Ashe County is known for its vibrant arts and crafts scene. The county is home to a diverse community of talented local artisans and several galleries that showcase their work. Let’s shine a spotlight on Ashe County’s arts and crafts, by highlighting some of the local artisans and galleries you can explore.
Image Courtesy of Robin Wellner
The Florence Thomas Art School
The Florence Thomas Art School, located in West Jefferson, is a renowned institution that offers a variety of classes and workshops in different artistic disciplines. The school focuses on fostering creativity and also provides a platform for artists to learn, grow, and showcase their work. The school offers classes for all ages and all skill levels. Because of this, it is a great place to learn a new art skill or practice an old one!
Ashe County Arts Council
The Ashe County Arts Council plays a crucial role in promoting and supporting the arts in the area. They host regular exhibitions and events that feature local artists, including visual art, music, theater, and more. The council’s headquarters in West Jefferson is a great place to discover the artistic talent of Ashe County. The Ashe County Arts Council also has lots of opportunities for school-age children, in an attempt to get them invested in the arts.
Ashe County is home to a diverse community of skilled artisans who create a wide range of handcrafted goods. These artisans often draw inspiration from the natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains that surround the area. From pottery and woodworking to weaving and painting, you can find a variety of unique and high-quality crafts made by local artists. These unique crafts can be found at the Ashe County Farmers Market.
On the second Friday of each month, West Jefferson holds a gallery crawl. You stroll the streets of Downtown West Jefferson while listening to the sounds of the surrounding area, and pop in and out of the galleries. Many galleries and studios in the area open their doors for the crawl. It is a fun and unique chance to visit the downtown galleries and meet local artists.
Ashe County is also home to some remarkable frescoes, which are large-scale murals painted directly onto wet plaster. These frescoes are considered significant cultural and artistic treasures in the region. One location in Glendale Springs, at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, houses a fresco that artist Ben Long painted. The fresco depicts “The Last Supper” and is considered one of Long’s masterpieces. Another location to view frescoes is St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in West Jefferson. Here, you can find the frescoes “Mary Great with Child”, “John the Baptist,” and “The Mystery of Faith” which showcase Long’s exceptional talent for capturing human figures and emotions.
Downtown West Jefferson, as well as Lansing, has a thriving arts scene. A collection of captivating murals are scattered throughout the town. These murals add color, character, and a sense of community to the streets of West Jefferson. There are more than 10 murals in the town. . . each one captures a different historic or cultural aspect of the town. There is also a mural in Downtown Lansing, NC that showcases Ola Belle Reed, an Appalachian folk singer-songwriter.
When visiting, take the time to immerse yourself in Ashe County’s local arts and crafts scene. Whether you’re an art enthusiast or just looking to appreciate the beauty of handmade creations, the region’s talented artisans and vibrant galleries will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression.