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The Most Popular Attraction on the Blue Ridge Parkway

From woodwork to metalwork, jewellery making to basket weaving you can admire the craftsmanship of over  350 artists at the Folk Art Center, part of our Asheville bus tour.

An integral part of the mountain culture, Frances Goodrich was inspired with the idea of a cottage industry that would assist mountain families after she met women in Asheville, North Carolina who were still weaving traditional coverlets in wool and cotton. Goodrich founded the Allanstand Cottage Industries in 1897 and along with the help from other leaders of the Southern Arts and Crafts Movement, the Allanstand Cottage Industries evolved into what is known today as the Allanstand Craft Shop.

What was once Allanstand Cottage Industries has transformed over the years  and through cooperative efforts between the Southern Highland Craft Guild, the National Park Service and the Appalachian Regional Commission, it has become the most popular attraction on Blue Ridge Parkway seeing a quarter of a million visitors each year.  Discover Appalachian arts and crafts in the center’s two galleries, see the artists at work, or take home one-of-a-kind crafts for yourself during your two hour, self-guided tour of the Folk Art Center.

Outside of the Folk Art Center, Asheville, NC Outside of the Folk Art Center, Asheville, NC
Credit: Southern Highland Craft Guild-Michael Booher Inside the Folk Art Center Inside the Folk Art Center
Credit: Southern Highland Craft Guild-Lynn Jenkins Artwork at Folk Art Center Artwork at Folk Art Center
Credit: Southern Highland Craft Guild-Matt Tommey Artwork at Folk Art Center Artwork at Folk Art Center
Credit: Southern Highland Craft Guild Folk Art Center Folk Art Center

Inside the Folk Art Center

The Lobby Book Shop

Start your time at the Folk Art Center in the Lobby Book Shop. Here you can discover an intriguing selection of  how to craft books, books on the history and culture of the Blue Ridge Mountains, cookbooks, Blue Ridge Parkway guides and even books on mountain toys for children.


The Allanstand Craft Shop

As you venture deeper into the Folk Art Center, you’ll have the chance to explore the Allanstand Craft Shop. Featuring many craft disciplines you’ll find: clay, fibers, basket weaving, jewellery, metalsmithing, wood and paper in the displays throughout the shop. Delight in Appalachian items: handmade brooms and hand-woven baskets, beautiful glass work in a rainbow of colors, hand-carved woodcrafts, quilt covers, thick-walled and miniature pottery are all available for purchase in the Allanstand Craft Shop.


Galleries and Museum

Climb the stairs to the second floor of the center and explore its galleries and museum, dedicated to mountain crafts old and new


The Main Gallery

In the center’s Main Gallery you can discover fascinating exhibits which showcase the work of numerous artisans. Frequently changing, the Main Gallery might showcase a single craft during one month and a noted craft collection, or school of craftsmanship the next.


The Focus Gallery

The Focus Gallery is a smaller, rotating exhibit that highlights the works of the best Appalachian artists. See an artist’s finest works of art, or get a glimpse into the things that inspire them in the Focus Gallery.


Folk Art Center Museum

Containing approximately 200 works, the Folk Art Museum features the best in traditional woodcarvings, textiles, furniture, basketry, pottery, and dolls. Showcasing crafts produced from 1855 to the late 20th  century and a wide range of media that represents insights into the evolution of traditional crafts from functional every-day use to the artistic and decorative modern pieces, discover the Southern Highlands Craft Guild’s permanent collection in the Folk Art Center Museum.


Craft Demonstrations

Watch as a woodworker uses a wood-turner to fashion fine hardwood bowls on a lathe, see a weaver creating intricate fabrics on a loom, or get a glimpse of a glassmaker as he carefully shapes delicate, colourful glass art pieces. Skilled and friendly artisans often visit the Folk Art Center to talk about their work and demonstrate how it’s made.

Travel Tips

-All areas of the Folk Art Center are accessible by wheelchair. It is important you let your reservations agent know ahead of time if you or someone in your party is handicapped, so that they can make sure to accommodate your group in the most convenient and comfortable setting.

-Ask at the visitor’s desk in the Lobby Book Shop if you are interested in seeing one of the daily craft demonstrations. Members of staff will be able to tell you when demonstrations take place, so that you can plan accordingly.

-Read Ahead. Familiarizing yourself with the background of Appalachian arts and crafts ahead of time will help you to have a better appreciation for the things you will be seeing throughout your time in the Folk Art Center. 


Discover Appalachian crafts in the Folk Art Center. 

Credit: Southern Highland Craft Guild Creative Influence at Folk Art Center Creative Influence at Folk Art Center