Raleigh, N.C. (Nov. 12, 2019) — The Asheville Art Museum will open a new $24 million facility that preserves a historic library building while expanding the gallery space on Thursday, Nov. 14. Two days later, on Saturday, Nov. 16, the Center for Craft will celebrate its public reopening after nearly a year of renovations to its historic 1912 building. Both are located in downtown Asheville.
The expanded Asheville Art Museum, the hub for 20th- and 21st-century American art in western North Carolina, encompasses 54,000 square feet and for the first time in the museum's history, will be able to host major traveling exhibitions from nationally recognized museums.
The Center of Craft boasts an additional 7,000 square feet of program space, including expanded galleries, event and meeting spaces, and co-working space that will serve the creative sector.
“The expansion of the Asheville Art Museum and renovation of the Center of Craft underscore Asheville’s reputation as a destination for the visual arts, craft, and design, regionally and nationally,” said Jeff Pettus, Senior Program Director for the North Carolina Arts Council. “These facilities will provide extraordinary opportunities for residents, visitors, and artists to explore, learn, and create.”
Two inaugural exhibitions at the Asheville Art Museum include Intersections in American Art, a selection of 200 pieces from the museum’s permanent collection, many never before exhibited and Appalachia Now!, a survey of artists who work in western North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia, who have not previously shown at the museum.
Opening activities include a free ribbon cutting and public preview on Wednesday, Nov. 13 from 1 to 6 p.m.; Opening Day is Thursday, Nov. 14 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., $15 general admissions, free for members; and an after-hours party for ages 21+ is scheduled Saturday, Nov. 16 from 8 p.m. to midnight, $75.
The expansion and renovations of the Asheville Art Museum was designed by Ennead Architects of New York, and the local architecture firm ARCA Design. The historic preservation of the museum’s current north wing (formerly the 1926 Pack Library building) houses the new John & Robyn Horn Education Center and the Frances Mulhall Achilles Art Research Library. Entirely new construction of the west wing includes a glass façade, art-filled Atrium, the SECU Collection Hall, and a rooftop sculpture terrace and café.
Nearby, the expanded Center of Craft will serve as a new National Craft Innovation Hub that will promote the vitality of craft in a digital age and will be a creative destination and resource for artists, researchers, curators, and the local community. The National Craft Innovation Hub will engage both the national craft community and western North Carolina residents, further establishing the Center for Craft as a thought-leader in what craft means today, as well as an innovation center for emerging voices and makers.
Visitors can explore free exhibitions seven days a week within the new Bresler Family Gallery and John Cram Partner Gallery. The opening exhibition in the Bresler Family Gallery, Craft Futures 2099, takes on the ambitious question of how craft might look 80 years from now, giving a nod to the campaign that brought the space to fruition, to usher in the new innovation hub.
The John Cram Partner Gallery will include exhibitions developed by local academic partners, UNC Asheville and Warren Wilson College, putting the national craft landscape in the context of the local community, other creative disciplines, and the liberal arts. UNC Asheville’s inaugural exhibition, Making Meaning, brings together 14 UNC Asheville alumni whose work shifts our perceptions of material, method, and meaning, creating new vocabularies in clay, digital media, photography, printmaking, assemblage, and textiles.
The Center for Craft’s public grand reopening is on Saturday, Nov. 16 from 2 to 6 p.m. In addition to exhibitions and building tours, visitors can view five new artists commissions and installations by Jamil D. Harrison, Harvey Littleton, Old Wood Company, Tanya Aguiñiga, Andrew Hayes, and Shelter Collective. Visit https://www.centerforcraft.org for more information.
To learn about the Asheville Art Museum visit https://www.ashevilleart.org/
About the North Carolina Arts Council
The North Carolina Arts Council builds on our state’s long-standing love of the arts, leading the way to a more vibrant future. The Arts Council is an economic catalyst, fueling a thriving nonprofit creative sector that generates $2.12 billion in annual direct economic activity. The Arts Council also sustains diverse arts expression and traditions while investing in innovative approaches to art-making. The North Carolina Arts Council has proven to be a champion for youth by cultivating tomorrow’s creative citizens through arts education. NCArts.org.