On June 8 and 9, Asheville’s River Arts District held the first of two Studio Stroll weekends. I was thrilled to slip away from Honey Hill for a few hours on Saturday afternoon to experience it for the first time. More than 180 working artists in 19 historic converted warehouses along the French Broad River, open their studios and galleries to the public.
My friends and I had the option of walking to studios that were located close together. We also took advantage the free trolley rather than drive to some of the studios that were further away from our starting point.
Our first stop was our favorite artist Diane English, owner of the Great Cosmic Happy-Ass Card Co. Diane is a talented mixed media artist who creates original works of art and greeting cards. Her use of color is amazing and the subject matter is often fun and thought-provoking.
We hopped off the trolley at the historic Cotton Mill Studios. The building is all that remains of the original textile manufacturing complex owned by the Cone family. As an aside, the Cone sisters (Clarabel and Etta) were art collectors and friends of Picasso, Matisse and Gertrude Stein. They were also friends of Mary Hoyt Reese, the daughter of Captain John Keais Hoyt, who built Engadine, our 1885 Queen Anne Victorian mansion. What drew me to this building was the wonderful trompe l’oeil mural on the façade.
There were numerous artists at work in their studios. I was fascinated by the potters and stopped to watch Maria Andrade Troya make honey pots at the Curve Studios.
The River Arts District also has some great restaurants and breweries. We stopped for lunch at White Duck Taco, located in the Hatchery Studio building. This is not your traditional taco/Mexican restaurant! White Duck serves up delicious gourmet tacos, such as duck, Thai chicken, and fish. You won’t find ground beef here!
If you missed the June Studio Stroll, the second one is scheduled for November 9 and 10, 2013. Plan to do some Christmas shopping, and of course, book your stay at Honey Hill Inn and Cabins!