Around town: Artsville Collective goes virtual

ART AT YOUR FINGERTIPS: A model shows off the designs of Wendy Newman, who incorporates her photography into fashion pieces such as umbrellas and leggings. Newman is one of nine artists in the Artsville Collective's new virtual gallery. Photo courtesy of Artsville Collective

Asheville’s Artsville Collective, a nonprofit organized in 2022 that offers networking, educational and marketing programs for artists, has launched its newest project: the Virtual Gallery of Artists.

The Virtual Gallery, a digital exhibition space and artists’ classroom, provides selected participants access to discussion groups and learning programs, as well as a monthly podcast and newsletter. The project’s first group includes the following nine artists — Max CooperGeorgia DealCandice HensleyAmy Massey, Jean McLaughlinWendy Newman, Joseph Pearson, Selene Plum and Elizabeth Walton — chosen for diversity in age, medium, education and exposure. It began Oct. 16 and runs through Friday, Jan. 12. The goal is a shared learning experience. 

Associate Director Meredith McBride, who joined Artsville in June, says she has been working to establish the organization as a collective that educates artists on how to effectively market their art, as well as providing opportunities across a variety of platforms to do so — including the virtual gallery.

“There is nothing that can compare to viewing art in person, but a virtual gallery allows [artists] to reach a much broader audience without the costs and overhead of either renting gallery space or losing income on commissions,” says McBride.  Artists receive 100% of the proceeds from sales.

McBride adds that many artists have expressed the need for more connection within the arts community. “Artists are wonderful storytellers in their medium of choice, but getting that story off the ‘canvas’ can be a challenge,” she explains. “Artsville helps them find that voice and amplify it to the right audience.”

She adds that Artsville, as a young organization, is still trying to find “its voice” as well. “It’s an interesting space [to be in] … when our primary goal is to raise the voice of others.”

For more information, visit

An Appalachian Family Christmas

The fourth annual Appalachian Family Christmas will take place at Waynesville’s historic Shelton House on Sunday, Dec. 3, 5-7 p.m. The event will also mark the opening of the Tinsel Trail, a showcase of decorated trees that will line the sidewalks leading up to the early 20th-century, Charleston-style homestead.

The event will feature holiday tunes from local music groups on the front porch as guests are invited to gather and sing along on the front lawn. A visit from Santa Claus and a sale of locally handcrafted gifts will round out the evening.

The trees on the Tinsel Trail are sponsored and decorated by local businesses and organizations and will be on display through Monday, Jan. 1. Proceeds support the preservation of Shelton House, which is also home to the Museum of N.C. Handicrafts.

Shelton House is at 49 Shelton St., Waynesville. For more information, visit

A second helping of rock-and-roll art

Push Skate Shop will host Psychedelic Country 2, its second exhibit featuring the music-themed work of Western North Carolina artists and photographers, from Thursday, Dec. 7-Sunday, Jan. 21. An artists’ opening reception and holiday party with live music from Eli Kahn and desserts by Sweet Pearl’s Ice Cream will kick off the show on Thursday, Dec. 7, 7-9:45 p.m.

The free, all-ages exhibit includes collage art, gig posters, painting and photography by several artists, including David Simchock, Libby Gamble, Sophie Paradis and Marc Levy. Local and national music groups portrayed include Widespread Panic, Wilco, Aaron Woody Wood, Billy Strings and Dead & Company.

“After a decadelong break from creating fine art, all of my pieces sold out at the first Psychedelic Country art show,” says participating collage artist and photographer Amy Kalyn Sims. “I was inspired to keep going after that milestone and have created 13 new collages on wood panel this year. … It feels great to be back making these pieces.”

Push Skate Shop is at 25 Patton Ave. For more information, visit

Wilma Dykeman Writer-in-Residence program

Shanita “NitaJade” Jackson has been named the UNC Asheville Wilma Dykeman Writer-in-Residence for the spring semester. The residency honors author Wilma Dykeman, an advocate for women’s rights, gender and class equity, and racial justice.

Jackson, an Affrilachian poet, is published in Inverted Syntax, Auburn Avenue and the anthology Zora’s Den: The Fire Inside Volume II, among others. Recently, they accepted the role of assistant professor of English at Emory & Henry College in Virginia.

The residency is currently accepting applicants for the fall 2024 semester.

Recipients spend two consecutive months in the Dykeman home, located near the UNCA campus. Utilities, property maintenance and Wi-Fi are provided by UNCA, as well as a stipend of $4,000 to cover transportation costs, food and incidentals.

In the spirit of Dykeman’s legacy, the program invites applications from writers whose work demonstrates a commitment to at least one of the following: social, racial, gender and/or environmental issues.

All applications must be submitted on or before Friday, Dec. 15. The recipient will be announced Thursday, Feb. 1.

For more information, visit

Asheville Music School holds Sound Lab fundraiser

Asheville Music School will hold a silent auction Thursday, Dec. 7, 5:30-8:30 p.m., at Archetype Brewing North (Tap Lounge + Venue) to raise funds to expand its Sound Lab, an on-campus production studio.

In the upgraded Sound Lab, audio recording capabilities will be expanded to include vocal groups, full bands, more synthesizers and a wider array of percussion instruments. The studio will also incorporate a broad range of software instruments and “in the box” production techniques, enabling students to explore a variety of musical styles and genres.

Luxury regional experiences, vacation getaways, wine-tasting events, fine art, pampering packages, restaurant and wellness gift certificates, concert tickets and more will be up for bidding.

Archetype Brewing North (Tap Lounge + Venue) is at 174 Broadway. For more information, visit

UNCA art sale

UNCA students are wrapping up their semester with the annual art and ceramic sale.

The sale runs Friday, Dec. 1, 4-8 p.m., and Saturday, Dec 2, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., in the S. Tucker Cooke Gallery in Owen Hall. Customers can expect to see pottery, photography, prints, jewelry and stickers for sale.

The art department allows students involved in any studio class to sign up to sell what they’ve made throughout the semester and to invite friends, family and the community.

Printmaking senior Lee Robinson has been participating in the sale since her second semester. “It feels almost like a festival,” she says. “And I wanted to be one of the cool people selling their handmade stuff.”

Artist Celie Waddington has also been participating for a few years. “My favorite part is just dispersing my art into the world, letting it find a new home.”

Customers are asked to bring cash or check, as cards will not be accepted.

Visitors to the UNCA campus may park in faculty lots after 5 p.m. and on weekends. Before 5 p.m., all visitors must have a permit, which can be obtained from the UNCA website.

S. Tucker Cooke Gallery is at 100 Theatre Lane. For more information about the art sale or to get your visitor permit, visit

– Andy Hall, with additional reporting from Murryn Payne


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About Andy Hall
Andy Hall graduated from The University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication. After working at the United States Capitol for ten years, she has returned to her native state to enjoy the mountains — and finally become a writer.

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