Feature Articles

September 2013

Asheville Gallery of Art in Asheville, NC, Prepares to Celebrate Its 25th Anniversary

In 1988, much of downtown Asheville, NC, was boarded up, with most of the rest rundown and dreary.  Smart people shook their heads: who but crazy artists would start a business - an art gallery, of all things! - in a dead downtown?

Even so, the Asheville Gallery of Art (AGA) opened its doors on Nov. 1, 1988.  AGA, Asheville’s longest-established downtown art gallery, will mark its 25th anniversary in 2013; and, today, business owners lust for locations like AGA’s.

The late Jim Morgan was the main force behind the enterprise. He and 30 other original members formulated a plan they thought could assure survival if not immediate success.

“We were artists. We were optimistic. We knew nothing about business. If we had, AGA would probably never have happened,” said Cathy Searle, the one original member still on the gallery roster. As a founding member of The Asheville Gallery of Art, she has lent her energy to the explosion of the Asheville area art scene. The gallery gained prominence over the years, and some of Asheville’s most celebrated artists have been on view there by juried invitation. Searle and her work have been chosen to be the face of the gallery in celebration of the Gallery’s twenty-fifth year.

From the beginning, AGA has been unique, important, and successful because of its commitment to Asheville area professional artists. With top-quality two-dimensional original art as the gallery’s sole focus, membership is coveted for miles around. Each of the gallery’s 28 artists applies his or her own distinctive vision, concept, and way of working, to provide a diversity of work sure to tantalize every discerning taste.

Asheville area professionals may apply for membership, to fill vacancies as openings occur on the roster. Each applicant’s work is evaluated by a demanding jury fiercely committed to continued refinement of AGA’s product.

AGA is a major presence in downtown Asheville. Located at 16 College Street, across from Pritchard Park, the gallery is a welcoming, hands-on art destination for tourists as well as for art-conscious locals. Its extensive collection of original paintings, reproductions, and note cards offers art that varies widely in subject matter, medium, and style. Originality is the hallmark of every piece, and images range from quintessentially traditional to cutting-edge abstract.

AGA has survived and thrived. The gallery has been continuously successful from its beginning and, along with success, has contributed generously to the local arts community - for example, with donations to public school art programs. In addition, AGA has hosted several emerging artists exhibitions to showcase work of UNC-Asheville or Warren Wilson students.

AGA has played an active part in Downtown Art Walks since that program was first begun. The gallery is a proud member of the Asheville Downtown Gallery Association (ADGA), the Downtown Asheville Art District Organization (DAAD), and the Asheville Chamber of Commerce.

Citizens of Asheville celebrated AGA’s 10th anniversary in 1998 and its 20th in 2008. This year’s celebration promises, more than ever before, to attract enthusiastic locals and visitors.

Joining Cathy Searle, current members include: John Anderson, Hal Boyd, Elinor V. Bowman, Karen Keil Brown, Jan Desonier, Sahar Fakhoury, Frances Greenberg, Jennine Hough Ruth Ilg, Al Junek, Reda Kay, Cheryl Keefer, Floyd Kemp, Sara LeVan, Olga Michelson, Sandra Braugh Moore, Carol Branton Moore, Pat Perkerson, Judith Rentner, Eileen Ross, Joyce Schlapkohl, Everett Schmidt, Suzanne Shaffer, Christine Siegfried, Peggy Horne Taylor, Mary Webster, Renee Williams.

Work of all 28 current AGA professionals may be sampled at  (www.ashevillegallery-of-art.com).

There’s going to be a party! Please join the Asheville Gallery of Art artists on Oct. 19, 2013, from 2-5pm for their 25th Anniversary celebration. Local Asheville musician Chris Rhodes will be playing and refreshments will be provided. The Asheville Gallery of Art is located at 16 College Street in downtown Asheville, across from Pritchard Park.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call the gallery at 828/251-5796 or visit (www.ashevillegallery-of-art.com).

[ | September 2013 | Feature Articles | Download Carolina Arts' Current Issue | Carolina Arts Unleashed | Home | ]







Carolina Arts is published monthly by Shoestring Publishing Company, a subsidiary of PSMG, Inc. Copyright© 1987-2013 by PSMG, Inc. which published Charleston Arts from July 1987 - December 1994 and South Carolina Arts from January 1995 - December 1996. It also published Carolina Arts Online, Copyright© 1998 - 2013 by PSMG, Inc. All rights reserved by PSMG, Inc. or by the authors of articles. Reproduction or use without written permission is strictly prohibited.