Asheville is arguably the largest hub for local arts in WNC, but by far it is not the only one. Just a short drive north, the small Madison County town of Marshall has made the most of riverside living. There are dozens of local galleries and studios, forming an enclave of artists in the midst of a renaissance.
If you haven’t been recently, we recommend making some time to experience the many things that this historic way station has to offer. Here are five places to see local art and music in Marshall.
Marshall High Studios
The epicenter of local arts in town are the Marshall High Studios, a former high school on Blannahassett Island in the middle of the river that’s connected to downtown by a bridge. The building, which dates to 1925, was renovated and reopened in 2007 as a home for 28 artist studios. In addition to hosting working artists who specialize in numerous different media, the 28,000-square-foot facility hosts regular classes, exhibitions, and performances.
The Depot & Zuma Coffee
One Main Street mainstay in Marshall is The Depot, an old-timey general store. It’s a great community shopping spot that doubles as a performance venue on Friday nights, when local musicians strike up a soundtrack of traditional bluegrass and country music. Music can also be heard at Zuma Coffee’s regular Thursday night Zuma Jam.
Madison County Arts Center
Several other local institutions keep Marshall’s art scene humming. Since 1978, the Madison County Arts Center, also on Main Street, has presented regular exhibitions of both traditional and contemporary arts and music. The MCAC also presents classes for kids and adults on a revolving basis, including First Stage Youth Theatre, Junior Appalachian Musicians, and Junior Appalachian Visual Artists.
French Broad Institute
A couple of blocks away is the volunteer-run French Broad Institute (Of Time and The River). “The FBI,” which was opened in 2007 in a former Methodist church (built in 1912), serves the community “by providing a forum for curated collaborations, multidisciplinary performances,” and “an investigative think tank for reimagining the relationship between traditional and avant-garde arts, and between the time-based arts and the natural sciences.”
Learn More about Marshall
Marshall, population 800, is the Madison County seat and sits on the banks of the French Broad River some 20 miles north of Asheville. Read more about Marshall, see more photos, or search for homes in the area from the Beverly-Hanks Marshall community page.