Written by Mary Carol Koester of Azalea Bindery
Asheville is currently one of the most desirable art destinations in the country and when cities have a strong arts presence, people want to live, work, and visit there. What began as informal inquiries into Asheville’s growing reputation as a vibrant art community, has blossomed into an unprecedented partnership between six organizations.
Wendy Whitson, artist, River Arts District Association (RADA) board member and past president, was interested in the changes taking place in the art community and asked along with others, “What has catapulted Asheville to this level of recognition, and what do we know about the value of our artists’ contributions to the local economy?”
The quest for answers goes back quite a while. Whitson, a long-time arts advocate, knew there was no quick answer to how and why the city’s reputation for art had grown so rapidly. It was also known that it had been at least ten years since any kind of comparative analysis had been done on the creative sector in Asheville.
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