Around town: Emerging Artists exhibit returns to Black Mountain Center for the Arts, plus free kids workshops, virtual fundraisers and more

SHOW TIME: Students prepare for the upcoming annual Emerging Artists exhibit at Black Mountain Center for the Arts. Photo courtesy of BMCA

For a 15th consecutive year, Black Mountain Center for the Arts, 225 W. State St., is hosting its Emerging Artists exhibit, led by nationally recognized wildlife artist Bob Travers. Works by the renowned instructor and 16 students will be on display at the center’s upper gallery through Friday, March 26.

In a press release, Travers notes the challenges he and his pupils faced throughout the early days of COVID-19. “It’s hard to create art during a pandemic,” he says. “We were out for six months, and many of us lost the passion to create. For me, when you don’t have anything to work toward, you go into a sort of limbo. There is such a sense of community we’ve created here in this little studio, there is so much camaraderie, and that was just gone. It was very difficult.”

With the class back together, Travers says he’s excited for the latest exhibit, noting that many of his students are working on larger pieces than they have in years past.

Emerging Artists is free to attend. Hours are Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The show can also be viewed online by visiting

Free creative workshops for kids

Throughout the spring, the Wortham Center for the Performing Arts will offer free virtual education programs for groups, individuals and classrooms (K-12). Black Box Dance Theatre is leading online courses in dance; the Aquila Theatre Co. is hosting Shakespeare workshops; and musician Shana Tucker will offer sessions on music, art and storytelling. To learn more and to register for a free course, contact Jared McEntire, Wortham Center’s community engagement director, at

Crafting Resilience

The Center for Craft is partnering with UNC Asheville for a new virtual series, Crafting Resilience. On Thursday, March 11, at 5 p.m. local artists and health experts will participate in the inaugural event — a roundtable discussion about ways critical and creative practices of craft and public art can better serve communities of color. Artists DeWayne Barton, Aaron McIntosh and -S-A-N-T-I-A-G-O- X will be joined by Ameena Batada, associate professor of health and wellness at UNC Asheville, and Patricia Eunji Kim, associate director of public programs at Monument Lab. The event is free to attend. Register at

Craft Your Commerce

The Center for Craft is also partnering with Mountain BizWorks for the entrepreneurial program Craft Your Commerce. The series offers five virtual workshops that provide sales strategies for artists, makers and creative businesses. The series will also help creatives develop diverse revenue streams. Workshops include a “pay what you wish” option. Classes begin Monday, March 15, and run through Monday, April 12. To register, visit

Full steam ahead

Father-and-son writers Bob and Jacob Morgan Plott will celebrate the release of their new book, Smoky Mountain Railways, on Monday, March 15. The work examines the history of Western North Carolina railroads, which were initially built by enslaved people and later by incarcerated laborers. “The history of this line is a story like no other,” the book reads. “It is a tale filled with tragedy, heroism, brains, blood, sweat, tears, nitroglycerin and humor.” To order a copy, visit

Break the Silence

Our VOICE, a local nonprofit supporting survivors of rape, sexual assault and human trafficking, is hosting its annual fundraiser, Break the Silence, on Thursday, March 11, at 7 p.m. The livestreamed event will feature a performance by local musician Jane Kramer, followed by a talk by author Chanel Miller. The evening will also include a silent auction of East Fork pottery. General admission is $25; student tickets are $10. To purchase, visit

Upcoming lecture series on racial justice and Black history

On Thursday, March 11, historian and author Ann Miller Woodford will host a virtual lecture on race relations and racial disparities in Western North Carolina. The talk is the first of four that Woodford, author of the 2015 book When All God’s Children Get Together: A Celebration of the Lives and Music of African American People in Far Western North Carolina, will deliver. Additional Thursday sessions will be held March 25, April 8 and April 15. Each hourlong presentation begins at 1 p.m. All events are free to attend. Register at

For the Year Passing

Pan Harmonia, a local nonprofit arts program, is hosting a free virtual performance, For the Year Passing, on Saturday, March 13, at 4 p.m. The concert will feature the music of Philip Glass and William Grant Still, with poetry by Kristin Flyntz. Performers include Kate Steinbeck on flute, John Crawley on piano and Lucia Abell reciting the evening’s poetry. For access to the event, visit

Flat Rock Playhouse receives $20,000 grant

Flat Rock Playhouse was recently awarded a $20,000 grant by the Community Foundation of Henderson County for its youth initiative, Playhouse Jr. Production. Created in 2019, the production develops mini-musicals as a way to educate schoolchildren. The latest grant will go toward creating a show spotlighting required North Carolina history for fourth grade students across the state.

“Not only are young people exposed to … compelling context, but they also get to experience professional, live theater — often for the first time,” says Jan King, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction for Henderson County Public Schools, in a press release. For additional information, visit


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About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. His writing has appeared in Gulf Coast, the Miracle Monocle, Juked and elsewhere. His debut novel, The Wind Under the Door, is now available.

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