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Asheville Art Museum reopens at 50% capacity
Tuesday, 15 September 2020 11:12

From Staff Reports

Following Gov. Roy Cooper’s Phase 2.5 announcement allowing museums to open at up to 50 percent capacity, the Asheville Art Museum reopened Sept. 9-11 to museum members and Sept. 12 to the public. 

The museum has instituted health and safety precautions including required face coverings, and timed tickets are required for entry. The tickets are available at

The museum’s galleries, the Museum Store, and Perspective Café all have reopened with limited capacity. Art PLAYce, the museum’s intergenerational makerspace, and the Frances Mulhall Achilles Art Research Library, remain temporarily closed.

The museum’s current exhibitions include “A Telling Instinct: John James Audubon & Contemporary Art,” “Dancing Atoms: Barbara Morgan Photographs,” “Andy Warhol: Silver Clouds,” “Reverberations: Exploring Movement in the Collection,” “Muddying the Waters: Traditions in North Carolina Clay,” “50 Years of Western North Carolina Glass,” Intersections in American Art” and “Many Become One.”

With its opening to the public, beginning Sept. 12, the museum returned to regular operating hours, which are 11a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesdays through Mondays and 11a.m.-9 p.m. for late-night Thursdays. The museum is closed on Tuesdays. 

General admission is always free for museum members, UNC Asheville students and children under age 6 — and $15 per adult; $13 per senior (ages 65-plus); and $10 per student (child 6–17 or degree-seeking college students with valid ID). Frequent updates will be available at, and also on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  To become a member, visit

“Since 1948, the museum has welcomed visitors to explore American art of the 20th and 21st centuries,” a Sept. 3 museum press release stated, “As we navigate the realities of life during this challenging time, we believe that art is more important than ever; it offers hope, comfort and a window into other worlds. We look forward to welcoming visitors back to the museum and have taken all steps necessary to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit.”

AAM Executive Director Pamela L. Myers was quoted in the release as stating, “Six months have passed since the museum temporarily closed its doors in March with the COVID-19 Stay Home, Stay Safe order and safety concerns. During this time, we’ve worked creatively and collaboratively to continue our mission of offering innovative experiences for learning, enjoyment and interpretation of art. 

“It’s been a time of intense review, planning, and learning that will impact all areas of operation — analog and virtual — going forward. The dedication of museum staff, trustees, volunteers, members and supporters from here in WNC and across the country has made it possible to retain staff, deliver virtual programs, safely and securely manage the facility, and protect our collection and works on loan to us.”

Myers added, “The museum is a center of community, a place for engaging dialogue and discourse. We can’t wait to welcome visitors in to explore the richness of the museum collection and exhibitions in person.”

The release also noted, “Until further notice, the museum is instituting the following temporary safety precautions that are in line with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, the North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services, the Buncombe County Department of Health, and the City of Asheville:

“Overall capacity is limited, and timed admission tickets are requited at this time to ensure safe attendance. Online ticketing is strongly encouraged; tickets are available for members and the public at beginning at 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 4. Limited tickets may be available at the door. 

“Tickets are released in two-week blocks on the 1st and 15th of each month.

“Face coverings are required at all times throughout the museum for staff, visitors, contractors and volunteers ages 3 and older.

“Face coverings must cover the nose and mouth, and be secured to the head with ties, straps, or loops or wrapped around the lower face. Masks are also available for purchase in the Museum Store for visitors who do not bring their own,” the press release stated.

Aboretum to offer drive-through Winter Lights show
Tuesday, 15 September 2020 11:09

Holiday show to sparkle — with a twist, for safety’s sake

From Staff Reports 

The Asheville-based North Carolina Arboretum’s Winter Lights holiday light show “will light up hearts and spirits this holiday season, but with a safe, spectacular twist,” the Arboretum announced Aug. 17.

“This year, guests are invited to take a dreamy ride through the Arboretum’s enchanted forest and experience Asheville’s brightest holiday tradition safely within their own vehicles,” an Arboretum press release stated. “In light of COVID-19, the Arboretum has converted its popular event into a drive-thru show, allowing guests to navigate through a one-mile stretch of the Arboretum’s campus and see unique exhibits covered in thousands of holiday lights. As the Arboretum’s largest fundraising event of the year, proceeds generated from Winter Lights will directly support the Arboretum’s mission-driven programming.  

“Designed with an artistic aesthetic, this family-friendly event features beautifully lit displays and glowing landscapes nestled along the Arboretum’s woodland edge and garden areas,” the release noted.

As part of the show’s redesign, visitors will enjoy several new nature-themed displays, including winter wildlife, colorful butterflies, a special insect lantern exhibit and a giant daisy “garden.” Upon arrival, guests will select a special radio station that features the sounds of their favorite holiday tunes to accompany the show from inside their vehicle.

“By converting Winter Lights into a drive-thru event, the Arboretum has created an entirely new design perspective that showcases the landscape through your vehicle windshield and allows guests to feel immersed in lights at a scale that is in tune with the great outdoors,” explained Clara Curtis, senior director for mission delivery at The North Carolina Arboretum and co-designer for Winter Lights. “We are excited to introduce several new features and design elements this year, along with some fun twists, that will surely delight guests and create happy moments and memories this holiday season.”

Beyond this year’s safety measures, the Arboretum has also extended the show’s dates and times to provide better accommodation for guests.

Winter Lights will now be held Nov. 20 through Jan. 10, 2021, from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. (incoming gate closes at 10 p.m.). Pre-sale admission is $25 per personal vehicle and $30 at the gate the night of the event. Guests are strongly encouraged to purchase their tickets ahead of time online at to save on ticket fees and reserve their space.

(Commercial vans and motor coaches will be charged a premium; please see website for details.) 

Arboretum Society members will receive $3 off their pre-sale tickets, and the Arboretum will be offering discounted pricing every Tuesday (excluding Dec. 22) and the week of Nov. 30-Dec. 3). Tickets will be available for purchase beginning Sept. 1.

“Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Arboretum is excited to uphold its annual holiday tradition for our community while protecting the safety and health of our staff and guests,” said George Briggs, executive director of The North Carolina Arboretum. “We look forward to sharing this new experience and offer a different way of seeing the Arboretum and nature through an alternative exciting path.”

To purchase tickets for Winter Lights, visit 


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