AAAC Exhibit Seeks to Heal Societal Rifts

Access. Mary Lounsbury, artist

Access. Mary Lounsbury, artist

The Asheville Area Arts Council (AAAC) presents De-construct to a New Paradigm, an exhibit with a positive response to the deep divisions within our society, on display in the AAAC Exhibition Space from Friday, July 19, through Friday, August 16. An opening reception with an artist talk and dance performance takes place Friday, August 2, from 5–8 p.m. in coordination with the Downtown Asheville Arts District’s First Friday Art Walk. Curated by local metal artist Tekla Howachyn, who was awarded the opportunity through AAAC’s Point of View Curator Program, the show includes work by Howachyn and six other artists: Marty Cain, Karen Chapman, Jenny Kiehn, Kathleen Kondilas, Jay Pfeil and Mary Lounsbury.

“We are experiencing extreme polarities and inequalities in our world, our country and our community,” says Howachyn. “I want to focus on how to recreate a positive vision out of the turmoil and to convey what that could look like and how to get there.”

Inspired by the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.’s words “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear,” Howachyn asked participating artists to share their vision of the healing of societal rifts and of how they believe we can bring about love rather than hate through the process of building a new paradigm. The artists processed the theme for a year and internalized their own pathway as well as that within the group. They responded to the theme with a wide range of materials and approaches, including abstract paintings and engravings by Pfeil, sculptures created from identifiable objects by Kiehn and Kondilas, interactive artwork featuring journals by Lounsbury, interactive labyrinths by Cain and an interactive piece by Howachyn using doors and pathways for viewers to explore. Chapman will perform a Five Rhythms Dance at the opening reception.

“The variety of our artistic approaches is a bit like a group of people dealing with the same problem in life, with individuals managing it in different ways according to their personality and experience,” says Kiehn. “We’re all coming together on the same journey, no matter our point of view at the journey’s beginning.”

A full day of thematic workshops will be held Saturday, August 3, at the Refinery. The interactive sessions are designed to help people use creative experiences to find their own path towards healing cultural rifts. Workshop titles include Why the Labyrinth?, Breaking Out of Beliefs that Bind and Empowering the Body through the Five Rhythms.

“It is our hope that exhibit and workshop attendees will discover within their minds, hearts and souls what it is they truly seek as individuals and as a community in creating a better future,” says Howachyn.

The AAAC Exhibition Space and Refinery are located at 207 Coxe Avenue, in Asheville. Hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Learn more at, and

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