Matt Tommey talks with visitors about his vine baskets, many made from kudzu!
Visitors learn about glass blowing at Asheville Glass Center, 140C Roberts St
The River Arts District (RAD) is definitely a favorite place for couples to explore since friendly artists love to show you the process of creating their amazing creations. After getting the story behind the art, you can take home the perfect souvenir and expand or begin your art collection - with something in all price ranges! Or get them to custom design something just for you.
For 2013, many new studios, galleries and restaurant have opened. It's now home to 185 artists in 25 buildings, creating high-quality fine art of every variety. Most of these buildings are converted warehouses along the French Broad River just a few miles from downtown Asheville, Biltmore Village and Biltmore Estate. Drive a little, walk a little to visit studios and galleries. Some 80-90 artists are open every Friday and Saturday, with many open seven days a week. On Second Saturdays and the River Arts Stroll (read more about RAD Events), many more artists open their studios and give special presentations. See and download a map at the bottom of this page.
RAD is home to new restaurants and the Wedge Brewery. Check out 12 Bones Smokehouse for great BBQ and down-home cooking. The White Duck Taco Shop is another local's favorite. New Belgium is building their big brewery nearby. The Bull and Beggar opened in 2013 near the Wedge.
The"River Arts District" sandwich board signs are easy to spot along the small triangle of streets and avenues with road names such as Clingman, Depot, Haywood, Lyman, Riverside and Roberts.
Sarah Rolland at work at The Village Potters, 191 Lyman St
River Arts Studio Stroll 2013 June 8-9 &
November 9-10, 10AM-6PM Almost all of the studios are open for the River Arts Studio Stroll, held two weekends a year (June and November). During the Studio Stroll, 150 artists of the River Arts District welcome you into their studios to talk with them, see their latest artwork, watch demonstrations, and experience for yourself the magic hidden inside the old factories and warehouses along the French Broad River. The Studio Stroll is free and open to the public. Read more about Studio Stroll and other RAD Events.
Second Saturdays in the RAD: May-December 2013
Starting in May, join the artists of the River Arts District the second Saturday for a day of artist demonstrations, classes, open studios and fun. Spend the day hopping from studio to studio to view a range of mediums and an abundance of creativity. Read more about Second Saturdays.
Restaurants in the River Arts District include 12 Bones Smokehouse, Clingman Cafe, The Magnetic Field, Taqueria Con Cuida, White Duck Taco Shop, All Souls Pizza, Pizza Pura and The Junction.
Chat with artists like Barb Butler sy Sutherland Weaving on Depot St, and watch them at work.
Jonas Gerard Fine Art
Nationally recognized artist Jonas Gerard, known for his large, vibrant, paintings, works in his 5,000 square foot studio/gallery. Enter a world of color and find abstracts, landscapes, sculptures, artistic gifts and more. River Arts District at 240 Clingman Ave. Click here to visit their Web site.
Directions to the River Arts District (RAD): From West / Downtown: I-240E to Patton Avenue (downtown), turn right onto Clingman Ave. From North: US Highway 19/23 South to Patton Avenue (downtown), turn right onto Clingman Ave. From South: I-26W to 240E to Patton Avenue (downtown), turn right onto Clingman Ave. From East on I-40 and Biltmore Estate:
North on Biltmore Avenue (through Biltmore Village), left on Meadow which turns into Lyman Street. From East: I-240W to "Montford 4C" exit, turn left at light, take first right onto Haywood Street, go straight across Patton Avenue where road becomes Clingman Ave.
Tips for Exploring the River Arts District in Asheville
Since many artists have moved in during the last year or two - and different artists are working every day, you'll discover something new no matter how often you visit.
The River Arts District is just a few minutes from downtown Asheville and the Biltmore Estate entrance, so it's very convenient. You can GPS Clingman Cafe (242 Clingman Avenue, Asheville) to get in the area. They have a nice art display in their dining room.
Since this is a transforming industrial area, many of the buildings are converted warehouses. You'll be very surprised to see the amazing art hidden inside these modest and architecturally fun buildings.
You can walk to many studios, but you'll need to drive around to find all the buildings. Some streets do not have sidewalks, but parking is usually easy to find. And all parking is free.
Most artists have a studio plus a gallery, so you can purchase a wide range of art after you see how it's created. Quite a few are open seven days a week (usually 10 AM-5 PM range), year-round. Just look for the River Arts sandwich boards for open studios. Others artists have more limited hours and a few just have a small studio space with no set hours.
Please touch! You'll find a huge variety of art. If you are looking for something in particular, ask one of the artists. It's a close community and they love to refer other artists. And many artists will make something custom for you if you need a certain size, color, etc.
Most artists are ok with visitors taking photos and videos. Just ask them to be sure. Most artists do not like visitors taking close-up photos of individual pieces unless you are interested in purchasing. Again, don't be shy about asking.
The River Arts District is full of vintage warehouse architecture, one-of-a-kind studio spaces, restaurants and breweries. At the core of this artsy vibe are the stories and creative processes that are as different as the buildings they occupy. From glass blowers to basket makesr, potters to painters, fiber artists to jewelers, find some of the most creative and talented artists anywhere.