City to hold grand opening of Arts & Culture Center at 14 Riverside Drive on July 21

The newly-renovated 14 Riverside Drive. Photo courtesy of the city of Asheville
The newly-renovated 14 Riverside Drive. Photo courtesy of the city of Asheville

Press release from the city of Asheville:

An historic building renovated to enhance the character of Asheville’s River Arts District (RAD) will open to the public this month.

Everyone is invited to come see the 14 Riverside Drive Arts & Culture Center during its grand opening, 3 to 6 p.m. July 21.

This formerly bricked up building on a key corridor in the RAD has been transformed into a multi-use space. It also provides public restrooms and a place where people entering the area can find information about Asheville’s River Arts District.

Gifted to the City of Asheville by PSNC Energy, the building once served as the offices of a manufactured gas plant. Located across from Curve Studios, the building is a contributing historic structure in the Riverside Industrial Historic District that has been unused for over 50 years.

Money to help pay for the building remodel was granted by the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority and the City of Asheville through City Council appropriation.

The 14 Riverside Drive opening event will recognize PSNC Scana and Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority for the building and remodel.

The event will celebrate several other significant occasions the City and its partners have worked on this year. The City will recognize the Asheville Workplace Challenge participants and the naming of the creek that flows under 14 Riverside Drive. RiverLink worked with the community earlier this year to name the creek Bacoate Branch. This name honors Osie W. Bacoate, teacher and West End/Clingman Avenue Neighborhood (WECAN) resident. She was also the mother of Matthew Bacoate Jr., civil rights activist and proprietor of the largest African American owned business in the Asheville’s history, AFRAM, formerly housed in what is now WEDGE Studios.

The opening event has many sponsors. The City of Asheville, Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority, Duke Energy, Sisters of Mercy Urgent Care, New Belgium Brewing and Asheville Workplace Challenge are all contributors to the grand opening.

Need a venue? Sara Henry of Asheville’s Strategic Development Office said 14 Riverside Drive can accommodate 355 standing, and 165 seated. She’s already been getting inquiries. An artist is tentatively scheduled to film a music video there, and a local organization will have its annual benefit at the site.

In its first year, the City wants to be flexible with how the space will be used. “We want to see what the community’s response is to the building and use that to shape future programming,” said Henry.

In addition to refreshments, there will be music by local band Devils in Dust. The Chamber has acquired an ABC permit for the grand opening and RiverLink will accept donations at the bar.

The reimagined 14 Riverside Drive Arts & Culture Center is designed to strengthen the arts identity of the River Arts District. Come celebrate with us!


To rent the venue:

Visit for rates and FAQs. A 75 percent rental reduction is offered to nonprofits. For additional questions contact Sara Henry at 828- 232-4583 or


About Virginia Daffron
Managing editor, lover of mountains, native of WNC. Follow me @virginiadaffron

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