Black Mountain homes and mountain properties in a private NC gated community near Asheville.

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The River Arts District – A gem in Asheville

There are performing arts, medical arts, the art of science and then what I consider the real “Arts”. The River Arts District of Asheville is such a place. A decade ago, this 50+ acre area along the banks of the French Broad River running right through the middle of Asheville was an industrial wasteland, populated by a few manufacturing companies hanging on to life and lower income housing alongside vacant warehouses spray painted with graffiti. It wasn’t the kind of place you’d go even on a sunny day, much less find a good meal.

Fast forward ten years and today you still have most of the same industrial warehouses and such, only they’re now occupied by dozens of artist studios, galleries, breweries and restaurants. New residential offerings are in the works throughout the area as The River Arts District of Asheville is now a vibrant, up and coming locale. One of the biggest single investments is New Belgium Brewery which will be the largest of Asheville’s two dozen plus breweries. But the real stars of the district are the artists.

There are more than two dozen artist studios producing everything from ceramics to glass, from sculptures to textiles, from traditional paintings to jewelry. The creativity of these artists and craftsmen is astounding. What’s even better is that you can stand alongside the artists as they work their craft and converse with them as they go about their business. We had the good fortune of visiting with one such gentlemen, Stephen St. Claire located in the Wedge Building-Broken Road Studio.

Stephen paints on metal, but with a twist. He’s created a new genre of painting called “Dailuminism” which means “light passing through”. He starts by actually applying modeling compound to the surface, then carves out the main images of the painting, much like a bas relief. He then applies layers of Italian aluminum leaf followed by layers of oil paints. Once he has the colors he likes, he alternates the layering with clear art grade resin which gives the painting a rich depth. Light then passes through the resin and actually reflects off the innermost surface, back up through the aluminum leaf with an amazing result. The bas relief of the modeling compound gives it a 3D appearance. His web site does not do it justice. You must be seen to be appreciated.

So next time you’re looking for a great way to spend a sunny day, drive over to the River Arts District, park your car and stroll the many studios, then cap it off with a delicious meal at one of ten restaurants such as White Duck Taco Shop, 12 Bones Barbeque or Cligman Café. Parking is free!

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John Haynes has not set his/her biography yet.

Welcome to our new General Manager

Creston Development, LLC is pleased to welcome John Haynes as the new General Manager representing the development company within Creston.

John is a 27 year real estate veteran having started in the appraisal business before becoming a corporate acquisitions officer for two Fortune 500 companies.  He later ventured out on his own and has developed five communities here in North Carolina, including The Headwaters at Banner Elk, a 900 acre second home development in the North Carolina High Country.  During John's tenure there from 2005 to 2010, he oversaw the development of $14 million of amenities and infrastructure as well as the sale of more than $33 million of real estate.  His marketing prowess was recognized by area professionals as being among the best and the result is that Headwaters outsold its direct competitors by a large margin.  Dozens of letters of reference attest to his character and skills.

John has handled all aspects of land development including design, construction, marketing, sales and permitting including the management of three property owners associations.  He understands buyers and has the goal of helping them find the right property and then guide them through the process.

John is a licensed North Carolina Real Estate Broker and his company, Trinity Advisors, Ltd. is now the exclusive real estate representative for Creston Development, LLC.  He can be reached at the Creston office by calling 828-668-4400 or by email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

John and his wife Josephine have been married 27 years and recently relocated from Boone to Black Mountain.  They are proud parents of twin boys.
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