Collections of the Asheville Art Museum

The Museum’s collections are online for public research and education, or simply for creative inspiration and enjoyment. Use the Permanent Collection button above to explore all of the Museum’s current holdings of American art. The Black Mountain College Collection, a subset of the Permanent Collection, is also highlighted above. Advanced Search options are also available to find specific works of art.

Learn more about the Black Mountain College Project and the Museum’s Black Mountain College Collection, as well as past programs the Museum has presented that focus on Black Mountain College.

About the Permanent Collection

The Museum has established its expertise in the collection, preservation, and interpretation of American art beginning in the 20th century and in all aspects of public programming, making innovative and outstanding exhibition experiences available to residents of and visitors to WNC. The Museum preserves important aspects of our national and regional heritage through strategic collecting and the conscientious stewardship of great works of art. The Permanent Collection, containing more than 3,572 works in all media and 4,905 architectural drawings, is the only such resource in the region. The Museum annually presents 14-17 exhibitions drawing from the permanent collection and borrowed works. In addition, the Museum has curated projects focusing on themes of contemporary interest and has invited internationally acclaimed curators to contribute their skills.

About the Black Mountain College Collection

The Asheville Art Museum is a collecting institution and the only organization of its kind serving all 24 counties of Western North Carolina (WNC). Through its collection, the Museum provides an overview of significant movements and trends in American art beginning in the 20th century and art of significance to the Southeast. One of the major focuses of the Collection is works of significance by artists associated with Black Mountain College (BMC), which was located 15 miles east of Asheville. From 1933 to 1957, BMC was a unique experiment in American education and a center for experimentation in all areas of the arts.

The Museum’s ongoing Black Mountain College Research & Digitization Project continues to strengthen the Museum’s ability to serve the public more effectively through collections stewardship. In accordance with the Museum’s vision and mission statements, the Museum focuses on transforming lives through art by engaging, enlightening and inspiring individuals and enriching community through dynamic experiences in American Art of the 20th and 21st centuries. Because of the College’s regional and international significance and the impact that its revolutionary educational style had on Modern Art, the Museum is committed to preserving the legacy of BMC.

We are currently in the second phase of the Black Mountain College Research & Digitization Project, which began in 2008. During this phase, the Museum will continue to create a body of research to complement the works that it holds in its BMC Collection, digitize the collection and produce an online resource of images, artists’ biographies and background information. The body of research will be created through visits to artists associated with BMC and their heirs. The Museum’s website will also be updated with an advanced search module in the coming months, and the nearly 1,000 works in the Museum’s BMC Collection will be digitized. The images of these works and the publications and articles created as a result of this research will be made available to the public through the Museum’s website.

We are pleased to partner with the State Archives of North Carolina, which also maintains a Black Mountain College Digital Collection.

The Black Mountain College Research and Digitization Project is supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the North Carolina Arts Council.

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