Press release from Arts AVL
The Asheville Area Arts Council has officially become ArtsAVL. The new name is a simplification and clarification that reflects the organization’s mission to keep the arts at the heart of our community. This rebranding aligns with the agency’s goals of supporting artists and arts organizations, and making the arts more accessible in Asheville and Buncombe County.
ArtsAVL has served the local arts community for the last seven decades, predating the creation of the National Endowment for the Arts and the North Carolina Arts Council. With each passing decade, the local creative sector has grown substantially. In 2019, the creative industries generated $1.6 billion in sales and supported 14,000 jobs. The Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation industry alone grew 53% from 2015-2019— double the growth rate of the Construction industry over the same time period.
This unprecedented growth was thrown into turmoil by the COVID-19 pandemic, when the arts, entertainment, and recreation industry experienced the greatest percentage of employment loss in Buncombe County — an overall loss of 34%. ArtsAVL actively tracked the effects of the pandemic on the arts, releasing a countywide Creative Jobs Report and stepping even more into arts advocacy to help ensure a sustainable future for the arts in our region.
In the past year, ArtsAVL published three reports on the local creative sector, established the Arts Coalition to ensure the entire local arts community is being served, and hosted the Creative Sector Summit and new ArtsAVL Town Hall candidate forum events. Since 2020, ArtsAVL has regranted $300,000 in federal aid relief and $50,000 in Buncombe County American Rescue Plan funding to local arts nonprofits, and successfully advocated for a $129,788 Arts & Cultural block grant from Buncombe County to provide additional funding support to arts organizations.
To effectively serve the arts in Asheville and Buncombe County, ArtsAVL must track and respond to the changing needs of the creative community. As the county’s official designated arts agency, ArtsAVL directly supports arts professionals and businesses through connection, advocacy, and services for creatives. Through this new approach, ArtAVL continues to tailor its programs to the specific needs of the local community.
In 2023, ArtsAVL will debut three new initiatives to foster more creative connections and improve accessibility: the Arts Directory, a SmART pass discount card, and a Saturday ArtsAVL Connect Trolley. The Directory, a searchable database, will connect artists and arts businesses with patrons and supporters through a robust events calendar and member profiles. The SmART pass will give ArtsAVL members discounts on goods and services at participating art businesses. The free arts Trolley will have two connecting routes through downtown Asheville and the River Arts District, complemented by an interactive, searchable map of stops. More information on each initiative is coming soon.
Explore everything ArtsAVL is up to at artsavl.org.
Founded in 1952, ArtsAVL, formerly known as Asheville Area Arts Council, is the second oldest arts council in the state of North Carolina. The organization’s mission is to keep the arts at the heart of our community. The ArtsAVL fulfills this mission by supporting arts professionals and businesses in Buncombe County through Connection, Advocacy, and Services for Creatives. Learn more at artsavl.org.