Influential artists will visit Asheville over the next year in a series of workshops, discussions and films, the Asheville Art Museum announced Friday night. The artists will come to Asheville as part of the smArt Speak Distinguished Artist Series, museum Executive Director Pam Myers told a group gathered in a room on the museum’s third floor for the special announcement.
The artists are: The Guerilla Girls (pictured), a group of women artists who create posters, stickers, books and more to expose sexism and racism; Pulitzer Prize-winning illustrator Art Spiegelman, the creator of the graphic novel Maus, a story about the Holocaust, and In the Shadow of No Towers, a story about his personal experience during the 9/11 terrorist attacks; artist Faith Ringgold, an African-American painter, textile artist and illustrator; and Christo and Jean Claude, a couple whose works of environmental sculpture include erecting 7,503 gates adorned with saffron-colored cloth in New York City’s Central Park.
The museum’s goal was to choose artists that would engage the community and raise the level of discourse about the arts in Asheville, Myers said. The series will also help the museum celebrate its 60th anniversary this year, she added.
The Guerilla Girls are up first with a 7 p.m. event March 31 at Asheville Community Theatre. Spiegelman will speak at 7 p.m. Sept. 11 at Thomas Wolfe Auditorium. Ringgold’s event is set for 7 p.m. Nov. 18 at Diana Wortham Theatre. And Christo and Jeanne-Claude have an event scheduled for 7 p.m. Feb. 5, 2009. Visit www.ashevilleart.org for more information about the events and the programs associated with them.
The MetLife Foundation and its Museums and Community Connections program awarded the museum a $60,000 grant to help make the artist series possible. Buncombe County Public Libraries worked with the museum in obtaining the grant, with the museum and local libraries serving as locations for the events. UNCA and Asheville School are also partners in the project, with Renaissance Asheville Hotel, Haywood Park Hotel, Malaprop’s Bookstore and Fugazy Travel offering in-kind contributions.
— Jason Sandford, multimedia editor