Ashevilles Significant Influence on North Carolina
Asheville North Carolina is one of the great craft centers of America. The crafts of this regions Appalachian Mountains has been passed from one generation to the next. According to Handmade in America, an organization that supports the craft industry has seen it grow from 122 million to 140 million in the past years. The craft industry has not only enriched the lives of local residents but travelers from all over the world. Asheville ranks second of the top 25 small arts destinations in the country.
The Southern Highland Craft Guild creates a commercial market for craftspeople in the Appalachian region. It operates five retail outlets and the craft fair, a four day event in July and October that draws many people to Asheville. It also has the largest and most important collection of Appalachian craft in the world. Alan stand is the oldest operating craft shop in the nation.
Handmade in America serves as a support system in the community for craftsmen to develop expand and enhance opportunities in the marketplace and create strategies for businesses. Handmade in America has published two excellent guidebooks. The Craft Heritage Trails of Western North Carolina and Farms, Gardens and Countryside Trails feature 600 craft and agricultural sites, galleries, lodgings and restaurants. They will soon be on the Internet.
There are many tours in the Asheville area. There are driving tours with 45 stops. These self-guided tours are held in April through November which are the beautiful spring and fall seasons in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The tours are free and open to the public. Other tours hidden in old factories and warehouses along the French Broad River feature paintings jewelry, pottery, sculpture, fabrics, brooms glass and more. One can learn through workshops and getaways how to use a potter’s wheel, blow glass and turn wood into a lathe.
The Asheville area is rich in craft education. The Penland School of Crafts offers workshops and the educational goal is to create a place where students can learn a craft as well as how to transform that craft into a business.
Asheville has truly become an very artsy scene instead of a once tired and depressed city. Asheville is hoping one day to become a leading center for crafts and craft artists like Santa Fe. Maybe people will start calling Santa Fe the Asheville of the West.