[Dis]Solution: A Site-Specific Installation @ Spotlight Gallery

February 1 - February 29, 2024

Artist Reception Saturday, February 17:2-5 PM

Spotlight Gallery

WEDGE Studios; Second Floor

129 Roberts St.

Asheville, NC 28801

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Embodying Culture: Women In Appalachia @ Reece Museum

January 15 - July 4, 2024

Reece Museum is located on the campus of

Eastern Tennessee State University

Johnson City, Tennessee


Exhibition Reception dates to be announced

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Willapa Bay AiR

Art Residency Late Summer 2024

Oysterville, Washington


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Jentel Artist Residency

Banner, Wyoming in Spring 2024


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Reaching Through

Site-Specific Installation

Spotlight Gallery @ WEDGE Studios

Asheville, NC

On View October 1 - October 31, 2023

Closing Reception Saturday, October 28, 3-5:30PM

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A group show of 17 women artists from North Carolina

The Centerpiece Gallery

7400 Six Forks Rd. Ste 18

Raleigh, NC 27615

Opening Reception Friday, October 13, 2023


(919) 948-4886

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Gallery 2 x 6

Now showing abstract Works on Paper and Mixed Media Fiber Art

Wedge Studios Building

129 Roberts St

Asheville, NC 28801

Open to the Public Monday–Saturday, 11AM - 4PM

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Arrowmount Gallery in Knoxville, TN - A Group Show



‘Fiber Focus’

Found Object 33

Opening with Artist Reception: July 1, 2022

July 1-3: Friday 5-9pm; Saturday and Sunday 12-5PM

July 17-20: Friday 5-9pm; Saturday, Sunday, Monday 12-5PM

Found Object 38

Arrowmont Gallery Knoxville is kicking off the ground this year.  Soon to come but not yet reaching full-time hours, The Gallery will be open during two weekends in July and the first weekend of each month until they establish regular hours.

Found Object 36

1st Weekend: Opening and Artist Reception for this group show on is on July 1st during FIRST FRIDAY in Old Knoxville.

2nd Weekend: In conjunction with CONVERGENCE, a conference weekend organized by the Handweavers Guild of America. Arrowmont Gallery Knoxville will be open Friday - Monday; July 17-20.  Please see above for hours of operation.

Arrowmont Gallery Knoxville is located in Old Knoxville at 110 Gay St., Knoxville, TN 37902. Arrowmont Gallery is accessed by stairwell on street level, adjacent to The Emporium.



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Mars Landing Gallery Opening

‘Luxury of a Load-bearing Weight’

New Works on Paper by Molly Sawyer

June 2 - July 2, 2022


Image of olive green watercolor form with red to blue watercolor and interconnecting sewn circles .
Portal (Verde Patches)

Mars Landing Galleries

Collectors Preview: Thursday, June 2: 5-7PM

Public Opening: Friday, June 3: 5-8PM 

Molly will be present both evenings for an Artist Reception. Please joins us celebrate.

Image of rusty red watercolor forms reassembled into a larger shape with plum sewn shapes connecting the watercolor forms.
Found Object #37

Mars Landing Galleries
37 Library St.
Mars Hill, NC 28754
(828) 747-7267
Photo: Rachel Pressley

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Cover Story in Asheville Made! March, 2022

The Secret To Controlling A Lack Of Control

(original article: https://ashevillemade.com/the-secret-to-controlling-a-lack-of-control/)

byTom Kerr

Molly Sawyer has worked in paper, large-scale sculptural installation, fiber art, and found-object collage and assemblage, evolving between mediums as she “tracks decades of life movements.”
Portrait by Rachel Pressley

“When I was nine years old I had a brain tumor,” reveals multimedia artist Molly Sawyer, who has also endured breast cancer and undergone more than 20 surgeries in her lifetime. “I’m open in talking about those experiences because they are a major part of what informs my work and who I am.” Sawyer sometimes refers to her artwork as a “physical incarnation of what I’m trying to deal with internally.”

Cape Horn
Photo by Rachel Pressley

Over the past two years, her journey has involved a pivotal transition into assemblages on paper, from previous projects as a sculptor doing much more physically strenuous work — including large installation pieces. “I was concerned, thinking I might not have the bodily strength to work with such massive, heavy materials. But I have an extensive background in fiber, so I started doing needle felting and other fiber work and bringing that into my sculpture.” That eventually led to her current body of work, watercolor on paper that still retains a unique sculptural quality.

