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.
We envision the Asheville area as a region where the arts inspire our innovative spirit, celebrate our rich cultural diversity, recognize our valuable history, and encourage our individual and community involvement.
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 believes deeply that meaningful arts experiences should be available to all in our community; we are willing to help to our fullest capacity. Please contact us at, 828-258-0710, or come see us at 207 Coxe Ave.
North Carolina Art Council Arts Accessibility information: http://www.ncarts.org/resources/arts-accessibility
Cultural Equity Statement
The Asheville Area Arts Council (AAAC) believes that all people deserve art and culture in their lives. All people, their culture, and their art contribute to the meaning and understanding of our humanity and should be honored and celebrated. The AAAC plays a unique and essential role to ensure the arts contribute to the well-being and prosperity of all in Buncombe County. Arts and culture can be a vehicle to spark conversations, to spur social change and make our communities strong, healthy, and above all equitable. We acknowledge that there is no one perfect way to achieve equity, but we are willing to take risks because there is much work to do.
Racial equity is a lens through which AAAC aims to conduct all of its work. Our organization recognizes that our society is challenged to overcome a complex web of inequities – racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, and ableism among them. All of these forms of discrimination are powerful drivers of unequal individual and group outcomes. Using both the Cultural Equity Endowment Legislation and the Grantmakers in the Arts’ “Racial Equity: Statement of Purpose,” as references, the AAAC will align equity efforts to the following communities: African and African American; Latino/a; Asian and Asian American; Arab; Native American; Pacific Islander; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer; Transgender and Gender Variant People; People with Disabilities; and Women. Together with you, we hope to build a community that prioritizes access to arts and cultural resources for all of its people.
We are committed to addressing structural inequities and increasing support in the arts for marginalized artists, arts organizations, children, and adults through the following actions:
- Maintain a Racial Equity board committee or working group of colleagues that will oversee and direct institutional change.
- Intentionally consider and select members from marginalized populations for the AAAC board of directors and staff.
- Select staff and members for board service whose values include racial equity and social justice.
- Assure that a racial equity lens informs all decision-making, programs, policies and procedures.
- Collaborate with other organizations working toward greater racial equity to provide resources and share best practices to create equity for marginalized organizations and artists.
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.