Artists, RiverLink and Zealandia Holding Company celebrate the French Broad River

September 20, 2016

Asheville’s premier landscape painters celebrate the French Broad River’s rise from polluted obscurity to the defining element of the South’s most exciting city at Of Time and the River: the Third Annual Art Show and Gala to Benefit RiverLink. The gala event will be held at the mysterious Zealandia castle, the historic 1908 Tudor Revival mansion on Beaucatcher Mountain overlooking the city of Asheville.

The event grew out of a shared joy that binds artists, activists, river enthusiasts, and entrepreneurs in connecting people to the French Broad River. John Mac Kah, painter and the show’s curator, ascribes the show’s success to the partnership between RiverLink and the contributing artists. “This organization is great to work with,” he notes. “They continue to achieve positive results for the river.”

Likewise, the region’s artists enjoy what RiverLink offers them. Christine Enochs, a contributing oil painter, frequents the many launch sites nurtured by RiverLink. “I’ve been paddling the river for years and always enjoy seeing it from the water itself, immersed in its dynamic power. Painting it is a joy and a challenge, and I am happy to share my work for the river’s continuing health and vitality.”

Contributing area artists are John Mac Kah, Christine Enochs, Paul Blankinship, Dana Irwin, Jason Rafferty, Mark Henry, Bryan Koontz, Tony Corbitt Jr., Caleb Clark, Matthew Good, Deborah Squier, Skip Rohde, Alisa Lumbreras, Cecil Bothwell, Colleen Webster, Brennen McElhaney, Rachel Clearfield, Ben Long, Carol Parks, and Peter Loewer.

The shared purpose of participating artists is bringing engagement with the river through their work. Most complete their work en plein air, remaining at riverside locations while painting and avoiding the use of photographs. Attendees in 2014 and 2015 appreciated not only the spirit of the event but the year’s collections of newly-created artwork, which boasted a variety of approaches and techniques. There were sumptuous botanical renderings of local flora and moody renderings of abandoned riverside buildings in walnut ink brewed by the artists.

At this year’s event there will be a large map indicating the locations where the artists painted their works of art along the river’s 218-mile run that straddles North Carolina and Tennessee.

This year’s gala event also features the music of renowned composer and cellist Ron Clearfield, who has recorded with Paul McCartney and Steve Martin. Clearfield brings a modern sensibility to his classical training and is known for his soulful compositions. Whole Foods is graciously providing food, while Sierra Nevada Brewery is donating beer.  5 Walnut Wine Bar is supplying wine.

Zealandia, the gala’s venue, was built by Philip Henry in 1889 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It boasts a grand staircase and oak woodwork, with ample room for paintings by this year’s 18 artists spread over two stories.

Tickets for the event are  available at

RiverLink promotes the environmental and economic vitality of the French Broad River’s watershed by providing public access to the river through conservation and recreation easements, by reclaiming contaminated land for public use, through greenway development, by creating overnight camping sites, through adaptive reuse of historic structures, by educating the public and students about the importance of the river and by empowering 2,800 volunteers annually. Anyone living in or travelling to Asheville is impacted by their work. Empty a generation ago, now the French Broad River is host to hundreds of paddlers, anglers and tubers on a daily basis. Mirrored by parks on its left bank, the French Broad and its greenway curl through the city like a jade necklace.

What: Third annual Of Time and the River – a benefit art show

When: Friday, Oct. 21, 2016, 6-9pm

Where: Zealandia castle on Beaucatcher Mountain, Asheville

Why: To benefit Riverlink

Contact: John Mac Kah, show curator: 828-225-5000

Requests for further information, interviews, and photographs may be directed to the following people; likewise, access to the event for members of the press.  Zealandia offers wonderful views and a good opportunity for photogrphers.

Dave Russell, Riverlink: 828-252-8474, ext. 11

John Mac Kah, show curator: 828-225-5000

Paul Blankinship, show contributor: 828-280-3072

Christine Enochs, show contributor: 828-230-8328

Dana Irwin, show contributor: 828-253-7357