Sand Hill Artists Collective

Penland – Thoughts on the Wonderful Week that Was

by Louise Glickman

Penland, is the place that brought me to Asheville two decades ago. In the millennial year 2000, I visited the gallery and campus,  walked into a studio, smelled the paint and immediately flashed back to years of art school in college. By 2001, I had moved to Asheville to stay, intending to return to art and build my own studio practice that I had given up to years of career-building and child-raising.

Last week, I once again walked the Penland campus viewing the final one-week of summer classes. I was struck with the thought that over twenty years, I have taken a class in almost every one of these spaces. The new studios at Penland, are mostly due to the remarkable achievements of former director Jean McLaughlin. The buildings reflect the craft intent and landscape that are inspiring to work in.  Classrooms are well supplied and staffed by outstanding teachers at a school with a world-wide reputation for fine craft. 

My class on nature and cyanotype with artist Hillary Waters Fayle, was in the old Lilly Loom building. I loved being there, feeling the contrast of old and new in what was once the home of founder Lucy Morgan. It was here that women were taught the skill of weaving in order to support their families. 

Admiring the profound accomplishments of Penland’s new director, Mia Hall, I saw that studio heads are dedicated to ensuring that every student feels safe and secure, and that work spaces are fully stocked, and exceptionally clean. Here, students are able to concentrate, experiment, and learn new skills focussing on textile and print using cyanotype (images developed with sunlight). Pared down to the basics of light and plants, we foraged carefully and used nature as our development process. The embellishments came from embroidery techniques applied to leaves, paper and fabric. 

(See more on Hillary Waters Fayle, artist and teacher at Enjoy her work locally at Momentum Gallery.)

Mia Hall has tackled the strain of Covid19 at Penland with an astute professionalism. Class sizes are greatly reduced, The Pines dining hall has made food safety a priority. We ate outdoors, spaced, and under tents. Teacher slide shows were presented virtually each night. Penland has faced hard challenges before, but the crisis of Covid19 has lasted for two summers impacting programming and income. Thoughtful decision making has made it possible to run efficiently on reduced staff and the Windgate Foundation’s support has helped Penland creatively manage this long upheaval. 

Whether old or new I continue to think of Penland as a life-changing experience,  It is a magical place that inspires a love of nature and learning. Since my first visit there, I return always to my remembrance of llamas on the knoll in front of The Pines. This is still my favorite view of this special place where I dream,  recoup and rewind, continually inspired by beauty, and the ways to express it through craft.

Penland blends art with friendships.
Evoking the blending of nature, design and embroidery, a leaf by Marianne Suggs.
Lucy Morgan’s view to the Penland knoll.

Making natural dyes with black walnuts and goldenrod.

For additional programs and classes:

SHAC TRAVELS TO :  The Clark in Williamstown, MA

Daryl and I just returned from twelve days enjoying art exhibits and historical attractions in the Hudson River Valley. Kristina Aronson will bring you her takes on recent art trekking in Washington DC. SHAC’s blog, newly titled SHAC CONNECTIONS, has expanded to cover more stories and news. SHAC subscribers are also encouraged to send their own story ideas to Subject line should read: Blog Content. 

 Lalanne on exhibit with landscapes beyond

Affectionately known as The Clark, both a museum and research center,  this vast property nestled in The Berkshires includes public art, academic programs, a library and serves as a leading international center for research. Just inside the door, my years of anticipating this visit met with immediate satisfaction found in the brilliant sculpture exhibit created by mid-century French artists, husband and wife Claude Lalanne and Francois-Xavier Lalanne. I discovered that they always exhibit together but create as individuals whose imagination and technical expertise have brought inspiration to their shared beliefs that human, animal and vegetal worlds share kinship. Their clean designs guided me to recognizable shapes and classical forms in synch, some with hidden openings that provide function as well as purpose to their works. 

Then, looking out the window framing a Lalanne sculpture, my thoughts morphed to a museum I had visited in Tokyo years ago with the Penland School. Tadao Ando was invited to plan and design two complementary buildings on The Clark campus: Lunder Center at Stone Hill which opened in 2008, and the Clark Center, which opened in 2014. As I inspected from the outside in, there were Ando’s signature details, Zen minimalism wrapped in his trademark surface, a domino-like block effect, both an asset to the building design and a “mark” of his brilliance. Memories lingered of Japan and integrated with the contemporary and Impressionist collections at The Clark.

Sculpture on the Clark Trail

Stimulated to explore further, Daryl and I traveled out on the Sculpture Trail to embrace the far views looking back over Williamstown and The Clark’s many venues. Walking and sharing our enthusiasm, we came upon sculptures uniquely situated as if we had found them by surprise. This day fulfilled all I had expected and more, a long-awaited visit that has inspired future visits for new exhibits that complement their vast holdings rich in French Impressionist works. Fall or anytime is magical in The Berkshires.

