Ashvegas: The City You Love. The News You Want.More of what’s going around:

-Anthropologie donated $15,000 to the Asheville nonprofit Open Hearts last week. Here’s the press release:

Anthropologie donates $15,000 to Open Hearts Art Center In the wake of controversial emotions surrounding Anthropologie moving their newest corporate store in to the quaint and mostly “locally owned” enclave of downtown Asheville, it is with deep gratitude that we share what occurred at the Private Pre-Party hosted last night, November 19. Anthropologie, who typically partners with a local non-profit when entering a new city, picked Open Hearts Art Center as their charity of choice. In the weeks preceding the stores opening, employees from their corporate and local store spent hours working in the Open Hearts studio, volunteering directly with the artists in the classroom and creating relationships with the artists and staff. It was established that Open Hearts would be the recipient of 10% of the Private Pre-Party Opening Night sales, as well as inviting Open Hearts to sell the art of differently abled adults in their store the first evening. It came as a complete tear-filled surprise when before the store opened their doors, they huddled everyone together to announce that Anthropolgie’s corporate offices were so impressed with the mission of Open Hearts and the work that is being done in the community, that they wanted to donate $15,000 to the program!

-At about 8:15 pm on Nov. 18, ZaPow Gallery was flooded by water pouring in from the building’s indoor garage. The gallery held a sidewalk sale over the weekend, but is still recovering. The suspected cause: construction next door on a new downtown hotel.

-Word on the street: A new Irish pub is coming to the space that was once home to Hannah Flannagan’s on Biltmore Avenue in downtown Asheville.

-The Lexington Corner Market is going to open in the space that’s now home to EDGE Furniture Gallery, according to the Mountain Xpress. “The Lexington Corner Market promises to be a traditional corner store with grab-and-go-style food, sandwiches, snacks and a curated collection of conveniences and necessities that will range from upscale to generic. Adorn Salon & Boutique owner Rebecca Hecht secured the space at 56 College St.,” the newspaper reports.

-Work is underway to renovate the former Tiger Mountain Thirst Parlour location on Broadway Street. A crew is removing interior finishes, cutting a new stair opening in the floor, cutting new window openings in the south wall and removing all plumbing, all to prepare for future tenants in the basement, first floor and upper floor.

– The former Smokey’s Tavern space at 18 Broadway is getting a new bar, new floor covering and a new glass front door, all in the name of a business called The Mocking Crow.

-The annual National Gingerbread House Competition was held recently, and Jennifer Elmore and Mike Willauer from Chapel Hill were chosen as grand prize winners. More from a press release:

Hosted by The Omni Grove Park Inn, the popular nationwide competition received more than 160 entries for a chance to win the grand prize of $7,500, with total prizes for all categories valued at more than $20,500. With the requirement of being made of at least 75 percent gingerbread, each holiday display was judged on overall appearance, originality/creativity, difficulty, precision and consistency of theme. This year’s elite panel of judges featured world-renowned pastry chefs, artists and media experts, including the nutritionist for NBC’s “The Biggest Loser,” a curator from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the author of “The Gingerbread Book” and many others.

-The second annual Southside Community Thanksgiving Dinner will be held Wednesday, Nov. 25. The event is free and open to everyone. This year, Chef Liam Luttrell-Rowland is coordinating the event, with help from alumni and staff of Green Opportunities’ Kitchen Ready program. The dinner will be held inside the Arthur R. Edington Education & Career Center at 133 Livingston Street. For more information, contact Anne Hillson at ahillson@greenopportunties.org.

-Grovewood Gallery in Asheville is hosting a Holiday Sip & Shop event on Dec. 11 and 12 and again on Dec. 18 and 19, according to a press release. The event will feature “work by local makers as well as many skilled artisans from around the country. Everything in the gallery will be 10% off and in addition to the sale, holiday shoppers can also enjoy artist demonstrations, complimentary wine, warm cider and gingerbread cookies, according to a press release.

-The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina recently approved grants totaling $1,335,160 to nonprofits across the region, according to a press release. More:

The awards were made in CFWNC’s focus areas, with more than $1 million in People in Need grants going to nonprofits serving economically-disadvantaged populations across the Foundation’s 18-county service area. These grants were supported by grant partners including the Janirve Legacy Fund, CFWNC affiliate funds and fundholders. Since identifying its focus areas in 2011, CFWNC has awarded grants totaling $6,697,632.

