The Jackson County Green Energy Park (JCGEP) in Dillsboro is a fascinating arts facility that is powered by methane gas captured from the old town landfill. The fuel provides heat for blacksmith forges, metal foundry, pottery kiln and glassblowing. Located just a half mile from central artsy Dillsboro, their gallery features art made onsite by the resident artists. Watch artists at work. Many of them are students from nearby Western Carolina University. (Above: Glass Artist Cole Johnson)
The gallery is open Wednesday-Friday, 10 AM-3 PM, in addition to other times by appointment, with work created by artists using renewable energy. Usually, you can watch the artists at work. The gallery has a large glass window that looks into the glass studio hot shop, so you can safely see the action.
The glass studio is one of the few in the world utilizing landfill methane gas as a fuel. And you can arrange for a hands-on lesson by calling in advance. The metals shop features the first blacksmith forges and art foundry ever fired on landfill gas. Their Anagama Kiln is modeled on ancient Japanese designs and is fired using wood and waste vegetable oil as fuels. The kiln is available for public firings several times throughout the year.
Free public guided tours are offered Wednesday-Friday from 10 AM-3 PM, and other times by appointment. Tours include a glassblowing demonstration, a walking lecture on the GEP's renewable energy use and history, a visit to the ceramics kiln, and a blacksmithing demonstration when available. If you want to bring a group, just give them a call in advance at 828-631-0271.
Take a class or workshop! Each of their artists is extremely skilled and experienced at working with students of different proficiency levels, from first-timers to advanced students.
Turning Bad into Good
Methane gas from landfills is a very potent greenhouse gas that damages our environment. By burning landfill gas as fuel, this project provides direct and immediate improvements to local air quality. Each year, they prevent 281 tons of methane from entering the atmosphere. That’s comparable to removing 1,000+ vehicles off the road. And we get beautiful art to enjoy!
Jackson County Green Energy Park
100 Green Energy Park Rd, Dillsboro, NC
From Asheville: Take I-40 west to Exit #27 (US Hwy 74). Drive west for approximately 19 miles. Take Exit #81 (Dillsboro exit) onto US Hwy 441 South. At the first stoplight, turn right onto Haywood Rd. Go approximately one-half mile and turn right onto Green Energy Park Rd. Enter through the second gate on the right and proceed to the Visitors Center.