A&E Roundup: Open Hearts celebrates new mural

BOLD LIFE: Open Hearts Art Center's new mural was created in collaboration with local painter Ian Wilkinson. Photo courtesy of Open Hearts Art Center

Open Hearts Art Center hosts a celebration for its new public mural on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2-5 p.m. After creating avant-garde fashions, Open Hearts artists with disabilities were photographed wearing their colorful, whimsical outfits by former instructor Brit Davis Klepac. Local painter Ian Wilkinson translated the images into mural panels, which were completed at his studio and the Open Hearts Art Center studio. Wilkinson installed the images Oct. 23-25.

“We wanted to use imagery that spoke to who we are as an organization, as well as being bold and impactful to attract visitors into our community and gallery,” says Debbie Harris, Open Hearts co-founder and director of arts. openheartsartcenter.org


Asheville Community Theatre premieres Transition, a play by local writer Maria “Ria” Young, as a virtual staged reading on Saturday, Nov. 21, at 7:30 p.m. The work is based on Young’s memoir Lost in the Game, which chronicles her time playing basketball for T.C. Roberson High School and Limestone College. In the play, Young explores the impact of college athletics through the experiences of her fictional counterpart, Mali, who struggles with a desire to withdraw from sports stardom and embrace her true self, though just what that new identity entails eludes her.

“We are still planning to do a full production of the show with a live audience in the future,” says Jenny Bunn, marketing director at ACT. “But in the meantime, we are grateful to be partnering with Ria and her team for a creative way to share this show sooner rather than later.”

The performance is also directed by Young and stars Cortina Jenelle, Elizabeth Garland, Kasia Maatafale and Tyron Young. Adam McMillan will handle videography duties. Tickets are $10, plus taxes and fees. ashevilletheatre.org

Slam time

Different Strokes Performing Arts Collective is organizing WORDplay, a 12-month slam poetry competition featuring spoken-word poets from across Western North Carolina. Each month, 10-12 poets will be selected via video submissions and vie in a monthly online contest hosted by Barbie Angell and Shanita Jackson. One poet from each month’s event will be selected to compete before a live audience in the semifinals, held in October and November 2021, and two poets will face off for the WORDplay championship in December.

The winner receives a $1,000 cash prize, second place $500, and each semifinalist goes home with $100. Contestants must be at least 15 years old. Submissions of no longer than two minutes are being accepted for January and February rounds through Monday, Nov. 23, and selected poets will be notified by Wednesday, Dec. 23. More information is available at differentstrokespac.org/4680-2/

Art and crafts

The Flood Gallery Fine Art Center in Black Mountain holds an opening reception for The Female Gaze on Saturday, Nov. 21, 6-9 p.m. The exhibit features work by ceramic sculptor and conceptual installation artist Melisa Cadell, painter Angela Cunningham and Anne Bessac, who creates observational drawings. Each artist uses distinctly different visual strategies to immerse viewers in the contemporary female gaze. The opening night event includes music by Ash Devine, and the exhibit will be on display through Dec. 31. floodgallery.org

Upstairs Artspace in Tryon debuts Handmade: Crafts for Home & Holiday on Saturday, Nov. 21, starting with an open house noon-7 p.m. Asheville-based curator Sherry Masters brings together 25 individual artists and couples working in clay, fiber, wood, metal, glass, leather and mixed media to create decorative and functional objects for the home, as well as jewelry, leather goods, shawls and scarves. The show runs through Dec. 31. upstairsartspace.org


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About Edwin Arnaudin
Edwin Arnaudin is a staff writer for Mountain Xpress. He also reviews films for ashevillemovies.com and is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) and North Carolina Film Critics Association (NCFCA). Follow me @EdwinArnaudin

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