Chihuly’s Glass Sculpture and More

The Asheville arts scene offers much to see and do

Dale Chihuly's Sole d'Oro glows at the Biltmore House in Asheville.

Asheville’s arts scene is rich with galleries, museums, and activities for the whole family, but this summer there are a few must-see spots.

Step into Biltmore Garden’s exhibit of Dale Chihuly’s blown glass sculptures where glittering orbs and towering spindles, transport you to a landscape that is out of this world.

The historic residence’s iconic grounds provide the ideal setting for Chihuly’s world-renowned work. Chihuly at Biltmore is the first garden exhibition of his art in North Carolina.

Dale Chihuly’s Italian Garden Overview is on display at the Biltmore until Oct. 7.

With 16 glass installations spread across the Biltmore estate, it makes for a leisurely walking tour. Each glass display’s unique form and color scheme blend harmoniously with the architecture and natural landscape.

A few highlights include: Sole d’Oro, Float Boat, and Burnished Amber, Citron and Teal Chandeliers.

  • Sole d’Oro glows bright in the front lawn matching the Biltmore House in elegance with thick clusters of glass spindles and cones.
  • Float Boat’s kaleidoscope of colors frozen in the reflecting pools makes the world of imagination come to life.
  • And the Burnished Amber, Citron, and Teal Chandeliers hang gracefully among Biltmore’s greenhouse plants.

For an extra dimension of awe-inspiring beauty, Biltmore offers special evening viewings of the sculpture highlighted by brilliant lighting. The exhibit will be on display until Oct. 7. For information, visit biltmore.com.

If your creative side is inspired after visiting Chihuly at Biltmore, stop at North Carolina Glass Center in Asheville’s River Arts District to make your own blown glass items. During a 30-minute class you can craft a paperweight, ornament, or cup and learn the basics of glassblowing alongside local artists in their studio.

The NC Glass Center class offers the chance to work with the mesmerizing material of molten glass as you mold colors and shapes into your own art piece. It’s a hands-on way to experience arts in the area and come home with your own homemade souvenir.

While in the River Arts District, be sure to visit Jonas Gerard’s gallery and art studio. His one-of-a-kind painting style isn’t the only allure. Huge paintings line the walls with vivid color and texture that literally pops off the canvas. His art is interactive — all of the paintings on the walls can be touched.

And if you have good timing, you may meet Gerard or see him working on his latest piece.

If you’re crunched for time and want to see as many galleries as possible, try the Cotton Mill Studios. Once a core part of Asheville’s industrial hub, the renovated Cotton Mill includes art galleries among its eight studio spaces, and you can also hear live music, order custom furniture and see artists at work.

On the way out of the River Arts District, be sure to drive down Lyman Street to see some of the detailed graffiti art that plasters the buildings lining the road.

These are only a couple of gems in the lively Asheville arts community, but they are certainly ones you won’t want to miss.

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