Last week we traveled from my friend's place in Blowing Rock NC to Asheville. A few people had said we HAD to see Asheville... so we drove down, stopping at Black Mountain (a little town) where no one knew what Black Mountain College had been. Odd. On to the big town and somehow, I don't recall how, we found our way to the River Arts District. Now THAT was something! A bunch of old down and out looking factory and mill buildings had basically been turned over to visual artists, who poplulate all of them with studios open to the public. We found the ONE encaustic artist (a painter who paints with encaustic paint) and spent quite a while in her huge space. Very impressive, lots of sales, decent, actually lovely work - craft oriented (it's the South!) and a bit decorative, but she loves the medium and the work is nice and resonant and waxy. Yum.
What most intrigued me was that Asheville is a magnet for art buyers. DC is not. This woman had been approached by a Dallas curator to be in a show (I need to call that curator!) of encaustic work. And while we were there, potential buyers were milling around. The artist says she can't keep up with the demand.
Unfortunately we don't want to live in the South, and though I am pretty moveable, my musician husband and Musica Viva are not. But woah, would I LOVE to be in a place where art lovers are hungrily roaming around. Is this a fantasy?