From the Nasher Museum to the Art of Mardi Gras: February Newsletter

This newsletter discusses Artsville featured artist news, includes a story on the art of Mardi Gras, and introduces BLISS. Read more...

From the Nasher Museum to the Art of Mardi Gras: February Newsletter

We have some exciting art news for you this month at Artsville! In this newsletter, art collectors Susan and Michael Hershfield will talk about their introduction to Artsville artist Jim McDowell, recounting the role that they played in connecting Jim with the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. We’re also introducing the inaugural BLISS, Biltmore Lake’s Imaginative Studio Stroll, featuring 25 artists who will show and sell their art from 15 Biltmore Lake homes—born from a partnership with the Biltmore Lake artists and Artsville. Other interesting art tidbits include a story about the art of costumes and Mardi Gras from Louise Glickman and news from animator Daryl Slaton.

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

We all know how it feels when a piece of art hits home—inspiring a feeling of connection or jaw-dropping awe. This was the case for Susan and Michael Hershfield when they came across Jim McDowell (aka the Black Potter) and his face jugs. Jim has been making face jugs for over 35 years, always in the tradition of his African American and Caribbean ancestry. He says of his work, “My face jugs are ugly because slavery was ugly.” To learn more about Jim and his practice, listen to his episode on the Artsville podcast here.

The story of how the Hershfields found Jim and his work is captivating—as it seems as if they were destined to come across his art. This three-part story will take you through the process of collecting from the fateful start to the end, where Jim’s face jug finds a home at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. We’ll hear from Susan Hershfield, the collector and donor; Marshall Price, Chief Curator at the Nasher Museum; and Jim McDowell, the artist. First, we’ll start with Susan Hershfield’s backstory of how she was introduced to Jim McDowell’s art and the steps that followed.

‘Red Tails’ face jug by Jim McDowell. Photo by Adam Milliron.

From Susan Hershfield, Art Collector

My primary motivation was to help [Jim McDowell] bring his exceptional work to a high-profile stage. The collaboration was a big win for the Nasher, too!

Our gift to the Nasher to purchase a Jim McDowell face jug would never have happened without an art shipper from Texas. This summer, two men came to our house in Durham to pick up a Deborah Roberts painting for an exhibition at the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio. One of the shippers told of going to the studio of a Black potter in the mountains of North Carolina to pick up two face jugs for a New York museum exhibition. He couldn’t recall the artist’s name, so I jumped on Google and discovered the potter was Jim McDowell. Jim was the same potter whose work my childhood friend Louise Glickman was showing at Artsville Collective in Asheville’s River Arts District.

After listening to Jim tell his amazing stories on Louise’s [Artsville Podcast] I asked how we could see his work. Louise put us on FaceTime from her gallery in Asheville. [My husband] Michael and I were completely taken by one particular face jug [titled “Door of No Return”] that we selected for our home.

I hoped the Nasher might be interested in owning one of Jim’s face jugs and I contacted Marshall Price, Chief Curator of contemporary art. I sent Marshall Jim’s podcast and other information, including the inclusion of one of Jim’s face jugs in the catalog for a recent show of Black Civil War potters at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Marshall did his own research, met with Jim on Zoom several times, and chose a piece that Jim was about to fire for the Nasher. Marshall made the drive to Weaverville in early December 2022 to be on hand when Jim opened his kiln. To view the entire story, click here.

Jim McDowell, ‘The Black Potter’ and Marshall Price, Chief Curator at the Nasher Museum, with ‘Red Tails.’

Artist and Animator Daryl Slaton Puts Friendship on Display at the Nextcomic Festival in Austria

Exciting news for an Artsville featured artist! Daryl Slaton will show three augmented reality [AR] works at the 2023 Nextcomic Festival in Linz, Austria. The pieces touch on this year’s festival theme of friendship. Daryl is showing three works: “Uh-Oh!” and “Din-Din for Dinny” featuring the lovable character Gallagher and “Jakodi’s Flight” with charming Jakodi.

