Around Town: Artéria Collective puts focus on youth of color with spring showcase

HANDS-ON LEARNING: Participants in Artéria Collective's programs have created merchandise that will be sold at the group's spring showcase. Photo by Alpha Cardenas/Artéria Collective

Asheville Writers in the Schools and Community has held spring showcases before. But under its new identity as Artéria Collective, the nonprofit arts and culture organization is thinking bigger with this year’s event.

“It will be much larger and include more of our external BIPOC [Black, Indigenous and people of color] community members that are not directly involved in our organization’s programs but who we are building relationships with,” says Taz Crowley, events and outreach coordinator for Artéria. The group works to provide young people from marginalized neighborhoods with experiences in the arts. 

Artéria will host Sugarbush Showcase from noon-7 p.m., Sunday, May 21, at The Mule at Devil’s Foot Beverage.

The show will feature musical performances by artists including April B. and the Cool, Tony J, Nina Gi, and an all-youth band from one of Artéria’s core programs, Word on the Street. Spoken-word poets, artists, dance performers, vendors and food trucks will also be on hand. 

Program participants will perform, display art, run workshop tables for hands-on creating and sell merchandise they created throughout the year, including hand-printed shirts, photographs and paintings.

“Community members will get to engage with us as an organization, as well as see what all the youth have been up to this year,” Crowley says. “We hope that this creates a space to … strengthen relationships with our communities.”

Founded in 2011, the group was originally focused on writer residencies in local public schools. Its mission has since expanded to include efforts to ignite social change through the power of arts, culture and restorative self-expression.

“We strive to provide brave spaces for BIPOC youth to express themselves and to feel empowered,” Crowley says. “We believe that providing access to resources for BIPOC is vital to supporting healthy social and emotional development and strengthens cohesion of our communities.”

The Mule at Devil’s Foot Beverage is at 131 Sweeten Creek Road. For more information or to buy tickets, visit To donate to Artéria, go to

Early birds

Most concerts at The Grey Eagle start around 8 or 9 p.m., times that aren’t convenient for a lot of people. With that in mind, the popular River Arts venue is launching Country Brunch, an all-ages Sunday music series that will run monthly through October.

“We’re always looking for new ideas and ways to cast a wider net that makes music more accessible,” says John Zara, marketing director. “Having a dedicated afternoon show that was more family-friendly fills that void. We hope this series will allow patrons that wouldn’t typically come out to enjoy some live music.”

The series starts Sunday, May 14, with a performance by Asheville Americana singer-songwriter Julia Sanders.

The rest of the lineup:

  • June 11: Classic country band Hearts Gone South
  • July 9: Americana duo Underhill Rose
  • Aug. 13: Honky tonk group Jessie & The Jinx
  • Sept. 10: Jazz/honky tonk/rock band Heavenly Vipers
  • Oct. 8: Country/Americana singer-songwriter Erika Lewis

“With other country-themed shows in town seeing success, that was something we really wanted to tap into,” Zara says.

All shows are noon-3 p.m., with doors opening at 11 a.m. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Kids get in free.

The Grey Eagle is at 185 Clingman Ave. For more information or to buy tickets to the May 14 event, go to

Stay in the frame

Frame It Asheville will present an exhibition of works by local and regional artists Friday, May 12, 6-8 p.m.

Featured artists will be Ray Byram of Pisgah Forest, who works in oils, watercolor and printmaking; Sara Simboli of Asheville, who specializes in classical painting of landscapes and figures; Rebecca Paris of Black Mountain, who paints portraits, landscapes, animals and abstracts; photographer Larry Hind of Hendersonville; Sharyn Fogel of Sylva, who paints watercolor landscapes; and painter Allison Parker of Jonesboro, Tenn.

The artists will all be at the free event, and their paintings will be available for purchase.

Frame It Asheville is at 1829 Hendersonville Road. For more information, go to

Thinking of Mom

Hendersonville’s Historic Johnson Farm will host its third annual Mother’s Day Market on Saturday, May 13, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

The outdoor craft fair will feature more than 20 local vendors selling jewelry, ceramics, leather items, wooden décor, baked goods and more. Also on tap will be readings of the farm’s new children’s book, Winston the Farm Dog: A History of Historic Johnson Farm, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Local car enthusiast Bob Noel will have an antique Model T car to view, and the Heritage Weavers & Fiber Artists’ gift shop will be open.

In addition, the historic farmhouse will be open for self-guided tours, and food and drinks will be available.

Historic Johnson Farm is at 3346 Haywood Road, Hendersonville. For more information, visit

Orchestra spotlights Asian identity

Connect Beyond Festival and the Asheville Symphony Orchestra will present Asian Identity in America at 7 p.m. Friday, May 12, at Salvage Station.

“Using songs, film and photography, this conversational-styled event will look at a history of Asian representation in media and culture,” organizers say in a press release.

The event will feature multi-instrumentalist Kishi Bashi and Korean American filmmaker Liz Sargent. Bashi (a pseudonym for Seattle-born Kaoru Ishibashi) will share clips from his upcoming film titled Omoiyari, a Japanese word that means to have sympathy and compassion toward another person. In addition, the event will screen Sargent’s short film Take Me Home, which premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival.

Salvage Station is at 467 Riverside Drive. For more information or to buy $25 tickets, visit

Listen to the music

Hendersonville’s Rhythm & Brews Concert Series kicks off Thursday, May 18, with a 7:30 p.m. headlining performance by bluegrass/Americana quartet Hawktail. Asheville string band Holler Choir opens the event at 5:30 p.m.

In addition to beer and wine from several local breweries and wineries, the monthly event will feature food trucks and a kid zone.

Here’s the rest of the schedule:

  • June 15:  Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights (blues rock/Southern rock) with the Carolina Drifters (Southern rock)
  • July 20: The Stooges Brass Band (New Orleans brass) with Zydeco Ya Ya (zydeco)
  • Aug.17: Fireside Collective (progressive Bluegrass) with The Roving (Americana)
  • Sept. 21: Melissa Carper (Americana/Western swing) with Angela Easterling & The Beguilers (singer-songwriter).

Each concert will take place at the south end of Main Street in Hendersonville. For more information, visit

Application deadline

Applications for ArtsAVL’s Arts Build Community Grant are due by Thursday, June 15.

The program was created in 2018 to support innovative arts-based projects that inspire diverse groups of participants to be more civically engaged by creating together, the group says.

Eligible organizations must have been in operation for at least one year and be located in Buncombe County. Priority is given to projects based in low-income neighborhoods and communities in need. Grants range from $1,000 to $2,500.

For more information, go to


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About Justin McGuire
Justin McGuire is a UNC Chapel Hill graduate with more than 30 years of experience as a writer and editor. His work has appeared in The Sporting News, the (Rock Hill, SC) Herald and various other publications. Follow me @jmcguireMLB

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