Around Town: Asheville Jewish Community Center celebrates Israeli fine art

ART THAT CONNECTS: Contemporaneo Gallery will present a show on Jewish art with the Asheville Jewish Community Center at the end of July. The show will feature sculpture and mixed-media artwork from renowned Israeli artist Zammy Migdal, whose work is featured here. Photo courtesy of Asheville Jewish Community Center

Jewish art is diverse and highly personal, says Michaela Kelley, communications manager for Asheville Jewish Community Center.

“By celebrating Jewish art, we are celebrating the depth and diversity of the Jewish people,” she says.

The center will explore Jewish art, music and food through J Art Fest, a three-event series that gets underway with An Exploration of Israeli Fine Art at Contemporaneo Gallery, Sunday, July 31, 3-6 p.m. The event will highlight the work  of prominent Jewish artists Yaacov Agam and Zammy Migdal.

Local artist Denby Dale will lecture on Israeli sculptor Agam’s influence on pioneering kinetic art, an experimental style that incorporates light and sound to create a sensorial experience for viewers. Agam’s kinetic sculpture fountain sits in Dizengoff Square in Tel Aviv.

The lecture will be followed by a gallery viewing featuring the work of  Migdal. The Tel Aviv-born artist is internationally renowned for his mixed-media sculptures and paintings that occupy public spaces from Miami to Düsseldorf, Germany. Although not kinetic, his sculptures often suggest movement.

“We want this event to connect people,” says Kelley. “All will be able to appreciate the featured works regardless of artistic background, and learning about the context and inspiration behind them will further deepen that appreciation.”

The evening will also include wine and hors d’oeuvres, a silent auction and a showcase of art pieces created by JCC program participants. Tickets are $75. When attendees purchase artwork from the gallery through Sunday, July 31, 20% of the price will benefit the JCC.

J Art Fest will continue when the JCC hosts a Klezgrass concert, with family-friendly klezmer bluegrass music, Sunday, Aug. 21, 4-6 p.m. Tickets cost $25 per family. Award-winning husband-and-wife duo Zoe & Cloyd will perform, joined by Bennett Sullivan on banjo and Kevin Kehrberg on bass. Archetype Brewing will sell food and drinks at the show. The concert will take place on the “camp field” at the JCC,  236 Charlotte St.

September will bring a culinary arts experience. Each of three courses will be prepared by a local chef, accompanied by wine pairings. The meal will be served at the JCC on Sept. 11, 7-9 p.m. Tickets cost $180 per person.

Contemporaneo Gallery is at 4 Biltmore Ave. The JCC is at 236 Charlotte St. For more information or to buy tickets for any of the three events, go to

Anything throws

When local textile artisan Judi Jetson witnessed the decline of textile production and jobs following the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, she knew something had to change. With a few other local fiber artisans, she founded the nonprofit Local Cloth in an effort to reinvent the region’s once-thriving textile industry.

“We [help] small, local artisan makers, farmers and designers work together to make garments, household goods and connect to shoppers,” she explains.

The nonprofit will host its Anything Fiber Yard Sale for the first time since COVID-19 struck in 2020. The sale takes place at the A-B Tech Conference Center on Saturday, July 30, 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

When the event first launched, it operated as a small exchange among a few friends and was held at the Swannanoa Valley Friends Meetinghouse in Black Mountain, Jetson says. “As word got out, it grew to attract hundreds of bargain-hunting fiber artists and makers from as far away as Atlanta,” she notes.

Anything Fiber will offer leftover studio provisions from 45 of the 250 members who make up Local Cloth. Visitors can purchase yarn, excess fabric, tools, looms, unspun fleece, apparel and more. Professional artists participating in the show include garment maker Joan Berner, John C. Campbell Folk School resident artist Martha Owen, Curly Furr felted creations artist Beth Sellars and resist dyer and book binder Chad Alice Hagen.

Local Cloth Inc. is a member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild.

The A-B Tech Conference Center is at 16 Fernihurst Drive. For more information, go to

Party like it’s 1951

During the summer of 1951, dancer Katherine Litz and composer Lou Harrison performed “The Glyph” with poet Charles Olson and artist Ben Shahn at Black Mountain College. Dancer Polly Motley and pianist Yukiko Takagi are bringing the work to the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center on Saturday, July 30, at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

“Litz’s performance was a nine-minute solo in which she reemerged six times from behind a wall painted with a drawing by Shahn,” says BMCM+AC outreach manager Kimberly English. “Each time she emerged, so did a new character through the manipulation of her body and a jersey tube costume.”

A glyph is a hieroglyphic character or symbol. The idea behind the dance was to create a glyph through the representational yet abstract language of performance and textual art.

“Music and dance replace image and text as interlocking yet independent parts of a compound form,” says English. “Music and dance became the glyph.”

The performances will be presented in conjunction with the exhibition Jo Sandman / TRACES, which runs through Saturday, Sept. 3. Sandman, a multimedia artist, was a student at the college that summer.

Tickets cost $10 for members and students, $15 for general admission.

BMCM+AC is at 120 College St. For more information or to buy tickets, go to

Vox populi

Inspired by the 1940s-era Voice-O-Graph — a machine that allowed people to record their voices on a vinyl disc — the folks at American Vinyl Co. decided to launch a recording booth service of their own.

But Voice-O-Graphs are hard to find these days, so the company got creative by converting a vintage phone booth into a microrecording studio.

“This booth was likely originally from a 1920s or 1930s general store but was recently found in a closed-down restaurant in Harrisonburg, Va.,” says Ryan Schilling, owner of American Vinyl Co. “We have six record lathes [equipment used to cut vinyl records] at the shop, so all we needed was a private space for people to talk into the mic. Most phone booths were made just for standing, so we modified this one to fit someone with an instrument along with some acoustic treatment to help it sound good.”

For $20, guests can bring an instrument or record a message inside the booth while the analog audio is recorded directly to a 7-inch, 45 rpm vinyl record. Within five minutes, the record will be ready to take home and put on a turntable.

“I am sure we’ll be surprised by the ideas people come up with, but we expect messages to friends and family, kids talking or singing, and definitely musicians squeezing in with an instrument,” Schilling says.

American Vinyl Co. is at 217 Coxe Ave., Suite C. For more information, go to

Fire house

Firestorm Books has acquired the former site of Dr. Dave’s Automotive at 1022 Haywood Road with plans to renovate the 2,880-square-foot building before relocating to it in early 2023.

The new location will have an outdoor patio, off-street parking, a private meeting room, space for an expanded inventory and rooftop solar.

Firestorm Books is a collectively owned bookstore and community event space at 610 Haywood Road.

“This gives us the long-term stability we need while also creating a permanent community asset that will be removed from the speculative market,” Firestorm Collective member Libertie Valance says in a video posted to the co-op’s YouTube channel.

Firestorm will own the building but will donate the land to the Asheville-Buncombe Community Land Trust after renovations are complete.

To finance the purchase, Firestorm partnered with Seed Commons, a national network of loan funds. Firestorm is also seeking community donations to support renovations.

For more information, visit

With additional reporting by Justin McGuire

Editor’s note: Article updated on July 29 to more accurately reflect the nature of Local Cloth’s Anything Fiber Sale.


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