“These works, that I call ‘Found Objects,’ are like assemblages and collages. I’m making and cutting watercolors up and sewing them back together and I’m embroidering. It’s so reflective of my surgical processes — and putting them together is a layering process, kind of like how the choices everyone makes throughout the day are layered.”

Small works on paper are part of Sawyer’s latest paradigm shift.
Photo by Rachel Pressley

Sewing various watercolor and paper components together allows Sawyer to achieve a large scale with lighter materials. While her new approach is still evolving, some of her pieces are four feet wide and four feet tall.

Molly working on her piece at Marquee Asheville.
Photo by Rachel Pressley

The artist studied ceramics at Guilford College in Greensboro and later attended the New York Studio School and the Art Students League of New York. Her work can be found in public and private collections across the United States, and has been exhibited in multiple galleries and museums, including Asheville Art Museum.

Sheep Feathers
Photo by Rachel Pressley

“If you had to have one word for my work it would be ‘balance’ — positive and negative spaces and physical balance. With my brain tumor I had to retrain my brain, and trying to find balance might have been the key to it all. When I stand back and look at my own curated works in different series, I’m able to track decades of life movements. I’m recording and embracing the passage of time with the body. And a number of my sculpture works are not made to last.”

Orange Rhino
Photo by Rachel Pressley

Case in point — she’s recently been experimenting with icicles: “I go out in winter and find them and coat them in powdered pigment, then let them melt on watercolor paper.” Through it all, Sawyer’s work continues to explore a universal urge: how to contend with a lack of control.

Art Gloves
Photo by Rachel Pressley

“You never know what’s going to happen next. But one thing you can try to control is [accepting that] and letting go.”

Heart of the Wood
Photo by Rachel Pressley

Molly Sawyer, Asheville. Sawyer’s current sculptural work will be on exhibit at Marquee (36 Foundy St., Asheville) through Monday, March 28, and her smaller works are available there on an ongoing basis (marqueeasheville.com). Sawyer is represented by Mars Landing Galleries and will mount Works on Paper there beginning Friday, April 1, with a solo show opening Friday, July 1 (37 Library St., Mars Hill, marslandinggalleries.com). Her work can also be seen at The Centerpiece Gallery (7400 Six Forks Road, Raleigh, thecenterpiece.com). To learn more, including information about commissions, visit mlsawyer.com and on Instagram: @mlsawyerart.

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Temperature Gauge; Centerpiece Art; Raleigh, NC; October 3 - November 5, 2020

Molly Sawyer joins Centerpiece Gallery as the featured Spotlight Artist for the month of October 2020.

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in place of pleasing; Asheville, NC; September 25 - November 1, 2020

I am drawn to lingering on the beach along the water’s edge.  Treading within the transparent space where water laps over and is absorbed by sand.  It feels to be the very edge of things; water blending with land, fluid meeting solid.  A transitional space of balance, absorption and release.

Like the the gentle slope of what is perceived as land’s end, the changing of seasons is this space of transition.  In the beginning, you notice minute whispers of change, micro-transition; transition within transition.  The cooling of air bringing a crispness that leaves hinting the first signs of warm color and promise.  These are the days we are moving through.  A nebulous space of change that teeters on the edge.  

Hold yourself there between earth and sky, between land and sea.  Release the breath and rest there for those ten seconds like sands on the edge, allowing the space for potential.

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Western Carolina University; January 23 - February 25, 2020

Tell Me What You See

Western Carolina University 

January 23 - February 25, 2020

Gallery 130
located in the Bardo Arts Center at
Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC

Artist Reception: January 23, 5 - 7PM
to learn more about Bardo Arts Center
Visit their website

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REVOLVE Art Space; January 17 - February 16, 2020

Taking Stock

January 17 - February 16, 2020

at RAMP SOUTH Studio 821 Riverside Dr. #179 Asheville, NC

Artist Reception: January 17: 5:30 - 7:30PM
For weekday viewing appointments, contact me at;
mollysawyer@mac.com; 646.853.1100;
or DM @mlsawyerart; on Facebook & Instagram

Click to learn more about REVOLVE Art Space

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AppalachiaNow! November 14, 2019 - February 3, 2020

An Interdisciplinary Survey of
Contemporary Art in Southern Appalachia

Asheville Art Museum
November 14, 2019—February 3, 2020
Learn more about the opening here!

