Picture this

Plenty of people travel for their work; what sets local photographer Rene Treece apart is that her jaunts are adventures, and the travel photos she takes don’t pay the bills. Instead, Treece’s photos are intended to lay the groundwork for future projects. Adventuresome spirit: Photographer Rene Treece takes a self-portrait in Peru. Photos by Rene […]

More than just a festival: LEAF reaches out

LEAF International started on Jennifer Pickering‘s vacation. While staying on Bequia in the Grenadines, the executive director of the popular Black Mountain-based Lake Eden Arts Festival walked into the Caribbean island’s high school for underperforming youth and asked about its steel-drum program. The instruments, known as “pans,” are part of the island’s music tradition, but […]

Big in Belgium

“I definitely had this experience—we all did—of stepping through the looking glass,” guitarist/composer Shane Perlowin recalls. He’s talking about avant-garde jazz/thrash group Ahleuchatistas’ November 2008 tour through Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Holland, France and Spain. Winning fans overseas: Ahleuchatistas guitarist Shane Perlowin practices in a German train station. The prog-rock band is one of several […]

A universal language

For White Dog ProjectX International, collaboration and artistic exchange can span any cultural barrier. “Dance is a universal language,” declares Artistic Director Susan Collard. “Travel is the best education there is, and it truly changes your work,” she continues, describing the inspiration that compels the recently named international touring arm of the long-running Asheville Contemporary […]

A document of love

Nishima Kaplan‘s business began with a wedding gift she made for friends in 1998. Today, ArtKetubah enables Kaplan to support her family while making couples happy worldwide. Ancient tradition meets modern art: A design for a “ketubah” (Jewish marriage certificate) by Nishima Kaplan, who creates them in her West Asheville home for clients far and […]

Flash dance

The well-traveled Kitty Boniske hasn’t been to Africa yet, but she acknowledges the cultural challenges facing the partnership between Asheville and Osogbo, Nigeria. “One of the things we tend to do is project our assumptions on other cultures,” notes the woman who helped launch Asheville’s sister cities program about 20 years ago. Dancing queens: Osogbo […]

It’s all Greek

Dennis Hodgson likes to eat and drink coffee at the old Eckerd’s lunch counter in north Asheville, and that’s why Asheville’s fourth sister city is Karpenisi and not some other Greek town, says his wife, Barbara Hodgson. Dennis is a former president of the Asheville Sister Cities board, among other civic service, and one day, […]

From Russia with love

If you think it’s easy to set up a sister city program, talk to Kitty Boniske. “Vladikavkaz was our third try,” the longtime Asheville Sister Cities volunteer recalls. Two other Russian cities—Klintsy and Kislovotz—just didn’t pan out. Snowy cathedral: The major religions in Asheville’s first Sister City, Vladikavkaz, are Russian Orthodox and Islam. Photo courtesy […]

Full-circle Maya

Sister city initiatives are all about forging connections and recognizing what a small world we live in. That’s clearly the case with one of Asheville’s newest sister cities: Valladolid in southern Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. The circle begins in Barnardsville, where retired National Geographic Society archaeologist George Stuart lives. Distinguished visitor: Vallalodid, Mexico, officials honored Barnardsville […]

Boots on the ground

A paratrooper descends into a battle zone, sheds his parachute and hits the ground running. A minesweeper steps gingerly through a field, scanning for unexploded ordnance. A Marine slogs through the jungle, his feet fighting their way through the dense underbrush. Different warriors in different settings, but they all might have one thing in common: […]

The weather warriors

The U.S. military fights in all sorts of weather, so our armed forces know full well the value of an accurate forecast. And when commanders want a reliable weather report before moving troops, setting out to sea or calling in an air strike, they look toward Asheville. The 88 staffers of the little-known 14th Weather […]

The fallen

Thus far, the two-front “war on terror” has claimed the lives of 4,865 U.S. military personnel. One hundred nineteen of them hailed from North Carolina, and six of those called Western North Carolina home. Below are details about our area’s service members who’ve perished in Afghanistan and Iraq. Sgt. William S. Kinzer Jr., Hendersonville: Kinzer, […]

Spreading a story: Embracing Simplicity

In the personal view of the Venerable Pannavati Bhikkhuni, abbot of Hendersonville’s Embracing Simplicity Hermitage, what she has is just a story. The Venerable Pannavati Bhikkhuni, abbot of Hendersonville’s Embracing Simplicity Hermitage “When people around the world see what can be done, it encourages in a way that rhetoric cannot,” she tells Xpress. “I tell […]

Old ways in today’s world: Zamani Refuge African Cultural Center

There’s a story from the Yoruba people of Nigeria, and to hear Valeria Watson-Doost tell it, it goes something like this: Sisters across the water: Osun priestess Valeria Watson-Doost (right) and the Erelu of Ile Ife during Watson-Doost’s 2008 trip to Nigeria. Watson-Doost spearheaded efforts to make Asheville and Osogbo, Nigeria, sister cities. She’s also […]