Sixty-two People in Need grants of up to $20,000 and totaling $1,082,360 were made throughout the region served by the Foundation. “These grants represent the largest People in Need grant cycle in our history,” said CFWNC President Elizabeth Brazas. “Significant co-investment on the part of our grant partners allows us to do more to support the nonprofits that help the region’s most vulnerable individuals and families.”

-The Western North Carolina Model Railroaders, a non-profit group for railroad and model train enthusiasts, will be presenting a variety of model trains on-site during the holiday season at Asheville Outlets, according to a press release. More:

The trains will be located next to Maurice’s. They will be available for viewing Friday through Sunday beginning November 20th and will remain on display until Christmas.Featured model trains include the HO scale Land of Sky Railroad, depicting scenes loosely based on the local area, and the N scale Eliada, Compton and Western T-Trak layout made by residents of Eliada Home through an outreach program of WNC Model Railroaders. “The magic of model trains during the holidays can take us all back to childhood. We are so happy that the WNC Model Railroaders will have their model trains on display enhancing our festive shopping atmosphere,” said Sharon Morgan, General Manager, Asheville Outlets.

The trains will be on display Friday-Sunday, November 20th through December 20th. Hours for the viewing the model trains are as follows:

Friday, Noon – 7 p.m.

Saturday, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Sunday, Noon – 7 p.m.

There is no charge to visit the train display, but WNC Model Railroaders is a 501c3 organization and does accept donations.

-Warren Wilson College 2015 graduate Lewis Pullman is starring in the title role of the new Amazon Studios pilot “Highston,” which made its debut in September, according to a press release. More:

The Sacha Baron Cohen executive produced comedy also stars Chris Parnell of “Saturday Night Live,” Mary Lynn Rajskub of “24” and Curtis Armstrong of “American Dad” along with guest stars Michael “Flea“ Balzary of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Shaquille O’Neal.

“Highston,” one of six Amazon pilots jockeying for full season orders, follows the life of Highston Liggetts, “a 19-year-old with a wide circle of celebrity friends—that only he can see. His parents … force him to get psychiatric help, but his Uncle Billy thinks he’s just fine. ‘Highston’ is a comedy about what it means to be normal in a world that’s anything but,” according to a release from Amazon. Pullman, who names his father, Bill Pullman, along with other actors Philip Seymour Hoffman, Christian Bale and Jimmy Stewart as his influences, adds that the character of Highston is “a bottomless pit of empathy” who is “constantly trying to be this balance beam between his imagination and these friends and family members that he loves so dearly.”

Pullman was tapped to submit an audition tape for the role in April 2015 during rehearsal for the Warren Wilson College performance of “The Philadelphia Story.”

-Warren Wilson College and Warren Wilson Presbyterian Church (WWPC) marked simultaneous milestones Sunday, Nov. 22, with the annual Harvest Celebration and the 90th anniversary of the WWPC congregation, according to a press release. More:

The Harvest Celebration complements the congregation’s anniversary and serves as a link to the institutions’ shared history. Services are free, open to the public and begin at 11 a.m. in the WWPC and College Chapel.

The Harvest Celebration, a display in the College Chapel, depicts the bounty of the harvests from the College’s farm and garden. The scene staged in the chancel began as a project of the late Bernhard Laursen, who was the College’s farm manager from 1931-57 and a WWPC member. “The first celebration was in Sunderland Residence Hall,” Ernst Laursen, Bernhard’s son, remembers. “When the [first] Church was built, the whole front of the Church was changed to farm scenes for the Harvest Celebration.”

Upon his father’s retirement, Ernst Laursen took over the duties as farm manager and subsequently the Harvest Celebration display, which has featured vignettes, including corn shocks, wheat, barley, vegetables, farm equipment and live farm animals over the years. “I looked forward to it because I just enjoyed the fact we put the different things up there, and people seemed to enjoy it,” Laursen added.

WWPC Pastor Steve Runholt said, “I think [the Harvest Celebration is] the longest standing tradition of the Church-College relationship. The giving of thanks, the practice of gratitude, is central to the human experience.”

While Warren Wilson College’s predecessor, Asheville Farm School, was founded in 1894 by the Board of National Missions of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., the campus community did not have a chapel, and community members attended services at area churches. In 1925, the school’s faculty and student body petitioned the Presbytery for the creation of a church. A little less than two months later, Nov. 22, 1925, the Church was established.

