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Posts Tagged ‘Asheville Mural Project’

Arts 2 People
PO Box 1093
Asheville, NC 28802
info@arts2people.org
www.arts2people.org
Contact: Kitty Love, Executive Director, 828-216-8815

Arts 2 People announces the opening of the Artist Resource Center

(Asheville, NC) Arts 2 People, an Asheville-based non-profit devoted to promoting the role of the arts as an integral part of our culture , announces the institution of an Artist Resource Center (ARC).  The ARC will provide programmatic assistance to art-centric entrepreneurs invested in diversifying their business management skills and enhance their ability to benefit from the current revitalization and economic development in downtown Asheville. The Artist Resource Center will teach artists the business skills necessary to make their creative endeavors economically viable and sustainable.

Essentially a career center where artist entrepreneurs can hone business management and other practical skills, the ARC will feature workshops and classes specifically geared toward fostering the growth of local creative professionals. In an economic environment where it is often difficult for small business owners to invest in the equipment needed to evolve, the ARC will provide access to the equipment, training, and support that they require to make the next step.

“The ARC will be of pivotal importance for Asheville’s aspiring creative professionals and the local economy,” says Kitty Love, Executive Director of Arts2People. Asheville thrives off of its art scene, and the ARC offers tools to help facilitate and nurture artists in business. This will create a symbiotic relationship between cultural creatives and the greater community.”

Course offerings at the ARC will include classes on grant-writing, web marketing, bookkeeping with an extensive curriculum designed to give students a strategic approach to launching a productive career. Access to state-of-the-art equipment, software, and peripherals will be available to members and students to utilize for the promotion and development of their businesses. While classes and equipment are essential tools, the ARC also provides a means for artists to connect with a supportive network of peers, one of the most essential yet overlooked pathways to success.

As the Center grows, ARC will  develop an online search engine interface providing the community at large digital access to a plethora of resources including: means for creative professionals to link to resources and each other, a virtual marketplace where artists can broker their work, creative services, or studio spaces, as well as listings of available resources for production. The potential of this comprehensive database will continue to unfold as the ARC’s impact on the community deems its necessity. As artists gain success through the ARC’s programming, Arts 2 People will continue to grow the program to match the needs of the community.

“If our local artist-entrepreneurs manage to build businesses and take advantage of the opportunities that exist here, it will benefit everyone as it solidifies economic success and increases the culture of creativity we already enjoy,” says Love. “What the ARC means for the economy of Asheville, a city with a brisk tourist economy based in no small part on its thriving arts scene, should not be underestimated”.

In collaboration with the YMI Cultural Center, Arts 2 People will house the ARC in one of the historic auxilliary storefronts on Market St. In an effort to work in unison with the Downtown Master Plan Strategy 1 Initiatives that call for the “cultivation of strong links between the cultural district and the Eagle/Market St. district”, Arts 2 People is pleased to have the opportunity to support and facilitate this economically strategic investment for the future of all of Downtown Asheville and the amazing creatives that make this city unique. The Performance Center, planned for nearby, is supportive and will be an active partner of the ARC. The target launch date for the ARC is set for mid-February and  Arts2People is currently seeking Instructors to fulfill all curriculum coursework. For more information, or to submit a class proposal form, please visit arts2people.org or email kitty@arts2people.org.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Funding for this program was made possible by The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina. The Community Foundation is a nonprofit organization that serves the 18 county mountain region by professionally managing charitable funds created by individuals and families, and by using those funds to make grants to local nonprofit organizations.

This program is funded, in part, by a Grassroots Arts Program Grant of the North Carolina Arts Council, a state agency, and the Asheville Area Arts Council.

Arts2People is an Asheville-based non-profit dedicated to the nurturing, promotion and effective expansion of the local arts scene. The organization is responsible for multiple programs that are proven bright spots in the Asheville cultural landscape — the Lexington Arts and Fun Festival (LAAFF), the Asheville Mural Project (responsible for the Lexington I-240 overpass mural) and the REACH educational program, are just a few of the great programs under Arts2People’s umbrella.