Follow the links below to learn more about AppalachiaNow!, for more about the Asheville Art Museum and to recent Press surrounding the exhibit:

Mountain Xpress

Asheville Art Museum Press Release

Asheville Art Museum

Opening Events:

  • Grand Opening Celebration November 9, 6pm
  • Ribbon-Cutting & Public Preview November 13, 1pm
  • After Hours Party November 16, 8pm
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Tracey Morgan Gallery August 4 - September 24, 2017

Tracey Morgan Gallery
August 4 - September 24, 2017


Artists Reception: Friday, August 4, 2017: 6 -8 pm
188 Coxe Ave./ Asheville, NC/ 28801
p: 828-505-7667

Gallery hours:
Tuesday - Saturday: 10 - 6pm
Sunday: Noon - 4pm

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Between Earth and Sky

Molly Sawyer @ The Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art Main Gallery in Augusta, Georgia 2017

I am honored to have been invited to hold a Solo Exhibit of my work at the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art in Augusta, GA.  

The Opening Reception of 'Between Earth and Sky' will be held the evening of January 20, 2017 from 6 - 8 PM at the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art.

My dear friend and fantastic artist, Lillie Hardy Morris, will be exhibiting in the adjoining gallery.  

If you are not familiar with her work, visit her website for a glimpse.www.lilliemorrisfineart.comThe Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art

Contact: Heather Williams


506 Telfair Street,Augusta, GA 30901

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PRESS RELEASE - Between Earth and Sky



Heather Williams

‘Between Earth and Sky’: Sculpture by Molly Sawyer to Open at the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art in Augusta, Georgia

Between Earth and Sky’ is a new series of figurative and abstract works by North Carolina artist Molly Sawyer which will open Friday, January 20, 2017.   A reception will take place between 6:00 - 8:00 pm in the Main Gallery of The Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art, Augusta, GA.  The artist will be in attendance. The exhibit will remain open to the public through Friday, February 24, 2017.

This series of Sawyer’s free-standing and wall hung sculpture is a variegated investigation of the emotional spaces of the ‘in between’.  The exhibit gives reference to the ocean: that space that floats between the solid below us and the open air above.  Sawyer’s sometimes minimalist work seeks to act as a visual narrative of metaphorical expression that connects these waters to the universal sea of human experience.

‘This work is about the negative spaces, the gaps in between that allow for the breath and quietude within our pauses;  the spaces that leave room for contemplation.’

Simultaneously opening in the Criel-Harrison Community Gallery is the work of Augusta, GA artist, Lillie Hardy Morris. ‘Heggie’s Rock Revisted’ focuses on the landscape of Heggie’s Rock in Columbia County and will transport the viewer to the barren, lunar-like landscape of this unique geological place through cold wax on canvas.

Founded in 1937 and housed in the historic Nicholas Ware mansion (c. 1818), the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art is Augusta's only independent nonprofit visual arts school and contemporary art gallery. The Institute serves as a showcase for regional, national, and international artists, offering rotating exhibitions of outstanding contemporary artwork year-round.

The Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art
506 Telfair St.
Augusta, GA 30901

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ML Sawyer @ Squirrel Haus Arts - Press Release


‘body type’ by Molly Sawyer to Open at Squirrel Haus Arts in Minneapolis, MN

An installation illustrating ‘biologic sameness’ and our human connection through the body will exhibit at the Squirrel Haus Arts in Minneapolis, MN with an Opening Reception on Friday, September 16, 2016 from 6-9 PM.  This event will be part of the opening kick-off to the LOLA Art Crawl which will take place throughout the weekend of September 17/18, 2016.

The artist, Molly Sawyer, will be present at the reception and will give a brief talk surrounding the installation ‘body type’, its origins and the process of its creation.  The exhibit will run from September 16, 2016 through September 30, 2016.Through the interconnected nature of the knitting process, Sawyer has used her own body, namely her arms, to produce this room-sized work which describes our universal, internal similarities though we are each created as unique specimens.  Viewers are invited to walk through the work to fully engage with the work.‘In ‘body type' twine is fascia, red yarns are blood, and varying hues of blacks, blues and greens reference the four humors or temperaments: sanguine, choleric, melancholic, phlegmatic.  Fat molecules are raw sheep fleece and suspended balls of crimson are red blood cells.  Through linked yarns and twine, this work is about the lack of separation between us all although we exist so, very independently as individuals'.

