Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Snowed In and Shoveled Out!

Things have slowed down here at the Museum this week because of the great snow storm of 2009 in Asheville this past weekend. We have finally seen the remaining snowed-in staff members this morning (yes, Day 6) and have almost exhausted our snow horror stories. Who had power? Who made snowmen and sledded down the neighboring slope in a kayak (me)? Whose cars are still covered in 20 inches of snow?

I know that you are all curious so let me ease your mind. The Museum itself and its Pack Place neighbors received a healthy dose of the snow- but we have shoveled safe paths that lead you right to our door. So eat your big meals, unwrap your gifts, and get out of the house over the Holidays with a little dose of art at your local downtown Museum (three floors allow you to find your own space within our safe, warm walls while still remaining close to your family).

And from all of us at the Asheville Art Museum, we wish you a warm-electricity filled, snow angel making, crazy sledding time over the upcoming Holidays- and into the New Year.

See in 2010.

Images- The Asheville Art Museum Entrance. Saturday, December 19 (Day2); Staff Photo, December 2009.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Artistic Ads

Merely by accident, I found some very interesting advertisements from the Asheville Art Museum's advertising past. They are quirky and fun, with just the right amount of wittiness- and I felt like I had to share them with you. They effectively present the arts in a new way- and get you to think about the importance of the arts in all of our lives. They have become historical relics for the Art Museum (they are not really that old) but they also maintain their contemporary relevance. And like any ad campaign- they are incredibly catchy! I think they are great- Enjoy!

Let me know if you have ideas that are just as catchy...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Hanging Lorna Blaine Halper

Today we are hanging Lorna Blaine Halper's solo show at the Asheville Art Museum!

It opens on Saturday, December 12th. Opening Reception is Sunday December 13th at 2pm.

And it is Free.

Lorna Blaine Halper was a student at Black Mountain College, a unique arts school located just outside of Asheville. Although it lasted only 24 years, from 1933-57, and enrolled fewer than 1200 students, Black Mountain College launched a remarkable number of the artists. The Museum is dedicated to collecting and preserving the art of Black Mountain College and continues to expand its Black Mountain College collection.

According to Assistant Curator, Cole Hendrix, Halper's "visual practice became dominated by an obsessive, introspective and sustained meditation on the line. Throughout her career Halper continually played with the terms of seeing, manipulating value, tone and scale to evince the descriptive qualities of line."

Lorna Blaine Halper: The Space Between is going up in the Museum's Community Gallery on the first floor. It is split by the Museum shop so both spaces have to be considered apart from each other and also together within the larger context of the show.

The Curators and Registrar/Preparator determine where the works should go, taking into account shapes, sizes, themes, and colors so that the pieces flow in a logical and creative way for optimal viewing. Then, the Museum's Executive Director considers the placement of the pieces, making changes as

necessary. Afterwards, the prep crew measures and hangs each piece on the wall, securing each side for added strength. The wall text is then placed onto the wall in the appropriate places and the exhibition is ready to open to the public.

Come out and visit this exciting exhibition!

Image Credits:

Lorna Blaine Halper, Untitled, 1965, oil on canvas, 34.13 x 48 inches. Gift of Lorna Blaine Halper. Asheville Art Museum Black Mountain College Collection. 2008.03.09.21; Lorna Blaine Halper, Untitled, nd, oil and ink on linen, 60 x 48 inches. Gift of Lorna Blaine Halper. Asheville Art Museum Black Mountain College Collection. 2008.03.10.21; Staff hanging the exhibition.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Getting Crafty

The BIG Crafty drops into Pack Place this Sunday, December 6th from 12-6pm.
The Asheville Art Museum hosts!

They have great local crafts by many, many artists plus holiday music, cupcakes and beer, fancy decor, and a lot of people! Don't miss the Asheville Art Museum's shop where the Holiday Market has been extended with more homemade goodies from area artists!

Because the Asheville Art Museum is hosting the Big Crafty in Pack Place, we all got a little excited and decided to do some crafts of our own! For an afternoon, we walked away from our computers, pushed up our sleeves, and made our way to the Studio where the Education Staff led us in a Paste Paper making session. It is so easy and fun to do- so read the recipe below and get crafty in celebration of this weekend's great local craft fair!

Basic Paste Paper Recipe:
Set 6 cups of water to boil in large saucepan. Meanwhile, mix 3/4 cup white rice flour (available in bulk foods) and ¾ cup white wheat f lour (cake flour is great) with 1 ½ cups of cold water. (You can use plain white wheat flour for the whole shebang if you want to.) Add water to the flour slo
wly, trying to make the paste as smooth as possible, you will thank yourself later. When your water is boiling add the cold-water paste mixture to the boiling water stirring constantly with a whisk. The paste will thicken immediately and turn somewhat translucent. As soon as it does this, remove the paste from the heat and let in cool. Once paste is no longer boiling hot, add 1tsp of glycerin (drug store) and 1tsp. of Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap though any liquid soap will do the job. If the paste is lumpy use a blender to smooth things out. Mix the paste with water soluble paints like acrylic but tempera is fine if you are working with kids.

