Our Story, Past and Present:
Owner, John Cram, opened Blue Spiral 1 on New Year’s Eve of 1990 with a vision of creating a home for the many artists who had settled in the region in the mid-to-late 20th century. Additionally, he needed a suitable space to exhibit the recently acquired estate of Southern Modernist, Will Henry Stevens (1881 - 1949).
At the time Cram opened Blue Spiral 1, Asheville was a shell of itself. Having suffered through the post-industry recession, downtown buildings were boarded up and artists were moving to the area because the rent was cheap and the scenery, inspiring. Cram recognized a need, took a chance, and made an investment that altered the trajectory of visual culture in Asheville. What was once a defunk radio supply shop flanked by an adult theatre and plumbing supply store, became one of the largest and busiest galleries in the South. Three decades later, Blue Spiral 1 is the heart of a booming art scene in downtown Asheville.
Blue Spiral 1 exhibits work by exceptional artists and object makers in a light-filled, 15,000 square-foot gallery spanning three floors. This spacious setting allows the gallery to offer considerable diversity, affording accessibility to various tastes and aesthetics. Blue Spiral 1 maintains an extensive exhibition schedule, presenting over 25 shows annually. Thematic group exhibitions and individual artist showcases rotate in the Main and Lower Level galleries every other month, while the gallery's Upper Level features a wide array of works by over 100 represented artists.