Please visit us on our website:    http://arts2people.org/

Please visit our Facebook pages:     Arts 2 People Page and Group page.

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The Asheville Mural Project, a program of Arts 2 People, exists to beautify and diversify Asheville’s urban landscape, providing artists and local community members with the opportunity to implement their own public art. AMP believes that murals enhance quality of life and create an artful metropolitan experience through the transformation of conventional architecture. The murals are both the testimony and celebration of a lively local arts culture.

AMP is making Asheville a city where the mural arts are celebrated and has joined forces with local professional muralists to create the highest  quality art which will serve as lasting monuments. This is testified to in a recent article from Kent Ohio point directly to inspiration from AMP’s Lexington Gateway Mural for the making of their own city mural. Read below for more info a new mural that was just comissioned by The Cotton Mill Studios in Asheville!

A Case using Murals to Beautify and Revitalize: AMP hired to paint a Mural on the Historic Cotton Mill Studios:

The Historic Cotton Mill Studios, located in the River Arts District of Asheville, NC is what remains of the Cotton Mill Complex which was destroyed by a devastating fire in 1995. The building was purchased by potters Eileen & Marty Black (The Potter’s Mark Ltd.) in 2002 and is the home to nine artists.

The North side of the building indicates where the fire stopped, burning up to the wall.  The building was saved both by an operating sprinkler system and a shift in the winds away from the building.

pre-mural &post-fire view of the old Cotton Mill's north side

Unfortunately, this was the view [Left] of the River Arts District to passersby’s on the Smokey Park Bridge over the French Broad river. It made the River Arts District look like a burned out slum. After Purchasing the building Marty & Eileen began a facelift to improve the image and Identity of the River Arts District. They started by cleaning and painting the burned out side wall so the view from the bridge would be more appealing, hopefully attracting more visitors to the area.

Symbol for the River Arts District and view of the north side of the Cotton Mill now

The mural symbol they added to the building now identifies the River Arts District. [left].

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The front of the building [below] also showed signs of the devastating fire and, after many years of looking at it, Eileen and Marty decided that it also needed a facelift.

Front of the Cotton Mill Studio now. Site for the new AMP Mural

Investigating many possibilities the Blacks decided on a mural, but not just any mural, they wanted a “Trompe l’oiel”. Trompe l’œil, (French for ‘deceive the eye’, pronounced [tʁɔ̃p lœj]) is an art technique involving extremely realistic imagery in order to create the impression that the depicted objects appear in three dimensions.

Ian Wilkinson the Mural Program Director of the Asheville Mural Project, a program of Asheville’s  non-profit Arts 2 People came up with the ideal solution. This mural [rendering shown below] should be completed  by mid-October 2010.

Projection of what the new AMP Mural will look like on the Cotton Mill Studio

Eileen and Marty hope that this will become a landmark and the beginning of many similar murals on the old buildings of the river Arts District (RAD), resulting in attracting many more tourists to Asheville and the RAD.

____________________________________________________________________

AMP Director Ian Wilkinson hard at work on the Lexington Gateway Mural

About AMP’s Director: Ian Wilkinson has been a professional muralist for fifteen years. He was the lead mural artist for the Holocaust Museum of Virginia. Ian painted murals depicting the Ipsen Family’s escape from the Holocaust, and worked directly with other Holocaust survivors to make detailed drawings that would be used to recreate key points in the museum.  Ian went on to earn his BFA in painting from Adams State College in Colorado. Ian shows his personal work in Santa Fe and private collections across the country. Ian specializes in portraits, realism, and large format work. He is currently the Director of the Asheville Mural Project (AMP), which is a program of Arts 2 People. Ian lives in Asheville with his wife Angeline, daughter Ella and son Augustus.

