Expanded Trackside Studios Goes Full Steam Ahead

Trackside recently announced a series of expansions.
Photo by Rachel Pressley

Trackside Studios, long a fixture on Depot Street in the River Arts District, is emerging from major upgrades that will help keep the gallery on track for even greater success.

Over the years, Trackside has held true to its initial purpose of “providing affordable gallery/studio space for local artists, and always with an eye out for emerging artists in our area,” says Michael Allen Campbell, one of the gallery’s founders, along with Julie Ann Bell and Lynn Stanley.

A change in the ownership of the building housing the gallery prompted a renovation in three stages, says Bell. Some immediately needed repairs required occupants to move out of one section of the building, but eventually, exposing ceiling beams in the area and hanging display walls there “allowed the flow of natural light and [more] openness,” explains Bell.

Gallery heads Julie Ann Bell and Michael Allen Campbell embody the “vibrant, fun” atmosphere they strive for in the gallery.
Photo by Rachel Pressley

“In November, the mezzanine level of the building became available, so we expanded into that additional space,” she adds. “Then, in January of this year, about half of our artists were temporarily displaced as three previously separate suites and a hallway became one large gallery space.” 

Resident artist Mike Floyd paints on baseballs
Photo by Rachel Pressley

With the finished expansion, celebrated in a “Leap Forward” grand-opening celebration on February 29, Trackside will be able to accommodate 58 artists in working studios and on the gallery’s walls. Most are painters working in watercolor, oil, acrylic, encaustic, and mixed media. “[But] we also feature photographers, sculptors, and artists working with glass and jewelry,” says Bell. (In addition to her other duties at Trackside, Bell is an artist who creates wire sculpture.) Styles span all the genres, but “our first goal, says Bell, “is to invite artists who we feel will mesh with our original vision” —- described as  “a vibrant, fun, friendly, imaginative space for creating, teaching, and marketing art.” 

Photo by Rachel Pressley

Nine working studio spaces are housed in the gallery, and many painters set up an easel and create on site. Interdisciplinary experimental artist Chalkley Matlack started with the gallery in its first year, 2015. “That space, with all of the creative people together, has inspired me to keep up my work and continue to grow as an artist,” says Matlack. “We’ve become a family of sorts.”

Photo by Rachel Pressley

“We like to believe that we have a special vibe as an open, accepting place to soak in the arts,” says Bell. 

Trackside Studios, 375 Depot St. in Asheville’s River Arts District, tracksidestudios375.com. Hours are 11am-4pm and by appointment. Trackside also participates in the River Arts District’s “Second Saturday” art strolls with receptions from 2-6pm, through December.

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