In the 1970s, the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. mission changed and subsequently support of colleges, including Warren Wilson, waned. Nevertheless, WWPC has continued services and other functions in the College Chapel. The Harvest Celebration and the building are visible links between the College and the Church, but Runholt said there is another tie that should not go unnoticed. “Ernst is a living link to our shared history,” he said. “There are no surviving charter members of the congregation. Ernst and his family would have known some of those folks, and it’s important to celebrate that connection.”

In the 85th anniversary history of the Church, 2011 alumnus Max Hunt wrote, “As an integral part of the Warren Wilson campus, the Church followed the school in setting precedent and taking risks. … WWPC stood through the years of constant change when the College was breaking racial and cultural barriers that dominated southern society. In a school dedicated to tolerance, opportunity and hard work, the church served as the moral backbone, inspiring students and staff to continue to serve their fellow man with dignity and love.”

For the WWPC congregation’s 90th anniversary, Runholt looks forward to a time of reunion and an opportunity to chart the course of the Church for the future. “It’s going to be a celebration of 90 years of faithful presence and practice here. In a way, it’s a history of things to come.”

The congregation’s anniversary and Harvest Celebration are a visible manifestation of the proud heritage of Warren Wilson College, founded by the Presbyterian Church. This year’s celebration follows last year’s 50th anniversary of the construction of the Warren Wilson College Chapel, a structure built by students, faculty, staff and community members.

-Rams to the Rescue by Eblen Charities is partnering with Highland Brewing Company and hosting Pint Night a Fundraiser for Kimberly Ellis. Rams to the Rescue (RTR) by Eblen Charities was created in 2012. The goal of Rams to the Rescue is to raise money to assist T.C. Roberson graduates and their family in times of severe crisis. The motto is “Rams to the Rescue Seeks to Help Rams in Need”. The event will be held at Highland Brewing Company on November 28, 2015.

RTR is looking for some coverage to help promote the event. Circus Mutt will be performing from 7pm-9pm. Tin Can Pizzeria and Root Down will be on site.

9 Comments

  1. “Anthropologies corporate offices were so impressed with the mission of Open Hearts that they wanted to donate 15 k to the community!” Riiiiiight.

    While I’m (of course) happy to hear a worthy non profit is receiving a 15k boon, it’s just gag worthy P.R. Work by a company that knows it has a (rightfully deserved) image problem.

    • “While I’m (of course) happy to hear a worthy non profit is receiving a 15k boon, it’s just gag worthy P.R. Work by a company that knows it has a (rightfully deserved) image problem.”

      Whatever their motivations, kudos to Anthropologie for the donation. We welcome their investments within our “local” community.

  2. Anthropologie is going to ruin Asheville!
    No, they just helped support a local charity. What did you do?

  3. luther blissett says:

    “The annual National Gingerbread House Competition was held recently–”

    And the Omni Grove Park Inn has further cut down the hours that locals can visit the entrants. Now you won’t be able to pay that $10 parking fee (or park in front of someone’s house and walk) until after lunch on Sundays.

    Can’t be letting the proles spoil things for the paying (or expensing) guests, but hey, look at how they’re donating half of the parking fees to local charities. How generous, and they won’t be taking it as a tax write-off at all.

    • Did you see the John Boyle column in Sunday’s ACT? He contacted several of Asheville biggest employers to ask if they might be willing to work together to do something about the affordable housing crisis the city is facing.

      The women he contacted at GPI said she couldn’t talk to him about that because she was busy with the gingerbread house competition.

      That pretty much sums up the attitude GPI (and much of Ashville) has had for years — tourists above all else.

  4. Isn’t that generous ? A quid pro quo to the citizenry while the multi-billion corporation that financializes both Urban and Anthro get to borrow unlimited amounts of interest free cash to buy their stock back to make its price go up so the shareholders make so much more than a $15,000 charitable tax break.
    I’m surprised the leaders of Unchain AVL have not broached that topic. Independent businesses (not FedFascist Corporations)cannot honestly compete anymore anywhere. The goalposts have been stolen from any semblance of free capitalism as the Pope so clearly points out by labeling this type of “unbridled capitalism” the “dung of the devil”. Get the “DUNG” outta Asheville, please !

  5. Damn Anthropologie gals not giving back to the community! Oh, wait.

    Wonder if Rebecca Hecht has ever organized for a non profit that didn’t serve her own interests?

  6. “Anthropologie donated $15,000”

    That oughta shut ’em up.

    Oh. Anything on that water lawsuit?

    • Make it $60,000 per year. Payable to Asheville.. Leave them alone for 10 years, then renegotiate. $15,000 is a pittance, an insult, piss-off money.

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