Five Reasons the Broadway Arts District is 100% B.A.D. Ass!


Five Reasons the Broadway Arts District is 100% B.A.D. Ass!

  • Dawn Roe

    Dawn Roe, is an artist and educator. She divides her time between Asheville and Winter Park, Florida where she is an Associate Professor of Art at Rollins College. Her work...

The Center for Craft, Creativity and Design
It’s an exciting time for contemporary art in Asheville, and a lot of the energy is coming from a rapidly transforming section of downtown I’ve decided to playfully dub, The Broadway Arts District, or, B.A.D.  The block between Walnut and Woodfin houses the two, primary heavy hitters – The Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center and the more recent addition, The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design.  Both venues regularly mount diverse and challenging exhibitions accompanied by thought provoking programming that allow visitors the opportunity to engage with the work through discussions, workshops and symposia.  Free from commercial constraints, these spaces show work that doesn’t rely on market value, instead realizing exhibitions that are rich with cultural significance, with an emphasis on process and ideas.
This semi-regular column will primarily focus upon the non-commercial spaces in the B.A.D. but will occasionally highlight exhibitions and activities taking place at regional academic venues and other non-profits such as UNCA, Warren Wilson College, Western Carolina University and The Asheville Art Museum.  I feel it’s also important to acknowledge the advocacy work of two additional non-profits that are essential to the community – The Asheville Area Arts Council and the Asheville Darkroom.  These organizations are especially worthy of our support and engagement and will also be referenced in Dispatches from the B.A.D.
So, as promised, here are those five reasons the Broadway Arts District is 100% B.A.D. Ass!
1. The Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center
The Mothership of sorts, this center serves as the physical container for a WHOLE lot of history.  If you aren’t familiar with the (still) influential legacy of Black Mountain College, do yourself a favor and spend some time perusing the wealth of information available on the BMCM+AC website and get to know this cultural institution even better by regularly visiting the space on Broadway.  And, in the coming months, you’ll have even more to see and do as an expansion is in the works that will allow for a larger gallery space in the building across the street owned by The Center for Craft, Creativity and Design. 

The Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center (on a cold, window-fogging morning)
You can follow the progress of the expansion (headed by Randy Shull) on a Tumblr maintained by the project’s apprentice and intern, Carley Brandau (link below).  Obviously, there is much more to say about this – look for a column dedicated to this project in the coming weeks.
For more info:
2. The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design
Relocating to the B.A.D. just this year, the CCCD has already proven itself to be a powerhouse in the neighborhood.  In its first two major exhibitions (CTRL-P and, Gee’s Bend, From Quilts to Prints) the center’s gallery, Benchspace, has clearly articulated the organizational mission of advancing “the understanding of craft by encouraging and supporting research, critical dialogue, and professional development in the United States.” These experimental exhibitions managed to break down the genre-imposed barriers that can sometimes limit a more considerate appreciation of contemporary craft.  I, for one, am looking forward to their upcoming exhibitions and (always free to the public) programming.
For more info:
3. Window (Re/production | Re/presentation)
In full disclosure – this is “my” little space. Conceived of as an experimental platform for public art and housed within a portion of the storefront at Henco Reprographics, this quasi-gallery was founded to promote dialogue and exchange around timely issues related to representation in contemporary art.  The artists who are invited to realize new works for the space create imagery that relies upon reproduction as essential (in some way) to the content of the work.  Due to the relative simplicity of the project (artists send their work in digital form to be printed at Henco), Window has been able to share the work of numerous prominent and emerging national and international artists with the community.

Window (Re/production | Re/presentation) and Henco Reprographics
For more info:
4. The Media Arts Project
Although not officially “housed” within the B.A.D., The Media Arts Project is a location-less entity that keeps the wheels spinning through their tireless promotion of the arts in Asheville, and particularly through their various partnerships including the annual {RE}HAPPENING festival produced in collaboration with BMCM+AC (lots more on this to come in the weeks ahead). Their website provides valuable resources for artists and serves as a kind of hub for networking and finding opportunities.
For more info:
5. Henco Reprographics
What would the B.A.D. be without Henco?  I don’t ever want to know!  The owners and staff at Henco are HUGE supporters of the arts, providing affordable services to artists as well as sponsoring countless arts events over the years.  As well, Henco has fully supported Window since its inception by not only allowing a portion of their storefront to serve as the site, but also donating their services by producing each print along with the vinyl lettering.  Now that’s some unbelievable generosity.
For more info: