World-renowned artists to Asheville

Influential artists will visit over the next year in a series of workshops, discussions and films, the Asheville Art Museum has announced.

That’s a wrap: Christo and Jean Claude, with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, at the unveiling of “The Gates” in Central Park.

The artists will come to Asheville as part of the smART Speak Distinguished Artist Series, according to museum Executive Director Pam Myers. The museum’s goal was to choose artists that would engage the community and raise the level of discourse about the arts in Asheville, Myers said. The series will also help the museum celebrate its 60th anniversary this year, she added.

First up are the Guerilla Girls, a group of women artists who create posters, stickers, books and more to expose sexism and racism.

The Guerilla Girls will hold a 7 p.m. lecture/performance on Monday, March 31, at Asheville Community Theatre. Tickets cost $18 for general admission, $16 for museum members and $14 for students. The group will also host a hands-on workshop at 10 a.m. April 1 at the Asheville Art Museum to talk about brainstorming, ethics and the art world. Cost is $20 and $15 for students.

There’s a 2 p.m. panel discussion with art educators and arts professionals on April 13 at the museum to discuss the Guerrilla Girls, as well as a zine and blog workshop at 6 p.m. April 15 at Pack Memorial Library. Both events are free.

Pulitzer Prize-winning illustrator Art Spiegelman will speak at Thomas Wolfe Auditorium on Sept. 11. Spiegelman is the creator of the graphic novel Maus, a story about the Holocaust, and In the Shadow of No Towers, which tells of his personal experience during the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Artist Faith Ringgold, an African-American painter, textile artist and illustrator will speak at Diana Wortham Theatre on Nov. 18.

And Christo and Jean Claude, a couple whose works of environmental sculpture include erecting 7,503 gates adorned with saffron-colored cloth in New York City’s Central Park, will speak at Thomas Wolfe Auditorium on Feb. 5, 2009.

The MetLife Foundation and its Museums and Community Connections program awarded the museum a $60,000 grant to help make the artist series possible. Buncombe County Public Libraries worked with the museum in obtaining the grant, with the museum and local libraries serving as locations for the events. UNCA and the Asheville School are also partners in the project, with Renaissance Asheville Hotel, Haywood Park Hotel, Malaprop’s Bookstore and Fugazy Travel offering in-kind contributions.

Visit for more information about the events and the programs associated with them.


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