River Arts District, Asheville

Not far from downtown Asheville, the River Arts District is an old warehouse district that has been reclaimed by the art community.  Chockful of artists studios and great restaurants like Summit Coffee and 12 Bones, it’s a great place to sit and enjoy the buildings which have been turned into works of art by the artists who now use RAD as their base.  We visited on a beautiful August day in 2018.  Here’s a sample of the wonderful wall art that makes RAD special.

River Arts District, Asheville, NC

One of my favorite aspects of the River Arts District is the outdoor art.  Whether you call it graffiti, murals, or street art, just walking through the warehouses of the River Arts District is fun.  Here are a few of my favorites.

This wall on the back side of Summit Coffee has been turned into a beautiful work of art.

RAD Wall Portrait

This work by Asheville artist Dustin Spagnola has a different kind of beauty.  Spagnola has works of art displayed around the world, including in NYC, Japan and Nepal.

Dustin Spagnola Mural

This portrait of the late singer Charles Bradley is another of my favorites.

Charles Bradley

Even storage sheds have been turned into works of art.

RAD Art Shed

Asheville’s River Arts District is a treasure trove for art lovers.  It’s not just the building exteriors.  Over 200 local artists have studio space in the warehouses and buildings of the River Arts District.  It’s a great place to wander through the studios and, if you’re so inclined, to take home a work of art.

Charles Bradley Mural, R.A.D., Asheville, NC

The River Arts District in Asheville is a fascinating place.  Until the mid 1980s the area was an industrial area, when Asheville artists began looking for inexpensive studio space and found it in the neglected warehouses along the river.  Today it’s home to over 200 artists.

One of the coolest aspects of the River Arts District is that the buildings have been turned into works of art. Murals and graffiti cover the virtually every surface of the buildings.   Some of the murals are quite beautiful.  One of my favorites is this tribute to the late “screaming eagle of soul”, Charles Bradley.

Bradley found musical success late in his life, with all three of his albums being released when he was in his sixties.  Bradley released three critically acclaimed albums and was a popular performer at festivals.  Unfortunately Bradley succumbed to cancer in 2017 at the age of 68.

This mural, outside the Summit Coffee Company, is a beautiful and fitting portrait of the man.

Charles Bradley