Call 1-866-433-5594 for Reservations
or Click Here
Regardless of the time of year (or time of day, for that matter), Asheville is alive.
Where to Buy Authentic Folk Arts and Crafts in and Near Asheville
June 05, 2008
Category: Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountain Vacation
By Elizabeth Kirwin
In the Western North Carolina area that surrounds Asheville, folk arts and crafts have been part of the traditional forms of creative expression for centuries. Hard working Appalachian mountain people learned to hone certain crafts such as furniture building, quilt making, or ceramics in order to create the implements that would help them in their daily lives.
Many native Appalachian Mountain people were challenged by limited resources, icy wintry roads, and remote locations. Families learned to subsist on the resources at hand. This included a great deal of technical and artistic skill. These skills were often taught and passed down to future generations, and are the basis for the folk art traditions practiced in contemporary Western North Carolina.
Today folk art, and the arts and crafts movement, has been revitalized in and around downtown Asheville. From north to south, east to west, Asheville is growing and adding many new galleries and venues for folk arts and crafts. There are also some well-known places to find authentic folk arts and crafts which have been around for generations.
Following is a round up of the major places to find folk art in and near Asheville. Antique dealers and the actual studios of artists working in the craft tradition are also great places to look for authentic folk art. The work of contemporary craft artists has the richness of past traditions woven with new histories from the Appalachian Mountains.
What Better Place to find Arts and Crafts then the River Arts District?
On the edge of downtown Asheville is West Asheville’s River Arts District. The River Studios are located here, on either side of the Riverlink Bridge at the end of Clingman Avenue. Many working artists have studios in these buildings, and have worked here for many years. River District Artists sponsor a fun day of studio tours and other entertainment the second weekend of June and November. Contact River District Artists directly to set an appointment for a studio tour.
Folk Art Center Near East Asheville: A Folk Art Collector’s Dream
Folk art is prolific in East, West, North and South Asheville. One of the finest places to shop for authentic folk art is inside the Folk Art Center. Visit the Guild Shop; the Focus Gallery; and Main Gallery where the work of folk artists is displayed and for sale. Planning a family vacation in Asheville? Don’t forget to put the Folk Art Center on the itinerary.
Grove Park Inn: Gallery of the Mountains and Grovewood Gallery
Grove Park Inn is known for celebrating the work of the arts and crafts movement. For a selection of some of the finest folk art available in metal, glass, pottery and fabric, the Gallery of the Mountains is a good place to start. Arts and Crafts furniture as well as art-to-wear such as jewelry and fabric art can be purchased at the Gallery of the Mountains. Visitors may also buy the work of multimedia folk artists at this gallery. Grovewood Gallery is another place to find folk art on the grounds of Grove Park Inn. This gallery displays American folk art and craft with an emphasis on handcrafted furniture, garden sculpture, ceramics, jewelry and glass in a 9,000 square foot emporium of arts and crafts.
American Folk Art, Frames, and More Gallery
64 Biltmore Avenue
American Folk Art and Frames is conveniently located at the base of Biltmore Avenue, just above the French Broad Co-op, on the edge of South Asheville. This unique gallery represents the work of painters, potters, and sculptors who create work in the American folk tradition. Visit the online gallery first, then take a short trip through South Asheville or downtown Asheville to visit the American Folk Art Gallery and see some of the work, which emerges from the Southern Appalachian Mountains in person.
Penland School of Crafts
Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina, Penland School of Crafts is almost an hour’s drive from downtown Asheville. For the folk art enthusiast: it is worth the drive. The Penland Gallery is part of this internationally renowned learning center. Many celebrated folk and craft artists were students or teachers at Penland, and their work has been displayed in this gallery, as well as other venues, throughout the Asheville area.
This short list of folk arts and crafts galleries and places to purchase the original work of some of Western North Carolina’s best craft artists is a solid start. But don’t end the search for original folk arts and crafts here. Explore nearby towns such as Hendersonville, Weaverville, Brevard, and Bakersville for even more ideas about where to collect folk art and crafts.