BE CRAFTY: Get a piece of blank, clean paper. Water it with a sponge (all of it- all the way to the corners) so it is wet but not soaking wet. Drop a few drops of colored paste onto the paper and spread it around with your fingers( too many colors will make it brown so be careful!). Use fun tools like old legos, rubber stamps, whatever to make cool designs... When finished- spread them out to dry for a day- and then iron from the back side to make them flat. They are excellent as homemade cards, wrapping paper, etc. It can get messy! So make sure that you have plenty of water and that you do this in an area you can clean up afterwards (studio, kitchen, e.g.) Wash off the table every time you start a new piece of paper and HAVE FUN!

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Holiday Market at the Asheville Art Museum

Open through Sunday, Nov 22nd!
Pack Place, downtown Asheville

Book Signings, Local Art, Cookies & Cider, Craft Demos, Free Gift Wrapping!

Plus Incentives! Let th
e Photos speak for themselves! Come see us!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Funding through Facebook

Chase Community Giving is picking its next charities through Facebook. Fans vote and Chase gives the winners a sizeable donation! Become a fan of the Asheville Art Museum and vote before December 11, 2009!

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Docent's take in Art

I learned something very interesting today... Steven Seinberg and I grew up in the same neighborhood in the Florida suburbs; we share memories of the same river, where the Florida wetlands butt up against the rows of residential houses.

Seinberg is an artist living and working in Asheville; his contemporary abstract paintings are inspired by the tranquility of natural settings. I hopped on a tour that the Asheville Art Museum Docents took this week of his studio, and as he was speaking about nature as a strong focus in his art, his paintings grow livelier and stronger. I can feel the breeze and hear the brook where he gained inspiration. I am calmed by the majesty of the mountains in the distance. He speaks about the importance of Asheville's setting for his work and the connection it has with his childhood memories where the Florida swamp is unforgivably intrusive, yet the lushness of the surroundings is easily forgotten amid daily routine. I suddenly remember the canoe I steered throughout middle school, down the river I spent so much time on during my childhood, and I jump back into the cool, refreshing spring where shark teeth can be found with a snorkel and a mask. It is a memory we both share, and one I forgot for so long; a memory that was overshadowed by Central Florida asphalt and unnatural suburban landscapes.

Steven Seinberg's paintings can invoke still moments that we all have experienced at one time. Standing before his work invokes the tranquil feeling of nature, moments of stillness, and the peace of healthy relationships. As I stand in his studio, on the second floor of a busy downtown street, I am suddenly aware of the greatness of our city- that he can work in the busiest part of downtown and still take inspiration from the stillness of our surroundings.

This is a perfect segue for the second part of the Docent's journey today. We leave the studio and walk a few blocks down to the Asheville Mural on Lexington Ave where we meet Molly Must, a 23 year old artist whose artistic dream for a rundown space under a busy highway overpass was realized- for Asheville's immense benefit. Understanding the power of urban spaces and mixing it with her love and knowledge of Asheville's appreciation for the arts, she pushed for this project to happen from city approval and feats of fundraising, to the logistics of scaffold rental and artist scheduling. She understands that art can transform political arenas and assist with social problems. Her vision extends to inserting art as a positive force in the lives of the underprivileged, the forgotten, and those on the fringes of 'productive society'. And not only that-she is a very talented painter.

This mural is a testament to her ambition, her talent, and her passion.

As I take photographs and listen to her speak- I am also aware of the awe and appreciation the group before me has for her efforts. The Mural has not only transformed the walls under this busy overpass- but it has also individually transformed so many of our daily lives and the lives that we have as a citizens of this great city.

Overall, I have to say that the Asheville Art Museum Docents get to do some very exciting things! They give their time and energy to the Museum in the pursuit of dispersing knowledge, entertaining visitors, and enriching any visit to the Museum- and we appreciate every moment of their time that they give to the Museum. Thank you to the Docents- and to Steven Seinberg and Molly Must for a fascinating Monday adventure!

Want to be an Asheville Art Museum docent? Contact Nancy Sokolove, Adult Programs Manager at the Asheville Art Museum. 828.253.3227 or email

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Holiday Market Shopping Extravaganza!!!!

The Asheville Art Museum hosts its annual Holiday Shopping Extravaganza! in the Pack Place Community Gallery (Pack Place off Biltmore Ave.) from November 17th to the 20th.

I was lucky enough to peruse the wares early today and I have to say that I will have a difficult time not buying many goodies....

But, I will just let the pictures talk. Most of the wares are handmade by local artists and thus, one of a kind! Buy local and artsy this holiday season and make your friends and loved ones think you are the best gift giver in the world.

Plus, an extra bonus- Museum Members get 20% off on Friday November 20th. That means on everything that you purchase at the Market! Not a Member? You should join! Not only do you get the discount but you get to visit the Museum for free at any time during the year and take part in our great film screenings, artist lectures, curatorial talks....etc. Fun, exciting, and free!

