The Folk Art Center is home to the Southern Highland Craft Guild. The center showcases the finest in traditional and contemporary crafts of the Southern Appalachians. In addition to an Eastern National bookstore and Blue Ridge Parkway information desk, the center houses three galleries, a library and Allanstand Craft Shop. Beginning in March each year, visitors can see live craft demonstrations daily in the Folk Art Center lobby. The Folk Art Center is located in east Asheville on the Blue Ridge Parkway, a five minute drive from downtown.
Southern Highlands Craft Guild
The Southern Highland Craft Guild is an authorized concessionaire of the National Park Service, Department of the Interior. The guild, chartered in 1930, is today one of the strongest craft organizations in the country. It represents close to 1000 craftspeople in 293 counties of 9 southeastern states. For over 80 years the Guild has been “bringing together the crafts and craftspeople of the Southern Highlands for the shared benefit of education, conservation and marketing.”
During the Depression the Guild cultivated commerce for craftspeople in the Appalachian region. This legacy continues today as the Guild plays a large role in the Southern Highlands craft economy through the operation of five craft shops and two annual craft expositions. Educational programming is another fundamental element of the organizations mission. This mission is fulfilled through integrated educational craft demonstrations at retail outlets and expos, free educational community events, and an extensive public library located at headquarters. Professional workshops and one-on-one consultations are also offered to the membership on a regular basis.
As an organization with roots that date back to the beginnings of the Southern Arts and Crafts movement, the Guild hold the largest and most important collection of Appalachian Craft in the world. Selected items from this collection are on view in the Permanent Collection Gallery at the Folk Art Center in Asheville. As well as an object collection, the Guild maintains an extensive archive of documents paramount to preservation of this important regional history.