Mark Bettis worked in computer animation before pursuing a number of other successful careers, including advertising and real estate. Through it all, though, he never gave up his lifelong dream of becoming a full-time artist. When he moved to Asheville 15 years ago, he began painting in earnest and his dream was soon on a fast track to becoming reality.
As his popularity spread, his vibrant abstracts began to sell, and he quickly outgrew the studio in his garage. So in 2012, he opened a studio in the Wedge Building in the River Arts District, where he also represents works by other artists. In April of this year, he opened a second gallery, this one on Broadway in downtown Asheville.
“I wanted to have a presence for myself and my artists downtown,” says Bettis. He says he also wanted a space where he could display larger pieces than he was able to do in his RAD location. Although his galleries are comparable in size (the RAD space is 2,000 square feet and the downtown Asheville location is just 500 square feet more), the new gallery has more wall space, allowing him to create larger-scale art installations. He says both galleries showcase a variety of genres, including glass, ceramics, collage/mixed media, and acrylic and oil paintings.
Just as he does in his RAD gallery, Bettis says the new gallery also contains a studio space in the back where he can create his art and still be available to talk with people.
In conjunction with Asheville’s “First Friday Art Walk” on June 3, Bettis is hosting Flora, a week-long group exhibit of works by a dozen or more artists who celebrate the varied splendors of nature. “We will also try to hold an opening once a month with a variety of artists and interesting concepts,” he adds. “I’m excited to be downtown.”
Mark Bettis Gallery in downtown Asheville is located at 15 Broadway. Hours at the new space are 11am-5pm Mondays and Thursdays, 11am-6pm Fridays and Saturdays, and Sundays by appointment. Flora opens with a 5:30-7:30pm reception on Friday, June 3, and runs through Saturday, June 11. For more information, see markbettisgallery.com.