ACA is an Asheville-based arts and arts service organization, providing high quality, professional theatre, performance, and arts experiences to Asheville audiences of all ages, and offering fiscal sponsorship and related services to sibling social enterprises and arts nonprofits serving Asheville and Western North Carolina.
We create opportunities for meaningful employment for Asheville residents, provide access to professional development and resources that support the creative practice of artists, provide opportunities to create and share work with the public, and tools, and infrastructure that allow community leaders to do their best work in service of Asheville’s audiences and community members. We do this by offering multiple programs:
- Performance and Art – immersive and innovative live theatre productions oriented to young people 0-18 years old and their families that explore contemporary themes, such as migration, humanity, the power of personal narrative. We serve multigenerational, multiethnic and multidimensional audiences.
- Developing a Future Generation of Artists, Audiences and Administrators – classes and apprenticeships in various artistic disciplines, curation and program management; on-site residencies in schools and community centers affiliated with partner organizations offering culturally-appropriate pedagogy enacted by artists of the community served.
- Creative Placemaking – public art in partnership with local community-based organizations that activates community spaces and helps Asheville address questions being asked, including those focused on revitalization, gentrification and reparations.
- Technical Assistance – fiscal sponsorship and financial support, zero-to-low interest micro-loans for artists’ professional development and capital investments such as equipment purchases.
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, UNETE and other community based organizations to build partnerships and pipelines to ensure that all are welcome.
Founded in 2013 as an organization serving multigenerational audiences with innovative theatrical work, the Mountain Xpress noted that “ostensibly, ACA produces children’s theater, but the company’s ambitious works appeal to both youths and adults.” In honor of contributions to the cultural landscape, Mayor Esther Manheimer declared July 18, 2014 “Asheville Creative Arts Day,” and our work which is regularly reviewed by local press and featured in outlets such as Blue Ridge Public Radio, Macaroni Kid, and others, was called “excellent” by the Asheville Citizen Times.
ACA has a proven track record of creating theatrical experiences that are both aesthetically innovative and supportive of social-emotional growth. Our programs are designed to encourage young people to amplify their voices, and for all who participate to listen deeply and look closely, as we believe these are the building blocks for a more just world.
Our process for creating work is multidisciplinary, highly collaborative, and provides platforms that amplify the voices of the audiences it comprises, represents, and serves. As we developed BUGS! (2018), an immersive musical experience with puppets and heightened movement, our pool of participating artists went beyond the theater world to integrate the talents of musicians, dancers, and visual artists, several of whom had never worked in theater before, but who brought a unique and authentic perspective to the work. The developmental process for THE WARP & THE WEFT (2019) again expanded our pool of creative generative artists, and included content gathered during residencies with young people and from the cast members themselves. These young people who attended performances and performers alike identified how profound an experience it was to see themselves and their voices in the context of professionally produced art. ACA is the only producing theater in Western North Carolina developing work in the way that we are, and bringing this work to the populations that we do.