By Gina Malone
The life of one of Asheville’s most famous residents, Zelda Fitzgerald, will be celebrated from Saturday, March 9, through Friday, March 15, with a roster of events at various venues. In 2015, the City of Asheville proclaimed March 10 of each year as ‘Zelda Fitzgerald Day’ in recognition of Zelda’s creative spirit, her struggles with mental illness and her tragic death at Highland Hospital.
“It’s been exciting to receive such a warm response from community members who are interested in learning more about Zelda,” says Lori Greenberg, founder and board president of Aurora Studio & Gallery, a supportive art studio for artists affected by mental health needs, addiction and/ or homelessness. When approached by local history buff James MacKenzie in 2015 with an invitation to help plan an annual celebration, Greenberg says she loved the idea. “It seemed like a perfect fit for an organization like Aurora Studio & Gallery that focuses on building community by utilizing the arts.”
The celebration of Zelda’s life in Asheville has since become a collaboration of many individuals and organizations. On Saturday, March 9, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wedge Studios will feature an art exhibit, How Much The Heart Can Hold, that showcases artists from Aurora Studio & Gallery, as well as other works exploring Zelda’s life.
Readings of some of Zelda’s writings will be presented Sunday, March 10, at 3 p.m. at Malaprop’s Bookstore/Café. In addition, MacKenzie will host a Zelda Trivia Contest with prizes. The focus on Zelda’s work continues Tuesday, March 12, at 12 p.m. at Malaprop’s with a book discussion of the semi-autobiographical novel, published in 1932, that Zelda wrote when she was hospitalized for schizophrenia. “Save Me the Waltz is a vivid and moving story,” says Lindsey Solomon, development and communications associate for Asheville Art Museum. “Through the confessions of a famous, slightly doomed glamour girl of the affluent 1920s, it captures the spirit of an era.”
On Thursday, March 14, from 6–7:30 p.m., Dr. Daniel Johnson, M.D. will offer a presentation on the links between creativity, mental illness and recovery, with a panel discussion with local artists. The event will be held at Lord Auditorium at the Pack Memorial Library.
A Roaring 20s Evening at THE BLOCK off biltmore on Friday, March 15, from 6–11 p.m., provides a grand finale to the week’s events. Those attending are invited to show up in 1920s period clothing, with prizes awarded for the best costume. Music will be provided by jazz musicians Albi & The Lifters, a trivia contest will be held and a classic Prohibition cocktail will be on the menu. The first hour of the evening, 6–7 p.m., will be dedicated to a fundraiser for Aurora Studio & Gallery, with a $10 cover charge for appetizers and intimate readings of Zelda’s writings by director, writer and performer Monika Gross of At-A-Site Theater.
Events are sponsored by Asheville Art Museum, Aurora Studio & Gallery, THE BLOCK off biltmore, Malaprop’s Bookstore/Café, Pack Memorial Library, The POP Project, Wedge Studios and the Celebrate Zelda Committee.
Find information on Facebook at Zelda Fitzgerald Day in Asheville. For more about events, visit RiverArtsDistrict.com/buildings/wedge-studios, Malaprops. com, AshevilleArt.org, BuncombeCounty.org and TheBlockOffBiltmore.com.