Around Town: ‘The Asheville View’ welcomes back a live audience at ACT

VIEW FROM THE TOP: From left, Tina White, Kirby Winner, Kahlani Jackson, Myriam Weber and Aisha Adams host "The Asheville View." Photos courtesy of "The Asheville View"

During its 2019 debut season, “The Asheville View” web series frequently invited audiences into its former studio space at the now-defunct The Block Off Biltmore.

The show, which focuses on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion, regularly featured such guests as Mayor Esther Manheimer and Johnnie Rush, who in 2017 was assaulted by former Asheville Police Officer Christopher Hickman. In these early episodes, community members had the opportunity to interact with guests, says the show’s co-host and executive producer, Aisha Adams.

But COVID-19 put an end to that. Since 2020, the series’ hosts have used Zoom to conduct interviews with local government officials, medical professionals, media personalities, business owners, artists and others.

The virtual production has its limitations, notes Adams. “On Zoom, it’s a one-on-one conversation, but in the live audience, you can pick up on the energy of the audience, you connect with them more, and then there’s a sense of community being built in the space,” she says.

On Saturday, May 28, at 11 a.m., “The Asheville View” brings the audience back as it tapes a show on the Mainstage at Asheville Community Theatre. The ACT has worked with Adams on its own diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, and partnering on the live show was a natural next step, she says.

The show is hosted by Adams, Kirby Winner, Myriam Weber, Tina White and Kahlani Jackson.

Guests for the live episode will include Tracey Greene-Washington, founder of the nonprofit CoThinkk, musician Leeda “Lyric” Jones and Adrian Parra, Youth OUTright executive director. Also onstage will be actor and Asheville native Trinity Whiteside, who stars on Tyler Perry’s BET show “Sistas.”

“We’re really excited about [Whiteside’s participation] because we’ll be going from this local lens to a more national lens,” Adams says.

Local vendors and organizations will be in the lobby during intermission. Sponsors for the event are GrindFest, Equity Over Everything, Asheville Pro Lash and Blue Ridge Pride.

The Asheville View” has no immediate plans for additional live shows, but Adams says she hopes to schedule some for 2023. “So there’ll be periodic live shows in the future, hopefully,” she says.

Tickets are free but should be reserved in advance at, over the phone at 828-254-1320 or in person at the Asheville Community Theatre box office, 35 E. Walnut St.

Well-crafted words

Asheville’s Gwynne Rukenbrod Smith has conceived and organized a new podcast series meant to amplify the voices of a diverse group of craft artists. The “American Craft Podcast” is produced by the the American Craft Council, of which Smith serves as director of community and creative work.

“We want to use this storytelling as a way to talk about social, political and other issues,” she says. “And we hope listeners feel more connected to the artists after listening to their episode.”

The podcast, which launched in April and will include six episodes in all, is an extension of ACC’s “Objects As …” project, in which six curators chose six craft artists to create a new artwork. The spring issue of ACC’s American Craft magazine featured the artists’ works.

“As a part of creating the project, it was important that we highlighted the objects both in print and through personal interviews with the artists about their process of creating the objects,” Smith says. “Creating and launching podcasts was the most effective platform for the artists to be heard and their stories captured.”

The first three episodes are available and feature interviews with artists Alex AndersonMorel Doucet and James Maurelle. The final interviews will be with Ebitenyefa BaralayeBukola Koiki and Leandro Gomez Quintero.

“American Craft Podcast” is hosted by Sarah Rachel Brown, a jeweler and podcaster in Philadelphia.

“This project is just one part of a larger effort to use our organization’s platforms to help illuminate and dismantle systemic racism, oppression, global warming and continue exploring how the practices of craft can help build a better world for everyone,” Smith says.

For more information or to listen to the podcast, go to

Justice for kids

Pisgah Legal Services will host An Evening for Kids Deserve Justice on Wednesday, May 25, 4:30-7 p.m. at Salvage Station.

The event is part of a fundraising challenge issued by two anonymous donors who pledged to match $100,000 in donations to Pisgah’s efforts to serve local children in crisis.

Last year, the nonprofit assisted 6,652 children whose families were on the verge of eviction and homelessness, who were at risk of abusive and violent parents or who weren’t receiving needed medical care.

The fundraiser will include food, family-friendly activities and performances by local bands The Last Full Measure and Rooster.

Salvage Station is at 468 Riverside Drive. Tickets for the event are $20 per person. Kids under 12 can attend for free. For more information or to purchase tickets, go to

War stories

Veterans Healing Farm in Hendersonville will present a benefit performance of Brothers and Sisters Like These on Friday, May 27, 6:30-8 p.m.

Brothers and Sisters Like These is a staged reading of poems and essays written by 18 combat veterans as part of a creative writing program founded by Vietnam vets in 2014. Men and women who served in Vietnam, as well as the Gulf War, Iraq War and the Afghanistan War will share their stories.

The Veterans Healing Farm was founded in 2014 to enhance the mental, emotional and physical well-being of veterans through organic farming, beekeeping, continuing education workshops and community outreach.

The farm is at 38 Yale Road, Hendersonville. There is no fee to attend, but donations are welcome. For more information, to to

Time to reflect

The Blue Ridge Orchestra will present Symphonic Reflections on Sunday, May 29, at 3 p.m. at UNC Asheville’s Lipinsky Auditorium.

The concert will be conducted by Milton Crotts and will include performances of works including Jessie Montgomery’s “Strum,” Edward Elgar’s “Introduction and Allegro for String Quartet and String Orchestra” and Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 6,” movements 3 and 4.

“The BRO will convey that the good times in life can only be fully appreciated if we acknowledge the hardships from COVID, world conflict and daily struggles that arise,” the group says in a press release.

For more information or to buy tickets, visit

Fired up

The Madison County Arts Council will host the WNC Woodfire Ceramics Invitational through Wednesday, June 8, at The Arts Center in Marshall.

“The mountains of North Carolina retain a rich history of wood-fired ceramics that forms the foundation of the region’s vibrant contemporary practice,” the arts council says in a press release. “Western North Carolina is home to some of the field’s top artists and continues to attract valuable young voices that push the medium in exciting new pathways.”

The Arts Center, 90 S Main St., is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturdays. For more information, visit



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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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