Around town: Actors and poets needed, plus new art exhibits and online events

Want to dance? The Wortham Center for the Performing Arts is hosting a virtual ballet workshop. Want to act? Montford Park Players is currently seeking actors for the 2021 season. Want a free stay at a local bed and breakfast? Submit your poetry to The Writers’ Workshop’s annual contest and see if you win.

Nina Simone and Langston Hughes

New digital archive examines Nina Simone’s relationsh­ip with Langston Hughes

In 1949, poet Langston Hughes spoke at the Allen High School in Asheville. One of the students in attendance was Eunice Waymon, later known professionally as Nina Simone. In time, the poet and the singer developed a unique relationship, which author and N.C. State University professor W. Jason Miller is currently documenting in an online archive, Backlash Blues: Nina Simone and Langston Hughes.

Local nonprofit promotes Western North Carolina to the world, 1923-25

In 1923, business leaders in Asheville and surrounding counties were eager to promote the region to a larger audience of tourists and businesses alike. To achieve this goal, the group formed the nonprofit Western North Carolina Inc. The community was slow to buy in to the group’s mission until the organization brought in a well-known window as its vice president.

Asheville Archives: City hounds the beloved and industriou­s Flower Women, 1920-30

In the 1920s, license fees, congested sidewalks and opposition from brick-and-mortar businesses threatened the continued existence of Asheville’s Flower Women — a group of female entrepreneurs who had been selling wildflowers in the city’s downtown since the latter half of the 19th century. “[T]he first flower stands stood up along the way when Haywood street was only a muddy road,” The Asheville Citizen reminded its readers on Dec. 13, 1926.