Big things are happening at Grovewood Village, the privately owned home of Grovewood Gallery art gallery, a museum and visitors center tracing the history of Biltmore Industries and an antique car museum. The property is adjacent to the Omni Grove Park Inn, but has often flown under the radar.
The little hidden gem is repositioning itself as both a visitors center and a significant museum recounting a unique part of its famous founders’ past, loyal reader Elizabeth tells me. A building that was once used to dye textiles will be open to the public for the first time, and there will be scheduled tours of the property each week, likely starting this fall. The car museum is also available to rent for special events.
Here are two press releases she passed along, which reference events coming up in 2017:
Asheville’s Grovewood Gallery Celebrates 25 Years of Handmade American Art and Craft
Considered one of Asheville’s premiere art and craft galleries, Grovewood Gallery located in Grovewood Village adjacent to The Omni Grove Park Inn, will mark its 25th year in 2017.
Plans are underway for the anniversary celebration, slated for Saturday, May 20, which will include an outdoor sculpture exhibition, special artist demonstrations, raffle prizes, live music and local food.
Grovewood’s resident artists will also open up their studios to the public, giving visitors the opportunity to go behind the scenes and meet local makers who work in a variety of media.
The gallery opened in 1992 when the city was just beginning to enjoy a cultural and artistic renaissance. Tucked away behind tall Carolina pine trees adjacent to The Omni Grove Park Inn, visitors today often remark they feel as though they’ve stumbled upon a hidden treasure.
Grovewood represents more than 400 artists and craftspeople from across the United States and features rotating exhibitions, an impressive secondfloor studio furniture collection, an outdoor sculpture garden, and working artist studios.
The gallery buyers, Russell Gale and Cheri Hoeffelmeyer, are very selective when it comes to quality and craftsmanship and are careful to purchase artwork that complements the gallery’s current collection. Grovewood features more than 9,000 square feet of display space and showcases a range of works, including jewelry, pottery, glass, wood, and sculpture. The gallery is noted for its American-made studio furniture collection, and many of the makers represented welcome custom work. For more information on Grovewood Gallery and its resident artists, visit www.grovewood.com.
Celebrate the Centennial of Biltmore Industries at Grovewood Village
When Biltmore’s first lady, Edith Vanderbilt, approached Fred Seely, visionary of the grand Grove Park Inn and the soninlaw of Edwin W. Grove, about buying Biltmore Estate Industries in 1917, she asked that he “continue its educational features and develop the arts.”
With Seely’s assurance and agreement to erect six English country cottages adjacent to the hotel to house the Industries’ wood carvers and weavers, Mrs. Vanderbilt knew the current eight looms of her Biltmore Estate Industries in Biltmore Village would have a new home and place to grow and thrive. The enterprise became Biltmore Industries.
The diligent work and dedication begun in 1901 by Eleanor Vance and Charlotte Yale, two progressive missionaries who came to Appalachia to encourage selfsufficiency in the mountains, had been supported by the Vanderbilts, who provided funds for a learning trip to Scotland and later looms and woodcarving tools. But the eight looms in Biltmore Village were no longer sufficient. Seely was a known and respected leader and entrepreneur. His new cottages were soon a flurry of activity with a total of 40 looms in operation by 1920 and ultimately Biltmore Homespun became known as the finest handmade woolen cloth in the world, worn by Grace and Herbert Hoover, Eleanor Roosevelt, Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, William H. Taft, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, J.D. Rockefeller and Helen Keller.
The weaving business thrived until Seely’s death in 1942, when his youngest son took over management. But the demand for handwoven woolen homespun diminished with the onset of modern industrialization. Asheville businessman Harry Blomberg purchased Biltmore Industries 111 Grovewood Road Asheville, in 1953 and provided resources and leadership that kept the looms in operation until 1983.
When Blomberg died in 1991, ownership of Biltmore Industries was transferred to Blomberg’s daughters – Barbara Blomberg and Marilyn Patton along with his son-in-law, Buddy Patton.
Today, this privately owned Asheville treasure includes Grovewood Gallery, which opened in 1992, a museum and visitors center tracing the history of Biltmore Industries, working artist studios and an antique car museum. The Golden Fleece restaurant, featuring traditional hearth cooking from Greece opened in Grovewood Village in 2016. The Biltmore Industries Centennial celebration at Grovewood Village will take place June 17, 2017, which will include a special exhibition, guided history tours, artist demonstrations as well as a cake cutting ceremony. Local historian Bruce Johnson, Director of the National Arts & Crafts Conference at The Grove Park Inn since 1988, will be a guest speaker.