CURVE studios & garden

Studios are OPEN Monday - Saturday 11am to 4pm •  Gardens are open dawn to dusk

Studio doors are open and the public is welcome to come explore the life of the working artist, shop and enjoy our beautiful garden.  

At CURVE studios & garden, located in the heart of Asheville’s River Arts District, you will find 10 artists working in their studios making ceramic sculpture, functional pottery, jewelry, clothing, and fine art photography as well as teaching the art of chair caning. CURVE studios' mission, since 1989, has been to bring people to art and art to life in Asheville’s River Arts District. The Studios at CURVE are open to the public Monday – Saturday 11am to 4pm or more as the spirit allows. The Garden is open from dawn to dusk.  CURVE has ample parking for our patrons and there are public bathrooms across the street @ 8 River Arts Place. More history here!

Maria working Nov 2010 Studio Stroll.jpg

CURVE takes New Years Day, 4th of July, Thanksgiving Day & Christmas Day off.  Our hours in February can vary so call ahead to make sure the artist you want to visit will be in their studio.

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The garden here @ CURVE is available for special events.  Please ask for our rate schedule.  Professional Photographers must get permission as well as provide a location fee for the use of CURVE for photoshoots.  Please make inquiry to ask for our rate schedule.

A Little History

The railroad came to Asheville starting in 1880 bringing with it lots of people, goods and services. The River Arts District, at that time, became the place for the warehousing and distribution of these goods… everything from coal, ice & lumber to corn & chickens.

Originally built in 1916, by Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, as a warehouse from which they supplied their chain of retail gasoline stations, Standard Oil also offered a full line of fuel & lubricants to the agricultural concerns in the area.

What is now the River Arts District has a rich history of innovation. Farmers Federation, a successful agricultural cooperative and AFRAM, Asheville’s first African-American owned industrial concern were housed in what is now The Wedge. After the modernization of the 1950’s & 60’s and the urban renewal of the 1960’s & 70’s, however, this neighborhood went into decline.

When CURVE studios & garden was purchase by Pattiy Torno on October, 13, 1989, the buildings had been used as a place to fix, paint and detail cars for the previous 20 or 30 years. There was no sewer to the property. There was one toilet on the property and it straight piped into the French Broad River. It was rough. So after new roofs & insulation, switching all the electric from 3 phase to single phase, installing all new plumbing, new windows and doors, some new rafters and floors, new heat and lighting we got started!

After two years as “Squashpile”, a drug, smoke and alcohol free punk rock club, Pattiy renovated the property into live/work studio spaces for artists. Noteable residents have included Cynthia Wyn, Andy Merrick, Nick Kekic, Roddy Capers, Scott Simono, Christopher Mello, Rob Pulleyn, John Blackwell, Mark Burleson, Robin Van Vaulkenburg, Kyle Carpenter, Karen Newgard& Keith Phillips to name just some.

There is a history of flooding at CURVE studios & garden as we sit adjacent to the French Broad River, the third oldest river in the world. Almost simultaneous Gulf Coast and Atlantic Coast Hurricanes starting on July 9, 1916 culminated in the heavy rains that caused the French Broad River to rise to 23 ½ feet. The M. T. Mitchell Corn Whiskey Distillery buildings previously located at 6 Riverside Drive went down river in that flood that also cost the lives of at least 80 people.

Similarly, in 2004 Hurricanes Frances (14.45 feet) and Hurrican Ivan (12.3 feet) caused flood waters to fill up the property at 6 Riverside Drive. The result was devastating to two of the ground floor tenants who lived and worked in their studios. The buildings hardly seemed to notice. The ground floor spaces have now been converted to strictly retail spaces, with portable businesses… just in case.

CURVE Studios & Garden is celebrating 30 years in Asheville’s River Arts District as part of the RAD Second Saturday Celebration on October 12, 2019. Studios will be open from 10am-6pm with demonstrations, classes, an artist talk, birthday cake and—in keeping with CURVE’s long tradition of “bringing people to art and art to life”—the unveiling of a public art sculpture in the garden.

