The Asheville Art Museum has installed works which have a special connection to Western North Carolina in the lobbies of three State Employees’ Credit Union branches in the Asheville area.
The works on view reflect the unique skills of artists in our region, with emphasis on North Carolina Pottery; North Carolina Glass; and Cherokee Baskets. The installations, which will rotate among the three branches every few months, are located in Weaverville, near the UNC Asheville campus and South Asheville.
The public is invited to visit these SECU branch offices during business hours to view the exhibitions. The Museum is grateful for the support of State Employees’ Credit Union in providing these locations so their members and the public to enjoy the work of our regional artists.
“The rotational displays are a wonderful way to feature some of our incredible Western North Carolina works of art,” says SECU Senior Vice President Mary Ann Rice. “The pieces in the collection are extraordinary and add a great local flavor to the branch décor. SECU members and staff are certainly enjoying the beautiful additions to our lobbies.”
While the Asheville Art Museum is undergoing a major renovation and expansion project to create a new, state-of-the-art museum opening in 2018 in downtown Asheville, Museum programs and exhibitions are popping up all around Western North Carolina. Information and schedules for these pop-ups can be found at ashevilleart.org/popups.
Western North Carolina Pottery – at 1310 Hendersonville Road, Asheville through July 11, 2017 (then rotates to a different branch)
As an industry, pottery has thrived in Western North Carolina for over a century. Whereas it first filled functional needs and was produced for storage, pottery emerged as an art form in the region around the rise of the Arts and Crafts Movement at the turn of the 20th century.
This installation includes ceramics by Oscar L. Bachelder, Thomas Throckmorton, Walter B. Stephen, Bacia Edelman, Julie Larson and Michael Sherrill. Whether working alone, or with collaborators, these artists exemplify the diversity of approaches to Art Pottery in Western North Carolina that continues today. Their works are just a small selection from the ceramics collection of the Asheville Art Museum, which consists of over 500 ceramic objects of both utilitarian and sculptural forms.
Western North Carolina Glass – at 8 Monticello Rd., Weaverville July 11, 2017 (then rotates to a different branch)
Western North Carolina holds a special place in the history of American glass art, as several artists of the Studio Glass Movement settled in the region early in their careers. In 1965, Harvey K. Littleton (1922–2013), the “father” of the Studio Glass Movement (an ongoing movement that began in the 1960s), was invited to the Penland School of Crafts in Bakersville, NC. Unable to visit, his graduate student Bill Boysen went in his place and shortly afterwards created a glass facility there. This event instigated the Studio Glass Movement in Western North Carolina as more of Littleton’s students began teaching at Penland and glass artists took up residence in the region. Penland would become one of the most significant information exchange centers for glass, attracting instructors from all over the U.S., as well as internationally. The prominent glass artists of the Studio Glass Movement, many of whom are still active today, are well represented by the Asheville Art Museum’s collection. Works in this installation — from artists including Mark Peiser, Yaffa Todd and Ken Carder — reflect a variety of techniques practiced in this demanding medium.
Cherokee Baskets – at 701 N. Broadway Ave., Asheville July 11, 2017 (then rotates to a different branch)
Long regarded for their exquisite craftsmanship, Cherokee baskets are notable for their beauty, durability and technical complexity. Made primarily by women, they play an important role in Cherokee culture, serving as functional and decorative objects, records of history, and celebrations of time-honored values. For centuries, Cherokees successfully marketed their baskets and used them as currency to trade for a variety of goods.
The Asheville Art Museum recognizes the important contributions that the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has made to the art and culture of the Southern Appalachian region and is committed to collecting, preserving, interpreting and exhibiting historical and contemporary Cherokee art. The Museum’s Collection currently contains over 40 baskets made by Cherokee women from 1900 to the present day. These baskets are part of a larger collection of Cherokee artwork that also includes outstanding examples of wood carving, stone sculpture and ceramics.
(Image: Throckmorton Pottery, Fish Vase, c. 1940, Museum Purchase.)