Past Events

Joe Bigley presentation and Open House at AS IF studios

Please join us Saturday, May 19 at 4pm for a presentation by resident Joe Bigley followed by an Open House at AS IF Center studios. The presentation will be held at High Cove Firefly Lodge; After the talk, join us at AS IF Center’s Yellow House garage and studio facilities, where we will serve light eats. BYOB. Two dollars per person will cover the rental fee for use of the Lodge.

Joe Bigley is an assistant professor of art and sculpture at Spelman College in Atlanta. He received an MFA from Alfred University and has taught at the university level and lived abroad. His creative practice is typically a form of social commentary. He works in various sculpture processes, site specific installation, painting, collage, kinetic works, performance, and digital video. 

Joe Bigley, Product placement (2017), Site-specific Kinetic Installation. Trees (21), Motion Sensor, Motors, Microcontroller, Mixed. 16′ x 18′ x 60′ (Eyedrum Gallery. Atlanta, GA)

At AS IF Center, Joe will focus on two different projects. First, he will continue progress on a 100-work series of collages that incorporate various scientific principles into the text and imagery. Second, he will work on a project in response to present invasive pest species that affect our local forests. He will conduct research on forest ecology, including collaboration with the US Forest Service. The end result of this project will include large scale semi-permanent sculptures installed at High Cove. The installations will highlight the widespread impact of unseen forces on expansive ecosystems, focusing on small organisms such as the Emerald Ash Borer Beetle, Hemlock Wooly Adelgid or Phytophthora ramorum spores which cause Sudden Oak Death. 

Joe Bigley, Conglomeration #8, wood, copper, brass, stone, gut. 16” x 7” x 5”

To get to the event, follow the directions to the Firefly Lodge. If Lodge parking is full, go back onto Rebels Creek, take a right, then in just a few meters take the first right at Castanea Street (at the black studio under construction). Park at the pullout areas off Castanea Street, near the black studio and community garden on the left, or near the barn on the right . For questions, please contact us.

In My Backyard: An art-science talk by Kristen Orr and Kate Fleming


Artists Kristen Orr and Kate Fleming will be in residence at AS IF Center for two weeks this spring. They will give an art-science talk titled “In My Backyard” at the Arts Resource Center on May 5 from 11am-12pm.

This event is co-sponsored by AS IF Center and Toe River Arts and is free of charge.

During their residency in April, Kristen and Kate will be creating a series of prints based on an artistic and scientific research trip they took across North Carolina in May 2017. The artists spent a week visiting seven nature preserves, each within a distinct ecoregion of the state—Roan Mountain, Linville Gorge, Uwharrie National Forest, Weymouth Woods, Green Swamp, Black River, and Carolina Beach State Park. They documented the species, colors, textures, sounds, and smells of each location using a variety of artistic and scientific methods. Using the data they collected on their trip, they are collaborating to create imagery that is representative of each location.

 At the talk on May 5 at the ARC, the artists will share stories from their epic road trip across the state and describe how they used artistic and scientific methods to capture the essence of an ecosystem. Their collected visual data, including notes, sketches, paintings, color swatches, pressed plants, soil samples, and field recording will also be on display.






It is easy to take for granted the place where you live, and sometimes it takes a bit of distance to notice. It took Kristen several years of living away from her home state of North Carolina to properly appreciate all that it had to offer. At a surface level, this project is about highlighting the diverse ecosystems of North Carolina. But even more, it is a project about place, home, and finding value in the things in your own backyard. Kristen and Kate hope that their project serves as a reminder that you don’t have to go far to find wild, unusual, beautiful places.

Kristen and Kate are working on their project with scientific guidance from Dr. Peter Weigl, an ecologist at Wake Forest University and from The Nature Conservancy of North Carolina.

About the artists: Kristen is a multimedia artist and designer from Winston-Salem, NC. She currently works as an exhibit designer for the Museum of Science, Boston and holds a BFA in Industrial Design from the Rhode Island School of Design. Kate is a painter and printmaker based in Arlington, Virginia. She works as an exhibit specialist at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC and graduated from the College of William and Mary. Kristen and Kate met in 2014 while working together at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. Since then, they’ve collaborated on a number of projects that have combined their interests in art, science, and place.