On October 13, 1989, Pattiy Torno bought the Standard Oil Company buildings (circa 1916) at 6 – 12 Riverside Drive to make a punk rock / all ages club called Squash Pile. The club was open from 1990-1991. When Torno renovated the buildings “it was a complete gut job... the roofs, plumbing, electric, heat, doors, windows, everything except the exterior walls needed work”. The fruits of these labors created live/work studios, supporting hot glass, woodworking, photography, ceramics, painting and metal sculpture studios. The floodwaters of 2004 that inundated CURVE changed live/work studios to retail / working studios. In 2005, working with neighboring artists, friendly building owners as well as city and county government, Torno successfully advocated to “name the mile long section of the French Broad riverfront that was already full of artists” as Asheville’s River Arts District.

Thanks to the River Arts District Transportation Improvement Project (RADTIP), CURVE has new addresses. Riverside Drive is now River Arts Place. Come see some of the many changes that include new and improved roadways, sidewalks, greenways, bike lanes and public art, all part of the RAD TIP Project.

In celebration of 10 years at CURVE, ceramic artist Cassie Butcher will give an artist talk “Unearthing the Soul” from 2-3pm in 5 downstairs. Cassie is one of 11 artists currently working here at CURVE.

Silver River Center for Chair Caning, the only chair caning school and museum in the USA, has created an 8 ft tall chair arch to honor Torno’s three decades of contributions to the RAD. Built by chair nerds, Brandy Clements, Dave Klingler, and Lucy Kruesel, the CURVE garden Chair Arch is inspired by a chair arch built in 1877 by the furniture makers of High Wycombe, UK to welcome Queen Victoria. The Chair Arch will be unveiled @ 4:30pm in the garden with a bit of the bubbly.

10am to 6pm Extended Open Studio Hours • all studios

2pm Cassie Butcher Artist Talk “Unearthing the Soul “ • 5 downstairs

4 to 6pm Happy Hour • drinks and snacks in the garden

4:30pm Chair Arch unveiling • with bubbly in the garden

5pm CURVE 30th Birthday Cake cutting • 5 downstairs

CURVE Studios 30th Birthday Celebration is free to the public. Plenty of parking is available at CURVE and in two adjacent public lots & a free trolley will be available to take visitors around the River Arts District from 11am to 5pm. This event will happen, rain or shine!

Happy Hour • drinks and snacks in the garden Chair Arch unveiling • with bubbly in the garden CURVE 30th Birthday Cake cutting • 5 downstairs

CURVE Studios 30th Birthday Celebration is free to the public. Plenty of parking is available at CURVE and in two adjacent public lots & a free trolley will be available to take visitors around the River Arts District from 11am to 5pm. This event will happen, rain or shine!

Postcard of the flood in the River Arts District from July 16, 1916. Looking from Haywood Road bridge south towards CURVE Studios.

Postcard of the flood in the River Arts District from July 16, 1916. Looking from Haywood Road bridge south towards CURVE Studios.

Aerial Photo of CURVE Studios from the 1950s by Samuel A. Bingham Jr.

Aerial Photo of CURVE Studios from the 1950s by Samuel A. Bingham Jr.

Aerial photo of the City of Asheville with CURVE Studios in the foreground. Taken in the 1950s by Samuel A. Bingham Jr.

Aerial photo of the City of Asheville with CURVE Studios in the foreground. Taken in the 1950s by Samuel A. Bingham Jr.

Architectural drawing from 1992 of #7 River Arts Place

Architectural drawing from 1992 of #5 River Arts Place

Concept drawing from 1992 of #5 River Arts Place

Architectural drawing from 1992 of #5 River Arts Place

Concept drawing of #3 River Arts place when it was Squash Pile, Asheville’s drug-free, smoke-free, alcohol-free punk rock club open January 1990- November 1991.