Around town: The Whale hosts Grown-up Book Fair in West Asheville

PAGE-TURNER: The Grown-up Book Fair will feature booths with local booksellers, book-signing opportunities with local authors and book-themed drinks from The Whale. Photo by Thomas Calder; collage by Scott Southwick

The Whale in West Asheville is teaming up with The POP Project to host a grown-up book fair on Saturday, June 15, 1-4 p.m.

The Grown-up Book Fair will feature stands from local booksellers as well as book-related beverages and mimosas from the Whale. There will also be a signing table for local authors to sign and showcase their work. Kristen Dwyer, author of Some Mistakes Were Made and The Atlas of Us, will be signing from 1-2 p.m. Anne Fitten Glenn, author of Asheville Beer: An Intoxicating History of Mountain Brewing and Western North Carolina Beer: A Mountain Brew History, will be signing from 4-5 p.m. A book from R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series, autographed by illustrator Tim Jacobus, will be raffled off at the event.

“As a reader who misses those elementary school Scholastic Book Fairs, I am geeking out that The POP Project and local book vendors wanted to work with us to make the Grown-Up Book Fair happen,” says event coordinator Dale Murphy. “It is going to be such a fun day full of nostalgia, great beer and great books!”

Participating booksellers include Malaprop’s, Blue Moon Books, Chapters Book Shop, Lit Local and Firestorm Books. Local vendors Finn and The Whale and Two T’s Creative will have booths selling bookmarks, jewelry, art and more.

Entry is free, though The Whale is asking for book donations to The POP Project, a volunteer-led organization that works to bring books to those who don’t have access otherwise. All ages are welcome.

The Whale is at 507 Haywood Road No. 10. For more information, visit

Connecting art and literacy

The Asheville Art Museum has extended its Literacy Through Art (LTA) program to Mills River Elementary and Atkinson Elementary Schools in Hendersonville.

Through the LTA outreach program, expanded with the help of the Community Foundation of Henderson County, the Asheville Art Museum collaborates with fourth grade teachers from both urban and rural schools to integrate literacy skills with artistic expression and critical thinking.

The program offers nine in-classroom lessons to incorporate images of artwork from Asheville Art Museum into writing and drawing prompts. For the 10th lesson, children are invited to tour the Asheville Art Museum and participate in a hands-on, in-studio activity with the museum’s youth and family programs manager, Susan Hendley.

“For this fiscal year, we reached eight schools and 26 classrooms totaling around 500 students in the WNC region, between three teaching artists,” says Hendley. “The program also fosters understanding of art elements (color, line, shape, form, texture, space and value), understanding of art classifications (portrait, landscape, narrative and still life), and developing a sense of place and personal identity.”

Since its inception in 1994, LTA has reached over 26,000 students, according to Hendley. The program operates in Asheville City and Buncombe, Graham, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Mitchell, McDowell, Swain and Yancey counties.

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

Award funds dance-film project

Trillium Arts, an arts residency center in Mars Hill, will host an open dance rehearsal and film screening at the Red Barn Studio at Odonata Farm on Saturday, July 27, 4-7 p.m.

The presentation follows the announcement of Xavier Núñez as Trillium’s 2024 ACE Fellowship in Dance awardee. Nine ACE Fellowships have been awarded since the inception of the program in 2020. Running for seven to nine days, the ACE fellowship was designed to provide Chicago-area dancers and choreographers the time and money to collaborate and experiment with their art form. In addition to providing lodging and car rental, the fellowship offers a financial honorarium and an Asheville rehearsal space for on-site collaboration with a community of artists.

“Xavier was selected because of his superior artistry and an outstanding project that aligns with Trillium’s core values of Art + Community + Ecology,” says Trillium Arts co-founder Heather Hartley. “Trillium is actively pursuing partnerships with other organizations and individuals in WNC that are interested in both the arts and environmental conservation.”

