Tag Archives: river arts district

REVOLVE | Art Space Opening

Revolve CompWe attended the opening of REVOLVE art space last evening. The new venue is the combined effort of artist’s Colby Caldwell and Alicia Armstrong. Last night they featured their own work, but will be showcasing works of other creative folks in the future, along with offering space for the creative community. Their spaces, one upstairs and one down, are located in the Cotton Mill Studios in the River Arts District. Cheers!

COTTON MILL Soiree | September 18th

Image 1In support of our modern artist friends at the Cotton Mill, Kelly and I are highlighting this fun event. So, save this date and come join the fun. Kelly, Chett and myself will all be there. Cheers! Troy

Artist Mark Bettis | WNCAP’s 2014 Signature Awardee

Venerated artist Mark Bettis favored by WNCAP this year receiving top honors for the October art auction. The industrious painter has been a longtime supporter of WNCAP throughout his years here in Asheville.Bettis Comp

Mark is a mixed media artist blending oil paints with either hot or cold wax depending on the piece and desired depth. He begins with a graphic notion of what he wants to create before starting, but allows the organic process to takeover. Sometimes the results are unexpected and better than his original vision.



Driven to be uplifting, the honored piece for WNCAP, “Radiance”, evolved to illuminate the feelings of tranquility and calm through design and color.

Mark has been in the River Arts District for two years now. His studio is located in the Wedge Studios overlooking the train tracks and the circus we affectionately call the Wedge Brewery. Before venturing to Asheville five years ago he was a Creative Director at an Advertising Agency in Chicago. Prior to that — a graduate at Ringling College. Like many of us, it is Asheville where Mark ultimately came to plant his artistic roots.

IMG_2937Beyond his own work he wants people to know that the Wedge Studios is home to many working studios and it was a great place to engage artists pursuing their craft in real-time. Along with his studio Mark has art at Gallery Minerva. To see more of Mark’s work click here.


Mark Bettis | Art Opening

Local Artist Mark Bettis and 5 Walnut Wine Bar hosts exhibit “TEXTURE AND COLOR” June 5-30th at 5 Walnut Wine BarApril Showers_MarkBettis

Opening Reception June 5th, 5-8pm; Partial proceeds to benefit TAPAS program in Asheville Schools and is open to the public.

Mark’s paintings are a synthesis of color, line, texture and form. He applies multiple layers of oil paint mixed with cold wax medium, then cut, scratch and smooth with great energy to let the painting evolve into an abstract interpretation of these elements. He paints in his open studio/gallery on the second floor of the Wedge Studios in the River Arts District.mark Bettis

Part of the proceeds from sales during the exhibit will benefit TAPAS (Teaching Artists Presenting in Asheville Schools), a collaboration between the Asheville City Schools Foundation, LEAF in Streets and Schools, and The University of North Carolina, Asheville’s Craft Studies program. TAPAS connects students with practicing local poets, dancers, potters, and visual artists to be inspired, and touched by opportunities to learn about and create art.

And don’t forget to wish him a Happy Birthday. Cheers! Troy

Smokey Park Supper Club

Supper Club CompWhile visiting the River Arts District, Kelly and I stopped to visit the site of the future Smokey Park Supper Club. Being the container enthusiasts we are — we thought the layout of the 19 shipping containers creates a layered theatrical experience that plays well to the river and lawn in-between. The venue, dreamed up by Matt Logan and Kristie Quinn of 5 Walnut, is due to open sometime this year. We may just start camping out now to be first in line. Cheers! Troy

Metal and Thread | Opening Soon

metal and threadKelly and I stopped by to visit with Denise and Derek to see how their new space is coming along in the Cotton Mill Studios. Though not ready for business yet they anticipate a June opening. We will keep you posted and look forward to seeing you at the opening. In the meantime visit their website. Cheers! Troy

TGIF | RAD-Style

wedge_dockFriday night was a perfect “Troy” ending to a perfect Friday to a perfect Modern Asheville week. {Art + Cocktails} After Kelly and I successfully completed negations today on a cool, mid-century home in the Forest Park neighborhood of North Asheville for one of our buyer clients I headed down to, where else, the River Arts District.