Molly Sawyer is a contemporary fine artist currently maintaining a studio of Asheville, NC whose work and materials span a broad range.  Her tactile sensibilities are inspired by the organic, natural world and draw from both the exterior surroundings of wilderness to the introspection of her personal presence in the world.

Squirrel Haus Arts

Contact: Donna Meyer/ donnaspidiemeyer@gmail.com/ 612-669-87213450
Snelling Ave. SMinneapolis, MN 55406

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Molly Sawyer @ Squirrel Haus Arts September 16 - 30, 2016

body type is an installation illustrating our ‘biologic sameness’ and the human connection through the body.The interconnected nature of the process of knitting lends to this truth. I have used my own body, namely my arms, to produce this room-sized work which describes our universal, internal similarities though we are each created as unique specimen.The Opening Reception on September 16, 21016 from 6 PM - 9 PM will be part of the kickoff event for the League of Longfellow Artists (LOLA) Art Crawl taking place throughout the weekend in Minneapolis.Squirrel Haus Arts3450 Snelling Ave. SMinneapolis, MN 55406www.squirrelhaus.com(more images on GALLERY page)

body type
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Menagerie @ Paper City Studios; Holyoke, Massachusetts

The Animal Show @ Paper City StudiosJun 10 - July 2, 2016Holyoke, MAwww.papercitystudios.wordpress.comI've been invited to take part in a group exhibit at Paper City Studios in Holyoke, MA curated by New York City artist, Eric Hamilton.  Its called The Animal Show an is all about the Animalia.  I'll be including Arachnid, a bronze from my Equine series.  Excited thanks to Eric Hamilton, Paper City and all artists in the show.[caption id="attachment_335" align="alignnone" width="338"]

Arachnid 17" x 12" x 22" Bronze[/caption][caption id="attachment_337" align="alignnone" width="340"]

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Press Release - Molly Sawyer @ Mason Fine Art

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEMarch 21, 2016MEDIA CONTACT:Mason Fine Art and EventsMark Karelson - mark@masonfineartandevents.comKelly F. Syed - kelly@masonfineartandevents.com415 Plasters Ave. NEAtlanta, Ga. 30324404-879-1500www.masonfineartandevents.comMason Fine Art and Events in Atlanta, Georgia to feature Sculptor, Molly Sawyer. Molly Sawyer’s new body of wall-hung works entitled ’Adrift’ will open on Friday, April 8, 2016: 6 - 9 PM at Mason Fine Art in Atlanta, Georgia. This exciting series is made primarily of driftwood collected from beaches in Maine and from the Hudson River in upstate New York.These found objects are collected and then reinterpreted through the assemblage process. The nature of this current body of work brings about the questions of sustainability of artists’ materials and practice, the blending of organic with man-made, and the ever-altered results of climate change."The work is about balance: of natural forces, of materials, balance of emotions and of opposites. I feel it is my responsibility as an artist to act as an interpreter of natural elements and as one who documents materials and impressions which we may one-day be without.”Molly Sawyer is a mid-career sculptor and native to Atlanta. She has maintained studios from Georgia to North Carolina, to New York, and back to North Carolina. Her studio is currently located in Asheville, North Carolina. Her sculptures can be found in both private and corporate collections throughout the east coast including the New York Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Mohegan Sun Casino, and the Ritz-Carlton Boston collections.Sawyer has exhibited with Mason Fine Art for over a decade. Her work continues to remain fresh and ever-changing while her insightful evolution as an artist unfolds. Please join her at the opening reception of ‘Adrift’ on Friday, April 8, 2016 from 6 - 9 PM when Sawyer will be in attendance to share more about the work.

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MLSawyer @ Squirrel Haus Arts in September 2016


Stayed tuned! Exact dates in September To Be Announced.Squirrel Haus Arts3450 Snelling Ave. SMinneapolis, MN 55406www.squirrelhausarts.comSquirrel Haus Arts is an Arts Incubator in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis, MN. The brain child of Michael and Donna Meyer, SHA started in 2015; bought from a medical supply company. It is continuing to be transformed and remodeled into a gallery, rehearsal space, set design location, event center and meeting spot.

