Find Your Favorite WNC Artists, Art News, and Events: April Newsletter

This April, we're preparing for Biltmore Lake's Imaginative Studio Stroll, sharing part three of our story on collecting, and introducing WNC artists.

Find Your Favorite WNC Artists, Art News, and Events: April Newsletter
Left to right: Katrina Chenevert assemblage, Sascha Frowine jewelry, Jo Miller woodturning, Bob Ware photograph, Kelly Saunders painting.


Introducing the Artists of Biltmore Lake’s Imaginative Studio Stroll (BLISS) on May 6

For the first time ever, Biltmore Lake’s Imaginative Studio Stroll (BLISS) creatives and volunteers welcome you to meet 26 outstanding resident and guest artists who will show and sell their art. Tents from neighborhood nonprofits, Biltmore Lake clubs, and favorite eateries (plus a Barn Quilt Driving Tour) will make this art tour extra special. BLISS starts at the Clubhouse at 80 Lake Drive, where you can pick up your map and security band. Then, walk or drive to home studios, where you’ll find a variety of art and craft from emerging and established artists living in Biltmore Lake and nearby communities.

By the numbers, BLISS visitors will see the varied works of 26 artists from 13 hosts at their homes in 7 Biltmore Lake neighborhoods. 11 artists from surrounding communities will exhibit as invited guests. At the Lake, 4 non-profit organizations will inform visitors about learning and recreational programs in Western Buncombe. Horticulturist Steve Frowine, representing the Biltmore Lake Garden Club, will do demos and provide planting tips. Find your Bliss at Biltmore Lake on Saturday, May 6 from 11 am to 5 pm. Rain date is Sunday, May 7.

Scroll down to meet a few of the BLISS artists. For more information about the stroll, click here.

Feature Story: Collecting

From Concept to Collection: How Jim McDowell’s New Face Jug Made It to the Nasher Museum Collection [Part III]

Welcome to part three of the three-part series From Concept to Collection: How Jim McDowell’s New Face Jug Made It to the Nasher Museum Collection. In part one, Susan Hershfield, art collector and donor, provided background on how she connected Jim McDowell (aka the Black Potter) with the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. Part two included Artsville’s interview with Marshall Price, the chief curator at the Nasher Museum. To close out this series, Jim McDowell shares his inspiration for the collected face jug, “Red Tails,” and the feeling that comes with having his work in the collection at the Nasher Museum.

Jim McDowell's ceramic art.
‘Red Tails’ front view (Photo: Adam Milliron), Jim McDowell, and ‘Red Tails’ back view (Photo: Adam Milliron)

From Jim McDowell; The Artist

It’s a high honor for me to have my work purchased by a museum, particularly the prestigious Nasher at Duke University. Of course, this lends credibility to what I create, but moreover my objective of sending out my messages to the world through my artwork is met in a tremendous way. I’ve been called “a ceramic activist” by one journalist. For the most part, each one of my face jugs or sculptural works is a statement against racism. I inscribe in the clay a message on the backs of most pieces, and “Red Tails” is no exception. As a Black artist, my job is to tell the stories of how my people not only mastered their objectives, but overcame obstacles, especially racism, and persevered to achieve greatness.

About the “Red Tails” Face Jug

I’ve always been fascinated by airplanes. My favorite airplane from WWII has always been the P-51 Mustang flown by the Army Air Corps pilots of the Tuskegee Army Airfield nicknamed “Red Tails.” As a young adult, I became aware of the Black troops and their struggles to become a fighting unit in the war effort. They were relegated to escort duties, protecting the bombers. They decided to paint the plane tails red for better identification and to set themselves apart. On one particular mission in Italy when they lost no bombers, a military officer recognized the unit and lauded them through the ranks as competent, efficient, and a unit that always did the job.

To read the full story, click here.

Meet Some of Our BLISS Artists

Tanya Franklin, Glass

[I] create with stained-glass; making unique, multidimensional artwork revealed in wall pieces, lamps, sculptures, mobiles and boxes. [My] work is inspired by creation, with the hope that [my] personal perspective can reflect that broader intelligent design. Each piece speaks its own message through the design with the chosen inherent glass characteristics of colors, textures, and transparencies!

Tanya Franklin
‘Soaring Spirits’ by Tanya Franklin

Carol McCrory; Painting

I am moved by the mountains, but remain inspired by the beach. I love horses and animals, and I love clouds, trees, reflections, and colors. You’ll see that in my work. I paint mostly in acrylics. I like the transparency of acrylics, and the way you can use other media along with the paint. I paint layer after layer, so you can see the underlying colors. I paint realistically but with an impressionistic bent. I paint what inspires me, and I paint for myself, but I hope others like it too!

Carol McCrory
‘Low Tide at Sunrise’ by Carol McCrory

Cecelia Halverson, Jewelry, Glass

A relative newcomer to the art of beadweaving, I have been designing and creating beadwoven jewelry for six years. I use glass and crystal beads of varying shapes and sizes, along with mineral and gemstones, to create unique and intricately woven jewelry. My work is elegant, yet functional, and designed to be worn. I create each piece using a needle and thread to weave together a variety of elements I have chosen to produce beautiful and wearable art. The various collections I have created over the years are inspired by architecture and nature, using color palettes that always include metallics.

