Visual Art is Right at Home in the Blue Ridge
The mountains of Western North Carolina attract artists and craftspeople
George and Edith Vanderbilt’s luxurious Biltmore House in Asheville is certainly a display of vintage art, clothing, accessories and furniture. Three floors and the basement give guests an up-close look at Auguste Renoir and John Singer Sargent original art, stunning tapestries and assorted accessories. The architectural elements throughout the exterior and interior are as magnificent today as they were 100 years ago. No visit to Biltmore Estate is complete without either an audio guide or any one of the guided Biltmore House tours.
When premier American glass sculptor Dale Chihuly and Biltmore Estate landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted’s considerable talents meet, intriguing art is the result. The exhibition Chihuly at Biltmore displays large-scale, breathtaking glass sculptures in the historic gardens of “America’s Largest Home.” Organic shapes and vivacious colors in association with the technical difficulties of working with large glass forms distinguish Chihuly’s exciting creations, which will be in place through October 7, 2018.
Daytime tickets for Chihuly at Biltmore are included in daytime admission. Chihuly Nights at Biltmore tickets give visitors a look at the sculptures bathed in light. Live music and a wine bar enhance the experience. Chihuly packages are available at The Inn on Biltmore Estate and The Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate. (biltmore.com)
Inspired by the Chihuly at Biltmore exhibit and the Blue Ridge region’s association with studio glass art, more than 60 of western North Carolina’s glass artists and studios are presenting Asheville’s Summer of Glass through October 2018. The event includes VIP glass experiences, exhibitions and working studio tours, plus hands-on events in Asheville and nearby communities. In bringing glass from functional to decorative, western North Carolina has deep roots in the American glass movement. For information, visit online at exploreasheville.com.
Weaving and eventually selling traditional coverlets in cotton and wool in the 1890s led to the formation of the Southern Highland Craft Guild in 1930. Today, almost 900 craftspeople from nine southeastern states are guild members. The Folk Art Center, Milepost 382 on the Blue Ridge Parkway at Asheville; Biltmore Village, Asheville; Moses Cone Manor, Milepost 294, Blue Ridge Parkway at Blowing Rock; and Tunnel Road in Asheville are all shops of the Southern Highland Craft Guild. For a weekend in both July and October, the Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands brings to U.S. Cellular Center Asheville traditional and contemporary crafts from makers living in the Appalachian Mountains. (craftguild.org)
The oldest Native American cooperative, Qualla Arts and Crafts, founded in 1946, is located across the street from the Museum of the Cherokee Indian. Showcasing more than 250 members, Qualla Arts and Crafts preserves and promotes the traditional arts and crafts of the Eastern Band of Cherokee. The more popular pieces include pottery, basketry, stone carvings, bead working, woodcarvings, finger weaving, home goods, masks, pipes and kids items. There are stories and traditions that accompany each form of art. (quallaartsandcrafts.com)
The Appalachian Mural Trail presents a colorful way of sharing the rich heritage of the area. Storytelling murals can be found in small towns on either side of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Just added to the trail, the Threshing Grain mural, painted by Richard H. Jansen in 1938, stills rests in Lincolnton’s post office. A new mural is scheduled for fall 2018 completion in Maggie Valley, a town that sparks your imagination with memorable images. All of these images will be a part of a new mural commissioned by Roy Milling, the new owner of Joey’s Pancake House. (muraltrail.com)
From art galleries to quilt trails to art museums and workshops, there’s no end to the creativity that flows from the artists and craftspeople of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.
By Dave Bodle