Downtown Asheville’s Blue Spiral 1 Under New Direction

Michael Manes

Blue Spiral 1, downtown Asheville’s oldest fine arts gallery, recently appointed Michael Manes as the new director for its Southern-focused collection of fine art and craft. Manes has been involved in the Asheville arts scene since moving to the city from Ohio, where he earned his BFA from the Columbus College of Art and Design, in 2010. Initially employed with New Morning Gallery while also volunteering for the Asheville Area Arts Council (where he currently serves as Vice Chair of the Board), Handmade in America, and the Center for Craft, Creativity and Design, Manes had been assistant director of Blue Spiral 1 since 2011. “I have a more team-oriented style of leadership,” Manes says about his approach to the new role. “I’ve hired some new staff at the gallery and curated my own team based on all of our strengths and weaknesses.”

By freshening the gallery’s image and working more directly with artists, Manes hopes to expand its visibility and accessibility. “We’re focusing on curating our shows further out in advance, which allows our artists to better prepare themselves and allows us to do the proper promotion for each show,” he says.

Manes is particularly committed to community collaboration and increasing the scope of Blue Spiral 1’s permanent collection.

“We’re adding a lot more diversity in our roster of artists,” he explains. “In turn with that, we’ve noticed a lot more diversity in the people coming into the gallery, which is very refreshing for me to see.”

Blue Spiral 1 is located at 38 Biltmore Avenue, Asheville. Call 828- 251-0202 or visit for more info.

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