For this fellowship, Núñez plans to work with director and short-form documentary filmmaker Tim Whalen to produce a dance film titled Mates for Life: Barn Owl. The film is the second in a series about monogamous animal species. The first film in the series, Mates for Life: Whooping Crane, was released in 2023. Núñez was inspired to work at Trillium specifically because the dance studio is housed in the Red Barn Studio at Odonata Farm, an 80-year-old tobacco hay barn that serves as an authentic setting for a film about barn owls.

Núñez has performed internationally and earned the 2012 silver medal at the World Ballet Competition. He also founded the creative studio Action Lines, where he directs, choreographs and offers dance education. Whalen lives in Chicago, where he owns a small production company called Big Foot Media.

The Red Barn Studio at Odonata Farm is at 5640 Paint Fork Road, Mars Hill. For more information, visit

Preserving a Picturesque America

Ferguson Family YMCA will feature the artwork of Scott “Doc” Varn alongside the originally published images from Picturesque America through Saturday, Aug. 31.

Varn is an artist, historian and environmentalist who founded the organization Preserving a Picturesque America (PAPA) to artistically translate images from the 1800s publication Picturesque America through painting, drawing, printmaking and photography.

“The purpose of PAPA is to emphasize the value of these places that could be lost if we don’t take action now,” says Varn in a press release. “I’ve found creative ways to provide insight and inspire others to embrace this unique pathway for the appreciation of art and nature.”

PBS recently joined with Varn and PAPA to launch a pilot episode titled “America, the Land We Live In,” utilizing illustrations from the original Picturesque America books.

The Ferguson Family YMCA is at 31 Westridge Market Place, Candler. For more Information, visit

Salvage Station to close by year’s end

Salvage Station announced on Facebook that it will close by the end of the year.

The 7-acre riverfront property was once a salvage yard that founder Danny McClinton transformed into a sprawling outdoor music venue. According to the announcement, the timeline was set by the N.C. Department of Transportation, which is acquiring the property by eminent domain to make room for the Interstate 26 Connector project.

“We are heartbroken to pack and relocate what we have built, but our Salvage Station family is strong, and we are committed to rebuilding,” says McClinton in the announcement. “Where we go is unknown, but for sure, if a salvage yard can become a nationally recognized music venue, we will certainly figure out this next chapter.”

The venue is known for combining outreach and entertainment, spotlighting local acts and organizations, and hosting many large-scale events such as a concert by Wilco with Sleater-Kinney and a 2019 rally for then-presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. The venue remains booked for the rest of the year.

Salvage Station is at 466 Riverside Drive. For more information, visit

Sly Grog returns

After suffering severe fire damage in 2021, Sly Grog Lounge has reopened with a fully booked calendar of shows.

The lounge, which features drinks, live music and performances, reopened May 17 with a three-night concert series. In addition to music, the space offers a variety of activities, including toys, pool, pingpong, video games, arcade games and board games.

The community played a large part in restoring the lounge, contributing to cleanups and holding workdays, fundraisers and benefit shows. Most of the building was salvageable following the fire, but the office and green room had to be replaced, as did the easternmost wall of the bar. “Our atmosphere is mostly the same as it’s always been,” says Theo Crouse-Mann, one of the Sly Grog owners. “We came into rebuilding with the sense that we wanted to pick up right where we left off, but we have made a few changes to allow for smoother functioning. The most noticeable change is that we have moved the bar out of the main room into the smaller room that was once the piano lounge.”

The venue is booked through September. On Thursday, June 6, Chained to the Bottom of the Ocean, Book of Wyrms and Heemeyer will perform at 8 p.m.

Sly Grog Lounge is at 271 Haywood St. For more information, visit


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One thought on “Around town: The Whale hosts Grown-up Book Fair in West Asheville

  1. Chas Fitzgerald

    Preserving Picturesque America is a well conceived project. There is an exhibit of original works of contemporary artists from the group on view and for sale at The Marquee in the River Arts District, Asheville.

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