I moved here three years ago, thinking I would rather die here than live anywhere else. Little did I know how close—or how often—I would come to death’s door while trying to survive here in Asheville.
At first glance, Asheville seems to be a quaint little town with a rich history and culture, [where] anyone who is willing to sacrifice and invest their energy could have a happy and rewarding life. A closer look unveils a broken society in a broken community—an arts community that has no clear direction or desire to involve the larger community in anything that is not stroking the ego (or bank account) of the organizers. With only a handful of maniacal personalities steering the entire community into an alcoholic fantasy, the end result is confusing at best.
It’s true that people can do whatever they’d like to do in this life, but without real support from a real Arts Community Center, this town will continue to be corralled into a coveted monopoly of expression and forced to call it culture. Asheville could take a few lessons from larger cities like Minneapolis and Atlanta, where there is true diversity in the community and liberal ideals are practice—not theory.
Also, if you’re lucky enough to find what resembles a job (or a series of paid tasks), good luck on finding a bank to cash your check after-hours or on the weekend. The banks close whenever they feel like it and think that everyone is independently wealthy. Why? Why does everyone keep the same hours—except the service industry—and expect real commerce to take place? Oh, I guess there’s Wal-Mart, or “Scam’s Check Cashing.” Wake up, Asheville: Get over yourself.
— Dallas Taylor