About the Nextcomic Festival

The 2023 festival runs from March 17-25 in Linz, Austria. This year’s festival is dedicated to stories and drawings on the subject of friendship and includes 33 different exhibitions by more than 100 artists.

The 2023 Nextcomic Festival poster.

Introducing BLISS: Biltmore Lake’s Imaginative Studio Stroll

This BLISS planning committee at work.

Biltmore Lake artists have partnered with Artsville to produce the first-ever Biltmore Lake’s Imaginative Studio Stroll (BLISS). Twenty-five artists will show and sell their art from 15 Biltmore Lake homes along with guest artists on Saturday, May 6 from 11am to 5pm. This group of creatives—from up-and-comers to regionally celebrated—will show art and craft in 2-D and 3-D, large and small, and in a wide variety of mediums.

Art quilters will exhibit at the Biltmore Lake Clubhouse, and gardeners will demo along the lakefront as a prelude to spring planting season. Candler favorites Sand Hill Kitchen and Griff’s will provide food and drink.

“Artsville’s mission is to connect artists and art enthusiasts, and with BLISS we’re excited to do so in an imaginative way that hasn’t been done before in Enka-Candler,” said Louise Glickman, Artsville’s co-founder and Biltmore Lake resident. “BLISS will play an important role in positioning Candler as a creative outpost and strengthening community networks in Western Buncombe and nearby counties.”

For more information, click here.

We’d like to extend a special congratulations to abstract photographer Ellen Golden and potter Jim McDowell, who opened spaces at Marquee Asheville after showing with Artsville Collective in 2022. Swing by Marquee at 36 Foundy St in Asheville’s River Arts District to see their work.

Ellen Golden’s photography reimagined at Marquee.
Jim McDowell’s face jugs with artist Susan Frye at Marquee.

Making Magic: The Artistry of Mardi Gras

by Louise Glickman

The memories go way back, ask anyone born and raised in New Orleans. Mardi Gras is ingrained in our core. We start thinking about next year’s costumes right after the last slice of king cake and our beads are stored in the attic.

Starting back in second grade my family rode on decorated trucks behind the Rex Parade with a full year of PAK (Parents and Kids) meetings to name and later build our float, and design and fit costumes for members of the 16 families that rode together for years. Endless fittings, buying throws, making the float and finally, MARDI GRAS day, always a treat (if the weather cooperated). Susan Brill Hershfield and I made shoebox floats with our dolls in costumes at school that year and later joined the French Quarter Madams, a group of 120 women (with their Gentlemen Callers) who march in outrageous costumes the Friday before Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday).

I asked dear friends Vivian Cahn and Susan Hess, who costume in three different marching Krewes (a private group that stages Mardi Gras activities) each year, to explain the Mardi Gras mentality. How do they come up with a theme and costumes? Vivian says, “New Orleanians have a costume room in their house full of the prerequisite glitter and glue guns, beads and feathers, and storage for costumes. You’ll note the truly committed by a glue gun blister on their hand.” And how do they find the inspiration each year to make her costumes for Krewe de Vue, FQ Madames and Mardi Gras Day’s Krewe of St. Anne, which started over fifty years ago with a few marchers and now includes almost a thousand? “I start dreaming and planning months in advance. I love color, pour a drink and glue away, smiling as I create,” Vivian says.

Vivian’s Madame Butterfly costume is almost finished, her runway is Chartres Street and Napoleon House—where we party, parade, and party some more. Napoleon House, once the anticipated refuge for Napoleon Bonaparte, is still alive and well as a favorite restaurant and watering hole. Muffulettas and Pimm’s Cup, always de rigueur!

Enjoy costume photos from (and of) Susan Hess, Vivian Cahn, Louise Glickman, Susan Brill Rosenthal and more.

News and More at Artsville Collective

Artsville NC Podcast: “How Asheville Became Artsville” Listen to all episodes in our series with the Asheville area’s arts and crafts doers, movers, and shakers. Listen to them at here or on any podcast platform.