Around town: Benefit to fight period poverty

BE MY VALENTINE: Menstrual hygiene products will be collected as admittance for the inaugural Valenween, an arts event benefiting BeLoved Asheville. The gathering takes place Thursday, Feb. 15, at Citizen Vinyl. Photo courtesy of BeLoved Asheville 

A new annual event addressing period poverty in the community will take place Thursday, Feb. 15, 7-11 p.m., at Citizen Vinyl. Valenween: Pads & Tampons for People in Need is a mashup of Valentine’s Day and Halloween. The entrance fee is a box of menstrual hygiene products or $5, either of which will go to BeLoved Asheville, a nonprofit that will distribute the products to those in need.

Jeannie Regan, an artist, activist and Western Carolina University student, organized the event. She believes that period poverty is not talked about enough. “There’s just such a lack of information and lack of education surrounding periods, [which] happen to half the population. It’s really eye opening and very sad,” she says.

Period poverty affects about 20 million Americans, predominantly homeless, at-risk and marginalized people. It’s a serious need that affects people’s day-to-day lives, Regan says. “They shouldn’t miss work or school because they don’t have pads or tampons. That should not be a decision people are having to make. There’s just all these barriers to people getting their basic needs, just to go about their day.”

In North Carolina, period pads and tampons are considered luxury items and are taxed. They cannot be purchased with food stamps.

Though art can’t cure homelessness, says Regan, she hopes the event will help to alleviate period poverty in the community.

She also hopes the event will create a lighthearted, fun environment for a serious topic. “I’m hoping it will loosen up people’s stigma and the taboo about periods and help them kind of broach that conversation and think about this need,” she adds.

The event features themed cocktails by Clare Cameron, music by DJ Blind Date, live “Vamportraits” by Jillian Ohl, live letterpress prints by Jessica White, graphic design by Jenny Fares and art for sale by other local artists. Half of the artists’ proceeds will go to BeLoved Asheville.

Vampire-esque attire —think fake blood and fangs — is recommended.

Citizen Vinyl is at 14 O. Henry Ave. Learn more about Valenween at

Shiloh storytelling honors Black history

Asheville Parks & Recreation invites the community to reflect on local Black history, heritage and hope at a series of events in February to celebrate Black History and Legacy Month.

The first event will be held at Linwood Crump Shiloh Community Center on Saturday, Feb. 10, 1-4 p.m., and will pay homage to Shiloh, a historically African American community established in the late 1880s.

The Shiloh Community Association invites members, friends and neighbors to honor those who helped build the Shiloh community through storytelling and reflections about its past, present and future.

Call 828-274-7739 for more information about this event. The Linwood Crump Shiloh Community Center is at 121 Shiloh Road. For a listing of Black History and Legacy Month events, visit

Actor debuts ‘goddess rap’ album

Local musician and actor Luciya debuted her album Cingular on Jan. 28 — her birthday. The album falls under a genre Luciya calls “goddess rap,” with influences of jazz, pop and hip-hop all tied together in homage to the spirit world.

“It’s about empowering the feminine,” Luciya says, describing the genre. “The sticky substance of magic gluing everything together in the universe. This is part of how I associate in the world, in my life and how I view everything.”

She wrote the album following a breakup, during an introspective time. “The subsequent year and a half … was me being with myself and single and coming back to this deep inner place inside where I wasn’t listening to outside energies influencing my decisions and actions as much.”

Luciya’s album release fell two days after Season Three of “Hightown,” a TV show she acts in, was released on Jan. 26.

Stream Cingular at or

Love, Marquee

Marquee Asheville, located in the River Arts District, celebrates its two-year anniversary with Love, Marquee, a Valentine’s Day-themed event on Thursday, Feb. 8, 6-9 p.m.

The event is free and includes sweet treats, beverages by the Marquee’s in-house bar Saint Brighid’s, music from DJ Nex Millen and more.

Marquee art gallery is at 36 Foundy St. For information visit

Grail continues Music Movie Mondays 

Grail Moviehouse hosts its latest Music Movie Mondays event series, which screens new, classic and cult films about music. Each monthly screening begins with an introduction by music journalist Bill Kopp and concludes with a moderated discussion about the film.

