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About Us

Our Commitment to Being an Anti-Racist Institution

Asheville Creative Arts was founded to challenge young people to imagine new ways of being, and to practice seeing the humanity in one another. We believe that as artists and cultural workers, we have a responsibility to help build a world where Black lives matter.

Although we have intentionally structured ACA’s operating model to deemphasize hierarchy in order to better share power, this is but one of many anti-racism tactics our institution must employ. We commit to continuing to make space and uplift the voices of the artists and arts administrators from communities of culture already part of the ACA Family, and those who will join in the future. We acknowledge we won’t always be successful, but we commit to the ongoing work of learning knowing that not just our artistic work but our administrative practices must continue to model for the next generation how to build a better world.

Mission and History

With work called “Excellent!” by the Mountain Xpress, and “Dazzling!” by the Citizen Times, ACA is Asheville’s professional children’s theatre providing ground-breaking work to audiences of all ages. Recognizing its contributions to the cultural landscape, Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer declared July 18, 2014 "Asheville Creative Arts Day," and work has been supported with awards from NC Arts Council / Asheville Area Arts Council, and Puffin Foundation West; the company is a not-for-profit theatre with following mission:

Celebrating the life of ACA's co-founder, Robbie Jaeger. He was a vibrant talent, a passionate creator of work for young audiences, and incredibly handy with a glue gun which he used often and on the highest heat for applying ALL the sequins and trim. Select the image for details on his memorial service which is linked to the page established by his family.

To produce, present and create professional and innovative live theatre for multigenerational, multiethnic and multidimensional audiences, during a mainstage season of productions of musicals, plays, literary and puppet based work that push the boundaries of the genre; to ensure that all children and families in Western North Carolina and beyond have access to theatre arts through outreach such as touring, acting classes, and “inreach” such as specially discounted performances for camp and community groups; and whenever possible, to employ environmentally sound practices in operations.

We use theater to reflect and elevate the communities we represent and serve, and as such we are committed to presenting the stories of all its participants.  Led by Daniele Martin, ACA's Resident Community Outreach Director, we are thrilled to partner with Hood Huggers and other community based organizations to build partnerships and pipelines to ensure that all are welcome.

Meet the Team

A writer, designer, puppet artist, theatrical producer who works Off- and Off- Off Broadway in NYC, nationally and internationally.

Formerly Doubting Thomas and Volatile Baby, Stewart is one half of Jonesalee, formed to create music, art and spoken word,

The other half of Jonesalee, Gambill and Stewart have collaborated on film scores and theatrical composition all over the region.

An artist, writer, director and educator.  As a theatre artist, she has a passion for both puppetry and grand-scale spectacle.

A director, performer,  puppeteer and teaching artist, she has spent the last decade working at theatres in Chicago, Denver, and Sarasota.

ACA's resident Community Outreach Director, she has worked in theater, film and television, and is an active volunteer.

Performance poet, sculptor and activist, Barton is founder of Hood Huggers International and the Burton Street Community Peace Garden

A puppet artist, dancer, solo performer and educator whose work has been presented extensively nationally and internationally

a recent graduate from Hampshire college, and an interdisciplinary artist with interests in devised, experimental, and performance art-related theatre

A performer, writer, builder who has worked in national and international Broadway tours, regional theaters and performance venues across NYC.

A playwright and ACA's resident dramaturge, Smith is a NC native and a graduate of University of North Carolina Asheville.

A Japanese set and lighting designer who has worked in NYC, regionally and internationally.

Board of Directors

Sarah Elizabeth Malinak (Chair), Bryan Robinson (chair emeritus), Abby Felder, Dosty Quarrier, Laura Stone, Rebecca O'Neill

Honorary Advisors

John and Julie Bresnan, Kevin Davis and Jim Lanning, Lucy Hazlehurst, Shirley Kaplan, Joanna Naftali, Stephanie Wilder


See the full bios of Asheville Creative Arts' staff and Board

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