Asheville is very much an artists community, and in the downtown, you can view and purchase much local art and crafts. However, in the River Arts District, a bit west of downtown, the galleries also serve as studios for working artists, who we found friendly and willing to stop work to chat with us. There are all sorts of art represented here -- painting, pottery, textiles, sculpture. Ask about the encaustic painting, thousands of years old but only now getting a revival. The galleries are spaced over a few blocks so you may need a car to visit them all. As artists are often the gallery proprietors, not all studio/galleries are open every day. There is no admission and you don't have to buy anything. If you are inclined to buy, and the original artwork is more than you can afford, many artists offer prints or notecards of their work at a smaller cost.