Posted on: February 29, 2024 Posted by: Sarah Giavedoni Comments: 0

Last Updated on February 29, 2024

Local art galleries and museums are exciting destinations for lovers of visual arts—and in few places are they more abundant than Western North Carolina! But more importantly, active art spaces add new life and a sense of identity to our neighborhoods, making it easier to find what feels like home.

Let’s take a look at organizations dedicated to enhancing our creativity skills and creating colorful communities. Here are our favorite local nonprofits that support the visual arts in WNC.


Skip ahead! Find arts and creativity nonprofits in WNC near you:


5 arts and creativity nonprofits near Asheville

Center for Craft

As they say on their website, “Craft has the capacity to connect us to each other, to ground us in a specific place, and to bridge generations across time.” Asheville’s Center for Craft is true to its name on many levels, empowering artists by increasing their access to community and financial resources. Since 2005, they have awarded $4 million in grants to more than 500 emerging artists, curators, and scholars. They host an annual residency program for two WNC-based artists. And they offer flexible and collaborative coworking spaces for makers of all kinds.

67 Broadway Street, Asheville | (828) 785-1357 | centerforcraft.org 

LEAF Global Arts

What started as a street festival more than 25 years ago is now “a creative immersive and interactive experience that weaves together elements of an interactive museum and an arts center.” The LEAF Global Arts Experience lets visitors explore the world without ever leaving downtown Asheville. Engagement stations and self-guided exhibits set the foundation. Members and guests also enjoy a wide range of classes and workshops. Families and groups explore the arts through customized trips near and far. At the heart of it all is a dedication to creating shared global experiences.

19 Eagle Street, Suite 120, Asheville | (828) 686-8742 | theleaf.org 

Madison County Arts Council

Since 1978, the Madison County Arts Council has worked to promote local artists and strengthen the community through the arts. The MCAC provides services and resources to artists and organizations. The council also produces culturally diverse visual art and music programming for the public and runs an FM radio station. This March, they are celebrating Youth Art Month, an annual nationwide initiative celebrating art in education. Artwork included in the exhibition is created by children and youth artists from Madison County Public Schools.

90 S Main Street, Marshall | (828) 649-1301 | madisoncountyarts.com 

Open Hearts Art Center

Open Hearts Art Center provides community and creative expression to adults with varied intellectual or developmental abilities. Many students sell their artwork, further offering them the benefits of a healthy, productive, and independent life. In addition to visual art, Open Hearts also encourages expression through performing arts such as dance, drama, music, movement, and theater. As the only WNC day program focused on art therapy for adults with varied abilities, Open Hearts has grown tenfold since its inception in 2005.

217 Coxe Avenue, Asheville | (828) 505-8428 | openheartsartcenter.org

Toe River Arts Council

The Toe River Valley is perhaps best recognized for its lush natural resources. But the valley is also home to more than 400 artists who have made the location a destination for visitors year round. Since 1976, the Toe River Arts Council has worked to connect artists and the communities of Yancey and Mitchell Counties through participation in and appreciation of the arts. They bring arts-related experiences to area schools and work with local artists to improve the quality of life for everyone in the Toe River Valley.

Spruce Pine Gallery | 269 Oak Avenue, Spruce Pine | (828) 765-0520 | toeriverarts.org

Everyone deserves to live a colorful, creative life! Find what feels like home for you. Search homes for sale in Asheville.

1 arts and creativity nonprofit near Brevard in WNC

Transylvania Community Arts Council

Transylvania Community Arts Council provides arts education and programming to the community in order to nurture the creative spirit of local artists and youth. They have offered introductory arts, crafts, and pottery classes to adults and children since 1998. TCAC supports Artist in Residence programs within Transylvania County Schools. And they coordinate Brevard’s popular Fourth Friday Gallery Walk events (May–December). Their goal, as visualized in their logo, is “art for life!”

349 S Caldwell Street, Brevard | (828) 884-2787 | tcarts.org

Everyone deserves to live a colorful, creative life! Find what feels like home for you. Search homes for sale in Brevard.

5 arts and creativity nonprofits near Hendersonville

The Arts Council of Henderson County

The Arts Council of Henderson County was founded in 1971 to promote the roles that arts and culture play in the community. Today, they offer art classes and public festivals to nurture the arts in Henderson County. Since 2009, their Artists-in-Schools Program has brought art, music, storytelling, dance, puppet making, creative writing, theater, and crafts to thousands of students within the Henderson County School System. And their annual Art on Main Fine Art & Craft Festival has been named one of the 200 Best Shows in America for fine art and design.

P.O. Box 767, Hendersonville | (828) 693-8504 | acofhc.org 

Art League of Henderson County

Founded in 1962, the Art League of Henderson County is one of the oldest art organizations in North Carolina. They promote, develop, and enjoy the visual arts through public programs, arts education courses and workshops, and exhibits. The league also offers gifts in support of local art teachers for classroom supplies and student recognition awards. They hold exhibits in a variety of venues, including The Gallery at Art Place and the adjacent Art Place Studios Gallery. Membership is open to artists and art lovers within and outside of Henderson County. 

