Arts Lifestyle

National Arts & Crafts Conference Returns to Omni Grove Park Inn

Photo by Ray Stubblebine

The Arts and Crafts Movement was the style that shaped Asheville. It can be seen all over the city, from Douglas Ellington’s Art Deco downtown masterworks—City Hall, the First Baptist Church and the S&W Building—to the quieter neighborhoods of Norwood Park, West Asheville, Kenilworth, Grove Park, Albemarle Park and Montford. Symbolized by modest, cost-efficient bungalows, the Arts and Crafts movement swept into Asheville at the turn of the century, along with an emphasis on handcrafted furniture, hand-thrown art pottery and hand-hammered metalware and lighting fixtures.

After being pushed briefly aside in favor of Mid-century Modernism, the Arts and Crafts revival began in earnest in 1988 with the first National Arts and Crafts Conference and Show. The event is held each February at the Omni Grove Park Inn, itself an Arts and Crafts masterpiece. “That first year, we nearly had more people from California than the Carolinas, but as local people began to look around and recognize the Arts and Crafts influence in their homes and neighborhoods, this has become an Asheville event as much as a national conference,” says conference founder and director Bruce Johnson.

The Persian Carpet, Durham. Photo by Ray Stubblebine

The 35th National Arts and Crafts Conference and Show returns to the historic Omni Grove Park Inn on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, February 18—20. Attendees will have the opportunity to see the finest in vintage Arts and Crafts antiques for sale, along with new furniture, art pottery, textiles, jewelry, rugs and cabinetry made by artisans from across the country working in the Arts and Crafts style.

“What started with just 300 attendees now attracts nearly 3,000 people, and serves as an important fundraiser for the Preservation Society and for the Asheville Art Museum, as well as benefiting local galleries, restaurants and shops,” says Johnson.

The shows are open to the public on Friday, February 18, from 1–6 p.m.; on Saturday, February 19, from 12–6 p.m.; and on Sunday, February 20, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for students. Outdoor parking is free, as are the first three hours of garage parking. For additional information, visit Arts-CraftsConference.com or call Bruce Johnson’s office at 828.628.1915.

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