The SWANNANOA VALLEY FINE ARTS LEAGUE has played a vital role in the arts community of Western North Carolina for fifty years. Started in 1967, the League’s arts exhibits and events set standards of excellence for the area, and the league's arts education programs have featured the area's finest artists and sculptors, as well as instructors of national reputation. Additionally, the league has provided an ever evolving and invaluable creative work space for artists where they share ideas, inspiration and techniques, providing crucial support for creatives of all skill levels.
The inspiration for the Swannanoa Valley Fine Arts League, the regions longest established group of community artists, started in 1967 at Black Mountain's historic Monte Vista Hotel. Mary Gilbert, who was attending a luncheon, was struck by the unusual abundance of creative expression blossoming in this group of women. A noted artist from Pennsylvannia who had retired to Black Mountain, Mrs. Gilbert lost no time in urging her fellow artists to form a league.
The resulting Swannanoa Valley Fine Arts League proved an invincible artistic union - providing not only a regular display venue for members' work, but also opportunities to carry the artists' messages throughout neighboring communities. Word spread quickly, and members from Asheville, Hendersonville and even as far away as Morganton were soon added to the roster. The League also offered organizational assistance to Asheville's newly budding arts community, and established itself as an integral part of Western North Carolina's art community.
THE RED HOUSE
In 2011 the SWANNANOA VALLEY FINE ART LEAGUE was approached by the new owners of the historic MONTE VISTA HOTEL and offered a wonderful opportunity. Adjacent to the hotel was a historic farmhouse in need of a tenant and lots of TLC. At a sustainable price, mixed with lots of elbow grease, the league had the chance to move into headquarters in downtown Black Mountain. Extensive renovations began with raising funds to resurface the 4000 square foot roof and repair the dormers on the third floor. Interior structural changes were made. Tons of scraping, patching and painting were done by league members over the course of several months. The result is our SVFAL headquarters. Located just east of the hotel, this colorful and welcoming building is known as THE RED HOUSE STUDIOS & GALLERY.
THE RED HOUSE is home to working studios for our artists, a life drawing studio, a classroom suitable for workshops, a comfy corner library, kitchen facilities, and dedicated gallery spaces! Filled with great natural light, and lots of track lighting, this building has become home to an amazing amount of creative energy.
OUR ARTISTIC HERITAGE
The SWANNANOA VALLEY FINE ARTS LEAGUE is conveniently located in what has long been a hotbed of artistic activity. Black Mountain, NC shares a rich history with the internationally famous BLACK MOUNTAIN COLLEGE. Founded in 1933, the college was a reaction to traditional educational philosophies of the time. At its core was the assumption that a strong liberal and fine arts education must happen simultaneously inside and outside the classroom.
The college closed in 1956 but its influence is evident in the variety and number of studios, galleries and museums in the valley. The arts lover can spend days exploring resources such as the BLACK MOUNTAIN CENTER FOR THE ARTS and the OLD DEPOT ARTS & CRAFTS CENTER, or just browsing the many galleries in town including THE SEVEN SISTERS.
SVFAL and THE RED HOUSE GALLERIES & STUDIOS are walking distance from picturesque downtown Black Mountain, and just 15 minutes east of Asheville - off I-40, exit 64.
For more information about Black Mountain, check out the websites below: