Asheville Art Museum re-opens after major three-year expansion project

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Asheville Art Museum re-opens after major three-year expansion project
The new Asheville Art Museum opens November 14. (Glass orb sculpture seen in the foreground is called Reflections on Unity by Henry Richardson).

ASHEVILLE, NC.- The Asheville Art Museum, the hub for 20th- and 21st-century American art in Western North Carolina, opens on November 14. The $24+ million, state-of-the-art facility encompasses 54,000 square feet and adds 70 percent more Collection gallery space. For the first time in the Museum's history, it has the capacity to host major traveling exhibitions from nationally recognized museums. The expansion increases its physical space and dramatically increases its role as a community center, educational resource, and cultural concierge for the region’s residents and visitors.

"The new Asheville Art Museum is a warm and welcoming space on a personal level," says Executive Director Pamela L. Myers. "It's a space designed for people to come together and be inspired in an art-filled, open environment with all the amenities to make them feel comfortable."

Working with local general contractor Beverly-Grant, local architecture firm ARCA Design, and New York-based architectural firm Ennead Architects, the project consisted of three main components:

1. The historic preservation of the Museum’s current North Wing (formerly the 1926 Pack Library) to house the new John & Robyn Horn Education Center and Frances Mulhall Achilles Art Library.

2. Renovation and new construction of the East Wing including two special exhibition halls (Appleby Foundation Hall and Explore Asheville Hall) and more Collection storage.

3. Entirely new construction of the West Wing with a stunning glass façade.
Features of the new Museum:

• A rooftop sculpture terrace and Perspective Café offer gorgeous mountain views.

• The Oculus, a 15-foot viewing window in the SECU Collection Hall affords unmatched immersive city views and a place for reflection.

• Public art installations and programming on the Plaza.

• Wells Fargo ArtPLAYce, a hands-on creative space for people of all ages.

• The Windgate Foundation Atrium, a light-filled place to take in large-scale works of art.

• SECU Collection Hall's 10 new galleries

Appalachia Now! An Interdisciplinary Survey of Contemporary Art in Southern Appalachia is the inaugural special exhibition of the newly renovated Museum. Curated by Jason Andrew, the juried exhibition features 50 artists of diverse backgrounds from the Southern Appalachian regions of Western North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virgina. “Asheville is going through a significant shift through the type of work that’s made and shown here—moving through and alongside an Appalachian craft background,” says Appalachia Now! artist Molly Sawyer. “It’s a reawakening of what artists can do as a community here. It’s powerful and really exciting to be a part of.” Meet four women artists tapped for the exhibition.

Intersections in American Art is the largest presentation ever drawn from the Museum’s Collection of 5,000+ works and 4,000+ architectural drawings. It celebrates the unique qualities of art from Western North Carolina, placed within the context of art from across the United States. The intersections of regional and national art are highlighted throughout the galleries, as are three specific ways of understanding the works here:

1. Time & Place
2. Experiments in Materials & Form
3. Collaboration & Interdisciplinary Dialogue.

A grant from the Henry Luce Foundation allowed a diverse group to help reinterpret the Collection with ideas derived from Black Mountain College (1933-1957). Several of the most important artists of the 20th century taught or studied at Black Mountain College, and its legacy carries on in the work they produced later in their careers as well as of those they influenced.

Many Become One - Much like the traditional United States motto E Pluribus Unum, meaning “out of many, one,” the artists who created the works seen in the Windgate Foundation Atrium and Plaza brought many separate parts together to make a unified whole. These works offer us a variety of possibilities for how to navigate our physical world on regional, national, and global levels. Featuring works by Alex Bernstein, Wesley Clark, Ken Fandell, Maya Lin, George Peterson, Henry Richardson, and Kenneth Snelson.

Points of View: Recent Gifts to the Photography Collection - A look at the collectors who have donated and how their own interests in photography become self-evident when their gifts are displayed together.

50 Years of Western North Carolina Glass: The James D & Judith S. Moore Collection - This exhibition highlights the beauty of the Moores' collection and illustrates the depth with which they have collected certain foundational artists in the Studio Glass Movement.

Collecting Craft & Recent Gifts - Presenting some of the new treasures to enter the Collection, with a special focus on craft. The Museum's Collection contains some of the best-known makers, both locally and nationally.

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November 12, 2019

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