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Molly Sawyer @ Mars Hill University Opens Tonight

Where Do We Go From Here?A sculptural observation of time’s passingFebruary 10 - March 4, 2016Weizenblatt Gallery at Mars Hill UniversityArtist's Reception on Wednesday, February 10, 2016 from 6-8PMwww.mhu.edu/art/weizenblatt-galleryGallery hours: Monday - Friday, 10am - 4pmDirections: www.mhu.edu/about-mhu/location(The Weizenblatt Gallery is located inside of the Moore Auditorium)(Bldg #9 on the campus map found on the University website)


For Immediate Release
January 26, 2016

MEDIA CONTACT:Teresa BucknerAssistant Director of Communications828/689-1304

Weizenblatt Gallery to Feature Asheville Artists Julie Miles and Molly Sawyer

Weizenblatt Gallery, in the Moore Building of Mars Hill University, will feature the work of painter Julie Miles and three-dimensional artist Molly Sawyer, beginning February 8. The artists will be present for an opening reception for the exhibition, on Wednesday, February 10, from 6 to 8 pm in the gallery.

Sawyer, whose studio is currently located in Asheville, NC, describes her current work as "the creation of ‘nurturing forms and spaces.’" Moving between figurative and abstract forms, she creates her work by collecting found objects from the natural world and reinterpreting them through the process of assemblage. These found materials include ephemeral materials such as rust, moss, bark, raw sheep wool and salvaged wood.

Sawyer said her work has been affected by multiple, life-threatening traumas in her life, including most recently, a bout with breast cancer. As a result, her art, she said, deals with moving through life and then into death.

"So much of the material [for my work] comes from nature and the common element is that it is already in some stage of decomposition," she said. "Like us, the organic materials have a life-span. By assembling found and created materials, I am exploring a conversation about the natural preciousness of things. The work is the pursuit of a peaceful state of being and the process is that of forever working to trust in my own intuition and instinct."

Sawyer’s sculptures can be found in both private and corporate collections throughout the east coast including the New York Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Mohegan Sun Casino, and the Ritz-Carlton Boston collections.

Julie Miles' latest series, titled, "At the End of the Road, in the Middle of Nowhere,"is a collection of paintings about 1940s farm life on a peppermint farm in the thumb of Michigan. Considered a contemporary folk artist, Miles has spent a lifetime observing how emotion manifests in the gestures of human form; the special roles light and topography play in composing a landscape; and how all of this can be used to express the deeper story. The far-reaching topography and vast sky of her Michigan roots shape the backdrop for the figures in her work.

She said: "My latest series peers in on the rare moments of contemplation and self-reflection found during a time when rising with the sun, working until dusk and surrendering to the task at hand was the way of life. It is my hope that you will find a camaraderie with these figures and discover the universal tie behind each piece, stretching beyond place and time."

Weizenblatt Gallery is free and open to the public from 10 am – 4 pm each weekday. It is located in the Moore Building of Mars Hill University on Cascade Street in Mars Hill.

Mars Hill University is a premier private, liberal arts institution offering over 30 baccalaureate degrees and one graduate degree in elementary education. Founded in 1856 by Baptist families of the region, the campus is located just 20 minutes north of Asheville in the mountains of western North Carolina.www.mhu.edu.

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MLSawyer @ Mason Fine Art in Atlanta, GA - Opening April 8, 2016

Mason Fine Art (previously Mason Murer Fine Art). I have shown with these guys in Atlanta for a number of years. They have found a new home at 415 Plasters Ave and I'm looking forward to exhibiting in the fresh space.I'll be exhibiting works from the Driftwood series, Opening April 8, 2016.www.masonfineartandevents.comhttp://masonfineartandevents.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/mfa_logo_landing.jpg

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Second Street Gallery - Charlottesville, VA

I am honored that the folks at Second Street Gallery have chosen to highlight my work in this FaceBook interview. Please follow the link to read more of my thoughts on the work.https://www.facebook.com/notes/second-street-gallery/sustainability-artist-spotlight-molly-sawyer/10153960279672249The exhibit continues through Friday, January 29, 2016.www.secondstreetgallery.org

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Weizenblatt Gallery at Mars Hill University Opens February 10, 2016

Where Do We Go From Here?A sculptural observation of time’s passingbyMolly SawyerFebruary 10 - March 4, 2016Weizenblatt Gallery at Mars Hill UniversityHwy 213/ Cascade St., Mars Hill, NC 28754Please join us for theArtists Reception on Wednesday, February 10, 2016 from 6-8PMwww.mhu.edu/art/weizenblatt-galleryGallery hours: Monday - Friday, 10am - 4pmFor more info: Kenn Kotara, kkotara@mhu.eduwww.mhu.edu/about-mhu/locationThe Weizenblatt Gallery is located inside of the Moore Auditorium(Bldg #9 on the campus map found on the University website)Driving From Asheville?Take Highway 19-23 (Future Interstate 26) north approximately 18 miles to Mars Hill.Take Exit 11 and turn left off the on-ramp onto NC Hwy 213/Carl Eller Road.Travel approximately 1 mile onto the campus of Mars Hill University.

