How to spend the day in the River Arts District
This River Arts district is buzzing with hundreds of incredible artists. The streets are lined with mountains crafters, art galleries with a myriad of fun events, folk potters, glass-blowers, wood-smiths and indie jewelry makers. The walls within the neighborhood are lined with beautiful street art making the walk from studio to studio just as impressive at the studios themselves. Tucked in between the artistic workshops are delicious nooks to grab some grub or enjoy a libation.
Below are 8 (even though there are plenty more!) phenomenal studios that you just can’t miss. The talented peoples in Asheville will take your breath away with their creations and innovative artistic expressions. Definitely take advantage of the plethora of colorful and easy to navigate maps that guide you through RAD with over 200 artists in 22 buildings.
- Elizabeth Porritt Carrington- Impressionist landscapes
Born and raised in Ireland, Elizabeth settled in WNC to set up shop and share her beautiful paintings with the world. Her work is inspired by her relationships to landscape, their stories and people, archaeological work and her deep curiosity and enquiry of the experience of being human. Elizabeth plays upon the boundaries of the real and imagined, expressing the often unspoken miracles of our aliveness by fortifying their color, light and form in a liberated palette, practicing a process of focused presence and an unapologetic love of life in all its forms.
- Christie Calaycay of Calaycay Design- Handcrafted jewelry
I love her creations. They are very modern with a touch of ethereal. Her work is showcased here in Asheville as well as NYC. She expresses ideas in gold, sterling silver, copper, bronze, brass and semi-precious stones, often incorporating texture and the mixture of metals. Each piece of jewelry is handcrafted and many are one of a kind.
- Akira Satake- Gas and wood fired ceramics
Akira Satake was born in Osaka, Japan and has been living in the U.S. since 1983. His creations are hands down my favorite. His Kohiki technique makes me think of an ancient birch forest. A forest with a story to tell and secret to whisper. You can find his work at Gallery Mungen. A must see!
- Sarah Wells Roland- Ceramics
She specializes in forms that are fluid and tactile in nature, delighting especially in large work. Her unique eye for form and design define her work. The forms are graceful and fluid and serve as a stunning addition to anyone’s home.
- Mark Sondles- Twig and wood furniture
Mark carves spoons and bowls in addition to creating rustic furniture from found items and repurposed/recycled pallets, woodland twigs, branches and vines.
- Mat Tommey- Sculptural art baskets
Matt’s handcrafted baskets are a whimsical collaboration of traditional weaving techniques, vines, bark and recycled metal. His most recent work focuses on the use of a wide variety of southeastern invasive species, encaustic wax, clay and recycled metal in the creation of sculptural art vessels. His work is absolutely breathtaking and is akin to putting pieces of art directly from nature into your home.
- Sam Benbow- Wood worker
Sam Benbow is a custom woodworker and cabinetmaker specializing in cabinetry, cutting boards, butcher blocks, benches, and tables.
- John Miguel Almaguer- Glass
Almaguer received a Bachelor of Fine Art in Glass and won awards for his work as well as displayed in galleries all over the nation. Almaguer also apprenticed in Murano/Venice, Italy directly before arriving to Asheville, NC
I hope you have fun exploring RAD! The River Arts District of Asheville is said to become one the most premier destinations for art in the entire country!