We hope you can join us on May 5. RSVP by email to save a spot.

Seeing Animals Through the Trees:
Spotting Candid Critters in North Carolina and Beyond.

Dr. Stephanie Schuttler, postdoctoral research associate at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, will present this talk on Saturday, April 14 at 5pm, at the Firefly Lodge. Suggested donation of $2 to cover facility event fee.


Camera traps, or trail cameras, are remotely activated cameras equipped with a motion sensor that allow us to capture photographs of wildlife with as little human interference as possible. Stephanie’s talk will explain how citizen scientists can participate in the Candid Critters project and work in collaboration with researchers at the Smithsonian Institution and the NC Museum of Natural Science. In addition to sharing photographs from the Candid Critters project, we’ll learn how citizen scientists can be trained for camera trapping and learn about the eMammal software system used for camera trapping. We’ll hear recommendations for camera traps and information about how participants can use their software to look at pictures, identify animals and upload photos to the digital repository for review and archiving at the Smithsonian.  AS IF Center has purchased a trail camera recommended for use with this project, and we will set it up during Stephanie’s visit, if not before. Maybe we can find that alleged cougar!

This event will take place on the porch of High Cove Firefly Lodge. See the directions page and follow directions to the Firefly Lodge, but don’t drive up the left fork – instead, please park at the bottom of the hill where you will see the parking sign. You do not need tickets but you DO need to RSVP because we need an accurate head count in advance – PLEASE email us by Saturday, April 6 if you plan to attend.

Your $2 per person donation will cover the Lodge event fee.


Weaving Research into Creative Writing: Two Events

Writer Cynthia Reeves is the 2018 “Art of the Climate” resident AS IF Center. Her current writing project is a trilogy of linked novellas entitled The Comfort of Water. All three are set on the Svalbard archipelago, where in June 2017 she shared the Arctic Circle Summer Solstice expedition with 31 other artists. Cynthia is pleased to offer two events, co-sponsored by AS IF Center and Toe River Arts — a workshop on using science in creative writing, and a talk about her adventures in the Arctic and how they have inspired her writing.

See article about these events in Asheville Citizen-Times.


WORKSHOP: Making the Leap from Fact to Fiction 
This workshop will focus on finding inspiration for creative writing in “fact” and incorporating research into fiction. We will address questions such as: How do you write authentically about subjects with which you might be only tangentially familiar? Why do certain subjects–climate change and historical events, for example–intrigue you? How can that fascination be put to use in your writing?

TALK: Of Ice Floes, Whale Bones, and Abandoned Mines: Close Encounters from the Arctic Circle Summer Solstice Expedition
Saturday, March 17, 4:00pm-5:00pm

The author writes: “That one can ‘live’ on an ice floe—at least for the time the floe remains intact—is fascinating to me. During our trip, we anchored to an ice floe so that I was able to experience what that would be like, the dangers inherent in it, the way it moves without you noticing.”

This talk will reflect the ways in which travel and research inspire Cynthia’s work. She will share photos and personal experiences from her Arctic Circle residency aboard the schooner Antigua, and will read from her work-in-progress inspired by encounters from that residency. One impetus from her trip that shaped her project were serendipitous comments from her fellow artist-shipmates as they wound down their adventure. They would say: This is our “last landing,” our “last beach,” and “our last glacier.” The idea of there being a “last glacier” jogged something in her mind—tying the idea of climate change and its potential impacts directly to her work. The stunning and otherworldly beauty of the Arctic landscape was also a source of inspiration, especially contemplating what would be lost if that landscape continues to be compromised.

Moth Party
John Pickering 

July 9, 2016, 8pm – midnight

How will climate change, land use, and other large-scale impacts effect species? Discover Life’s Mothing is a citizen science project that hopes to answer some of these ecological questions. Join John Pickering and other entomologists, ecologists, amateur lepidopterists, and members of Asheville Science Tavern on the porch of the Firefly Lodge as we set up a moth light, enjoy light eats and drinks, and wait for the moths to fly in. BYOB, and BYO camera if you have one with good macro. No fee.