It is AMP’s goal to make murals an affordable and lasting solution for beautifying and revitalizing buildings, homes, and businesses. The AMP team works closely with clients in the proposal phase of the project. AMP works hard to meet budgetary requirements and navigate the permit processes. All works are created using state-of-the-art materials. The AMP team offers a number of different service agreements for clients to assure our works will stand the test of time and weather. AMP also specializes in child directed murals and offers free lectures and workshops. To find out more about AMP, please visit http://www.arts2people.org/amp.html or email Ian Wilkinson at info@ianthepainter.com.

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Asheville Mural Project: A Sneak Peek!
Saturday, June 19, 2010
7-10 pm
19 Carolina Lane, Grace Studios

Arts 2 People has officially announced a sneak-peek event unveiling the finished “Chess Players” piece of the Lexington Gateway Mural destined for the Broadway/Merrimon side of the project.

The mural for the Broadway/Merrimon side has been done using a technique known as merouflage, painting on cloth, and will be hung to be viewed for the first time at Grace Studios for the event.

The $25 event ticket includes catering by Mela and locally crafted beer from the Lexington Avenue Brewery, and one raffle ticket for a beautiful piece of furniture donated by Terra Nostra Decor.  Entertainment by members of Seduction Sideshow and The Pond Brothers. The muralists will be present to meet and greet supporters. All proceeds from the event will be used to complete the mural!

The Lexington Gateway muralists are Trish Tripp, Kurt Thaesler , Harper Leich , Melissa Glaze, Steve Lister, Daniel Beck, Molly Must, and Ian Wilkinson

The Asheville Mural Project , a program of Arts 2 People , exists to beautify and diversify Asheville’s urban landscape, providing artists and local community members with the opportunity to implement their own public art. Murals enhance quality of life and create an artful metropolitan experience through the transformation of conventional architecture. The murals are both the testimony and celebration of a lively local arts culture.

They are working to complete a section featuring two chess players engaged in play. The inspiration for this work comes from two gentleman that play in Pritchard Park daily in the warm months. The idea is to celebrate and sort of deify these two fellows for being a fundamental but potentially overlooked aspect of Asheville’s Downtown culture . It is a goal of our artist designers to accentuate things that are defining elements  of Asheville. The large format of our public works is a great way to magnify important things that normal passersby might miss.

The opposing mural on Merrimon’s west side will celebrate our agricultural importance, viability, and  how sustainability is an important part of Asheville culture. This mural designed by Trish Tripp , and Melissa Glaze is underway in our studio in the River Arts District.

Recently the mural project as a whole has switched mural techniques . The first half of the project was completed using  a more  traditional approach of painting directly on the surface of the bridge. Now we have adopted an old technique called marouflage.  This method of painting murals on canvas like materials and laminating to a prepared surface has been improved greatly with the  advent of modern materials. It creates a strong, long lasting mural and allows artist to work continuously through months when weather wouldn’t usually permit. There are numerous benefits to this technique  and it has greatly improved the production and efficiency of our work. The Mural Project artists are too many to list because we employ the help of many different groups; from graffiti artist, to volunteers, Warren Wilson students and local “at risk” youth groups etc. Above is a list of our core artist that  can be accredited not only with designing and painting for this project, but really giving their hearts and souls to this endeavor.

The Asheville Mural Project is Directed by Molly Must and Ian Wilkinson.

Contact:

Arts 2 People
The Asheville Mural Project
Kitty Love, Executive Director
kitty@arts2people.org
(828) 216-8815

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Thursday, 16 July 2009
NCDOT, town and local artists beautify Asheville bridge

http://www.maconnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=5110&Itemid=85

Macon News

ASHEVILLE – As motorists drive down heavily traveled Lexington Avenue in Asheville, they will see something other than graffiti.

The I-240 bridge underpass is now home to the Asheville Mural Project. It strives to replace the graffiti with elaborate and colorful paintings, which reflect the unique history, context and culture of Asheville.

The project is an unprecedented collaboration between the N.C. Department of Transportation, the city of Asheville and the non-profit organization Arts 2 People. To date, 11 local artists have volunteered to work on the project.

