Monday, October 17, 2011

The Arts in Asheville

Sean and I decided to head westward after the wedding in Winston-Salem to Asheville, where we went for a little 3-day anniversary trip. I grew up only a couple hours north of Asheville, but hadn't really spent any significant time there; Sean had never been.

This was the view from our hotel, the Renaissance Asheville. It's a great hotel in easy walking distance of everything downtown, with a heated indoor pool (yay!). We took advantage of their Biltmore package, so we also got tickets through them.

 The view from our room! I liked the striped walls.

Asheville is, to me, the best expression of all that's right about Appalachia. It's an enclave for artists and artisans, and has been for a long time. Until the late '50s, it was home to the Black Mountain College, where Josef Albers taught youngsters like Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. Asheville has plenty of pretty public art, like these statues of alley cats on Wall Street.

Asheville boomed in the 20s, when architect Douglas Ellington built many of the city's most landmark buildings. I was mildly obsessed with this building, originally built as the S&W Cafeteria.

The Grove Arcade is a great spot to buy local goods, sort of similar to the Ferry Building in San Francisco. It was intended to be huge, but only the base was completed before the creator died. Now it's home to shops, restaurants and apartments, but for years, it was occupied by the Federal government.

One of the best things about Asheville is that there are plenty of opportunities to find and purchase some local goods. I honestly became overwhelmed and only took home some candlesticks, but I wanted EVERYTHING. The table and the pottery were in a Mountain Crafts store in the Arcade.

 Asheville even has its own Flatiron building!

We couldn't afford  any of the art I loved, so I figured I'd take pictures for my virtual art collection. I love the graphic bunny art by Justin Ramsey, which we found in Woolworth Walk, an art gallery in a former Woolworth's building (which still has a soda fountain!). There are similar art stalls at the Kress Emporium.

My favorite gallery was the Haen Gallery; I loved everything in it. We loved these super huge and super shiny tree paintings by Clayton Santiago.

I also fell in love with the work of Signe & Genna Grushovenko, which we saw at the 16 Patton gallery.

Tomorrow, if you're interested, I'll share pics from our favorite eats and later, from our visit to Biltmore! Thanks for sticking around to read about my vacations!

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