Appalachia Now! An Interdisciplinary Survey of Contemporary Art in Southern Appalachia is the inaugural exhibition of the newly renovated Museum. The exhibition provides a regional snapshot of the art of our time—a collective survey of contemporary Southern Appalachian culture. This exhibition explores the amalgamation of tradition and present-day perspectives extant in contemporary artistic representations of life in this region. Appalachia Now! situates artists within a regional and national dialogue that spans time and socioeconomic status. Whether works are bio-bibliographical, or address larger, universal themes, this cross-disciplinary exhibition invites visitors to participate in the individual experiences that make this part of the world so unique. It celebrates contemporary artists living and working in Southern Appalachia, focusing on Asheville as a nucleus of creativity within the broader area of its adjacent states of Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.
Appalachia Now! builds upon the Museum’s mission of collecting and interpreting 20th- and 21st-century American art in all media relevant to/produced in the Southeast and WNC. Inclusive and ambitious in scope, the exhibition presents a survey of works by emerging and established artists selected by Jason Andrew, a curator and juror of national renown. Andrew and Lola Clairmont, former Museum curatorial assistant, drove over 40 hours around the Southeast and made 54 studio visits with artists. In order to promote under-recognized and emerging artists, Appalachia Now! features artists whose work is not yet represented in the Museum’s Collection.
The following 50 artists were selected through recommendations from regional museums, curators, and art organizations and through an open submission process. The overwhelming regional interest in this exhibition was demonstrated in the participation of artists in the free, public open call; over 400 artists applied through the call. Overall, the Museum and Andrew researched over 700 artists for consideration in the exhibition. The selected artists represent all media, including painting, sculpture, new media, dance, and film.