Plan a visit or learn more about The Clark at:

Artist Activist Leslie Rosenberg Betters Neighborhoods Through Street Murals by Kristina Aaronson

From Louise Glickman: Over the coming months you will be getting more blogs and stories written by writer Kristina Aaronson and myself. SHAC also invites artists and art enthusiasts to tell us their stories. Write to us at and put SHAC Blog in the subject line.

Asheville community artist Leslie Rosenberg’s expertise is in redesigning community spaces. “I am interested in how we assign meaning to places and how spaces engage the community… we all want to live in safe neighborly places that feel walkable and inviting,” she says. Known as Tactical Urbanism, a term I had never heard before, Rosenberg told me how Turbo, a Nashville organization, explains it: “Tactical urbanism is an umbrella term used to describe a collection of low-cost, temporary changes to the built environment, usually in cities, intended to improve local neighborhoods and city gathering places.” She went on to explain that the idea is to create pedestrian and bike friendly spaces in areas where it is lacking.
Rosenberg was the artist for the tactical urban project on Coxe Avenue in downtown Asheville called Street Tweaks. While the large mural was designed by graphic artist, Wyatt Grant, she painted it along with the well-marked bike lanes, and pedestrian crosswalks that transformed a speedy street into a slower, more people-friendly space. She worked in collaboration between community agencies and citizens, many of whom were volunteers. When the city asked that the mural be removed, the crosswalks and bike lanes remained, keeping what began as art-based and ended in better serving the community.
Rosenberg used these concepts when designing her first tactical urban West-Wayne project on the streets of West Asheville. She began by tapping into her own memory of the space centered around meditative walks in the neighborhood’s Christopher’s Garden, a favorite with locals. With the goal of tapping into collective memory, she invited community members to voice their feelings about what they saw, smelled, and heard in that space. Many remembered the sweet art garden with the blue bottles that used to inhabit the corner and seemed to spill into the street. The final project encompasses designs of milkweed leaves and buds, goldfinches and blue bottles painted colorfully on the street.
Leslie Rosenberg believes that using art is how public and community spaces are best created. As the artist, she listens and provides openings for ideas that emerge from community input. “My hope is that the space becomes more integrated into the community’s living, breathing, and changing environment; and that the space not only becomes safer, but also more inviting, engaging and connecting.”

Reach Leslie Rosenberg at
Reach Sand Hill Artists Collective (SHAC) at

James Love: “compelled to express myself freely before God”

I’m James Love, and I’m a writer and an artist working primarily in mixed media, assemblage, and installation art.

My approach to art is fluid and lives on raw expression. My inspiration is primarily rooted in my childhood including growing up in New Covenant Holiness Church. The church was neither quiet nor boring. People would dance and cry out “hallelujah” to express their praise and love for God. No one was regulating how they expressed themselves, and often we would be in service for hours. When I’m creating art now, I still feel spiritually inspired and have no consciousnesses of time. 

My Mom, a hardworking lady, refused to buy me a Gameboy Pocket as I had misplaced several during my elementary school years. To buy another one, I started making homemade comic books and selling them for $15.00 an issue. I earned enough to buy a new Gameboy as well as self-respect for my creativity. This incident was foundational in my quest to be an economically independent person and artist.

Joseph A.Pearson & James Love

In my adult life, while living in Asheville, I met artist Joseph Pearson through his wife, Gael, now on the Executive Committee of the Asheville Area Arts Council (AAAM). Joseph was my first real interaction with a serious, professional artist. As my teacher and mentor, he introduced me to figure drawing and different ways to think about creativity. He encouraged me to exhibit my work in “Asheville Through Brown Eyes” sponsored by AAAM in late 2018, where I connected with other Black artists who have turned out to be blessings in my life and studio practice. People like Joseph, Jenny Pickens, Cleaster Cotton, Valeria Watson, and so many others living in Asheville provided me the insight and understanding that I can excel with dedication to hard work and commitment to honest expression. 

I’m not concerned about perfection or with being famous but compelled to express myself freely before God, sharing my creative messages with others. Art is not only for visual communications but rather an instrument for understanding and healing, medicine for the soul. As an artist, my energy is focused on reaching and teaching others in a shared human experience. 

Do Yourself a Favor — Meet Black Artists on Juneteenth

Juneteenth celebrates the date—June 19,1865—of the announcement in Galveston of General Order No. 3 by Union Army general Gordon Granger, proclaiming freedom from slavery in Texas, two-and-a-half years after Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and two months after Lee’s surrender formally ended the Civil War. Implementation in Texas had been slow and inconsistent before Granger’s announcement as enforcement generally followed the advance of Union troops, and Texas, the most remote of the slave states, had a sparse Union military presence throughout the war. Although emancipation didn’t happen overnight for everyone—in some cases, enslavers withheld the information until after harvest season—celebrations broke out among newly freed Black people, and Juneteenth was born.