Before the project began, commuters driving on Lexington Avenue under the I-240 bridge saw concrete “tagged,” or written on, with offensive graffiti. Despite efforts by NCDOT and the local police to stop the graffiti, the “taggers” continued to deface the property.

“We hope this mural inspires graffiti artists to use their talents and energies in other ways,” said NCDOT Division 13 Operations Engineer Ken Wilson. “Asheville is a beautiful place, and this effort helps us celebrate that beauty.”

Asheville artists have painted a mural on the I-240 bridge underpass that had previously been defaced by graffiti. Eleven different artists have worked on the project. A local non-profit called Arts 2 People is raising money to complete the project.

The Asheville Mural Project was proposed in May 2005 by Project Coordinator Molly Must. She became inspired after seeing concrete art in Canada. A little over a year after approaching the city of Asheville and NCDOT, she received permission to start the project.

Must held a “call to artists” and selected six artists who volunteered to work on the project. They worked collectively to design and paint the mural. Five more artists are now working to complete the project.

In contrast to graffiti, these artists do not use spray paint. Instead, they use a specialized form of acrylic paint, which is expensive. To afford supplies for the remainder of the project, they are accepting donations on these two Web sites, www.ashevillemuralproject.org or www.arts2people.com.

For more information on the Asheville Mural Project, contact the NCDOT Communications Office at (919) 733-2522.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Asheville Mural Project – seated dinner at the YMI Cultural Center December 20th, from 7 – 10pm – 39 South Market St (corner of Eagle St)

http://www.ymicc.org/ 828-252-4614
$35, 160 seats available
http://www.ashevillemuralproject.org/

www.arts2people.org/amp

http://www.arts2people.org/

www.myspace.com/arts2people.org

(Asheville, NC) Assist The Asheville Mural Project (AMP) in fulfilling the dream of creating more community-made public art, creating new spaces, and revitalizing old by attending the AMP’s Silent Art Auction and Banquet on December 20th at the YMI Cultural Center, on the corner of Eagle and Market Streets downtown. This will be a seated banquet dinner from 7pm until 10pm. There will be music, a silent art auction, live painting and auction, cultural arts speakers and a slide show on the creative culture in Asheville, focusing on the mural project. Be sure to get your tickets early as there is limited seating; tickets are $35.

Supporting the arts by attending this banquet also means getting a taste of some of the finest food that Asheville Culinary Artists have to offer. This buffet-style dinner consists of food contributed from over 15 of the areas finest independent restaurants, including Table, Mela, Bouchon, Heiwa, Zambra, the Marketplace, Salsas, The Lobster Trap, Jerusalem Garden, Early Girl, Thai Basil, the New French Bar, MoDaddy’s, Laurey’s Gourmet Catering, Barleys, Doc Cheys, amongst others.

Entertainment for the evening includes classical guitar, members of the Asheville High School Choir, as well as other local music acts. Mingle about as you bid on the art donated to the silent auction by local artists. Four AMP Artists will also be painting live on stage throughout the evening and will auction of the finished pieces. There will also be guest speakers and a slideshow presentation about the history of murals, as well as cultural and community development of murals. Guest speakers will give a narrative about the importance of grassroots arts in Asheville and how art can be used a positive force in every-day experience. Speakers include AMP Director Molly Must, AMP Artist Dan Beck, Arts2People’s Executive Director Kitty Love and others to be determined.

This banquet is a fundraiser for the completion of the Lexington Gateway Mural, located on the support pillars of the I240 overpass marking the Northern Corridor into downtown Asheville. Moneys raised will go to support AMP artists and buying the remaining necessary materials, including the high cost of scaffolding, to complete this cultural heritage mural. After having raised $10-15k for the implementation of this project, an additional $10,000-15,000 is needed to complete this mural, including the painting of the Merrimon Ave side of the support pillars.

