Letter: Artsville fails to impress

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Your city is a prissy little bourgeois phony art town filled with middle-class housewives doing arts and crafts. Your pathetic excuse for an art community and apologetically tourism-biased economy filled your streets with the most uninteresting, baseball-cap-wearing bozos I’ve ever seen.

You might advertise as “Asheville, the perfect location for visitors with plain faces and lack of flair. The perfect mountain retreat for weeble wobble people in khaki shorts.”

Thanks for providing me with the biggest bullshit town I’ve ever encountered. I’ll recommend it to gas station owners across the USA.

— J.M. Snyder


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11 thoughts on “Letter: Artsville fails to impress

  1. Clink88

    Agree. Good description. Throw in a couple of rabid Dollywood fans and it’s right on. Mediocre at best, mostly blah.

  2. RS_Sylva

    I’m a former “long-haired hippie flower child”, (turned Bank executive), who retired and moved to Sylva 4 years ago, so I visit friends in Asheville and attend the festivals often.

    His letter is signed “Asheville”, so I’m guessing he became so disillusioned after moving to Asheville? He definitely didn’t attend the LAAF (Living Arts Asheville Festival) which I did in 2017 & 2018, where there were plenty of “colorful locals”, many of whom come “dressed-up” for the occasion.

    I’m guessing he must have attended one or more of the events that target “rich tourists” like the one at the big in “art mall” in Grovewood Village, or an event at Biltmore Village, where the the many tourists may look like he described, but in my experience there are usually “funky locals” at those events too. If he is indeed an Asheville resident, he should welcome those tourists with open arms, because their dollars help keep taxes lower.

    He should try attending Art Festivals in big towns, like the Grove Art Festival in Coconut Grove Florida, (near Miami), which was also a quaint artists village in the 60s and the festival was filled with mostly local artists. The festival nowadays has an admission fee and is packed with wall-to-wall and shoulder-to-shoulder tourists, like he described and the locals usually avoid it. Getting to and walking around festivals in Asheville is the pleasure compared to those in big cities. If you want smaller festivals with local artists, He should try driving a bit to attend festivals in the smaller towns like Maggie Valley, Waynesville and Sylva.

    There are plenty of funky fringe festivals and activities in Asheville, you just have to look for them… try reading the current issue of Mountain Xpress that his letter is in…


  3. paso

    Seems about right. Definitely not a town for real art of the kind considered as realism/americana/existentialism, unless you count the existential loathing of looking at short tourists in pastel clothing. It’s definitely not an “art as reflection of real life” town. But maybe America is too superficial these days for that sort of thing. The argument is not worthwhile, so you should sick to live where there are no Americans, such as El Paso, or somewhere that hippies-turned-bankers don’t frequent and 90% of the people are immigrants. El Paso is looking good!

  4. Shultz!

    Why post this, MX? Seems just really negative w/no purpose other than to bring people down?

  5. Curious

    I am genuinely curious as to why MX published this letter, which seems to have no content, no relation to any current news or issue, and consists only of name-calling. Does MX publish all letters submitted? Are any editorial judgements made about which letters to publish? Do any newspapers exercise any editorial oversight of letters?

    • Tracy Rose

      Thanks for engaging, Curious. Letters typically address some aspect of civic life, so this one qualifies on that count. The issue of how Asheville presents itself, how it’s perceived and how that relates to tourism are all topics that have been discussed in print and in this forum. To address your other questions: Not all letters received are published (though most are), and we do exercise editorial judgment over what to publish, though different newspapers have different editorial policies.

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