Letter: If artists leave, Asheville loses out

Graphic by Lori Deaton

The comment that Charles Peele made about the reduction of artists in Asheville in the Oct. 2 edition was missing a perspective [We Owe Artists an Opportunity, Not a Living,” Xpress].

First, artists are capable of selling at galleries all around the country — they’re not exactly running a local bakery dependent on local traffic.

Next, tourists come to Asheville, in part, due to the number and variety of artists’ studios. Art is part of what the area is known for. There are many talented and savvy artists who have difficulty getting their businesses started in an area with a high cost of living. They are smart to leave for a more affordable area and will continue to be able to sell at galleries around the country, but Asheville has lost out.

Once tourists start realizing there are not as many artists working here as there once was, then the mix of tourists will change to those exclusively interested in the main attractions of Biltmore, the mountains and breweries.

— Karen Simmons


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5 thoughts on “Letter: If artists leave, Asheville loses out

  1. Curious

    Are there any data that shows the reasons tourists come to Asheville and how they spend their money once they are here?

    • Virginia Daffron

      Curious, the Research & Reports section of the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority slices and dices the second question at some length: https://www.ashevillecvb.com/research-reports/

      I’m not sure I’ve seen the answer to the first question in a succinct form. The focus is generally on the type of tourist who is drawn to Asheville or the type of demographic the TDA hopes to attract through its marketing efforts. But someone from the TDA may have a different take on it.

      Here’s our latest on the authority’s marketing initiatives: https://mountainx.com/news/bctda-casts-wider-net-with-new-advertising-plan/


      • Curious

        Thank you for that information. I’m curious if people are coming here for the arts, as some arts advocates maintain, or if they’re coming here for . . the beer, the Biltmore House, and the outdoor activities. Do the arts in Asheville really drive tourism? Do people come here to buy art or to go to the many local theatres? I’ll look at the data you reference to see if the answers are there.

        • Curious

          The top five activities and experiences on an overnight trip to Asheville were “Shopping,” “Landmark/Historic Site,” “Fine Dining,” “National/State Park,” and “Hiking/Backpacking.”

          Asheville 2016 Visitor Research

  2. Bright

    Well, god knows, we sure need more tourists to blighting the landscape.

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