Galleries Visual Arts

Asheville Through Brown Eyes Opens December 7

Ms Sassy Lucy

The Asheville Area Arts Council (AAAC) presents Asheville Through Brown Eyes, beginning with an opening reception on Friday, December 7, from 5–8 p.m. and running through January 11 in the Thom Robinson and Ray Griffin Exhibition Space. The show, curated by Joseph Pearson, highlights the works of seven Buncombe County artists who have an extensive knowledge of the history and culture of people of color in Asheville.

“Joseph has built this collection because of the need to come together and celebrate less visible communities of color,” says AAAC grants manager Janelle Wienke. “Art is an incredible vehicle to uncover and change community perceptions.”

Works will include jewelry by Viola Spells, photography by Noel Jefferson, acrylic paintings by Jenny Pickens, oils on paper by Pearson and mixed media by Cleaster Cotton, Valeria Watson and James Love. The artists’ styles range from primitive to modern and include many rich cultural influences. Pearson’s paintings, for example, address the traditional church hats worn by black women as an expression of individualism in contrast to the maid and servant uniforms they wore all week. Watson’s work includes elements of autobiography reflecting her Scots, Irish, Choctaw, Cherokee, Ibo and Yoruba ancestry.

“I hope viewers appreciate the range of creative expression in the exhibit as well as each artist’s perceptions of black Asheville,” says Pearson.

The Thom Robinson and Ray Griffin Exhibition Space is located in the Refinery Creator Space at 207 Coxe Avenue, Asheville. Hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Learn more at, and

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