Following some solo relaxation, sketching and a sip of Derailed at the Wedge Brewery {center of the RAD Universe} I headed up to Pink Dog Studios. There our favorite Asheville sculptor, Hoss Haley, was curating a show called “Look Again” at the Asheville Area Arts Council Gallery shown above. Check it out.

IMG_4651Visually stimulated I strolled a few doors down to the Junction for some creative southern inspired food to attend to my other senses. Before my Friend Chicken and Collards could hit the bar top I bumped into artist Cleaster Cotton and got the skinny on her exhibit there called “Still Life and Living Whimsey.” Cleaster’s vibrant spirit shows in her work and brought sunshine to the dark space with both. She is passionate about her work and is eager to raise revenue through her art to support ALNUGE – a teaching method she crafted. I know she would love your support.

So this weekend promises to be the 2nd most beautiful weekend of the year for 2014. Get out and enjoy all the cool things Asheville has to offer. See you out there. Cheers!




Buyers Brief – 003

Market Tour (02012014)


photo-10I attended the opening of a new shop, Splurge, on Thursday night – a few steps down from the Wedge Brewery in the River Arts District. Though I use the word shop, the experience was that of a  gallery given the artistic vision and curated collection of vintage furnishings and curiosities created by the owner, Robert Nicholas, and a handful of his artistic friends. Robert has a distinctive eye for picking vintage objects and crafting light fixtures that defy conventional scale and textures. So, if you have a space that’s beggin’ for a conversational focal piece stop by 123B Roberts St. Bring a truck!

Splurge Comp

The Space Between

What is not there becomes, in its absence, as important to the meaning of the piece as what remains.

A new exhibit opens at Artery, the Asheville Area Arts Council gallery on Depot street in the River Arts District. I attended the opening last night and was struck by the balanced relationship between the four artists. Combined, Akira Satake (clay), Barbara Zaretsky (textiles), Brian Boggs (wood) and Barbara Fisher (paintings) represent a modern aesthetic that is uniquely Asheville. Given the clean lines crafted from earthy materials, throw in some soft geometry and symbology I could imagine seeing this timeless collection in a Manhattan apartment or stumbling upon it in a remote mud dwelling. Ever so quietly, it spans time and place.

All four artists keep studios in various locations near the river. If you haven’t done so already, take some time to visit this area and tour all the new things happening there. There is creative food in two new restaurants as well as several new galleries. Conveniently, next weekend is the Studio Stroll so there are no more excuses for finding yourself in the space between downtown and the French Broad, known affectionately as The River Arts District.

Text and photos by Troy Winterrowd

Dr. Neon’s Laboratory – A Church Goes Industrial

11 Rich - KitchenThe skull-and-crossbones warning sign posted at the front gate was the first indication the scheduled tour of Alexander Evans’ home would prove to be an interesting afternoon.

Alexander, perhaps best known as Dr. Neon, resides quite expressively at Farkham Hall — a converted 12,000 sq.ft. church that stood abandoned for years before he purchased it in 2002.  There is nothing normal about Farkham Hall.  But then, for Alexander, normal is highly overrated.

An artist and creator, Alexander approached life with a nothing-is-impossible attitude and a thirst for pushing the envelope.  Neon Dragon-1Fast bikes, fast cars, and bright lights are all part of the script.  He earned the moniker of Dr. Neon by being the first to introduce neon tubing for motorcylces, and later cars.  He’s originally from California where he also created neon art for Disney, MGM, and Twentieth Century Fox.

