Episode 3

Blue Spiral 1: Elevating Artisans with Michael Manes

Published on: 28th January, 2022

Today on the Artsville Podcast, we hear from Michael Manes, Gallery Director and Co-Owner at Blue Spiral 1, an art gallery in the heart of Downtown Asheville that represents up to 120 contemporary artists and the estate of turn-of-the-century modernist, Will Henry Stevens. Blue Spiral 1 exhibits the work of artists and makers in a light-filled 15,000 square-foot gallery spanning three floors. This spacious setting allows the gallery to offer considerable diversity and, in today’s episode, Michael shares how Blue Spiral has historically elevated the work of local artisans to a broader audience thanks to the legacy of the gallery’s founder, John Cram. We also touch on the rise of the studio craft movement in America, the influence that Ashville’s natural beauty has on its creative community, and gain some insight into the logistics of running and programming a gallery space on such a large scale. Michael also shares some words of wisdom for artists seeking gallery representation and art lovers building their collection. Plus so much more! Tune in today for an enlightening and engaging discussion with another key member from Asheville’s thriving creative community!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Get to know Michael Manes and hear about his role at Blue Spiral 1.
  • Learn about John Cram, who founded the gallery in 1990, and the early days of Blue Spiral.
  • Micheal shares his personal journey to Asheville and what led him there.
  • He reflects on the historical differentiation between art and craft and the rise of the studio craft movement in America.
  • How John Cram and other art leaders paved the way for Asheville to become Artsville.
  • Challenges Blue Spiral has had to overcome, including keeping up with Asheville’s growth.
  • The influence that the natural environment in Asheville has on the creative community.
  • Find out how Michael approaches programming and curating a 15,000 square-foot space.
  • Some insight into the logistics of running a gallery that represents up to 120 artists.
  • Michael’s advice for artists hoping to approach a gallery for representation: be prolific!
  • His suggestion for art lovers building their collection: start by buying what you love.
  • Why Blue Spiral strives to remain affordable, approachable, and accessible for all.
  • What Michael wants listeners to know about Ashville; everyone is welcome!
  • The beautiful sense of community that Michael believes makes Ashville unique.
  • Accessibility and e-commerce; how to buy art on the Blue Spiral website.

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Michael Manes on LinkedIn — https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-manes-97379a8b/

Blue Spiral 1 — https://bluespiral1.com/

Blue Spiral 1 on Instagram — https://www.instagram.com/bluespiral1/

Blue Spiral 1 on Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/BlueSpiral1/

Scott “Sourdough” Power — https://www.notarealartist.com/

Louise Glickman — https://www.louiseglickman.com/

Daryl Slaton — http://www.tailsofwhimsy.com/

Crewest Studio — https://creweststudio.com/

Sand Hill Artists Collective (SHAC) — https://sandhillartists.com/

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About the Podcast

Welcome to the Artsville podcast where we celebrate contemporary American Arts & Crafts from Asheville NC and beyond. The Artsville podcast has it all: Painting, Pottery, Weaving, Woodworking, Welding, Glass Blowing and more. Just like Asheville, NC, Artsville is a friendly podcast where good folks like you can discover world class artisans, artists, craftsman and makers who use their hands and natural materials like fiber, clay, metal, glass, paper and wood to create stunning original arts and crafts.