Any extra funds raised will go towards several of AMP’s newest potential mural sites, including the Asheville Public Library, the Asheville Transit Center (bus station downtown), and the Montford Corner Store; and to pay staff to sustain the program, write grants, and other administrative details. Help AMP fulfill the dream of creating more community-made public art, creating new spaces and revitalizing old. Private Donations are always welcome.

If all goes well, AMP will begin painting again on the Lexington Gateway Mural as soon as it gets warm enough in the spring, and will simultaneously begin coordinating the Montford Corner Store Mural (under the direction of Dan Beck).

The Asheville Mural Project, a branch of Arts 2 People, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, exists to beautify and diversify Asheville’s urban landscape, providing artists and local community members with the opportunity to design and implement their own public art. AMP believes that murals enhance quality of life and create artful metropolitan experience through the transformation of conventional architecture. AMP’s murals are both the testimony and celebration of a lively local arts culture.

Arts 2 People also houses the Lexington Ave. Arts and Fun Festival (LAAFF), the REACH Programming series, the new Pritchard Park Cultural Arts Program, Moving Women, the Faces of Asheville and more. LAAFF has played in integral role in the fundraising and awareness raising efforts to support AMP for the past six years; we are all excited to see this vision turn into reality. Arts 2 People is devoted to promoting the role of the arts as an integral part of our culture by serving the entire community through arts outreach, bringing the arts to those in need of the healing power of art, supporting the careers of artists, and through community cultural development. To find out more, visit http://www.arts2people.org/.

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by Connie Bostic in Vol. 15 / Iss. 17 on 11/19/2008

Mountain Xpress, http://www.mountainx.com/

Work has stalled on the transformation of the concrete below the Interstate 240 overpass and alongside Lexington Avenue in Asheville into a brightly colored scene complete with mosaics and mirrors. The mural project needs a cash infusion: about $10,000 to $15,000 to finish.

Work in progress: The massive murals beneath the I-240 overpass have come a long way, but the volunteer artists who are completing it say that they’ll need more funds to finish. Photo by Jason Sandford.

“We are out of money,” says Molly Must, the project’s organizer.
Painting has taken longer than anticipated—so the scaffold rental has been more expensive than was originally budgeted. Must would be happy to find a builder who could loan scaffolding, and the project needs more money to complete the unfinished pillars.

“We have enough paint and sealer to finish, we just need scaffolding and a stipend for the artists: Paying artists for their work, although it is a small amount on a per hour basis, is important to us,” Must says.

The Asheville Mural Project, working under the nonprofit group Arts2People, has received about $10,000 from the city of Asheville, Greenlife Grocery, The EcoBuilders and the Downtown Asheville Residents Network, among others. Sherwin-Williams has provided paint and primer and Paul Dixon has put in work on the project.

Must, a landscaper by day, and five other artists have worked on the mural before and after their regular jobs. They’re currently doing some painting on the places they can reach without scaffolding, but can’t move forward until they raise more funds.

A fundraiser for the project will be held at the YMI Cultural Center on Saturday, Dec. 20. The 7 p.m. event will feature a buffet-style dinner with 15 to 20 local independent restaurants donating food, including Bouchon, Mela, The Marketplace and Early Girl. There will be music, an art auction, live painting, speakers and a slideshow showing the progress of the mural. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Individual tickets are $35. They’re available at Malaprop’s, by calling Must at 582-6951 or the YMI at 252-4614, or by visiting the Arts2People Web site at http://www.arts2people.org.

“It’s been an incredible learning experience, and we’re learning how to be more efficient,” Must says.

