Spring sunshine means it’s time, once again, for the River Arts District (RAD) Studio Stroll on Saturday, May 20, and Sunday, May 21, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free trolleys will help art lovers and patrons travel easily among the studios and galleries of the more than 200 artists that make up the lively district.
“This year the River Arts District artists are looking forward to a spring Studio Stroll that should really shake things up in Asheville,” says Shelley Schenker, president of the River Arts District Association (RADA). More artist participation in RADA and more art lovers in town for a regional show, she adds, promise a great turnout for the stroll. “And our riverside neighbors, New Belgium, are throwing a doosie of an event on Saturday.”
New Belgium Brewery’s Tour de Fat Concert will be held outdoors beginning at 4 p.m., as strollers are winding down their first day of studio tours. The Tour de Fat ensemble of entertainment—circus performers, vaudeville acts, magicians and comedians—will kick off festivities, followed by featured alt rockers Third Eye Blind. Since 2000, Tour de Fat has raised more than $5 million for nonprofits across the country. Proceeds from this first stop on the nationwide Tour de Fat will benefit Asheville on Bikes.
The RAD is made up of 21 buildings in a one-mile stretch along the French Broad River. Studio guides are available online, at various downtown locations and throughout the RAD. Guides list artists by medium and provide studio locations and contact information, helping strollers to map out their days.
Biannual strolls provide artists a chance to demonstrate and converse with studio visitors, who are also able to experience the area’s recent growth, including new locations for Wedge Brewing Co. and 12 Bones Smokehouse behind Riverview Station. Restaurants and cafés are open throughout the RAD during the stroll.
“Honestly,” Schenker says, “if someone wants to enjoy the arts in Asheville, the weekend of May 20–21 is perfect!”