On Holiday: A Visit to Asheville

“Art is all around you”

street painting: Asheville, North Carolina

12494782_10205899619917606_7910882265048209098_nEaster week found me away from the studio on a trip to Asheville, North Carolina. There, my sister Josephine and I, along with our very understanding spouses, spent time researching family history, going to cemeteries, and visiting the local county historical society. Genealogy is one of my sister’s long held passions and one of the site visits she was particularly looking forward to was an afternoon outing to the Earle-Chesterfield Mill Company. The mill, built c. 1890, was situated along the Norfolk Southern Railroad and the French Broad River in Asheville’s industrial area. It was there that our great-grandfather, leaving the family’s mountain farm, found employment.

But we were 21 years too late. A fire in April 1995 destroyed both the Earle-Chesterfield, and extensively damaged the Asheville Cotton Mill, originally built 1887. While that discovery was disappointing, our spirits rallied because we found out that whole area is now designated the River Arts District! Now just how cool is that for an artist on vacation, especially one who loves visiting other artist’s studios?

Beginning in 1985, the rundown area underwent urban renovation. Where once abandoned and rundown buildings stood,River's Arts District the former economically depressed area is now vibrant. Today 22 historic industrial buildings and warehouses provide more than 200 artists spaces to create and share their work. Our self imposed time limit meant that we couldn’t visit all, or even a significant number of studios, but our quick in-and-out visits refreshed and inspired. A perfect complement to the time spent with one foot in the past.

Now I’m back on home turf, playing catch-up in the studio and classroom, thinking and dreaming about current and future work. Without a doubt, Asheville, and other cities embracing the arts, show how art and artists possess transformative qualities.


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This Week in the Studio
I have been able to spend some time in the studio since returning home. Next week, I’ll share the small increments I have accomplished. Perhaps, the Muse willing, those increments may be of significant size. As usual, stay tuned!


  1. martinemacdonald says:

    Thanks for your kind words Julia! The best thing about art is the surprise of what’s next, don’t you think?!

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