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The Academy at Terpsicorps

I've been asked to create an installation for one of the walls in the amazing new space that Heather Maloy and her crew with Terpsicorps are building on Patton Ave. in Asheville, NC. The opening is slated for Fall 2015 so keep an eye out.

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Asheville Area Arts Council

Annual Color Ball 2015Happy to make available 'Fourth Son of Thrid Son', a member of the Totems series, for the annual fund raiser.  A majestic evening where this sculpture found a new home.

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Second Street Gallery - Charlottesville, VA

Fall is busy with preparations for the upcoming artists' residency at Jentel but still there is time to get things ready for a group show at the Second Street Gallery in Charlottesville, VA. I've been invited to place 7 pieces in an exhibit where the theme is of artists who use sustainable materials in their work. Many of the Driftwood series will show as well as a few smaller Cocoons.Exhibit from December 2015 through January 2016.

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Could The Next Asheville Arts Enclave Transform The Suburbs?


Emily Patrick, epatrick@gannett.com 11:39 a.m. EDT August 4, 2015
Asheville artists Jon Sarver, left, and Todd Fowler
Asheville artists Jon Sarver, left, and Todd Fowler talk about growing more urban artwork onto buildings around West Asheville in front of a large mural on the Sky Lanes Bowling Alley. Photo William Woody
When sculptor Molly Sawyer moved to Asheville from New York City just over three years ago, she had trouble finding housing but no problem getting studio space.She rented a sprawling section of a warehouse in the River Arts District's Switchyard Studios with high ceilings and plenty of room to spare. While they looked for a house, she and her husband even slept in the space. She jokes they were "just spending some time there" since city code prohibits people from living in commercial buildings.Rent was unthinkably cheap — about $1 per square foot — and the neighbors were interesting and supportive, although they threw the occasional wild party after hours. There was no heat or air conditioning, but Sawyer said she learned to dress appropriately.But in July of last year, the city shut down Switchyard Studios along with its neighbors, including The Tannery. The buildings lacked the water pressure to fight a fire, among other issues, city officials said.Now, artists like Sawyer are moving away from downtown and towards suburban development, seeking low rent and room to spread out.Last fall, she moved her studio to 144 Tunnel Road, next door to Black Dome Sports, and in May, she opened the adjacent space for use by other artists. The business, called Solid Studios, provides 1,245 square feet for art shows, workshops and more.And she's not alone. A symptom of the River Arts District's growing popularity — and corresponding rising rents — other art groups have relocated to Tunnel Road and areas of Swannanoa River Road."We're pioneers," Sawyer said. "It's not just take what you can get. It's more be flexible enough to use what's offered."But can the arts establish themselves in these surprising places? And will rents hold steady, or will they continue to rise just as they have in more desirable parts of the city?Tunnel arts district?Earlier this spring, Sawyer returned to the River Arts District for the Spring Studio Stroll and toured buildings in the area."It's saturated," she said. "It's completely saturated."The artists there feel the same way. In 2014, an independent study for the City of Asheville, "Alternatives to Gentrification in the East of the Riverway" explored worries about the area.
Sculptor Molly Sawyer works on a piece in her personal studio, a room in Tunnel Road’s Solid Studios, a space that she rents to artists, on Friday.Photo: Angeli Wright
Ninety-six percent of the artists surveyed said they were concerned about the future affordability of studios.The study reported the median rent was $333 a month. For artists who do not share space, the average rent was $12 per square foot. The majority of artists surveyed — 61 percent — reported spending more than 30 percent of their income from art on rent.However, 57 percent of all the artists said their rent was affordable at that time. The same proportion estimated they would need more square footage in the next five years."It is becoming difficult to find space in the River Arts District because studio availability is limited," said Julia Fosson, president of the River Arts District Artists.Many of the buildings have had waiting lists, and although lots of people inquire whether she knows of anything available for rent, she said she doesn't hear much bickering about rents or the need for relocation.The River Arts District isn't the only option for studio space. For some artists, the area isn't the best fit."Not everybody needs to be down there," she said. "Everybody has to work in their own way, and if they are doing more wholesale and selling elsewhere, they don't need the sales of people coming in or tourists coming in."Sawyer said her sculpture business is exactly the sort that can thrive outside of the River Arts District."I'm not a walk through-kind of artist," she said. "I'm not doing demos. I don't like to be interrupted while I'm working."Sawyer's art doesn't exactly lend itself to casual purchase. She sculpts figures and horses in plaster and bronze, and the finished pieces measure several feet high or more. She also creates installation art and wall sculptures made from drift wood. None of it is pocket size, she said.Sawyer hopes Solid Studios will give other artists the opportunity to seek solace when they need it. She said other artists have approached her about using the space for large projects, and photographers such as Micah Mackenzie use it to set up shoots.The low rent on the building allows Sawyer to rent the room for $20-$35 an hour, a price that includes parking in the large lot behind the building.
