A world of color awaits travelers to Asheville now through fall, both natural and human-made. In addition to nature’s symphony of crimson and gold hues, this season offers art experiences that invite visitors into painted landscapes and imagined worlds. When the day's adventures are over, guests can rest their heads at an artfully designed boutique hotel that will transform an overnight stay into a dreamscape.
Exhibition | Krafthouse: Forest of the New Treesis a first-of-its kind immersive art installation at the Center for Craft. The self-guided experience created by local visual artists, filmmakers, poets, performers and costume designers invites visitors into an imaginary realm, inspired by Appalachian craft traditions, indigenous wisdom, and the ancient wildness of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the world’s oldest mountains. Return visits will reward guests with new perspectives. The exhibition runs Sept. 23-Oct. 13.
Exhibition | Asheville, nicknamed “Foodtopia” for its distinguished culinary and farming scene, now has an appetizing art exhibit dedicated to food as a focal point in culture and life. The Art of Food is a collection of works by some of the most preeminent postwar and contemporary artists, including Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol and Enrique Chagoya. On view at the Asheville Art Museum through Oct. 22.
Gallery Hop | The Second Saturday gallery hop just got a new set of wheels. The ArtsAVL Connect Trolley offers free rides to artist galleries and studios downtown and in the River Arts District. Riders can hop off or on at any stop along the route. The trolley runs every second Saturday from 12-8 p.m.
Open Studios | Every first Friday, more than a dozen artists at The Refinery AVL Creator Space and Galleryopen their studio doors to visitors. El Mercadito, a new addition to the gallery space, is a collection of drawings, sculptures and mixed-media artwork by Luis Alvaro Sahagun centered on Latinx narratives. As the grandson of a curandera, or healer, Sahagun calls his artmaking “a mystical instrument” that forges a spiritual connection to heal wounds of conquest, colonization and capitalism. Upcoming first Fridays: Sept. 1, Oct. 6 and Nov. 3.
Public Art | A bright purple mural celebrating Latinx heritage now stretches across a wall along Coxe Ave., near downtown. The artwork, titled “Eres Un Orgullo Latino” (which means “You Are Latin Pride”), was designed and painted by Leslie Reynalte-Llanco as part of Buncombe County’s Creative Equity Mural Project.
-Visitors can discover more of Asheville’s murals, graffiti and public sculptures with Mountain Mural Tours. In addition to checking out the area’s street art, tours include information about the artists, their inspiration and local history.
VIBRANT FESTIVALS AND CULTURAL EVENTS
Event | The first Beer City Comic Con makes its debut at Harrah’s Cherokee Center downtown Sept. 29-Oct. 1. The weekend-long event invites comics fans and sci-fi enthusiasts of all ages to “get your nerd on” with a variety of panel discussions, seminars, contests, and more. Planned topics include “neurodiversity as a superpower” and “the biology of Star Wars.”
Speaking of Star Wars, the weekend lineup also includes the Asheville Symphony Orchestra performing “Star Wars: Celebrating a Galaxy of Music.” Audiences will journey to a galaxy far, far away and experience cinematic moments, from the Battle of Hoth to the Death Star Trench Run.
Festival | Ya’ll means all in Asheville. This year’s Blue Ridge Pride festival kicks off the morning of Sept. 30 with a procession through downtown, culminating in a day-long celebration in Pack Square Park. The annual free event features musical acts, food trucks and dozens of vendors.
Festival | Burial Beer Co. hosts its premiere event, Burnpile, at its Forestry Camp Facility on Oct. 14. The annual beer and music festival includes a full-day concert alongside a tasting experience from a diverse lineup of more than 50 of the country’s best breweries. This year’s lineup features Deer Tick, S.G. Goodman, and MJ Lenderman.
Festival | This year’s LEAF Festival (Oct. 19-22) pays homage to first nations, indigenous and Latinx communities, centered around the theme of “Legends of the Americas.” The three-day music festival at Lake Eden in Black Mountain features a lineup of renowned musicians and performers, including Halluci Nation, Martha Redbone and Son Rompe Pera.