its collection provides an overview of significant movements and trends in American art of the 20th and 21st centuries and art of significance to the Southeast. Special exhibitions are always an added plus. The Center for Crafts, also in downtown Asheville, offers free exhibitions, hands on learning for all ages and indoor and outdoor art installations by national craft icons and top emerging Asheville artists.
Visit art galleries in downtown Asheville
Many will agree that several of Asheville’s downtown art galleries are almost like visiting a museum. According to online reviews, art lovers and visitors say the following spots top their list. Blue Spiral 1 showcases three glorious floors of art from more than 100 artists. Momentum Gallery offers a contemporary and modern program with an emphasis on emerging and mid-career artists. The spacious, two-level gallery occupies 15,000 square feet. Ariel Craft Gallery is Asheville’s premier art gallery and focuses on fine craft. It’s co-owned and operated by the artists. Lexington Glassworks displays a dizzying array of glass works and lighting pieces. Enjoy a glass-blowing demo while you’re there too. For a complete listing of Asheville art galleries and studios, visit: Explore Asheville.
The Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway is a must-stop destination for art lovers. It’s located at milepost 382 – about 8 miles from downtown Asheville. Most months, the center showcases daily craft demos and there’s even a short hike adjacent to the center to stretch your legs before heading back into town. American Folk is another fun place to explore. This downtown Asheville art gallery represents more than 30 makers with one goal in mind: To expose the world to the creative powers and originality of its artists.
Take to the streets
The South Slope Mural Trail is a great way to get a little exercise while taking in some living, breathing public art. If you walk the whole route, expect to do about two miles. These outdoor works are meant to engage, inspire, provoke and enliven.
The River Arts District also showcases the works of talented graffiti artists, outdoor sculpture gardens, recycled fences and facades and there’s even a giant dinosaur that sits atop Wedge Studios. As luck would have it, Wedge Brewing is right next door where you’ll find locals drinking some of Asheville’s best. If you prefer a glass of wine after all of your art intake, Bottle Riot sits on the other side of Wedge Studios and boasts the “best wine list in town.”
So, if you love art and discovering new places, make sure to visit Asheville. It’s truly an art lover’s dream. You never know what you’ll find around the next bend.
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