See why AmericanStyle Magazine named Asheville as the number two Art Detination of small cities in the United States!
1. Downtown: With more than 30 art galleries, plus the Asheville Museum of Art, there is plenty of art to see while strolling through beautiful downtown Asheville. Our favorite gallery is Blue Sprial 1. See our Gallery Guide and Downtown Guide for a sampling of what you will discover.
2. River Arts District: Located near downtown Asheville, more than 100 working artists have set up shop in the River Arts District. Many of these studios are open on a regular basis. One of our favorite galleries, Jonas Gerard, is open every day at 240 Clingman Avenue. Almost all of the studios are open for the Studio Stroll, held two weekends a year (June and November). Read more about the River Arts District.
3. Folk Art Center: This must stop on the Blue Ridge Parkway showcases the finest in traditional and contemporary craft of the artists of the Southern Appalachians. Located just eight miles from downtown Asheville, it houses the Southern Highland Craft Guild’s Craft Shop, exhibitions in three galleries, a library and an auditorium. Often, artists are giving demonstrations for visitors. The Guild's Permanent Collection is featured in an exhibition of Appalachian craft. Read more about the Folk Art Center.
4. Studio Tours: Throughout the year, many area artists open the doors to their studios for special "open house" tours, usually on weekends. Some of our favorites include the River Arts Studio Stroll, Kenilworth Art Studio Tour, Weaverville Art Safari, and the Toe River Studio Tour.
5. Biltmore Estate: George W. Vanderbilt's diverse and cultured tastes influenced his travels throughout Europe and the Orient to purchase paintings, porcelains, bronzes, carpets and furniture. All of it would eventually become part of the collection of objects still in Biltmore House today. It is often the collection, reflecting Vanderbilt's personal interests and tastes, which guests find most fascinating. See artworks by Renoir, Sargent, Whistler, Pellegrini and Boldini that adorn the walls and, in one case, the ceiling. The furniture includes designs by Sheraton and Chippendale. A chess set and gaming table, which belonged to Napoleon when he was in exile at St. Helena, are on display in the salon, and Chinese goldfish bowls from the Ming Dynasty can be admired in the library. Eight 16th century Flemish tapestries hang in the Banquet Hall and Tapestry Gallery. Fifty Persian and Oriental rugs cover marble and oak floors. Read more about Biltmore Estate.
6. Biltmore Village: Located across from the entrance to Biltmore Estate, Biltmore Village is another great area to stroll from shop to shop. Find several galleries here, including the sprawling New Morning Gallery. Another favorite gallery there is Bella Vista. Many businesses are housed in historic cottages and buildings. Tree-lined streets, brick sidewalks and classic architecture (including the Cathedral of All Souls) make the area a delight to explore. Read more about Biltmore Village.
7. Architecture: If you are a lover of architecture, Asheville is a must see. In addition to the elaborate Biltmore Estate, the famed Grove Park Inn, and many grand historic homes, downtown Asheville has an amazing mix of architecture with buildings and monuments designed by famous architects. Among the highlights are the Basilica of St. Lawrence, the Grove Arcade Public Market, and Ellington’s Art Deco City Hall. A great way to enjoy Asheville's downtown architecture is via the Urban Trail.
8. Events: With the many artists in the area, naturally there are many art events, tours and festivals, including Bele Chere, Biltmore Village Art Fair and Art in the Park. See our list of the top art events and festivals.
9. Penland: Get your hands dirty by taking a one to eight week workshop at the highly respected Penland School of Crafts, a national center for craft education located near Asheville. Receive training from renowned artists in books & paper, clay, drawing, glass, iron, metals, photography, printmaking, textiles and wood. Read more about Penland School of Crafts. Visit the nearby EnergyXchange.
10. Performing Arts: For theatre, dance, symphony and more, there is plenty to choose from. Summer theatre is especially plentiful with the Brevard Music Festival, Flat Rock Playhouse and Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre. See our guide to Asheville performing arts.
AmericanStyle Magazine names Asheville as the Number Two Small City for Arts in USA