His affable nature led him to the stage as a stand-up comedian trading wisecracks with the likes of Pauly Shore and the late Sam Kinison.  All thos pursuits would have comprised an impressive resume sufficient for most people.  Alexander, however, was just getting started.  He builds custom bikes, does metal fabrication both commercially and artistically, is a talented wood and silver artist, and built a custom car for Snap-On Tools.  His home, including his 75,000 sq.ft. workshop, is a visual tour of his creative genious.

Wearing camouflage bib overalls and sporting a mischievous grin, he begins the tour in his shop where he and his assistants are preparing for a knife show in Atlanta.  “Welcome to my laboratory!” he says wtih outstretched arms.  He fabricates the knives entirely on-site, from the forging of the blades to the carving of the handles made of elk and deer antlers.  Decorative handcast silver animal replicas adorn each one.Neon - Knife

The shop is abuzz with activity as Alexander continues to give instructions and answer questions.  He admits that the workshop was the property’s big selling point for him because it allows him to live and work in the same place.  Plus, he adds, “I’ve got the best view of the river.”  There is every tool and gadget one could possibly need — all neatly organized (in customized Snap-On Tool chests, of course).  There is even a paint booth where Alexander dos custom auto and bike painting.

Walking back toward the house, Alexander points out his auto collection including two Chevies (a ’57 and a ’54), a ’61 Cadillac, and a ’74 Indy Pace Car.  A quick stop at the garage reveals his motorcycles, including a tricked out Harley.

Farkham Hall, like its owner, is boldly eccentric and fun.  The abandoned church was in bad shape when he bought it, but his ability to visualize things into creation has worked its magic.  “It took two years to clean this place up,” he says.  “it was a mess.”

Neon - EinsteinA neon image of Albert Einstein gazes out over the open living room and kitchen.  Large diamond-shaped, slate-colored tiles cover the floor and draw the eye to the art deco tile work on the fireplace.  A collection of flying pigs and cows hangs happily from ceilings and others are perched on tables giving visitors and idea of Alexander’s whimsical tendencies.

The kitchen is his pride and joy.  An avid cook and gourmand, Alexander ripped out the ceiling and replaced it with corrugated steel that he recycled from the site and illuminated with a fabulous blue neon glow.  He brought in high-end commercial appliances, created custom door pulls, and added beautiful cabinetry in a warm honey color.

11 Rich - Loft ViewThe loft space above the kitchen serves as the master bedroom where Alexander’s collection of tin toys from robots and wind-up cars to noise-making space guns is displayed.  The master bath is huge and features Alexander’s handiwork in the leaded copper shower and personal shaving mirror.

The tour continues down a handcrafted 11 Rich - Dtlspiral steel staircase to what could easily be considered fantasy land.  Here visitors find a large castle Alexander constructed entirely of sugar cubes and featuring hundreds of detailed pewter knights and soldiers he sculpted and cast himself. Neon - Castle On this level are also the “planes, trains and automobiles room, ” the library , and his office.

What used to be classrooms have been converted to work spaces for his neon production, metal casting, and other artistic endeavors.  The former sanctuary is now a grand hall boasting 48-foot ceilings, polished wood floors, and a stage.  He currently holds dance classes there on Wednesday nights and rents out the space for parties and other functions.

Alexander lives life out loud, full of energy and optimism.  His home is a fitting and thoroughly entertaining representation of that life.  At Dr. Neon’s Laboratory, there’s always something going on.11 Rich - Facade 02

Article courtesy of The Laurel of Asheville, July 2009

Clingman Avenue Lofts

Constructed 2008


The new Clingman Avenue Lofts were recently constructed by Mountain Housing Opportunities.  They bridge the urban fabric of downtown with the industrial area of the River Arts District.  There are 21 units comprising both 1 & 2 bedrooms.  All have nine foot ceilings, balconies, 1 parking space, basement storage and are certified by Energy Star and NC Healthy Built.  The well -sealed construction guarantees low energy bills combined with healthy air exchange. 

There are several low-income units available through MHO and other units available to the general public through Scott Carter at the Real Estate Center.  Prices range from $120,000 to $240,000.