Growing art—and artists—in Asheville

First, thank you to Bill Thompson for not only pushing Asheville artists to grow creatively, but to also be aware of the mechanics that operate outside of the studio. He has consistently exposed our little city to a much larger picture from the moment he opened his doors. Also, I want to express my sincere gratitude to him for highlighting us in such a high-profile event. I don’t know if enough folks are aware of just how important what he did for us was. Thank you to the Mountain Xpress for letting Asheville know that this event took place [“Bienvenidos a Miami,” Dec. 23]. We held our own and drew much interest with some of the best.

I would also like to address a few key errors in the article. First, there were some other very talented local artists who exhibited with The Satellite Gallery in Miami who were completely left out of the article. Ted Harper had a freakishly beautiful sculpture on display (which the Miami Herald posted on their Web site); Sean Pace also had some of his fantastic inventions hanging; Nicole McConville had her lovely mixed-medias there; and Ruth Whiting had some beautiful paintings on display. The entire group was a visual knockout.

Regarding the Art Basel in Miami: This incredible show, which has its roots in Switzerland, has existed [since 2002] and has quickly become the biggest and best art show in America. The sheer volume of art, artists, gallery owners and patrons that flood into Miami’s Wynwood district during Basel weekend is staggering.

Gen Art, a super classy organization based out of LA and NYC, has sponsored events during Basel for the past three years, making an effort to highlight contemporary underground and emerging art and fashion. Each year their events have become more and more successful and publicized. This year was no exception.

I could ramble for days about how happy and proud I am to have not only had the opportunity to show there, but to also have done it with so many peers whom I respect and admire from my hometown. I have the utmost confidence in and highest hopes for our city’s art scene in the future to be considered one of the best in the country.

If anyone is interested in seeing more pictures and related info about the event, we posted a set on my flickr page here: www.flickr.com/photos/gabrielshaffer/sets/72157611029820343.

— Gabriel Shaffer
Asheville

A&E editor Rebecca Sulock responds: We appreciate the writer’s highlighting some of the other artists whose work was shown in Miami. As he points out, Art Basel Miami did not begin two years ago, as was reported in our article; it began in 2002. We regret that error. As for The Satellite Gallery owner Bill Thompson, we heartily agree that he’s doing great things for Asheville’s artists, as we noted in our “Welcome to A&E” column, Dec. 23. We look forward to more success from a highly talented crew.

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One thought on “Growing art—and artists—in Asheville

  1. AshevilleObserver

    The original writer said, but did not make explicit, that the Vanguard New Contemporary Art Fair was one of numerous “art fairs” that take place, as Gen Art makes clear, “alongside” Art Basel Miami Beach in other locations throughout the area. The reporter said there were seven of these “alongside” fairs. Art-Collecting.com lists approximately 20. See art-collecting.com/miami_art_fairs.htm). Art Basel Miami Beach is the large centerpiece fair at the Miami Beach Convention Center, with 250 galleries (selected from 800 applicants) showing the work of some 2,000 artists. The Gen Art Vanguard appears to be two years old, which maybe the source of the confusion about the age of Art Basel Miami Beach. As the reporter said, the “alongside” fairs focus on specific genres or styles of art and specialized dealers. The Satellite Gallery, which took some of its artists to Miami, is unique in Asheville in representing what Gen Art calls “the New Contemporary art movements from Pop Surrealism and New Brow to Urban Contemporary.”

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