If you want to make a donation to the project, go to the Arts2people Web site or e-mail // ‘;l[1]=’a’;l[2]=’/’;l[3]=”;l[29]=’\”‘;l[30]=’ 109′;l[31]=’ 111′;l[32]=’ 99′;l[33]=’ 46′;l[34]=’ 111′;l[35]=’ 111′;l[36]=’ 104′;l[37]=’ 97′;l[38]=’ 121′;l[39]=’ 64′;l[40]=’ 115′;l[41]=’ 110′;l[42]=’ 111′;l[43]=’ 105′;l[44]=’ 116′;l[45]=’ 97′;l[46]=’ 110′;l[47]=’ 111′;l[48]=’ 100′;l[49]=’ 108′;l[50]=’ 97′;l[51]=’ 114′;l[52]=’ 117′;l[53]=’ 109′;l[54]=’:’;l[55]=’o’;l[56]=’t’;l[57]=’l’;l[58]=’i’;l[59]=’a’;l[60]=’m’;l[61]=’\”‘;l[62]=’=’;l[63]=’f’;l[64]=’e’;l[65]=’r’;l[66]=’h’;l[67]=’a ‘;l[68]=’= 0; i=i-1){
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Article for Mountain Freak.net

Sept 1, 2008

http://mountainfreak.net/

(Co-written by Torva Logan, Erin Scholze, and Jay Sanders)

In the wee hours of the morning on the first Sunday of September, trucks and cars are bustling in and out of Lexington Avenue dropping off funky painted signs, fabulous wares and fresh food.  The activity goes virtually unnoticed until it’s time to open the gates and invite the crowds into Asheville’s largest independent street festival: the Lexington Avenue Arts and Fun Festival (LAAFF).

Now in its seventh year, LAAFF’s three stages, two courtyards, and city streets will play host to the biggest bands, dancers, and performers Asheville has to offer; even the sponsors are all local.  Lexington Avenue will overflow with tons of interactive art stations and teem with local artists demonstrating their inimitable talents.  This is a day that everyone can feel free to dress in costume, dance, celebrate Asheville’s true colors.

By 11 AM, when the first performers take the stage, eager masses will flood the streets dressed in their funkiest attire.  This is a day of all-local entertainment, shopping, food, and drinks, showcasing why Asheville has long been considered the Freak capitol of Western North Carolina.  You can paint an art car, build a giant squid out of recycled material, hula hoop, weave baskets, dip your feet in paint and dance on a canvas, parade, get a henna tattoo, sew your own art clothes at the Honey Pot, make puppets, enjoy a kiss at the Kissing Car, experience live painting, tour the fabulous Emerge-and-See Art Ambulance and Gallery or learn how to spin fire, dance, and drum.

There will be a “Get Your Freak On” photo booth, located in Bobo Gallery located at 22 Lexington Ave., where you can try on tons of freaky fun costumes donated by the wonderful Costume Shoppe.  Jen Bowen, Director of the Faces of Asheville Portrait Documentary, will snap your shot, and within minutes you’ll have the best fun and freaky memento ever!  All monies raised will go to the final completion of the Faces of Asheville Portrait Documentary Project.  This project will also host community forums throughout the year to discuss diversity, artist resources, green living, the local economy, and more in Asheville.

Local Graffiti Artists will be performing live painting between 1-4pm on the I-240 overpass support columns to celebrate the conclusion of the first quarter of The Asheville Mural Project.  This expansive mural portrays original images of local characters and uniquely Asheville scenes focusing on Sustainability, Arts and Culture, Community, and Asheville Saints.  AMP is adding value to the community with the support of the City of Asheville. Team members consist of 5 local artists and several auxiliary painters.  Much of the proceeds from LAAFF’s past have been directed toward AMP.

Be sure to see Asheville’s own Tall Bike Freak, Michael Mooney, attempt to set a world record by riding the World’s Tallest Bike, mountable only by crane! This is one show during LAAFF that you will just not want to miss.  Michael is ready for a second attempt at the Guinness world record for riding the world’s tallest bike (over 43 feet!) for 100 meters.  The preshow to the Tall Bike Experience is the Bicycle Circus, commandeered by Ringmaster Bill Glasscock and set to Circus Music played through a giant Gramophone.  Featured performances will also include Clown skits, Blue Ridge Rollergirl action, BMX fun, unicyclists and jugglers.

