More of what’s going around:
-The Asheville Art Museum is undergoing a $24 million remodeling that will soon start with the demolition of its existing space and the construction of new space designed to show off the museum’s works, as well as traveling exhibitions. One new aspect of the revamp is the addition of rooftop cafe. Speaking to the Asheville Downtown Commission last week, museum Executive Director Pam Myers revealed a few details about the project. Myers said the museum has no intention of getting into the restaurant business and was looking for a partner or partners. Myers said museum officials have held early discussions with various folks, including representatives of the Asheville Independent Restaurant Association. The working idea is to curate artful foods from around the city, Myers said.
-Wayne Caldwell and Eric Nelson will offer a free reading at the next installment of the Writers at Home series, presented by UNC Asheville’s Great Smokies Writing Program, at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 19, at Malaprop’s Bookstore/Café, 55 Haywood Street in Asheville. This monthly series of free readings is hosted by program director and novelist Tommy Hays.
-Two-time James Beard Award nominee chef Meherwan Irani and the Chai Pani Group creative team in Asheville have officially debuted the online release of the first three episodes of their culinary film, Cutting Chai, according to a press release. First premiered in March of 2016 at Ponce City Market in Atlanta, and followed by a September screening in Asheville, Cutting Chai gives viewers a raw glimpse into Indian culture, according to the news release. The series illustrates how family roots, street carts, and chai stands align to create tradition through food. More:
“The film was created and produced in-house by chef Irani and Chai Pani Brand Director Michael Files. Files shot and directed the film with his brother Daniel Files, who also served as editor. Featuring intimate footage of Irani taking his young chefs, Daniel Peach and James Grogan, on a culinary journey through India, they visit 10 cities in 10 days. A vivid glimpse into the vast world of Indian street food, the film reveals colorful insight into the initial inspiration for Irani’s successful Atlanta and Asheville concepts. Episodes one through three are now available to watch on Chai Pani’s YouTube Channel, Chai Pani Channel, as well as at the official Cutting Chai website, Cutting Chai Movie.”
-There’s a new art exhibition open at 54 Broadway in downtown Asheville. Window (re/production|re/presentation) has announced The Archive of Scarcity, a new work by Orlando/Philadelphia-based artist Leah Sandler, is on display now. More from a press release:
Two versions of this work were conceived and produced by Sandler specifically for Window – one for our original location in Asheville, NC, and a second for The Olin Library at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida – a location that formerly served as one of the sites for our recently concluded Window | National project. The Archive of Scarcity is part of a larger ongoing body of work by Sandler, The Body Bureaucratic. This particular piece functions as one possible representation of such an institution, in an aestheticized form that emphasizes the body as an enormous appendage encroaching upon a space activated with tropes of corporatized branding. The appropriation of these forms as a temporary window display confounds viewer response both visually (as an image of a glass-paned door panel and adjacent semi-translucent boardroom windows seemingly opening into a space beyond the physical glass of the site’s window itself) and semiotically (as an image purporting to function as an advertisement of sorts, comprised of legible symbols and text that are nonetheless not immediately comprehensible).
Conceived of as a site-specific minimalist exhibition space, Window (re/production |
re/presentation) is a long-term public art project that aims to stimulate thoughtful discussion around timely issues of reproduction and representation within contemporary art in the local community and beyond. Window is generously hosted by Henco Reprographics, 54 Broadway, Asheville, NC 28801.
-Asheville’s advertising industry will celebrate its best and brightest with a gala event on Thursday at the U.S. Cellular Center. The American Advertising Awards, formerly the ADDYs, is the advertising industry’s largest and most representative competition, attracting over 40,000 entries every year in local AAF Club (Ad Club) competitions, according to a press release. The mission of the American Advertising Awards competition is to recognize and reward the creative spirit of excellence in the art of advertising.
“Myers said the museum has no intention of getting into the restaurant business…”
So why include this “café”… it’s hard to believe there would be enough business on a daily basis for any vendor to “make it” financially (and that’s the bottom line).
After all, there are a hundred restaurants within 3 blocks of the museum as it is – with more coming.
I used to work at a small museum in Washington, DC that’s located in one of the most dense restaurant zones in the city, Dupont Circle. They still had a small cafe, partly to ease people towards the gift shop, partly to let people grab a snack mid-visit rather than “lose” them to hunger at lunch time.
All Myers means by “not getting in to the restaurant business” is that the AAM would rather have an outside partner run the cafe rather than be responsible for menus and hiring waitstaff and all the rest of it. Given the visitation rates of the museum, though, my guess would be that they’ll have to open the cafe to non-museum-visitors for a partner to make it profitable.
The location might make it work: a rooftop view from Pack Square is something the competition can’t offer (for now). But Myers still seems to think she’s running a museum in another city altogether.