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BCPL Receives Federal Grant for Flowstate Community Arts Initiative

Buncombe County Public Libraries (BCPL) have received an American Rescue Fund grant to launch Flowstate Community Arts Initiative in 2022. Throughout the year, the library plans to host six local artists or craftspeople, each for a term of one month, in Flowstate Community Arts Space at the East Asheville Public Library. In addition to concentrating on their own creative projects, artists will offer office hours to answer questions about their work. Each artist also will provide a program or take-home activity for community members during their residency.

The initiative’s aim is to give local artists a space to focus on their creative work while also providing opportunities for the community to engage with living artists and arts education. Each artist chosen for the initiative will receive a small stipend to enable them to support themselves, as well as materials used for programs or activities. Artists were chosen in consultation with Noir Collective @ the YMI Cultural Center in Asheville.

BCPL intends to continue partnering with Noir Collective and other interested arts organizations within Buncombe County to select future participating artists as funds become available. BCPL will not accept requests from individual artists to be considered for the initiative. However, if your local arts organization would be interested in participating in the selection process in the future, please email with the subject line “Flowstate Partnership.”

The first Flowstate artist in residence will be WNC-born printmaker Heather Tolbert. She is the co-owner of From the Ashes Cultural Arts and Counseling, along with her twin sister Ashley. Ms. Tolbert’s term as an artist in residence will last through the month of February 2022. Community members may drop in to ask questions or see the artist at work during the following office hours:

  • Week 1 (Feb. 1-4): 10 a.m. - noon Tuesday – Friday
  • Week 2 (Feb. 8-11): noon – 3 p.m. Tuesday – Friday
  • Week 3 (Feb. 15-18): 10 a.m. - noon Tuesday – Friday
  • Week 4 (Feb. 22-25): noon – 3 p.m. Tuesday – Friday

To learn more about Heather Tolbert and her work or to contact the artist, visit

Note: Heather Tolbert has designed a series of coloring pages and activity sheets featuring famous African-Americans (see above). As we celebrate Black Legacy Month, these free coloring sheets and markers will be available for anyone at the East Asheville library starting Saturday, Feb. 5 until supplies run out. Each coloring sheet features a line drawing of a famous figure created by Heather herself, facts about that figure, and a crossword puzzle. 

The Artist in Residence program was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). IMLS has provided grant funds of $10,200, with a matching amount provided by Buncombe County as a portion of the library’s annual budget. As IMLS writes, “The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit, or follow them on Twitter or Facebook.”

The grant that funds the initiative will expire in November 2022, but BCPL hopes to continue offering similar opportunities after its end. The Friends of the East Asheville Library intends to support this initiative and is accepting donations for the same. Such donation can be made to Friends of the East Asheville Library, 3 Avon Road, Asheville NC 28805, and should be marked as “Flowstate” or “artist in residence.”

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Updated Feb 07, 2022 11:22 AM
Published Jan 31, 2022 12:46 PM