Center for Craft + Momentum Gallery: Making Asheville Artsville [Ep2]

We feature special guests: Stephanie Moore, Director of the Center for Craft, and Jordan Ahlers, Director and Owner of Momentum Gallery, both of which are located on Broadway Street in Downtown Asheville.

Center for Craft + Momentum Gallery: Making Asheville Artsville [Ep2]

Welcome back to another episode of Artsville, where we celebrate American contemporary arts and crafts from Asheville, North Carolina, and beyond! In today’s double-whammy episode, you’ll hear from two special guests: Stephanie Moore, Director of the Center for Craft, and Jordan Ahlers, Director and Owner of Momentum Gallery, both of which are located on Broadway Street in Downtown Asheville.

Tuning in, you’ll learn about the vision and mission of both these institutions, including how they crossover, collaborate, and share knowledge to promote contemporary art and craft for the future of Asheville while also honoring its rich cultural history. We discuss what makes Asheville Artsville, the fundamental differences (and similarities) between art and craft, and how the art and craft community in Asheville is coalescing to create the Broadway Cultural Gateway, as well as how Jordan and Stephanie are using education to tell the stories of the next generation of artists and makers in Asheville and beyond. We also touch on the power of material-based traditions, how to buy art as a newbie, and so much more, so make sure to tune into this episode of the Artsville Podcast today!

  • Why the Center for Craft and Momentum are considered ‘new kids’ on Broadway Street.
  • An introduction to Stephanie, the Center for Craft, and their mission.
  • Get to know Jordan, Momentum Gallery, and their focus on material-based traditions.
  • How he believes Asheville became Artsville thanks to its rich cultural history.
  • The inherent reverence and respect for art and craft that Stephanie has found in Asheville.
  • Stephanie and Jordan reflect on the difference (or lack thereof) between art and craft.
  • The unique framework of partnership that exists among makers and creatives in Asheville.
  • Learn about the Center’s grant, fellowship, and craft research programs.
  • Turning Broadway Street into an arts corridor known as the Broadway Cultural Gateway.
  • Jordan’s advice for navigating and exploring the rich art landscape in Asheville.
  • Find out from Stephanie how the Center works with national art school programs.
  • Jordan’s words of wisdom for those new to buying art: start with something meaningful.
  • Educating his clients and collectors about local artists who may be less well-known.
  • Stephanie on how the Center is connected with Indigenous and Native craft traditions.
  • Reconciling the sometimes uncomfortable history of craft through education.
  • Some insight into the glasswork of Harvey Littleton and his relationship with Dale Chihuly.
  • Stephanie highlights self-taught artists like the Bringle Sisters and Michael Sherrill.
  • Learn about Stoney Lamar, the Windgate Foundation, and their contributions to craft.

Longer Quotes:

Stephanie Moore, Director of the Center for Craft

“What I have found [in Asheville] is that there’s this inherent reverence and respect for art and for craft specifically that is a common denominator. What’s unusual about the makers and the artists who live and [work] here is they’re very generous. They give of their time, they teach each other, there [are] communities. We’re one big, open studio. Artists are living and working in different environments all over the region. [The Center for Craft and Momentum] are certainly pillars in the community, supporting artists and their work, but [Asheville] is a town of entrepreneurs and of artists. That, at its core, is what Asheville is about.” — Stephanie Moore [0:16:45]

Jordan Ahlers  Owner/Director at Momentum Gallery

“Overall, [Asheville] is a very friendly town. It’s very accessible in that way. You can go and connect with somebody if you came here blind. You might have friends here who will help steer the ship, so to speak, in getting you around to their favorite [art and craft] places or their highlights, but otherwise connecting with somebody at Lexington Glassworks or East Fork or the Center for Craft or any number of places and saying, ‘Where else should we go?’ and seeing what happens. Personal referral and word of mouth is one of the most powerful things.” — Jordan Ahlers [0:29:27]

“The most important thing we’re doing is trying to claim that the arts should and will hold a part of downtown and the footprint of Asheville for generations to come.” — Stephanie Moore [0:10:38]
“Asheville being a tourist town and being a creative mecca as well has brought and lured a lot of people to this beautiful area; beautiful outdoor scenery, a relatively small town, and an eclectic community of makers and creatives.” — Jordan Ahlers [0:16:11]
“What we’re particularly focused on right now is targeting areas of underrepresentation in craft research. What are the stories that have not been told? What are the areas of exploration that have been missed in the textbooks?” — Stephanie Moore [0:22:14]
“We use our educational spaces in the gallery not just for the [stories] that we’re trying to tell but that the next generation is trying to tell.” — Stephanie Moore [0:47:13]
“As with a lot of the craft disciplines, it’s [an] apprenticeship model, where information is passed down from one person to another as opposed to studio work. You can’t learn it in a book. You have to learn it from somebody.” — Jordan Ahlers [0:52:28]