Sculptor Molly Sawyer leans on a desk in her personal studio inside Tunnel Road’s Solid Studios, a space she rents out to artists, on Friday.Photo: Angeli Wright
From boots to slippersIn corners around town, other art professionals are moving toward more suburban areas.Also on the east side of town, Southside Studios hosts more than a dozen artists, most of them potters, in a former lumber warehouse near the Swannanoa River.Ginger Huebner moved from the River Arts District to Southside several years ago before departing for her own building nearby."It's a very sweet space," she said of Southside. "It is a community of artists, sharing space and sharing resources."Huebner is both a working artists and the founder of Roots + Wings School of Art and Design, which offers classes for ages 3 to adult. In June, she moved her studio and theschool to a former grocery store at 573 Fairview Road.She also relocated her studio, where she creates collages from mixed media and chalk pastel, to the 9,000-square-foot building.She hopes to rent out half the space to other artists to create a multi-generational community.Although Fairview Road has the look and feel of the suburbs, Huebner said she doesn't think of it that way."I feel like people do look at Biltmore Village or Oakley as a suburb, but to me, it's actually super central to Asheville," she said. "It's really easy to get to where we are."
This Patton Avenue building near Sky Lanes bowling alley will soon host Frostbite, an ice cream parlor. Building owner Jon Sarver said a mural is in the works for the suburban building.Photo: William Woody
Across town, another school of the arts is taking a similar approach.Heather Maloy leased the former Spurs building at 1501 Patton Ave. Inside, she'll create space for her professional ballet company, Terpsicorps Theatre of Dance, and a school for children and adults.She has plans to transform the former honky tonk into three separate dance areas. One room will be large enough to host audiences of 40-60 people for recitals and visiting professional events.White paint and some indoor demolition will go a long way, she said, and the building already boasted high ceilings."If you step back and think about what you can do with the building, it's actually kind of a cool, mid-century modern building," she said. "I was shocked when I walked into that building. From the outside it doesn't even look like it would have high ceilings."She said most people she's talked to are open to the idea of a dance company making its home among the fast food chains and convenience stores of the west side of Patton Avenue."People will say, 'Wow that's really different from where you were before' — because it is," she said. "Because it's not just going to be Terpsicorp's space (for professionals) but because we're doing a school, I think people's minds have opened up a little bit about that area of Patton because it's really convenient and centrally located for people."She said the reason for moving the school to Patton Avenue is simple: The rent is "exponentially cheaper" than in the River Arts District, where, like Sawyer, she rented room in the Switchyards building.Still, the low cost comes with a price. Maloy said she'll miss the community of artists on the other side of the river."Like anything else, it's nice to be in a community with people who inspire you," she said. "It will be interesting to see how long it will take for artists to make their way over to where we're going to be … We just hope it happens fast."Patton's true colorsAlthough Maloy will miss the company of other artists, her new neighborhood brings her closer to a new audience."It's close to Candler and Leicester and those areas," she said. "I don't know that there's been a dance studio close to there before, so I think it's opening up a whole new world of exposure to the arts to people who haven't wanted to drive farther than that."
Solid Studios, a space available for rent to artists, can be sectioned off into rooms or left open to meet an artist’s needs. The work of sculptor Molly Sawyer, manager of the space, hangs on the walls.Photo: Angeli Wright
She said it's rare to reach both Asheville's urban community and Buncombe County's rural community."You definitely see different types of people out there (on Patton) that you do not see downtown," she said. "I think it's wonderful to mix everybody together."Jon Sarver, who owns Maloy's building in addition to nearby parcels with a group of investors, said welcoming both communities is one of his goals as a property owner.His group also owns Sky Lanes bowling alley — both the business and the property — and they're determined to retain the longtime customer base while welcoming newcomers from West Asheville and downtown."I don't think we want to change Patton Avenue," he said. "I think it's really important to respect the people who were here as Asheville grows."As a real estate agent with offices in the River Arts District, Sarver has seen rents rise in that neighborhood. He doesn't foresee similar price hikes on Patton Avenue, though, at least not anytime soon.Sarver and his partners do favor local tenants over chains, he said, but they won't make major changes to the property beyond upgrading the bowling alley equipment, re-striping the parking lot and refurbishing the vintage sign for the bowling alley.Perhaps the most visible change: A group of local and national graffiti artists recently painted a mural on the bowling alley featuring a flaming bowling ball, custom tags and a portrait of Jeff Bridges as The Dude from the movie "The Big Lebowski."A second mural is likely as a new tenant, Frosbite ice cream store, moves into the former Papa John's building, Sarver said.Are the murals a sign of more art tenants to come?"More than a decision to go with the art community, it was a decision to go with something local," Sarver said. "I don't think we're banking on it changing. It's just — it's a great location."
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Steve Rude Figure Painting Workshop

