The Asheville Area Arts Council is the collective voice for the arts, advancing Buncombe County by delivering resources, developing innovative collaborations, and fostering creativity in the community.
The Asheville Area Arts Council, as a model 21st century arts council, ensures access to the arts, encourages a community passion for creativity, and successfully supports, partners, and collaborates in Buncombe County.
The Asheville Area Arts Council values sustainability, collaboration, innovation and the transformative power of the arts. We believe the arts are the foundation for a sustainable, prosperous, diverse community and critical to the future success of Asheville and Buncombe County.
The Asheville Area Arts Council is one of the oldest arts councils in the country. Formed from a working committee of the Junior League, the Civic Arts Council (CAC) was incorporated in 1952. Staffed by volunteers, the CAC kept files and held meetings in the facilities of member organizations. As a member organization, it created an annual ball, the Beaux Arts, to celebrate the volunteers of local agencies.
1979: Members of Civic Arts Council and coalition of individual artists and arts organizations merge to form the Community Arts Council of WNC. The new organization shares office space with The Arts Journal in a city building at 324 Charlotte Street (home of the Asheville Art Museum from 1949-1965).
1981: The Arts Council moves offices to the basement of Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, next door to the Art & Mineral Museums. CAC then relocates to Wall Street and includes the “Chimney Gallery” in its operation.
1987: CAC office moves to the lobby of the Northwestern Bank Building. That September, CAC signs a lease with the Housing Authority for 9 & 11 Biltmore Avenue. With community support, including a grant from the Janirve Foundation, CAC renovated storefronts for offices and rental space.
1988: CAC expands exhibition space with The Front Gallery and soon receives the Fine Arts Theatre as a donation from the owner. The Fine Arts Theatre was later sold in 1990.
1992: CAC changes its name to The Arts Alliance and focuses activities on fundraising for community arts agencies. Artists Roundtable is established to coordinate annual scholarship program and showcase for local educators and artists. The Alliance joins with the City of Asheville to create First Night Asheville, assist with the Urban Trail and co-sponsor Dickens Christmas and Very Special Arts Festival.
2000: The Arts Alliance announces its new name, the Asheville Area Arts Council, HeARTbeat of the Community.
2011: Asheville Area Arts Council moves to a brand new space in the thriving River Arts District called The ARTery and the Asheville Area Arts Council Gallery.
2014: Asheville Area Arts Council moves from the River Arts District to the Grove Arcade, with three spaces including a contemporary exhibition space called the AAAC Gallery, the Artist Resource Center and offices.
2016: Asheville Area Arts Council partners with East West Capital developers to create an innovative production facility called The Refinery Creator Space in a 15,000 square foot industrial building in the South Slope. All programs and operations, including the Artist Resource Center media lab, Artist Business Brainstorms, & Exhibitions, were moved to the facility in July, 2016 and are housed in the building along with 4 other non-profit organizations and 10 individual artist entrepreneurs.