Handmade journals and calendars, homemade soaps and teas, ornaments, gorgeous jewelry, hand knit scarves, holiday cards....

Cider, craft demos, cocktails, cookies...And you can get it all gift wrapped on the spot by our fantastic volunteers!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Student Group Tour FUNDING Opportunity!

Attention ALL Western North Carolina Educators.....

We understand the rising cost of gas, the search for volunteer chaperones, the organizing of snacks and lunches and the fight for funding are often very strong obstacles against planning a field trip for your students. However, we here at the Museum also understand the awe of standing in front of the majestic Kenneth Noland painting, of walking around a Ruth Asawa wire sculpture, of being close to a Jasper Johns print, or of walking under a massive Gillespie aluminum sculpture. More importantly, we have also seen the benefits of a day learning outside of the classroom, we have been humbled by how students react to art in their own way, we have been surprised by a student's first encounter with an elevator, and we have been shocked by a student's interpretation of their own art piece. is the Asheville Art Museum's pleasure to share with all educators (parents, coaches, tutors, friends, etc.- pass the news on) this remarkable funding opportunity to make your visit to the Asheville Art Museum easier to plan, staff, organize, and execute.

Target offers educational funding through its Field Trip Grants. Educators can apply for a grant for up to $800 to get out and explore the world with your students! Bring your group to the Asheville Art Museum and have your bus, admission, personalized tour with a qualified Museum docent and even your lunch paid for!

Apply soon- the grant application period closes on November 3rd, 2009.

And check out the Asheville Art Museum's Group Tours. We can personalize them to fit whatever your class is learning about. Plus, students spend time in the studio for a hands on activity. Your students can do printmaking, painting, drawing, crayon resist, sculpture work, and more.. Get them learning about art with an interesting and adventurous trip to the Asheville Art Museum! And you can do it for FREE but you must apply in the Next SIX days!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Herb and Dorothy

Special Film Screening!

Thursday, October 29th at 7pm.

For one night only the Asheville Art Museum presents a special screening for all art lovers and collectors of anything.... at the Fine Arts Theater, downtown Asheville.

Herb and Dorothy Vogel are two middle class workers who live in New York City in a one bedroom apartment stuffed with furniture and appliances, turtles and cats, and oh.. of the most interesting collections of Contemporary Art in the City.

Year by year, they collected, piece by piece, their love of art propelling them forward without regard to monetary wealth, popular fashion, or artistic fame. Many of their pieces were acquired before an artist became famous, and thus, they amassed an incredibly rich, varied, and fascinating collection, all within modest means- and with serious space constraints.

The film mixes artist interviews with time spent with the Vogel's themselves. They are charming and affable, humbling and real. They are the reason institutions like the Asheville Art Museum are so important; their genuine passion for art reminds us of our responsibility to collect, preserve, and educate our community about the inspiring power of art in all aspects of our lives!

The film has inspired many so far, and it has become a catalyst for conversation about art, collecting, individual passions, creative outlets, inspiring hobbies, the balance of work and play, and so much more!

Bring a friend to this special ONE night opportunity and have your own conversation inspired by Herb and Dorothy Vogel. Where will it lead you?

Here is the official site.

Get your Advance Tickets by contacting the Asheville Art Museum!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Curl up with a good book!

It is chilly and raining here. ALL DAY. As I look out my window I see people huddled against each other, walking through downtown Asheville, fighting with their umbrellas, and I shudder.

But, do not despair my good readers. Today is the day I venture back into Kurt Vonnegut's strange and deliriously glorious stories as I hold in my hand his novel- Bluebeard. In it, Vonnegut tells the tale of fictional Abstract Expressionist painter Rabo Karabekian who first appeared in Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions, which also happens to be the last book I read of his.

Vonnegut's book takes it's name from Charles Perrault's Bluebeard, published in 1697. Perrault is the French author whose work led to the 'fairy tale' genre. Although the Brothers Grimm (or Disney) often get much of the credit from us today for those classic fairy tales, Perrault wrote earlier versions of the fairy tales we all love and cherish like Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Puss in Boots.... And, of course, Perrault himself was 'inspired' by earlier folk tales.

Knowing all of this, imagine what Vonnegut can do with a story he wrote that was inspired, although very roughly, by Perrault, the man of 'fairy tales'.

Just listen to Rabo Karabekian, as he says in the beginning of the book: "I promised you an autobiography, but something went wrong in the kitchen..."

I can't help but be excited for the chilly, rainy weather so I can curl up with this fun read.

Join the Asheville Art Museum's book group Discussion Bound as they discuss this farcical delight! Kurt Vonnegut at his finest. November 10th from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. Free with Membership or Museum Admission.

You can read Perrault's Bluebeard story here. Try to find his moral in Vonnegut's book?!

And if you need to know more about Vonnegut himself: The official site.