The Big Crafty spinoff: Horse and Hero opens downtown

Photos by Elizabeth Reynolds McGuire

Horse and Hero opened on Friday, June 13, next to Farm Burger, offering a new spot downtown to find unique indie arts and crafts and get to know local designers. A spinoff and sophisticated extension of the well-known community craft bazaar, The Big Crafty, the Horse and Hero is a “downtown showcase for boundary-pushing art and craft as well as a place for people to get connected with local artists, designers and craftspeople for creative projects,” says Justin Rabuck, Horse and Hero co-owner and organizer of The Big Crafty. 

Justin Rabuck The Big Crafty

The gallery features a wide variety of Asheville-area artists and designers such as Skrapmonkey, a functional metal artist; Smiling Rock Box Shop, a creator of shadowbox art; sustainable clothing by Holdfast Printworks and painter Gabriel Shaffer, who demonstrates his artistic talents live in the front window of the store. Short Street Cakes and Aesthetic Coffee are also represented, providing baked goods and pour-over coffee for shoppers. 

Dylan Jung of Aesthetic Coffee says he is excited to have the space, which he describes as a pop-up shop, within Horse and Hero. “I’ll have handcrafted coffees from multiple roasters and teas from Dobra Tea,” he explains as he prepares an iced pour-over coffee for a customer.  He will continue serving coffee on weekends at Horse and Hero.

Dylan Jung Aesthetic Coffee

Throughout the soft-opening weekend, locals and tourists alike mingled among the art displays, chatted with artists and soaked up the calm, inspiring atmosphere of the white, gallery-like space. It seems to be an easy place to gather and connect. Rabuck explains that the idea of the place is to “carry [work that] is sophisticated in its design sensibility and rooted in area history and culture. In this way, we hope it will appeal to locals and those traveling through.”

Throughout the rest of June, Horse and Hero will be experimenting with hours, but plans to be open later in the evenings, offering a nice place to stop in during an evening stroll or after dinner or events downtown. The owners are also planning a grand opening. Expect more details soon.

Drop in for yourself one day, grab a cup of coffee and a cookie, strike up a conversation with a local artist and peruse some of Asheville’s unique art offerings.

Horse and Hero is at 18 Patton Ave.


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 Elizabeth Reynolds McGuire
Liz drinks, photographs, and writes about coffee, promoting the Swedish idea of fika and checking out local coffee shops in Asheville, while dreaming of making a world tour of cafes and coffee farms. Contact her at or visit her blog at"

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.