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Exploring the Western NC Art Scene | Asheville & Beyond

Art and craft traditions run deep in the mountains of Western North Carolina, where artisans uphold age-old techniques while infusing their creations with modern sensibilities. Exploring the Western NC art scene is an afternoon, day, or week filled with variety and amazement at the sheer diversity of expression. Choose between vibrant graphic designs, woodworking, fiber arts, and glassblowing, to name a few!

View the region’s art and creativity at galleries, craft fairs, and studios. Visitors can even try their hand at various crafts through workshops and classes offered by local artisans. Here is a rundown of where you can start your journey:

River Arts District (RAD)

The River Arts District is a 2-square-mile area of converted industrial buildings about a mile from downtown Asheville. For two decades, artists looking for large, cheap spaces have converted these warehouses into studios, galleries, classrooms, and restaurants.

Take the free trolley to cover more distance. Choose the medium that interests you, from basketry and glass to bookbinding and sculpture. Watch artists at work or take a class! Check out the event schedule, or just wander!

Downtown Asheville

Downtown Asheville is home to several galleries and the Woolworth Walk. What is the Woolworth Walk? A historic building formerly a Woolworth’s Retail Store now exhibits local artists. They have even kept the old soda fountain open!

Traditional galleries include the Asheville Gallery of Art, the Momentum Gallery, and Blue Spiral 1. You can make the trip downtown just for art or add some shopping. There are over 200 shops, many of them independent.

Grovewood Village

Grovewood Village is the former site of Biltmore Industries, a weaving and woodworking company founded by Edith Vanderbilt, Eleanor Vance, and Charlotte Vale. The historic property is now dedicated to honoring American Arts and Crafts. Along with a gallery and artist studios, you will find an Antique Car Museum, a Homespun Museum, and a sculpture garden.

Collage of three pictures: a series of handmade baskets, colorful quilt blocks, hands on a pottery wheel making a bowl.

Blue Ridge Craft Trails

Combine visiting local artists with a drive through the countryside that inspires them by taking your pick of one of the Blue Ridge Craft Trails. Charming small towns and mountain hollers are replete with blacksmiths, glassblowers, quilters, and so much more.

Waynesville Drive

Take the Waynesville Drive and see a jeweler’s studio, a pottery artist, and a woodworker. Drive by Lake Jawaluska and downtown Waynesville. Visit the Museum of North Carolina Handicrafts, and if you choose your dates wisely, take part in a downtown Mountain Dance.

Maggie Valley Drive

The Maggie Valley Drive showcases a chainsaw carver, a woodburning master, and a quilt trail. What is a quilt trail? Eight-foot by eight-foot blocks of traditional quilt patterns adorn historic buildings. Other choices? You can visit one of the many wineries in the area or a Motorcycle Museum.

Enjoy North Carolina Art Festivals.

There are dozens of Art Festivals throughout western North Carolina. No matter the season, you can find a festival to attend. These are just a few examples:


  • Weaverville Art Safari occurs at the end of April. This self-guided tour allows visitors to see up to 75 participating artists.
  • Art After Dark starts on the first Friday in May and continues on the first Friday of every month through December. Visit shops open late in downtown Waynesville.
  • Lake Lure Spring Arts and Crafts Festival is the second weekend in May. Come to the town where many “Dirty Dancing” scenes were filmed.



  • Start the season with the NC Apple Festival on Labor Day Weekend. It’s a combination street fair, arts and crafts exhibit, music festival, and parade.
  • Mid-October brings LEAF Festival, a celebration of global art and music in nearby Black Mountain.
  • Visit downtown Asheville at the end of October for the NC Ceramic Arts Festival in North Pack Square Park.


Relax and Refresh at Wildberry Lodge.

Exploring the Western NC art scene stimulates your curiosity and excites your creative juices. After a day of adventures, relax in an atmosphere of natural beauty at Wildberry Lodge.  Wiggle your toes in our hot tub, then visit one of our favorite local restaurants. Hike in our backyard, or pick an outing from our suggested itinerary. If you are looking for other ideas of things to do in the Asheville area, just ask! We love where we live.

But if you came for the arts, there is still plenty more to see. Whether strolling through galleries, catching a live performance, or immersing yourself in nature-inspired art, you’ll find endless opportunities to be inspired and enriched by the beauty and creativity of this picturesque corner of the world. So come, explore, and experience the magic of WNC’s arts community for yourself.

Photo credits:
© hidesy via canva.com
© Frank VandenBergh via canva.com
© hillaryfox via canva.com
© Sketchify Egypt via canva.com


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