On Monday, Feb. 12, 7 p.m., the 1978 motion picture The Last Waltz, directed by Martin Scorsese, will be screened.

The film documents the farewell concert of The Band, a Canadian-American group that got its break as the backing group for Bob Dylan. The rock group was a pioneer in the Americana genre and concluded its musical journey with The Last Waltz concert just eight years after releasing its debut album.

Tickets are $15. Grail Moviehouse is at 17 Foundy St., Suite 10. For information visit

Call to artists

ArtsAVL is accepting artist applications for the 17th annual Weaverville Art in Autumn Festival, which takes place Saturday, Sept. 21, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., in downtown Weaverville.

Applications are due Saturday, June 15. The festival will feature 114 juried artists and cash awards for Best of Show, second and third place and four honorable mentions. The application fee is $35, and if invited to the show, a booth fee is $165.

The Asheville Downtown Association is also accepting applications for arts, crafts and ware vendors for 2024 events until Friday, Feb. 23.

For more information on these and other artist opportunities, visit

Luke’s Gospel brought to life

St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church will present the biblical musical “Sermon on the Plain,” based on the sixth chapter of Luke’s Gospel, on Saturday, Feb. 17, and Sunday, Feb. 18.

Local musician and composer Rita Pisano has directed choirs and musical theater at various churches for years. One day, while reading Luke’s Gospel, Pisano says she was taken aback by the poetry and fullness of the characters — a musical waiting to be written.

The show retired in 2001 after numerous performances across Western North Carolina, but Pisano says there have been requests for its revival.

“Our performance at St. Joan of Arc is an answer to that call. Through this choreographed concert version with an intergenerational cast of almost 40, we hope to bring the pathos, joy and hope of this beautiful gospel to light again.”

Tickets for the show are $10, available at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church is at 768 Asbury Road, Candler.

Showing seniors love

Senior Helpers of Asheville is doing a Dear Senior, Valentine’s Day Card Drive to spread love to the community’s senior citizens. Senders can address their cards “Dear Senior,” followed by an uplifting message. The goal is to deliver 1,000 cards through Meals on Wheels, the Council on Aging and other senior communities in the Asheville and Hendersonville areas.

“Every day our Senior Helpers caregivers work with seniors who struggle with loneliness and isolation. Our visits are the highlight of their day or week,” says Daniel Pickus, director of operations at Senior Helpers.

Pickus notes that according to the U.S. Surgeon General, there is a loneliness and isolation epidemic in our country that especially affects seniors: Lack of social connection leads to increased risk of heart disease, stroke, dementia and premature death.

All cards must be sent to the Senior Helpers office by Friday, Feb. 9, and will be delivered to seniors the week of Feb. 14.

Senior Helpers office is at 1550 Hendersonville Road No. 110. Hours are Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information visit

Asheville Art Museum expands collection

The Asheville Art Museum has acquired 12 new artworks, created throughout the 20th and 21st centuries across varying artistic mediums.

The new additions were made possible by the museum’s Collectors’ Circle, a group that educates about art and art collecting and fosters exchange of ideas in the art community. The group makes annual purchases for the museum using an acquisition fund from yearly dues.

The Asheville Art Museum has also announced the recipients of the 2024 Regional Scholastic Awards. Award winners will be featured in a student exhibition in the museum’s Van Winkle Law Firm Gallery and multipurpose space through Monday, March 25. All award recipients will be honored at a closing reception on Thursday, March 21.

Asheville Art Museum is at 2 S. Pack Square. For information visit

Do you have the write stuff?

A “Do the Write Thing” writing challenge by the National Campaign to Stop Violence is open for middle schoolers until Friday, March 8. This national initiative gives students an opportunity to examine the impact of youth violence in their lives.

Through classroom discussions and writing, students who enter the challenge explore what they think should be done to reduce youth violence in their community. They address the following questions through an essay, poem, short story or song: How has violence affected my life? What are the causes of youth violence? What can I do about youth violence?

Finalists and their families will have the opportunity to attend a celebration dinner in Washington, D.C.

For more information visit


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