Around Town: NC Glass Center to open Black Mountain location

GLASS HOUSES: The N.C. Glass Center's second location is set to open in early 2024 in the former Rug and Jug building in downtown Black Mountain. Photo courtesy of the NCGC

Glass expands when it heats up. The N.C. Glass Center likewise is about to grow beyond its current boundaries.

“We are at a point where we have run out of capacity, and people — artists and the public — continue to want us to do more,” says Executive Director Janice Gouldthorpe.

The nonprofit River Arts District studio, which opened in 2015 with a mission of helping emerging artists, will build a second location in the former Rug and Jug novelty shop building in Black Mountain. The $2.7 million project is scheduled to be completed by early 2024.

The center hopes to have more classes taught by nationally recognized artists in the new space, which will feature a state-of-the-art hot shop, flame shop and gallery, Gouldthorpe says.

“We will also have two furnaces, which means we could be in operation seven days per week,” she explains. (The RAD studio closes once a week, she notes, so that its single glass furnace can be charged.)

The Buncombe County Tourism Product Development Fund, financed through the county occupancy tax, awarded the glass center a $330,000 grant to help it purchase and install equipment at the East State Street building.

The RAD studio, at 140 Roberts St., Suite C, will continue to offer classes, artist rental equipment and retail space. Currently, it welcomes more than 47,000 people each year, Gouldthorpe says, with classes offered to more than 2,200 people, including veterans and low-income youths through a community outreach program.

“These classes help participants express themselves in a positive way while also building confidence and healthy coping skills,” she says.

Additionally, the center showcases the work of more than 50 local artists.

The N.C. Glass Center is open Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Fridays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. For more information, go to

World gone wrong

As an ecologist, Lloyd Raleigh has studied climate change. As a world traveler, he has witnessed firsthand its devastating effects on the planet, people, animals and plants.

Those experiences helped inspire the Asheville author’s debut novel, Welcome to the Free World, recently published by Bowker. The dystopian book tells the story of a 23-year-old who lives in the Southern Blue Ridge in a violent world forever altered by climate change and a metaverse orchestrated by an artificial intelligence.

“I hope that readers will enjoy this book as an entertaining novel, but also will be haunted by it,” he says.

In 2005, Raleigh quit his job, sold most of his belongings and left on a 3 1/2-year overland journey from Hong Kong to Jerusalem. On the way, he talked with thousands of people and made a promise that he would share what he learned.

“A substantial focus of my life has been sustainability and living mindfully, and that focus helped to shape the novel and the main theme of how we relate to ourselves and others when nothing seems sustainable anymore,” he explains. “Even if we are living in a utopian village such as the fictional setting of Firefly Cove, are we safe from the effects of climate change?”

For more information, visit

Author, author

Black Mountain Public Library will host Write Local, Read Local, a fair featuring more than 20 authors and illustrators, Saturday, Nov. 19, 1-4 p.m.

Participating authors will have a designated spot inside the Education Room at the library where they will sell and sign copies of their books and talk to readers. The library also will have copies available for checkout.

“This is the first year, and we’re hoping that it serves as an opportunity to connect our community with local writers and illustrators,” says Clint Bowman, recreation coordinator for the town of Black Mountain. “We hope this event highlights just how talented, diverse and large our literary community is.”

Participating authors will be Elizabeth AcreeHarry BryanThomas Calder (managing editor of Xpress), Jim CarillonJohn CasperPeggy EllisMichael Hettich, Sheridan HillRuth Cassel HoffmanJeff HutchinsDavid MaddenNancy PolingJerry PopeFrank RemkiewiczAnne Chesky Smith, Betty Nance SmithSarah-Ann SmithLaura StaleyJoe and Mary StandaertSaro Lynch Thomason and Jack and  Judy Williams.

The event is at capacity for participating authors, says Melisa Pressley, branch manager of the Black Mountain Public Library. Submissions for the 2023 event will open in the spring, she says.

The Black Mountain Public Library is at 105 N. Dougherty St. For more information, go to

Cherokee author to speak at Pack library

Pack Memorial Public Library will host a talk with Cherokee writer and advocate Rebecca Nagle on Friday, Nov. 18, at 6 p.m. in the Lord Auditorium.

Nagle hosted the award-winning documentary podcast This Land, which focused on the success of the Indigenous tribes’ ability to protect their sovereignty.

The talk will be presented by the Buncombe County Register of Deeds, the UNC Asheville Indigenous Studies Program and The Center for Native Health.

Seating will be limited, and reservations are required.

Pack Memorial Public Library is at 67 Haywood St. To reserve a free ticket, go to

Welcome, Santa

The 76th annual Asheville Holiday Parade will make its way through downtown Saturday, Nov. 19, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. The official performance stop is at the corner of Biltmore and Patton avenues, but attendees will find viewing areas along both streets.

The parade ends on Patton Avenue at South French BroadAvenue.

Local chefs and restaurateurs Katie Button and Meherwan Irani will serve as grand marshals. Button’s Cúrate and Irani’s Chai Pani were the recipients of the prestigious James Beard Foundation Awards earlier this year. Cúrate was the recipient of the Outstanding Hospitality Award, and Chai Pani was named Outstanding Restaurant.

The parade, a downtown tradition since 1946, will include decorated floats, adoptable pets from area rescue organizations, an honored veterans float, marching bands, performances and appearances by Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus.

The Asheville Holiday Parade is produced by the Asheville Downtown Association in partnership with the city of Asheville.

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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