Around Town: Urban Renewal Impact website goes live

DEDICATED NEIGHBOR: Priscilla Robinson has been researching the effects of urban renewal on Asheville's Southside community for 14 years. Photo by Pat Barcas

Priscilla Robinson’s Urban Renewal Impact website debuted on June 24, marking the end of a multiyear digital collaboration with local residents and technical experts to document and tell the stories of urban renewal in Asheville’s Southside neighborhood.

The Asheville native began her exploratory research in 2008 and received a grant from the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County to present her findings online. The site includes a timeline of significant events in Asheville’s Black community, galleries of people who were displaced by urban renewal projects and a map of the Southside community before, during and after the detrimental policy’s implementation.

“This website allows residents to revisit community and tell their stories,” Robinson says. “We expect it to be an important resource in the truth-and-reconciliation conversations on reparations in Asheville.”

To learn more, visit

Harmonious future

Recent Asheville High School graduate Harmony Redford is one of 81 teens selected for the 17th annual GRAMMY Camp program and the lone student from North Carolina. The aspiring musician will participate in the prestigious music industry camp’s audio engineering career track, July 20-24. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, it will be held virtually instead of its traditional in-person experience in Los Angeles. Musical acts All Time Low, Echosmith and The War and Treaty will be this year’s guest artists and discuss their career paths with the students.

“I’m so excited to learn from award-winning industry professionals, grow as a performer and writer, and collaborate with other talented musicians my age,” says Redford.

She will attend college remotely for audio engineering in the fall and is actively seeking internship opportunities within the local sector. For more information, visit

And the nominees are …

Western Carolina University is seeking nominations for its Mountain Heritage Award to honor an individual and an organization for contributions to Southern Appalachian history, culture and folklore. The award was first presented in 1976 to journalist and author John Parris. Other individual honorees include corn shuck artist Annie Lee Bryson, Cherokee storyteller Lloyd Arneach and visual artist and community historian Ann Miller Woodford. Among the prior organizational winners are Qualla Arts & Crafts, Tried Stone Missionary Baptist Church and Cashiers Historical Society. Nominations are due Friday, July 30. Learn more at

Mountain memoir-ish

Asheville-based author Doug Brown’s new book Walker Percy Loves You and Has a Wonderful Plan for Your Life was published on June 4. Brown describes the project as “memoir-ish,” and says that it combines some formative experiences in his life; how the writings of Percy — a Southern novelist, most famously known for The Moviegoer — have helped Brown understand his time on Earth; how telling personal stories can help bring substantial healing; and how Brown has “found ways to move forward through the sacraments of ordinary life — and especially the sacraments of Asheville.” To learn more, visit

Transylvanian tunes

Brevard Music Center has added five performances to its 2021 season, beginning on Sunday, July 11, with singer-songwriters Shannon Whitworth and Woody Platt. Other upcoming artists include Fireside Collective (Sunday, July 18), Darrell Scott (Sunday, July 25) and Bruce Hornsby (Sunday, Aug. 1), plus Metropolitan Opera baritone and Brevard native Sidney Outlaw (Tuesday, July 20). To view the full season schedule and purchase tickets, visit

Cheers to two years

Foundation Studios hosts its second anniversary party on Saturday, July 10, noon-8 p.m., at 27 Foundy St., suite No. 10. The day will include artist demos, live music and the opening of the resident artist showcase, A Place Called Home.

“We strive to be a community baseline, or foundation, of support for artists to gather, express, share and grow,” says Foundation Studios representative Jordan Moodie. “After a year where we all had quite a lot of time to reflect on what ‘home’ means to us, we thought it would be interesting to collect these ideas as expressed by our artists. Everyone has their unique origin story, but by sharing those stories with others, we can start laying down new roots. It just seemed natural to emphasize this theme in honor of our anniversary.”

In keeping with that theme, the studios will also feature the I Am Home Art Project, a local nonprofit that works with artists at risk of homelessness. Attendees are invited to donate art supplies to the nonprofit, including paintbrushes, acrylic paint and canvases. The event is free to attend. For more information, visit

Yancey stages

Parkway Playhouse holds auditions for its fall lineup on Saturday, July 10, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., at The Mountain Heritage Center, 113 Green Mountain Drive, Burnsville. Mainstage shows for the season include A Good Day, which chronicles 10 relationships that experience a life-changing moment, and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Learn more at

Delayed celebration(s)

Downtown Hendersonville merchants look to make up for lost time on Saturday, July 10, with Celebrate: The Remix, a supercharged edition of the monthly LoveHendo Saturday open-street event. Their goal is to help people belatedly enjoy parties, proms, anniversaries and even weddings that were delayed or compromised in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions. Attendees are encouraged to reserve a table at a favorite restaurant or coordinate a larger event — including a marriage ceremony, as multiple business owners, among them Wag! A Unique Pet Boutique’s Caroline Gunther, can conduct legal unions right downtown.

“I put the word out on Facebook asking if anyone would like to hold their wedding on Main Street this summer, and people thought I was kidding,” Gunther says. “Who could ask for a more unique and memorable wedding day?”

The festivities conclude with a car show from the Carolina Classic Car Club. The celebration is free to attend. To learn more or plan an event, visit


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Edwin Arnaudin
Edwin Arnaudin is a staff writer for Mountain Xpress. He also reviews films for and is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) and North Carolina Film Critics Association (NCFCA). Follow me @EdwinArnaudin

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.