From the Editor

Laurel of Asheville Editor Frances Figart

No matter what our political views, we all agree on the value of education, not only as a resource for economic improvement, but also for personal enrichment. This issue is dedicated to education in Western North Carolina. In addition to our special education section, there are dozens of stories throughout the magazine that focus on learning and the special people who offer us opportunities to improve our knowledge.

Our cover and feature artists are both instructors, watermedia artist Megan Richard having taught Montessori for more than a quarter of a century and textile artist Susan Stowell being a renowned teacher in the realm of couture. Photographer philosopher Don McGowan has made it his life’s passion to teach others to see the world mindfully from behind a camera lens through his EarthSong Photography workshops, both in our region and across the country.

It was my great privilege to interview the outgoing executive director of the John C. Campbell Folk School, Dr. Jan Davidson, whose retirement March 1 ends a 25- year career leading a unique arts and craft institution. His insights into the nature of education and the importance of balancing art and academics, critical and creative thinking, and woodworking with woodpecker watching will provide readers a time-release capsule for joy and reflection this month.

Some of the instructors you’ll meet in this edition play key roles—as well as instruments—in this month’s Asheville Amadeus Festival coordinated by the Asheville Symphony. You can check out their stories and plan to attend at least one of these outstanding musical events March 10–19 to revel in the coming of spring!

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