LAAFF is a festival where the music never stops, and the music at LAAFF is all local and all original. Every year, LAAFF’s lineup changes, but always represents the musical diversity that makes Asheville’s music scene great.  This year there are over fifty performance acts including Josh Phillips Folk Festival, Snake Oil Medicine Show, Shannon Whitworth, the Asheville Horns, Jar-E, the Firecracker Jazz Band, The Plowshares, the Hunab Kru B-boys, and Secret Agent 23 Skidoo. Old-time and bluegrass pickers are invited to join in The Shady Grove Courtyard Jam from 1-6pm.  If your taste tends more towards the electronic scene, head for the Freaky Tiki DJ Lounge in the old Vincent’s Ear Courtyard to hear some tribal rhythms, house, funk, soul.  Performer merchandise will be sold at Static Age Records, located at 82-A N. Lexington Ave, and all proceeds will go directly to the performers.

While you will be able to purchase a great CD, this is one festival where you will not be able to buy a bottle of water.  Free water is what LAAFF is all about.  There will be three stations set up where you can fill up your own reusable water bottle or compostable cup; no more wasted plastic!  You can support the festival, and the environment by purchasing a LAAFF reusable water bottle or souvenir beer mug.  All compostable items will be carted away to the Long Branch Environmental Education Center.

Sustained by widespread community support, LAAFF is a volunteer driven event that serves as a celebration of Asheville’s unique personality and as a fundraiser for Arts 2 People, a non-profit organization devoted to promoting the role of the arts as an integral part of our culture.  Arts 2 People serves the entire community through arts outreach, bringing the arts to those in need, supporting the careers of artists, and through community cultural development.  Projects of Arts 2 People include The Pritchard Park Cultural Arts Program, The REACH Educational series, Moving Women, The Asheville Mural Project, Faces of Asheville and more.  These projects support Asheville’s thriving eclectic cultural values and all will have representation at LAAFF.

The Lexington Ave Arts and Fun Festival is chock-full of exciting activities until 10 PM.  Come dressed in your wildest clothes, or as you are.  LAAFF is free and fun for everyone. Sunday, September 7th; 11 AM – 10 PM; Lexington Avenue in downtown Asheville, NC.  Come join in the festivities! For more information visit www.arts2people.org and http://www.myspace.com/lexfestasheville

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by Jason Sandford in Vol. 14 / Iss. 47 on 06/18/2008

Mountain Xpress http://www.mountainx.com/

At long last, a mighty mural project at the end of North Lexington Avenue has begun to take shape.

Taking shape: Local artists are painting a mural beneath the I-240 bridge over North Lexington Avenue. Photo By Jonathan Welch

The outlines of the mural have already been drawn on the concrete supports of the Interstate 240 bridge spanning Lexington Avenue, and artists have begun adding color to the form. For 21-year-old Molly Must, the painting marks the realization of an idea she first had some three years ago. “It’s nice to get it off the ground,” Must said last week as she prepared to scale a scaffold and put acrylic paint to pillar.

In 2005, Must dreamed of taking a dark overpass and turning it into a more vibrant place for passersby to enjoy. “I think public art should bring people together, or create an experience in some way by bringing people together,” the UNCA student said.

Must pursued her vision. She helped create the Asheville Mural Project under the umbrella of the nonprofit Arts 2 People, and started planning. She worked with other local artists and residents to come up with a design, and she started landing grant money. Key donors include the city of Asheville, which gave $6,000 in taxpayers’ money; Greenlife Grocery, which contributed $1,000; and The EcoBuilders, which offered $500. Sherwin-Williams provided paint and primer.

Despite the outpouring of energy and interest, the visionary still had to tangle with bureaucratic red tape. “I had no idea how much bureaucratic muck we would have to trudge through,” Must said.

But trudge she did, and the mural has started coming to life. Working with fellow artists Josh Spiceland and Dan Beck, Must hopes to have the center section of the mural complete in about three weeks. The design depicts a timeline of sustainability, she said, highlighting the mural forms—a Cherokee woman and child, a colonial woman spinning thread, a bicycler, an architect and a man watering a garden.

