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Western North Carolina Nurtures Vibrant Art Hubs

Asheville WNC Art GalleriesA region famed for inspiring creativity, Western North Carolina is home to hundreds of artist studios and galleries, many featuring working spaces open to the public. A visit to any of these stunning spots in Asheville and the surrounding area promises a feast for the senses.

River Arts District

Once an industrial neighborhood lined with warehouse buildings, Asheville’s River Arts District has been transformed into a must-see art destination, nestled along Riverside Drive and adjacent to the French Broad River. 

More than 240 studios call this famed district home, offering a vibrant array of art forms: everything from painting to ceramics to glass blowing to fiber arts. Artist studios are open year round, keeping individual schedules and hours, so you’re assured an exciting experience no matter when you visit. 

Most studios are open Saturdays, and during each month’s Second Saturday event, you can enjoy free trolley rides to each building, demonstrations and refreshments, and meet the artists. November’s annual Studio Stroll (held on the second Saturday and Sunday of the month) offers special demonstrations and events, including unique workshops and gallery receptions. Learn more here.

Downtown Asheville Arts District

Began in 1999 as the Downtown Gallery Association, the Downtown Asheville Art District is a conglomerate of fine art and craft businesses dedicated to showcasing the arts in downtown Asheville. In addition to downtown galleries, the DAAD includes visual and performing arts entities.

A popular event sponsored by DAAD is First Friday Art Walks, held each month from April to December, from 5-8 p.m. An ideal way to experience downtown Asheville’s art scene, First Fridays are free, kid-friendly events and offer gallery openings, music, demonstrations and performances. (Due to Covid-19 restrictions, First Fridays are currently cancelled, but individual galleries can choose to remain open late each First Friday.)

Asheville Area Art Galleries and WalksWeaverville Art Studios

Weaverville, seven miles north of downtown Asheville, is home to a vibrant art scene. Weaverville’s Main Street features a number of art studios and galleries, and the town holds several popular art events every year.

The annual Art in Autumn Outdoor Arts and Crafts Festival, held every September, brings to Main Street over 100 juried artists and craftspeople, as well as live music. The Weaverville Art Safari Studio Tour is a free, self-guided, two-day juried studio tour that takes place every spring and fall. The event offers a unique peek at artists in their working environment, featuring makers who specialize in handmade pottery, glass, photography, sculpture, jewelry, furniture, painting, drawing, fiber art, wood art and more.

Marshall Studios

The scenic town of Marshall, N.C., 25 minutes north of downtown Asheville, is home to Marshall High Studios, housed in a picturesque, century-old building on the 10-acre Blannahassett Island in the French Broad River. More than 30 creators of everything from painting to textiles to jewelry to print-making to music operate out of the two-story studio building, with each studio maintaining independent hours.

The Marshall Handmade Market, held the weekend before Thanksgiving, features open studios, music, food trucks and plenty of outdoor seating to relax post-holiday-shopping. (The annual event is canceled for 2021 in light of the ongoing pandemic.)

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