Cecelia Halverson
‘Bronze Cuff’ by Cecelia Halverson

Bronwen McCormick, Watercolor

[My] work explores the natural world and the beauty of our mountain landscape. [I] strive to capture our WNC mountain landscape in watercolor, from peaceful blue mountain vistas to light streaming through the trees in the early morning. These mountains, some of the oldest and wisest in the world, are [my] inspiration. [I] began watercolor painting to bring a creative practice into [my] daily schedule. A fitting choice, as both [my] grandmother and great-grandmother were accomplished watercolor artists.

‘Mama Bear’ by Bronwen McCormick

Kurt Ross, Ceramics

Over the last few years, my ceramic work has evolved to center on creating graceful vessel groupings that present a hierarchy of detail, scale, and proportion. These “families” typically include multiple pieces of varying heights, textures, and shapes intended to work in synergy. All my vessels are wheel thrown, trimmed from a single ball of clay, and then positioned into statuesque groupings. The clay bodies I use are earthenware, stoneware, and porcelain.

‘Tall Vessel Set’ by Kurt Ross

Judy Spark, Fiber, Mixed Media

As an artist, I have always been drawn to fiber. From the first knitted headband I made as a child to my sewing, quilting, basket-making and years as a professional production weaver, fiber has intrigued and excited me. I work in fiber because it feeds my soul. My pieces are made of cloth embellished with threads, beads, buttons, and found objects. I use a needle for attachment and I incorporate color, texture, and a sense of movement and depth into each piece. An idea can come from a glittering bead, a funky button, a faded memory or a passing landscape.

‘Flower Series 1’ by Judy Spark

Maggie Whitney, Painting

I have enjoyed being an artist for many years, creating, expressing my thoughts and emotions through my work. My main focus is creating abstract art with multiple mediums in cold wax and oil, encaustic, and acrylic paint. Landscapes and floral work are painted using pastels. My body of work reflects my desire for continual learning and trying new mediums and challenges. I am inspired every day by my family and the beauty that surrounds me.

‘Orchid Shadows’ by Maggie Whitney

Sascha Frowine, Jewelry

​​I create a carefully curated selection of one-of-a-kind gemstones set within artisan handcrafted silver settings. As a silversmith, I have a unique voice that includes asymmetrical settings and a design sense that is very much in keeping with my personal style. As a creator since early childhood, I strive to integrate beauty and celebration through my jewelry designs that display a myriad of influences, including those that are mythological, multicultural, organic, and whimsical.

‘Talisman of Tranquility’ by Sascha Frowine

Sara Hall, Fiber, Quilts

I worked for many years in graphic design and production in New York, first as an art director in the children's book division of Marvel Comics and later at Vogue Magazine. After twenty-five years at Vogue, I moved to Asheville with my family. I make a variety of quilts, ranging from wall hangings and coverlets to place mats. Though I have an art college background, I am a self-taught quilt maker, learning from other quilters and inspired by painters and printmakers. In seeking to create unique patterns, my quilts combine vibrant color and fabric combinations for a contemporary look.

‘Checkerboard’ by Sara Hall

Artsville would like to give a special shout-out to Melanie McConnell and Jonathan Key at Mountaineer Publishing who write and distribute the Biltmore Beacon. Keep an eye on the Biltmore Beacon for short features on the artists of BLISS.

Art News and Notes

Executive Director at the Center for Craft, Stephanie Moore, gave the keynote address at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation for the sold out conference, Tradition/Innovation: Craft and future intangible cultural heritage. Learn more here.

New Orleans-based ceramic artist Sarah House received her second grant from Center for Craft, the Career Advancement Grant, which has helped to take her career to the next level. Check out her beautiful work here.

Artsville’s own Daryl Slaton is participating in the International Art Fair in Bucharest, Romania, which takes place from May 19-28. He will be showing “Flight of the Bunny,” which was chosen by the fair’s committee.

Check out what PaintSpace NOLA offers artists in New Orleans: 8’ of wall space, common areas for artists to mingle, and workshops to take their skills to the next level. Wouldn’t it be great to have a space like this in Enka/Candler?


Up Next on the Artsville Podcast

Coming in mid-April: Biltmore Lake artists Molly Courcelle and her mother Bee Sieburg talk about their generational connectedness through their art practices. Both Molly and Bee will be exhibiting their work at BLISS, the studio stroll in Candler, NC on Saturday May 6.

We’d like to ask you a question...

If you are or would like to be an art collector, what is your motivation?

A. Decorative function

B. Financial investment

C. Support the arts

D. Support specific artist(s)

E. Status in the art industry

Other: ___________________

Click here to share your answer. Stay tuned, we’ll share survey results in an upcoming newsletter.

What We Do at Artsville Collective

The Artsville Collective online exhibition space provides a virtual format for artists to show their work, providing an opportunity for artists to broaden their reach to Artsville's expansive network of collectors, art enthusiasts, and supporters.

TALK on our podcast

The ARTSVILLE Podcast is available on all listening platforms and features extensive show notes here on our podcast pages. Created in partnership with Crewest Studio/ LA, Artsville celebrates contemporary American arts & crafts from Asheville and beyond for folks from all over the world to discover western North Carolina’s creativity and culture.

TELL through our monthly newsletter

Our monthly newsletter here at reaches your inbox with stories and news from artists and writers in Asheville and beyond. The content covers all things creative in art and craft including featured artist stories, personal stories and news from artists and artisans, professionals, and collectors.