December is a festive time in Asheville’s River Arts District (RAD), with holiday sales, demonstrations, exhibitions, a new gallery opening and, of course, Second Saturday on December 10.
“It is important to have events like Second Saturday because they highlight what is unique about the RAD,” says Amanda McLenon, NorthLight Studio’s newest artist. “We provide an opportunity for people to meet artists and watch the creative process, to ask questions and to be in the space where the creation is happening.” McLenon, who will be demonstrating her oil painting and gold leafing techniques from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., recently moved to Asheville from Charleston, SC. She invites the public to the studio to see her work as well as that of fellow NorthLight artists Nan Davis, Nadine Charlsen and Angela Alexander.
The Magnetic Theatre at Trackside Studios presents a fundraiser, Sip & Shop Jewelry Jubilee, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Second Saturday. “We’ll have a variety of jewelry and accessories for sale, as well as some new logoed merchandise,” says Jessica Johnson, the theatre’s co-artistic director. “We’ll also be selling concessions and will have someone available to talk about our final show of the season, Caroling by Gaslight, and our upcoming season. Caroling by Gaslight runs December 2–17, with performances at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and at 4 p.m. on Sundays.
Also at Trackside Studios, artists Michelle Hamilton and Peggy King host a holiday celebration from 4–7 p.m. on Second Saturday. The monthly event is a good reminder, King says, to keep her displayed art fresh. “I’m planning to paint my wall and hang some new work,” she adds. “Change is good.” The artists will also open their studios on Thursday, December 15, from 2–5 p.m. for demonstrations, sips and snacks.
Oil painter Cynthia Llanes is among the guest artists at Artsville Collective’s space at Marquee. The exhibition runs through January 22. Llanes’ selection of creative works for holiday gift giving include selected oil paintings and limited edition prints as well as painted collectible handbags.
The work of photographer Chris Abell will be on display at Pink Dog Gallery in an exhibition titled This Is Not Rush Hour. An opening reception will be held Friday, December 9, from 5–7 p.m. and the show runs through January 8. The mostly black-and-white images that “find the extraordinary image in the ordinary scene” are from Abell’s travels in Europe and, closer to home, in Asheville.
Additional events include Local Cloth Holiday Craft Market on Second Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and a grand opening for Modern Muse Gallery at Riverview Station on Second Saturday from 5:30–8 p.m.
For a complete schedule of events and times, a map and a studio guide to the district’s artists, visit RiverArtsDistrict.com. Studios have varying hours. Information may also be found at websites for studios and individual artists.