NC Glass Center to expand to Black Mountain in 2024

Karrigan Monk
Black Mountain News
The North Carolina Glass Center will expand to Black Mountain in 2024.

The North Carolina Glass Center will expand to Black Mountain in 2024.

Currently located at 140 Roberts St. in the River Arts District in Asheville, the center was recently awarded $330,000 from the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority.

Janice Gouldthorpe, North Carolina Glass Center executive director, said the center started in 2015 and has “grown significantly” since then.

According to its website, the North Carolina Glass Center is a nonprofit, public access glass studio and gallery. It features low-cost shared studios to help emerging artists launch their careers and has furnaces, torches and kilns. Its gallery showcases work from undiscovered to established glass artists in Western North Carolina. It also has educational programs available to all and community outreach programs that "provide safe spaces" for veterans and underserved youths to learn the science and art of glass.

With more than 50 artists selling work in the center’s gallery, making art in the studios and teaching classes to the public, Gouldthorpe said the center needed to expand.

“We just don’t have the space and facilities to facilitate all of the things people want from us, including our artists and the public,” Gouldthorpe said. “We looked for opportunities and were able to connect up with a person who had been connected to us and who was interested in the Black Mountain community particularly.”

Gouldthorpe said Todd Phillips bought property in Black Mountain and is renovating a space on State Street and will lease it to the North Carolina Glass Center.

Though the budget needed for the expansion is much more than the $330,000 awarded by the TDA, Gouldthorpe said the center is grateful for any funding they get.

“It will be a significant amount of what we need,” Gouldthorpe said. “We’re really thankful they saw the value in this opportunity and saw the strength of our organization.”

Buncombe County’s TDA approved more than $9 million in investments of 10 community projects Oct. 26, according to a news release from the organization.

“We are grateful for the thoughtful community projects brought forward by municipal and nonprofit partners that reflect collective local goals and values,” Vic Isley, president and CEO of Explore Asheville and the TDA, said in a news release. “The Tourism Development Authority is proud to leverage these resources paid by visitors, expanding local partner capacity to produce new community assets, ultimately sharing the costs of visionary placemaking.”

The glass center is one of these nonprofit partners, hosting 47,000 guests each year for the past two years, according to Gouldthorpe.

To raise the rest of the funding needed for the expansion, the North Carolina Glass Center will turn to donations and other grants.

Gouldthorpe said because the center is a nonprofit, they accept donations for activities and have several significant donors. Gouldthorpe said she and her team are also looking at grants that focus on their educational mission as well.

The North Carolina Glass Center will remain open in the River Arts District when the expansion opens in Black Mountain, hopefully in 2024, Gouldthorpe said.

“We’re very much looing forward to getting up to the Black Mountain community and working with the area businesses there,” Gouldthorpe said. “We think we are a good business partner and our activities attract a lot of people and that provides some spillover opportunities for people who might have businesses in the area that provide other amenities and services for those guests.”