Arts Fest at UNC Asheville will feature exhibitions, music, storytelling and more


Arts Fest at UNC Asheville will feature exhibitions, music, storytelling and more

Scene from one of Nancy Belmont’s UNITY installations. A new UNITY weaving will be created on UNC Asheville’s Quad during Arts Fest.

This is going to be a great event. Here are the details:

UNC Asheville’s annual Arts Fest, April 5-7, will feature a wide variety of opportunities for participation as well as art and new media exhibitions, literature and storytelling, music and dance, crafts vendors and more. Arts Fest will culminate with the Saturday Festival on the Quad – a combination outdoor concert and crafts fair with interactive activities.

Intersections through the arts – dividing or crossing two or more things, or bringing them together in a common location – is the theme of Arts Fest 2018. UNITY, Nancy Belmont’s interactive installation, will be one of many exemplifying that theme. UNITY invites participants to add colorful yarn to a giant outdoor web woven between an array of 10-foot poles labeled with different aspects of human identities. Opportunities to weave and view UNITY are available throughout Arts Fest.

Two components of Arts Fest will take place off campus in Asheville’s River Arts District: The River and Art: One Voice, a workshop to brainstorm potential public art installations near the French Broad River, and the 51st annual UNC Asheville Juried Student Exhibition. Time and locations are listed in the schedule below.

All Arts Fest activities are free and open to everyone, and represent an intersection of talents, energy and financial support from many UNC Asheville offices and departments across the disciplines. UNC Asheville also acknowledges the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the City of Asheville, and the university’s partnership with RiverLink.


Readings by Intergenerational Writers, 8:30-11:30 a.m. in Ramsey Library Glass House – Writers of creative fiction and nonfiction will present their work in readings, as well as through storytelling and slam poetry. Presenters include intergenerational writers from the Asheville area as well as UNC Asheville students and faculty.

The River and Art: One Voice, 1:30-2:30 p.m. off-campus at 14 Riverside Dr., Asheville – Artist and environmental advocate Betsy Damon will facilitate this workshop to discuss and brainstorm potential public art installations near the French Broad River in Asheville’s River Arts District.

Dance Practicum, 2:30-3:30 p.m. in the Sherrill Center Room 351 – UNC Asheville dance students will share work in progress on The Intrepid Nature of Beauty, which includes student film and poetry, as well as dance choreographed by Assistant Professor Celia Bambara, director of the university’s Dance Program.

Wake Project Presentation, 3-4 p.m. in UNC Asheville’s STEAM Studio at the RAMP, 821 Riverside Dr., Asheville – Wake is a huge animatronic sculpture that is the vision of conceptual artist Mel Chin, UNC Asheville’s Black Mountain College Legacy Fellow for the fall 2017 semester. A team of students has continued working through the spring to design and build Wake, which will be exhibited by Chin in Times Square in New York City in July.

The People’s Water: Stewardship through Art, 7-8 p.m. in the Sherrill Center, Ingles Mountain View Room – Artist Betsy Damon will present images of her decades of work with and for water, including the Living Water Garden ecological park in Chengdu, China, and the Living Waters of Larimer (Pennsylvania) community project.


Artists as Change Makers, 9-11 a.m. in Brown Hall Room 217 – This workshop led by artist Nancy Belmont will include a discussion of her process in creating public art projects, and a brainstorming session with coaching and exercises. Breakfast is included, but seating is limited and reserving a place online at is recommended.

SOAR & UNITY Projects, 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. on the Quad – Artist Nancy Belmont will discuss and guide participation in her two installations on campus – UNITY on the Quad, and SOAR in Ramsey Library.

Languages & Cultures in Action, 12:30-3:30 p.m. on the Quad – These short presentations and performances by UNC Asheville students celebrating the many languages and cultures studied and represented on campus, will include music, poetry, dance and skits, as well as poster exhibitions and food tasting.

Fused Creative Innovation, 3:30-4:30 p.m. in Zeis Hall, Room 202 – Digital art curator Suzy O’Hara of Newcastle, U.K., will present her latest projects, including INVENTORS! with Dominic Wilcox which turns children’s invention ideas into real objects, and Rewriting the Hack, the first women’s art hack in the U.K.’s northeast.

15th Annual New Media Juried Student Exhibition Opening Reception, 4:30-6:30 p.m. in Zeis Hall, Second Floor Lobby – Juror Suzy O’Hara, founder of Thinking Digital Arts, has chosen a selection of works by UNC Asheville students in 2D and 3D animation, interactive art and design, video, stop motion, sonic art, installation, 3D and digital printing. The exhibition remains on view through April 16.


Recharge and #KnowYourPower: A Therapeutic Evening, 5-8 p.m. on the Quad – This fair of interactive and informative activities includes projects in partnership with Helpmate, Our VOICE, and UNC Asheville student organizations and is a part of the university’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

51st Annual UNC Asheville Juried Student Exhibition Opening Reception, 5-8 p.m., off-campus at the Asheville Area Arts Council, 207 Coxe Ave., Asheville – Juried by painter and UNC Asheville Art Professor Robert Tynes, this exhibition presents selected works by UNC Asheville students, and is hosted by Art Front, the university’s visual arts student organization. This exhibit will remain on view through May 8.

Beneath the Veneer, 6:30-7:30 p.m. in the Sherrill Center, Ingles Mountain View Room – Beneath the Veneer is a documentary film-in-progress exploring the experiences of African-Americans in greater Asheville. Filmmakers Diane Tower-Jones and Sekou Coleman will share excerpts and discuss their project.

Down by the Water, 8-9 p.m. in the Reuter Center Manheimer Room – This staged solo storytelling experience created by David Novak, a veteran of the annual National Storytelling Festival in Tennessee, also includes music as well as water imagery by photographer Martin Waugh.

Music of the Spheres, (weather permitting) 9-10 p.m. on the Quad – High-powered telescopes will be provided for stargazing to the accompaniment of electronic music performed live by UNC Asheville students in the university’s Bob Moog Electronic Music Studio.


Festival on the Quad, noon-5 p.m. on the Quad – Arts and crafts vendors will offer interactive activities as well as items for sale, food and drink will be available at Argo Tea in Ramsey Library, and entertainment will be provided by:

· UNC Asheville faculty band, The Lounge Lizards

· Student/alumni band, Noah Proudfoot and the Botanicals

· UNC Asheville’s Belly Dancing Club

· UNC Asheville student ensembles playing Latin jazz, bluegrass, acoustic guitar music, vocal jazz, jazz standards

· Folk rock from UNC Asheville students William Hinson and Grace Christian X

· Musical flash mobs led by UNC Asheville Assistant Professor of Music Christine Boone’s Music Theory Club, and Music Lecturer Matthew Richmond’s Percussion Ensembles


Owen Hall – exhibit in the Second Floor Gallery of abstract “paintings” with rag rug hooking by alumna Celia Gray; exhibit in the S. Tucker Cooke Gallery of drawings by BFA student Lily Furniss.

Ramsey Library – exhibit in Blowers Gallery of the winning photographs from UNC Asheville’s annual Study Abroad Photo Contest.

Anagama Kiln Firing and Demonstrations – Kiln firing will be ongoing throughout Arts Fest with students and faculty ready to show and explain the process at the kiln outside of Owen Hall.

For more information, visit,, or call Jessica Park in UNC Asheville’s Arts & Ideas Program office at 828.251.6808.