Performing Arts

Finding the Future by Preserving the Past

Preserving the Past Towards the end of the 20th century, the city of Asheville received a much-needed architectural makeover, with no small effort from the city’s Preservation Society. Jack Thomson, current executive director of the society, was one of the leaders on this front and continues to be a voice for the preservation, renewal and growth of Asheville’s historic architectural culture.

On Saturday, March 18, at 2 p.m., Thomson and the River Arts District’s Magnetic Theatre will host Lost in Asheville, a special presentation on this architectural story of loss, renewal and sense of place.

“We are unique in Asheville,” says Kieta Osteen-Cochrane, education committee chair for the Preservation Society. “We were a frontier town and western region of hardy pioneers through the mid-1800s that was singled out in the golden age when the Vanderbilts came here to develop.”

According to Osteen-Cochrane, it is the combination of this rich history and the creative efforts of our current community that creates a unique sense of place here in Western North Carolina. Thomson’s talk will focus, among other things, on understanding what it means to share a sense of place and how to galvanize its future potential.

“By showing what significantly historic structures have been destroyed,” says Thomson, “as preservationists, we hope to encourage our community to be thoughtful about growth and development and embrace strategies that protect our historic built environment, a resource that our economy and quality of life rely upon so heavily.”

The Magnetic Theatre is located at 375 Depot Street in Asheville’s River Arts District. Admission is free, with a suggested donation of $10. For more information, visit

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