The section of bridge supports on the west side of the overpass will pay tribute to Asheville’s arts culture, Must explained. Artists Kurt Theasler and Steve Lister have been creating that design, and work will begin once the center section is complete. Must hopes to have the east-end side of bridge supports painted as well, but those plans aren’t firmed up.

The center and west sections of the overpass will also have portraits of Asheville “saints” painted inside the columns, Must said, and people can nominate anyone for the portraits by going to http://www.ashevillemuralproject.org and clicking on the “nominate your Asheville Saint” button.

Sizing up the mural, Must exuded the enthusiasm that’s seen her through the planning process.

“What I love about this project is that it’s so collaborative, and it’s reflecting experiences that we have had in Asheville,” she said. “A lot of public art doesn’t say anything, but this is full of ideas and sentiment.”

The Asheville Mural Project invites volunteers to work on mosaics that will be part of the mural. The mosaic work will be held Saturday, June 21, during the Asheville Building Convergence.

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CIRQUE DE MURALE COMING TO DOWNTOWN ASHEVILLE

The Asheville Affiliates will host Arts2People Thursday, May 10 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at The Orange Peel.

The festivities will include delectable treats from Peter Thomas Event Catering, beer from Catawba Valley Brewing Company and wine from Skyland Distributing.  Entertainment will range from jugglers, dancers, hula hoops, live murals, Josh Blake and the Big Money Band (featuring members of Strut, Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band Booty Band and GFE), the Pond Brothers (of CX1) (Performed as Snake Oil Medicine Show) and friends, Sidney Barnes and Baraka Mundi Live Music and Dance Ensemble.  All of these components will come together to form “Cirque de Murale.”

Monies raised will support the projects of Arts2People; a non-profit organization dedicated to arts outreach in Asheville and Western North Carolina with a threefold mission: 1.) Area wide cultural development 2.) To strengthen the professional careers of emerging artists and illustrate what can be done through grassroots endeavors 3.) To bring the transformative powers of creative expression to those in need.

A2P puts on the Lexington Avenue Arts and Fun Festival (LAAFF), provides REACH programming for underserved populations (Responsive Education Accessing Creativity for Healing), and coordinates the Asheville Mural Project (AMP).

A portion of dollars raised at this event will go towards funding AMP’s newest venture, the Lexington Gateway Mural, which is to be painted on the support columns upholding the I-240 overpass at Lexington and Broadway, the North corridor entrance into the central business district.  It is a huge undertaking and A2P is so thankful to the city for their support in the Mural which will celebrate the people, culture and heritage of Western North Carolina.  For photos of sketches of the mural and more information please visit www.ashevillemuralproject.org.

Tickets are $20 with RSVP or in advance at The Orange Peel or $25 at the door.  One may RSVP by e-mailing arts2people@excite.com or calling (828)582-0431.  Raffle tickets will also be available at the event.  If A2P raises $10,000 by the end of May a local woman is offering a matching grant.  Reserve your tickets today!

Event sponsors include: ImageSmith.com, Asheville.com, Peter Thomas Event Catering, Asheville Downtown Association, Classic Hits 96.5 WOXL, DARN (Downtown Asheville Residential Neighbors), 828: design, Catawba Valley Brewing Company, Jen Lepkowski Photography, RBC Bank, Skyland Distributing, The Orange Peel, topfloor.studio, Greenlife Grocery and the Asheville Mural Project.

The Asheville Affiliates are 3,000+ young professionals invited to attend four annual fundraising events hosted by and supporting Asheville area non-profit organizations.  Events are absolutely open to the general public. For more information about these exciting community events or for sponsorship and volunteer information, contact Jody Whitehurst at ashevilleaffiliates@yahoo.com, or visit the Asheville Affiliates Web site at www.affiliatesofasheville.com.

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