An Artsy August in Asheville

Jul 14, 2023
636 words (3 min read)

Did you know that there are more than 200 art galleries in Asheville? And that’s just in one section of town!

In addition to the sprawling, mile-long River Arts District (RAD) that flows along the French Broad River, this town is full of art galleries, art installations, public art, performance artists, and the Asheville Art Museum. And it’s not just visual art that you’ll find here - there are numerous creative and performing arts venues, shows, and festivals to experience year-round, and this month is no exception.


The River Arts District holds a “Second Saturday” gallery walk every month in the summer. Patrons are welcome to wander the 22 buildings and works of more than 200 artists over the mile-long district. There are demonstrations by the artists, workshops, food vendors, crafts, live music, and much more. The August event is on the 12th, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Get more info on the RAD website. Look for the “FREE Trolley” signs around the RAD to hop on and off the AVL Arts Connect trolley from noon to 8 p.m.

Biltmore is hosting the last of its “Legends of Art & Innovation” interactive experiences with “Italian Renaissance Alive” inside the ​​Amherst at Deerpark®, Biltmore’s exhibition space. The multi-sensory exhibit presents a historical trip across Italy’s inspiring artistic period. With the accompaniment of an operatic score, this captivating event features the works of Michelangelo, Raphael, Botticelli, and Caravaggio.


Nearby Leicester is hosting its annual “Come to Leicester Studio Tour” on August 19 and 20 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. With more than 20 studios and shops, you’re bound to find something unique and handmade by local artists. Find a map and more info about each artist at the website.


The all-new AVLFest is bringing a diverse lineup of local and national musicians to town, August 3-6. Held at multiple venues across the city, the first installment of AVLFest promises to bring a world-class event in the vein of Austin’s popular SXSW festival. Highlighted performers include Kurt Vile and Violators, Scott McMicken of Dr. Dog, Indigo De Souza, Cedric Burnside, Will Carlisle, Watchhouse (formerly Mandolin Orange), River Whyless, and Toubab Krewe. Buy tickets and festival passes on the event website.


One of the “sweetest” festivals in Western North Carolina is the Sourwood Festival. It takes place in the charming small town of Black Mountain, August 12-13 to celebrate the local bees and their sourwood honey. Aside from all the honey, there are more than 200 vendors with plenty of foods, crafts, and more along Black Mountain’s side streets. The numerous art galleries in town remain open, as do restaurants and stores, so there is plenty to see, do, and buy. The festival starts at 9 a.m. both days, and ends at 8 p.m. on Saturday and 5 p.m. on Sunday.


Another Asheville tradition is Shindig on the Green, a celebration of mountain heritage that incorporates the music and dancing of the Appalachian mountain culture. The whole shebang is produced by the Folk Heritage Committee to support the preservation of the music, dance and storytelling of the Appalachian people. Plenty of food and drinks are available to buy, but all you really need is a blanket or some chairs to enjoy the tunes - or join in with your own instruments or clogging feet. It all goes down “along about sundown” (7 p.m. or so) at the Roger McGuire Green at Pack Square Park, August 12, 19, and 26.

The Mountain Dance and Folk Festival returns for its 96th year August 3-5. The nation’s longest-running folk festival is dedicated to telling the traditions of the Southern Appalachian Mountains through dancing and Bluegrass music. It all takes place on the campus of UNCA. Get all the information you need, including performers, at the Folk Heritage Committee website.


BiltmoresummerfestivalartAugustRiver Arts District

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