Unfortunately, inequalities continue today between communities separated by class and color, including here in Asheville. We can learn from each other on Juneteenth, now a federal holiday. SHAC suggests an art tour to meet some of our favorite creative people and places where the Black and Brown Experience may be fully explored and enjoyed.

Portrait of a woman
Portrait of Lucille Randolf by Joseph A. Pearson

Joseph Pearson, a SHAC Featured Artist, will be exhibiting his important Women of Distinction show at Pink Dog Creative and at YMI on Eagle Street alongside that of accomplished artist and community leader Shirley WhitesidesOne of Joseph’s pieces will also be shown at SHAC Celebrates: YEAR One in a special exhibition of our first year Featured Artists at Foundation Studio, 27 Foundy Street on June 12th with a preview party from 5-6 pm.

Micah MacKenzie’s work will be on display at the art gallery at the First Congregational United Church of Christ at 20 Oak Street. Known around town as one of Asheville’s finest fashion and wedding photographers, Micah’s additional range of talent will be on display in his paintings and mixed media pieces. The church, a short walk from Eagle Street, has created strong communal programming reaching out to YMI to build longstanding and meaningful relationships in their co-joined neighborhoods. Ongoing shows in their street front gallery will regularly feature Black area artists 

Black Wall Street Still Lives at J Hackett’s GRINDfest at Pink Dog Creative on Depot St. with creative programs throughout the weekend. GRINDfest, Asheville’s newest festival, is a celebration of Black Business and Entrepreneurship, and its highlights include the play “Savagery, A Therapeutic Play,” at 7 pm on Friday, a Black Marketplace beginning at 10 am on Saturday followed by a unique “Roots Reveal” challenge shedding new light on Black genealogy and heritage. Besides the Main Stage performance on Saturday night, this inspiring weekend will conclude at noon on Sunday with a Community Awards presentation and “Food from Around the World.”

Don’t miss these creative opportunities to meet, know and make a difference in strengthening relationships towards a stronger Asheville.

Center for Craft 25th Anniversary

Center for Craft launches 25th Anniversary with Virtual Benefit on May 26 Spotlighting internationally renowned ceramicist Magdalene Odundo and Craft Futures Award Honoree Michael Sherrill.

ASHEVILLE, NC—On May 26 from 6-7 pm ET, the Center for Craft will kick off a year-long celebration of 25 years advancing the field of craft with their first-ever virtual benefit. The event provides an opportunity for craft enthusiasts from across the country to hear from program participants and support the organization as it envisions new programs to continue uplifting the field.

The financial strain caused by the coronavirus pandemic has put more than 1 in 3 nonprofits in the United States in danger of closing within the next two years.  With the help of partners and supporters, the Center remains a strong and resilient champion on behalf of the field it cares so deeply about.  All funds raised from the 25th Anniversary Virtual Celebration & Benefit will provide critical resources to jumpstart the Center’s programming for emerging craft artists and scholars. 

Featured guests in the benefit include established ceramicists Michael Sherrill and Magdalene Odundo. Sherrill will be the recipient of the inaugural Craft Futures Award in honor of his volunteer service mentoring the next generation of craft artists and continued support of craft organizations across the country to include the Southern Highlands Craft Guild, James Renwick Alliance, and Archie Bray. World-renowned ceramic artist Magdalene Odundo, who traveled to Sherrill’s studio in 2012 to conduct an artist residency in partnership with Appalachian State University, Western Carolina University, and UNC Asheville, will speak about her current work and upcoming exhibition in New York City.

Founded in May 1996, the Center for Craft was created to advance the understanding of craft both in the western North Carolina region and beyond.  “We are launching a year of celebration to thank our loyal supporters over the years and reach new audiences with the message of craft’s importance and relevance,” says Stephanie Moore, Executive Director. “Craft is uniquely positioned to build communities and provides a way for deeper connections and quality of life.” 

The event also marks the start of a deep planning process to include a seminal Craft Think Tank facilitated by Creation in Commons to be held this fall that will help identify needs and opportunities in the field over the next decade. Additional input will be captured through audience surveys, a board ideation session facilitated by Climer Consulting, and a business plan consultancy with Arts Consulting Group. 

