Celebrate Zelda! remembers the legacy of an artist

Z MARKS THE SPOT: Remember Zelda Fitzgerald and celebrate the legacy of the writer, visual artist and dancer with an art exhibit, readings, panel discussion and Roaring ’20s party. Image designed by Sarah Giavedoni

The city of Asheville will commemorate writer, visual artist, dancer and former Asheville resident Zelda Fitzgerald — the original flapper — on Sunday, March 10, with the proclamation of a day in her honor. But while Zelda Fitzgerald Day is a mere 24 hours, the creative powerhouse, who died tragically on March 10, 1948, in a fire at Highland Hospital, warrants a more expansive observance.

So, Celebrate Zelda!, now in its fourth year, remembers the Jazz Age luminary with a weeklong roster of events. Fitzgerald — known for partying with the likes of Dorothy Parker, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, not to mention her author-husband, F. Scott Fitzgerald — would likely have approved.

But the festivities, culminating in a Roaring ’20s party at The BLOCK off Biltmore, seek to do more than highlight Zelda’s “iridescent best” (as once described by literary critic Edmund Wilson). The events also recall Zelda’s mental health battles, including a diagnosis of schizophrenia, that led to bouts of hospitalization.

Celebrate Zelda! was envisioned by local historian James MacKenzie and Aurora Studio & Gallery founder Lori Greenberg. Aurora Studio & Gallery is a “supportive art space for artists affected by mental illness,” according to the organization’s website; its programming benefits from proceeds of the Roaring ’20s party.

Learn more at facebook.com/ZeldaDayAVL.

Events

• Saturday, March 9, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. — Second Saturday art exhibit at The Wedge, 129 Roberts St., second floor. Artists from Aurora Studio & Gallery will share work.

• Sunday, March 10, 3 p.m. — Readings from Fitzgerald’s work by local actor Tom Downing, media personality Jason Sanford and visiting historian Carroll McMahan; and James MacKenzie leads a Zelda trivia contest at Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe, 55 Haywood St.

• Tuesday, March 12, noon — Discussion Bound book group talks about Fitzgerald’s Save Me the Waltz at Malaprop’s.

• Thursday, March 14, 6-7:30 p.m. — Panel discussion on “What can Zelda and local artists teach us about trauma and creativity?” Dr. Daniel Johnson hosts the discussion. Held at Pack Memorial Library’s Lord Auditorium, 67 Haywood St.

• Friday, March 15, 6-11 p.m. — A Roaring ’20s evening at The BLOCK off Biltmore, 39 S. Market St. The event includes music by Albi & The Lifters, a trivia contest, vintage car photo ops, appetizers, readings and prizes for best costume. $10.

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About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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