A must stop for art lovers is the Folk Art Center in Asheville, featuring the finest in traditional and contemporary craft of the Southern Appalachians. Shop the wonderful Southern Highland Craft Guild store (pic above) with a big variety of creations from hundreds of artists, browse rotating exhibitions in several galleries and watch an artist at work.
Located on the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 382 (near the US Highway 70 intersection, 8 miles from downtown Asheville), the Folk Art Center also hosts many events and has a library with many craft books and videos. Free admission!
Upstairs, see 250 works from The Guild's Permanent Collection "Craft Traditions" with crafts dating from 1850s. Adjacent, the Focus Gallery and the Main Gallery feature various artists throughout the year, so there's always something new to see.
The Folk Art Center is the most popular attraction on the Blue Ridge Parkway, welcoming 250,000 visitors each year. It also houses a Parkway Store with National Park souvenirs and travel information. Just two miles away is the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitors Center and home of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area.
Open daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day.
January-March: 9 AM-5 PM
April-December: 9 AM-6 PM
You can access the Mountains-to-Sea Trail from the parking area at the Folk Art Center. Also, they have a 1/4-mile trail that is designated as accessible according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Allanstand Interiors features studio furniture and one-of-a-kind home accessories and artwork (pic above).
Folk Art Center Special Events (See more Art Events & Festivals)
Daily Craft Demonstrations
March–December, 10 AM-4 PM daily
Members share their expertise and inspiration with visitors in the Folk Art Center lobby.
Glass & Metal Day
April 7, 2018, 10 AM-4 PM
See 20 Guild members showcase their skills and techniques of glass and metal, 10 AM-4 PM. Watch blacksmithing, glass blowing, piercing and soldering metals, knife making, bezeling, repoussé, copper etching, assembling stained glass, forging and more.
May 12-13, 2018
Saturday, 10 AM-4 PM & Sunday 1-4 PM
Celebration of textile arts! Craftspeople share their inspiration and expertise about textile arts. Educational craft demonstrations on Saturday include natural dyeing, sheep shearing, weaving on a loom, tapestry weaving, knitting, crochet and surface design. On Sunday, 1 & 3 PM, see a Fashion Show of Wearable Art, from contemporary to traditional, from funky to classic, made by members of the Southern Highland Craft Guild and other regional artists.
Southern Highland Clay Fest
Saturday, June 9, 2018, 10 AM–4 PM
Potters and other ceramic artists share a variety of techniques such as throwing, sculpture and coil-building. This event features the opportunity to glaze and watch the firing of raku pots.
Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands
July 20-22, 2018 and October 19-21, 2018
Huge show of finest artists in downtown Asheville at the U.S. Cellular. Admission. See our Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands Guide.
Saturday, August 4, 2018, 10 AM–4 PM
Join Guild woodworkers for an exciting day exploring various forms of woodcraft. The Folk Art Center's auditorium will be filled with lathes, sawhorses, wood tools and the master craftspeople who know how to use them. Featuring the Annual Carve Off Competition from 1–3 PM. Demonstrations include carving, wood turning, broom making, and furniture design and construction.
Saturday, September 22, 2018, 10 AM-4 PM & Sunday, September 23, 12–5 PM
Celebrate heritage crafts of the Appalachian Mountains with traditional craftspeople showing craft techniques with hand tools, native materials, and lots of ingenuity through demonstrations in the native arts. Plus, enjoy traditional music and storytelling. Don’t miss the World Gee Haw Whimmy Diddle Competition on Saturday, 2-3 PM. Free. Read more about the Heritage Weekend.
Holiday Makers Sale
Saturday, December 1 & 8, 2018, 10 AM-4 PM
Members of the Southern Highland Craft Guild will be on hand in the center’s auditorium on these two Saturdays to sell select work 10-50% off retail. The sale is an excellent opportunity for the artist to liquidate overstocks, try out new techniques, and sell studio seconds. Different artists each week!
Chartered in 1930, the Southern Highland Craft Guild would grow to become one of the strongest craft organizations in the country. Second in age only to the Boston Society of Arts and Crafts, the Guild now represents 900+ craftspeople in 9 southeastern states. The craft shop is oldest continuously operating in the United States, dating back to 1897.