Benefit tickets are $25.  Ticketed guests will also receive a complimentary inaugural Center for Craft Membership, a program set to launch this year in celebration of the 25th Anniversary.  
Date and Time: 
Wednesday, May 26, 2021, 6 – 7 pm ET
Event log-in instructions will be provided following registration. 
To learn more about the speakers in this event and to purchase tickets visit
 The Center for Craft is celebrating 25 years of advancing the field of craft through awarding grants, offering exhibitions and public programs, building strategic community and national partnerships, and spearheading initiatives in the United States.  Founded in 1996, the Center is widely acknowledged as one of the most influential national 501c3 organizations working in the craft field today.  For more information on ways to celebrate 25 years of craft and and learn more about grants administered by Center for Craft visit

Jenny Pickens, Profile of an Artist and Doll Maker

Sometimes childhood memories stay with us forever. One of my favorites was having dolls I could dress and whose hair I could style. I would even use old hand-me-downs to make new outfits for them, giving authenticity to the character of the doll. Dolls taught me quite early to love and care for others. 

My name is Jenny Pickens, a native of Asheville, NC as well as a self-taught artist. Although my mediums lie in several categories, sewing is a favorite.  I paint, quilt and freely tackle new ideas and art mediums to express myself. 

After the death of my niece Candace Pickens in 2016 I decided to return to designing dolls. They come in various forms from bundle babies, ballerinas, standing dolls, and mermaids to others that may be commissioned.  Using sentimental fabrics or clothing from loved ones , they bring memories of family members and friends. They are also great for big brother or sister when the new baby arrives. These dolls are designed to be handled gently or added to a doll collection. Most of all, they are meant to be handed on to children and grandchildren. Each evokes stories, memories, heritage and culture.

Being a self-taught artist did come with challenges. Not being taken seriously or simply being turned away without being told why. Fortunately, I had a passion to create and a drive to put my feelings into everything I created. Although I have dabbled in various mediums, I prefer acrylics because of their versatility. 

I am not limited in what I create. My paintings are connected to my cultural background and ensure I never lose my roots. Whether making a wall hanging or putting brushstrokes on canvas, each piece is personal to me. My gifts came to me at a time when I needed a voice, and healing and my art practice allow me to honor my creative bounty.

You can see several of my paintings and printed wares at Noir Collective AVL located at 39 South Market Street in downtown Asheville or visit Fine Art America.

SHAC Exhibit Announcement in AVL Today

The Sand Hill Artists Collective will be exhibiting works from 30+ featured artists at its upcoming anniversary event. SHAC Celebrates Year One will be held on Sat., June 12 at Foundation Studios (27 Foundy St.) in the River Arts District from 5-6 p.m., privately for collective members + publicly from 6-8 p.m

Making It: Three Easy Steps to Money and Visibility for Emerging Artists

Sand Hill Artists Collective provides opportunities for artists. We’re talking grants, workshops, conferences and exhibitions. Quick clicks that will lead you to easy money, FREE learning and simple ways to exhibit your work. We’re all beginning to break out into Covid-free sunshine now, so climb out of your doldrums (masks on, please!) and beat a path to open doors that will show and support your art future.


NOT REAL ART grant and exhibit (in Los Angeles!!!). The grant fund offers a $12,000 award annually to empower the practice of six contemporary artists each year. Grant recipients are announced in Los Angeles at NOT REAL ART: The Conference. If you’re an emerging contemporary artist, be sure to apply to win a grant in 2021! This $2000 unrestricted grant includes more than the money. Winners are interviewed on the NOT REAL ART national podcast, will be featured in the NRA blog and have their work exhibited in a West Coast exhibition.

Exhibitions and live conference dates and venues TBA as Covid safety allows.

Applying is simple and quick.

Go to NOT REAL ART Business School FREE. Over thirty sessions available online.

. License your art

. Build your brand

. Pitch your ideas

. Get career advice from successful and known artists.… and much more!



Sand Hill Artists Collective (SHAC) provides free regional and national visibility to three featured artists each month. So far, thirty artists in our neighborhood zip codes (28715, 28716, 28728, 28806 and 28810) have increased their audience exposure with an application that takes just minutes. Featured Artists access additional opportunities with spotlights on our
Facebook and Instagram posts, mention in publications that write about SHAC artists and, soon, an opportunity to exhibit in Asheville’s River Arts District. 



Mountain BizWorks has put local craftspersons on our radar with Craft Your Commerce programs that include a bi-annual learning series, craft Industry coaching, and a Makers Mixer. Apply now for the fall series or, at the very least, get on the CYC Interest list for alerts on upcoming intensives, events and more.

LEARN MORE about Craft Your Commerce

SHAC / Pink Dog Creative Artist Featured in Our State Magazine


Beautiful Ukrainian Psanky Eggs, created by artist Andrea Kulish, are featured in Our State magazine in an article on art and food and festivities befitting the Spring/Easter season. Read the full article here.

Andrea has a studio at Pink Dog Creative in the River Arts District. She is also the social media coordinator for Sand Hill Artists Collective, so we are particularly pleased to see her receiving this recognition. Congratulations, Andrea! And thanks to Our State for featuring her work.