Where the Artists Are


If you can just think for a moment…where is that special place that artists are drawn to? What makes such a place so special? And if the most accomplished, creative, and acclaimed artists all made a pilgrimage to one place…wouldn’t it be sort of magical? Indeed.

Mitchell County is that place. For decades artists from around the world have made their pilgrimage to our home. Some were drawn by the nationally acclaimed Penland School of Crafts. Some were drawn by the beauty and serene nature of the place we call home…it spoke to them and became their muse.

The Craft House at Penland School of Crafts
The Craft House at Penland School of Crafts


Today we are a haven to more artists per capita than anywhere else in the world. What does that mean? It means we are quite the creative community! Authentic. Creative. Real. Amazing. Can you just imagine it? The artists who live and create here have their work featured in galleries around the world…from the Smithsonian to Japan and beyond.

Hundreds of artist studios dot our mountain roads and they open up their studios to the public twice a year for the famous Toe River Arts Studio Tour.  (Some of our artists welcome guests year round so be sure to check!) It’s pretty cool!

Artist at their studio on the Toe River Studio Tour

Galleries throughout our county featured the works of local artists…from handblown glass to pottery, from textiles to blacksmithing, basically any type of art you can think of.  And the artists welcome visitors to come to their studios or visit area galleries to enjoy their creations and then take a piece home with them.

Art-rich galleries, studios, and craft fairs are magnets for those embarking on a journey of the arts. Begin your search this year!

Penland School Gallery

feature photo credit: Appalachian Exposures