For Asheville arts council, an overhaul

The Asheville Area Arts Council could rent some of its gallery space to Asheville artist Jonas Gerard or another “strategic partner,” according to the group’s executive director, Angela Martinez.

The nonprofit wants to offer some of the space in its prime location at 11 Biltmore Ave. in downtown Asheville to a partner who could team up with the council and advance its goals, Martinez told the Mountain Xpress on Wednesday. The council has not made a decision on a partner and is open to anyone with interest, Martinez said, adding that Jonas Gerard, the council’s “artist of the year” in 2008, was one such potential partner. Gerard is an abstract painter whose studio is located on Clingman Avenue.

Meantime, the council is also examining all of its programs and services. “We’re looking at how we do business, at what programs we provide and whether they’re still viable,” Martinez said. The evaluation is a natural part of an organization’s evolution, said Martinez, adding that the council began “thinking about this since I came on board last March.”

Martinez said the council’s actions do not have a direct connection to the current recession, but said the council, like all nonprofit organizations in Asheville, is facing financial challenges. “That’s why we have to be strategic about our decisions,” Martinez said. The council is re-examining all of its programs and services as it looks to the future, she said.

The council hopes to have its new partner by the end of the month, Martinez said. Anyone interested should call her at 258-0710 or e-mail her at

In a town that prides itself on its artists, galleries and art organizations, the Asheville Area Arts Council stands as one of the oldest arts councils in the country, having incorporated in 1952, according to the council’s Web site. The group conducts an annual color-themed ball to honor the volunteers of local arts agencies, hands out small annual grants to artists funded through the state and offers an arts-in-education program. It also supports artists through its downtown gallery space and offers other organizational support to local groups.

— Jason Sandford, multimedia editor


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3 thoughts on “For Asheville arts council, an overhaul

  1. AshevilleObserver

    Sometimes organizations outlive their original purposes and simply keep on keeping on without much need for their services. Is it time for the arts council to close up shop?

  2. connie bostic

    Not only is the front gallery the “face’ of the Arts Council, it is one of the very few places that non-comercial work can be seen in Asheville.Surely there is a better answer to whatever problems there are there than turning that space into another vanity gallery.

  3. Meg Manderson

    Word on the street in the River District is that this is a done deal, with Gerard taking over the space April 1! I agree with Ms. Bostic that this is a loss to the local artists’ community at a particularly bad time. With juried shows monthly,each composed of several artists, the Front was the only space accessable to most emerging local artists. It does seem that there could be a community response if in fact the community was informed.

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