In conjunction with the Asheville Comic Con, sOlid studios is thrilled to have Phoenix, AR based artist, Steve Rude, to conduct a 3 day figure painting workshop in the space. See details below.FIGURE PAINTINGIT’S HARD SO LET’S MAKE IT EASIERInstructor: Steve RudeSkill Level: Intermediate / AdvancedMedium: OilDates: October 21 - 23, 2015Steve Rude the Dude shares 40 years of figure painting secrets in 3 days! Here just one of his secrets: By learning the value of a preliminary charcoal sketch before going to your canvas. Then you can dive into rendering the figure in paint with new assurance. Steve is big on your individual attention which is why the class is limited to only 10 students. You’ll see him demo his compelling secrets each day in the workshop. See if the right teacher really can make a difference!We will also be accepting applications for a scholarship student! Visit our website for details. www.steverude.comSee More from steverudeart@gmail.comNew Store & Website: www.SteveRude.comFacebook: www.steverude.com/facebook

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SOLID Studios Inaugural Soiree


May 22nd: 7 -10 pm144 Tunnel Rd.Asheville, NC 28805

SOLID Studios announces it's Inaugural, Opening Evening Event. The walls will be shared by sculptors Molly Sawyer and Jameid Ferrin with pieces from their individual, current series. Musical guests will include members of Pan Harmonia: Kate Steinbeck, Rosalind Buda, and Amy Brucksch.

SOLID Studios is a new and excitingly, versatile project space that is designed to encourage further development of creative endeavors for members of Asheville and the surrounding communities of Western North Carolina. It is a flexible space designed fro but not limited to photographers, gallery openings, ‘classroom for hire’ workshops, rehearsal space and event space.

Pan Harmonia is an artist-directed repertory company and 501( c)3 based in Asheville, bringing professional chamber music performances to audiences of all ages. Now in it's 15th season, Pan Harmonia has been awarded grants from the NEA, the NC Arts Council and The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation for its artistic excellence and visionary outreach, including its work mentoring young musicians and its Shining Light Project, connecting underserved audiences with world-class music in diverse settings ranging from traditional concert halls to homeless shelters and prisons.

Brief introductions will be made at 8 PM with Molly Sawyer telling more about the evolution and multiple uses of SOLID Studios. Kate Steinbeck, director of Pan Harmonia, will speak of Shining Light Program and it’s involvement with the community.

Located just east of the heart of downtown Asheville at 144 Tunnel Rd., it is downstairs from Comic Envy, adjacent to Black Dome Outfitters. SOLID Studios is ground level with ample, off-street parking available.

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Artists' Residency - Jentel

I've been invited to take part in the Jentel Artist Residency Program. I'll be out west for November and December 2015! Jentel is a secluded cattle ranch at the foot of the Big Horn Mountains near Banner, Wyoming. It will be beautiful, cold and bleak but I'm looking forward to discovering the loveliness held in the crisp air, frozen ground and open skies. While there I will be continuing with my natural found object work and perhaps sculpting the cows but certainly flowing with whatever unexpected movements show themselves in my work. Wish me luck, folks!

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