What To Do: • Overview of Activities • Spring Annual Events • Summer Annual Events • Fall Annual Events • 100 Things To Do • Listen to Traditional Music • Self Guided Tours • Shopping in Madison County • Theatre and the Arts • Agritourism• Appalachian Trail Hiking • Bicycling • Canoeing & Kayaking • Disc Golfing • Fishing • Gem Mining • Geocaching • Golfing • Hiking • Horseback Riding • Hot Springs • Mountain Biking • Skiing • Sporting Clays & Quail Hunting • Unique & Personal Experiences • Whitewater Rafting • Ziplining
Theatre and the Arts in Madison County, North Carolina
Performing arts are alive and well in these Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina. Just a few minutes from Asheville, you will find talented actors at the summer repertory theatre in Mars Hill (SART) in plays from comedies to dramas to musicals. For visual arts there are several galleries in the communities of Madison County whether associated with Mars Hill University, the Madison County Arts Council or an individual or group of local artists.
Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre (SART)
Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre (SART) was founded on the Mars Hill University campus in 1975 by Jim “T” Thomas, Chairman of the Fine Arts Division of MHC. Their goal is to present the highest quality professional productions, with a special emphasis on “plays concerning Appalachia that portray the rich culture and heritage of its people.” Plays range from Broadway musicals to world-premiers celebrating the local heritage. Each summer five plays are offered with theatre professionals from New York, Florida, Iowa, Mississippi as well as Charlotte, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, Chicago; and locally-based professionals flock to Mars Hill from Asheville and surrounding areas.
SART was chosen the “Best Theatre in WNC” in the Asheville Citizen-Times readers’ poll in 2004. Plays are staged from early June to late August each year in the historic Owen Theatre, named for Jesse Ray Owen, pastor of Mars Hill Baptist Church from 1914 to 1931. The two-story building started as a wooden structure in 1887, serving as the sanctuary of the nearby Mars Hill Baptist Church. The brick building was completed in 1918, serving as the church sanctuary for another 35 years. The building was sold to Mars Hill College in 1953; converted into a theatre and the University hosted its first production in 1966.
Mars Hill University Drama Department
Mars Hill University Drama students provide theatre entertainment for the public during the school year by offering four productions. These talented students have the advantage of the influence and proximity of the Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre housed in the same historic building, Owen Theatre, where MHU plays are staged.
Creek View Studio & Gallery
Bill Weldner, a local artist, displays his work along with his wife’s jewelry. Bill works both with painting and mixed media. His studio is set in a beautiful area in the Spring Creek community outside of Hot Springs, just a few short miles from the Appalachian Trail. And, so, the drive to reach the Gallery is a beautiful one. At times, you will find work of other local painters who attend Bill’s twice-a-month artist discussions to improve their skills. Open by appointment.
Madison County Arts Center
The home for the Madison County Arts Council also serves as gallery space for changing exhibits. The themes range from media to topic and always highlight the talent of our many local artists. Gallery hours coincide with the hours of the Arts Council office which are 10am to 5pm Monday through Friday.
Walnut Creek Gallery
Dennis Ruane operates Walnut Creek Gallery here in Madison County in the Walnut area. His work is displayed here showing his woodworking skills in his spoons and other items. His style is currently in the contemporary form. Dennis has also written two novels, Wooden Spoons and Cataloochee Man. Dennis and his wife welcome visitors to his gallery by appointment.
The primary function of the Weizenblatt Gallery at Mars Hill University is to educate through art. The Weizenblatt Gallery hosts exhibitions of work in a variety of styles and mediums by artists of local and national prominence. The gallery’s operational hours are Monday through Friday 9AM – 5PM during the academic spring and fall semester. The general public, school classes, and other groups are welcome. Call 828 689-1209 to check on exhibits or schedule visits.