Work is Underway on the New Asheville Art Museum!

The Asheville Art Museum was founded in 1948, and we’ve had many wonderful years of growth. But it is time to update inside and out, to build on our past and move forward so that we may thrive far into the 21st century.

You will see big changes in the Museum building through 2018 as we undergo a major expansion and renovation project right in the heart of downtown Asheville. And when construction is complete and the new Museum opens, you will see fresh approaches, collections, exhibitions, educational programs, and outreach to invite our whole community in – and extend the Museum across our mountain region.

Our 2 S. Pack Square location is currently closed for construction. We have opened a pop-up location Asheville Art Museum On the Slope at 175 Biltmore Ave. We will continue to offer exhibitions and programming there and out in the community.

A Need for Transformation

In the Museum’s pre-construction space, only 3% of the Permanent Collection could be on exhibition at any given time. The Museum’s collections were stored in overcrowded conditions. Galleries were small with low ceilings limiting the Museum’s ability to create special exhibitions or bring in traveling exhibitions that require higher ceilings, larger uninterrupted areas of wall space, specific lighting and climate control. The Museum’s library was bursting at the seams housing more than 10,000 books, publications and other research materials. The continuing growth and success of the Museum’s critical educational programs required that educational facilities expand due to dramatically increased and diversified needs. Innovative educational programs for young people involve students from across all 24 counties of WNC in art-based educational experiences linked to classroom curriculum and the North Carolina Standard Course of Study. Our partners in education request more tours, teacher workshops and hands-on studio experiences for students; current gallery and classroom space restricts the numbers we can serve. To meet increased demand for programs for all ages, the Museum needs additional classrooms, studios, lecture/performance halls, galleries, collections storage, visitor service amenities and multimedia technology. The renovation project for the New Museum will also address the critical issue of aging, failing and inadequate climate control systems and will include necessary new lighting and technology systems.

About the New Museum Building Project

Utilizing the current building footprint of the Museum, this environmentally friendly project includes the historic preservation of the Museum’s current North Wing (the 1926 Pack Library Building), renovation of existing Museum spaces and new construction to transform current disparate spaces into a new cohesive, coherent and inviting Museum. The new Museum will elegantly combine historic and contemporary elements. It will honor the past by restoring the Pack Memorial Library building, an Asheville landmark built in 1926, and it will step into the future as a 21st century architectural landmark in downtown Asheville with a visually stunning new front façade, entrance and plaza.

PHOTOS: Visit our Facebook gallery to see photos as the construction project continues. We will keep adding new ones!

This “fly-through” animation video shows features of the New Asheville Art Museum.

Encompassing 68,000+ square feet, that will be preserved, renovated or rebuilt, this sustainable project will result in:

  • new exhibition galleries,
  • a well-equipped education suite of classrooms and studios,
  • expanded collections storage,
  • a larger library
  • the addition of a rooftop sculpture terrace and café
  • and critical upgrades to HVAC, lighting and technology systems
  • The exterior will be sheathed in glass inviting the public in to art-filled spaces and lighted at night to illuminate Pack Square Park and the City center. To meet the needs of a growing and increasingly culturally-aware community and visitors to the area
  • Permanent Collection exhibition space will increase by 70%;
  • special changing exhibition space will double;
  • education programs will have more than twice the amount of studio classroom space, plus a media-ready lecture hall for public programs;

The Museum expansion will increase our capacity to serve diverse audiences and generate economic impact throughout the region. The Museum’s physical expansion will extend its role as a community center, education resource, visitor center and cultural concierge for all residents of WNC and the many visitors to our region.

How Will the Asheville Art Museum Pay for the Expansion?

The Art WORKS for Asheville Capital Campaign has been very successful due to the generosity of our Trustees, close supporters, government, foundation and corporate supporters from within Buncombe County, North Carolina and nationally. Learn about our Capital Campaign effort.

Schedule and Plan


In early 2016 we installed scaffolding on our North Wing for renovation and preservation work on this historic 1926 Pack Memorial Library building.

The first phase of restoration work is complete—the building’s beautiful historic windows have undergone complete restoration and the white Georgia marble façade has been cleaned and the masonry repaired and repointed. Interior walls on the top floor have been removed and the windows uncovered, preparing that space to become the new education studio and classrooms.

Read about the North Wing / Historic Pack Memorial Library restoration and renovation.

Early 2017 – Fall 2018

In early 2017, the Museum began major demolition of its “core”— the Atrium and East Wing structures, with a construction crane and fencing positioned in front of 2 S. Pack Square. Pedestrian access along Biltmore Avenue remains uninterrupted via a covered pedestrian walkway. Major construction, including extensive interior renovation and new construction will follow demolition.

It’s an exciting time for us, with important decisions being made as major construction is underway. The Museum has moved out of the 2 S. Pack Square location to allow for construction and to keep our Permanent Collection safe and secure. While under construction, we are excited to continue an active schedule of programming off-site with community partners across WNC. The Museum has opened Asheville Art Museum On the Slope at 175 Biltmore Avenue, a small pop-up Museum to house the Museum Gift Shop, education programs for all ages and a rotating intimate exhibition gallery.

Late 2018

Opening of the New Asheville Art Museum!

Quick Facts

Frequently Asked Questions

Exhibition/Collection Partnerships

Education + Public Programs Partnerships

Historical Facts About the Museum

Get Involved

Join us and become a part of this exciting transformation! The Museum Staff and Board of Trustees want to hear from you. There are many ways that you can become involved and be a part of this extraordinary community endeavor. Give us a call at 828.253.3227, ext. 114 to connect.