2015 & 2021 Asheville Highway, Hendersonville | artleaguehvl.org

Carolina Mountain Artists Guild 

This nonprofit guild was founded in 1998 by a small group of local artists. Today, 30+ talented local artists and artisans provide wonderfully handcrafted items for the guild’s storefront. In addition to filling the store with a delightful array of beautiful merchandise, these juried artists share the responsibilities of operation. There is always an artist on duty to assist customers. Many also host demonstrations in the front of the shop, so stop by to see how the art is made and take home an original piece of your own!

444 N Main Street, Hendersonville | (828) 696-0707 | carolinamountainartists.com 

Hands On! Museum

The arts aren’t just for adults! Hands On! Museum: A Child’s Gallery is a site where learning comes to play. The interactive museum lets children aged 1–10 (and the grown-ups who accompany them) indulge their tactile senses. The goal is to get children involved in learning first hand to stimulate their imaginations and boost their skills in a fun, safe environment. Their 12 interactive, educational exhibits offer spaces to engage, explore, and discover. Exhibits cover a range of focus areas, from science and nature to literacy and health.

318 N Main Street, Hendersonville | (828) 697-8333 | handsonwnc.org

Tryon Fine Arts Center

Tryon Fine Arts Center has been a driving force for entertainment and the arts in Polk County since 1969. The center hosts events and educational opportunities throughout the year, mostly centered around music. For instance, Pacolet Junior Appalachian Musicians (PacJAM) instructs young musicians in grades 3–7 on traditional folk music instruments. Live music is also the focal point of several annual community events the center hosts. For cinephiles, TFAC also produces a regular film series with introductions by a local film buff.

34 Melrose Avenue, Tryon | (828) 859-8322 | tryonarts.org 

Everyone deserves to live a colorful, creative life! Find what feels like home for you. Search homes for sale in Hendersonville.

2 arts and creativity nonprofits near Waynesville

Folkmoot USA

The Folkmoot Friendship Center brings the cultures of the world here to WNC. For 40 years, the center was the headquarters for the widely popular Folkmoot international dance and music festival. Today, the Folkmoot Friendship Center offers community events and cultural activities year round. Folkmoot LIVE! is a performance series highlighting the finest American musicians, dancers, and storytellers working today. And their Life Long Learning programs and artist workshops encourage affordable enrichment opportunities in a comfortable, relaxed social setting. 

112 Virginia Avenue, Waynesville | (828) 452-2997 | folkmoot.org

Haywood County Arts Council

The history of the Haywood County Arts Council began in 1977 through the passion and action of dedicated volunteers. Now, the Council continues to promote local artists and their works through a variety of programs and promotions. And HCAC hosts or sponsors a variety of public events, receptions, and workshops to promote arts awareness and engagement in the community. Gallery 86 is their visual arts gallery on Main Street in Waynesville, NC.

86 N Main Street, Waynesville | (828) 452-0593 | haywoodarts.org

Everyone deserves to live a colorful, creative life! Find what feels like home for you. Search homes for sale in Waynesville.

1 arts and creativity nonprofit near Highlands/Cashiers

The Bascom: Center for the Visual Arts

For more than 30 years, The Bascom has built a legacy of work in and advocacy for the arts. Their six-acre campus, a former horse farm, is home to exhibition spaces, classrooms, a nature trail, and more. Their gallery spaces are always free and open to the public. There is also a shop with a curated selection of items for sale. Take group, private, or open studio lessons to improve your creative mind. Or gather for groups, including Highlands Writers Group, Photography Club, or Community Knitters. 

323 Franklin Road, Highlands | (828) 526-4949 | thebascom.org 

Everyone deserves to live a colorful, creative life! Find what feels like home for you. Search homes for sale in Highlands and Cashiers.

Support what feels like HOME

At Allen Tate/Beverly-Hanks, we believe that everyone has a right to find what feels like home. In real estate, that generally means finding the right property to live your best life. But we also know that “home” is so much more than four walls and a roof—it’s about how a community really lives. 

At the foundation of every successful community are great local nonprofits. Local nonprofits serve many purposes, even beyond their mission statements. They showcase the best of what is available for residents, and they reflect the values that locals hold dear. 

What’s more, active, thriving nonprofits indicate active, thriving communities. More active communities are more desirable communities. And desirability equates to enhanced property values. That’s one of the many reasons why we at Allen Tate/Beverly-Hanks support hundreds of nonprofits across Western North Carolina each year.

We treasure the communities where we work and play. Hundreds of local organizations work tirelessly to make our region one of the most desirable places to live, and we take our responsibility to support their efforts seriously.

This year, we’re committing to sharing some of our favorite WNC causes through a series of blog posts, including today’s post on arts and creativity nonprofits. Check back throughout 2024 to learn more about organizations that enhance our home and how to support nonprofits near you, including: 

  • Animal welfare nonprofits
  • Children’s nonprofits
  • Health & Wellness nonprofits
  • Environmental nonprofits
  • Social Justice nonprofits

Do you support any arts and creativity nonprofits in WNC? Which ones did we miss? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!

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