Stephanie Brown, executive director of the Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau unveiled the new site March 21 at the Creative Sector Summit. Photo by Mica Mead courtesy of the Asheville Area Arts Council.
A free new Web portal, Asheville Arts Alive, launched March 21, aiming to help local artists connect with tourists and their dollars.
Details of the project, a collaboration between the Asheville Area Arts Council and the Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau, were announced at the Creative Sector Summit, a three-day conference devoted to exploring and expanding the local arts industry. Tourists spend about $1.5 billion in Buncombe County every year, and organizers said they hope the new Asheville Arts Alive website will help funnel more of that money to local artists.
“The arts portal is an exciting project,” says Stephanie Brown, executive director of the Convention and Visitors Bureau. The organization is hosting the portal as part of its existing Exploreasheville.com site, which, each year, attracts 3.5 million users who use it to help plan their vacations.
The idea is for creative professionals and organizations to be able to post profiles and event information free of charge, directing potential new customers their way even before they set foot in town. The site allows qualifying members with free accounts to post a wide range of promotional information as well as photos, videos and social media content.
“This is a really fantastic thing that’s been in the works for a while,” says Kitty Love, executive director of the Arts Council. “Those profiles are like websites embedded into the system.” The more people and organizations that participate, the better an economic driver it will be, she adds.
Although Brown cautions that the site is still a work in progress, she says that artists are needed now to “put in content as its being designed.”
For more details and to apply for an account visit www.exploreasheville.com/asheville-arts-alive.