Friends of Aurora Studio & Gallery are excited to announce the fifth annual Zelda Fitzgerald Celebration. This year’s week long series has a little something for everyone.

The kickoff is Monday, March 9, 6pm at Pack Memorial Library, Lord Auditorium, 67 Haywood St, Asheville, with “Z – A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald” by Therese Anne Fowler.

Therese Anne Fowler

Therese Anne Fowler is the New York Times bestselling author of “A Well-Behaved Woman” and “Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald”. “Z” has been adapted as an original television series for Amazon Studios, starring Christina Ricci. “A Well-Behaved Woman” is currently in development with Sony Pictures Television.

This event  is FREE to the public and includes an interview by Dr. Lisa Nanney, professor of literature and American Studies at U.N.C. affiliates.

Tuesday, March 10, 5pm – The Reading of the Proclamation, that Tuesday, March 10th is Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald Day, City Hall Meeting starts at 5pm, 70 Court Plaza, Asheville, 28801.

Tuesday, March 10, 6pm – The Thomas Wolfe Memorial, 52. N. Market St., Asheville, 28801.

“Amid the Rubble and Ashes: The Highland Hospital Fire”

In recognition of Asheville’s annual Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald Day The Thomas Wolfe Memorial staff will take a look at the events surrounding her tragic death. This event is being presented on the 72nd Anniversary of the hospital fire.


Friday, March 13, 12 noon, Asheville Art Museum, 2 South Pack Square, 2nd Floor Gallery,  Asheville, 28801.

In Conversation: Zelda Fitzgerald”

Zelda (actor Terry Darakjy) and “reporter” (actor Carol Anders) have created a thought provoking interview which takes place in March of 1948, days before the tragic Highland Hospital fire. The interview explores Zelda’s the therapeutic sustenance she receives from the arts. This imaginary interview is based on historic research. 

Free for Museum Members or included with general admission. 

(Buncombe County Library card, holders can go online to reserve a ticket). 

Saturday, March 14, 12 – 3pm, Phil Mechanic Building, Stand Gallery, 109 Roberts Street, Asheville 28801

The Story of Zelda – As told through Mixed Media by artists from Aurora Studio & Gallery, ART OPENING. 

Scraps of ceiling tin, copper and aluminum siding forged into a colorful palette of texture and design to create silhouetted pieces that capture milestones in the life of Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald. This exhibit will be on display for the month of March. Presented by Aurora Studio, a nonprofit art space for artists who have been impacted by mental health needs or addiction. Aurora Studio & Gallery is the host of the week long Zelda Event series. Light refreshments will be served.


The week closes on Saturday, March 14, 8 – 11pm, with A ROARING 20’s Party with Queen Bee & the Honeylovers at Ginger’s Revenge, 829 Riverside Drive, Suite 100, Asheville, NC 28801. 

Queen Bee & the Honeylovers

Queen Bee and the Honeylovers are an unabashedly joyful swing band that performs all-original compositions with a dedicated ‘nod’ to the small-jazz-combo and ‘hot club’ legends who first defined the genre. Their debut album, ‘Asheville’, celebrated their hometown’s history and won them #41 on WNCW’s listener-voted poll of Best Albums of 2019 among other honors. Their video for “Beacham’s Curve” won Best Soundtack at the 2019 Music Video Asheville Awards. The Honeylovers are: Whitney Moore, Mattick Frick, Trevor Stoia and James Posedel. 

Come decked out in 20’S PERIOD APPAREL, and you may win a PRIZE FOR BEST COSTUME! This event is free of charge with any donations going to Aurora Studio & Gallery.

This year members of the committee have put together the first ever ‘SPIRIT OF ZELDA AWARD” which will go to a woman in the community who has demonstrated both community  spirit and artistic strength in the face of adversity. This award will be announced at the Roaring 20’s Party (applicants have until February 14th to apply, the application can be found on Zelda Fitzgerald Day in Asheville’s Facebook page.

The Zelda Fitzgerald events are the brainchild of James MacKenzie who had a desire to have the city of Asheville offer an annual remembrance for Ms. Fitzgerald. Each year a proclamation is written and read to proclaim March 10th Zelda Fitzgerald Day.

Zelda Fitzgerald, born Zelda Sayre in Montgomery, Alabama on July 24, 1900, had a zest for life and the arts. In 1920 she married F. Scott Fitzgerald and together they became early 20th century celebrities. In fact, Zelda was coined the first American Flapper and early on, was the muse for F. Scott. 

Zelda began her painting career somewhere around the time she and her husband moved to France in 1924. Her passion for ballet began a few years later in 1927. A published writer, it is said that her husband may have stolen much of her writings from her diaries for his own novels. This and other infidelities drove a wedge in the couple’s relationship. Within ten years of marriage, her relationship with F. Scott and her own health severely deteriorated and Zelda had her first “break down” and hospitalization around 1930. 

Zelda’s mental health needs eventually brought her to Asheville, where she received treatment on and off for about ten years at Highland Hospital. She tragically died in the Highland Hospital fire, March 10, 1948.

Aurora Studio & Gallery is a supportive art space for artists who have been affected by mental health needs, homelessness or addiction. A part of offering this series is to shed a light on the powerful healing aspects the arts have on wellness. If you would like to find out about how to get involved, the web-site is: www.aurorastudio-gallery.com.

More information on the EVENTS can be found by checking out the Zelda Fitzgerald day in Asheville Facebook Page.

The Zelda Fitzgerald Event Series offers

“The Spirit of Zelda” Award.

Friday, March 10, 2020 will mark Asheville’s Fifth Annual Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald Day. For the last four years, the City of Asheville has read a proclamation declaring March 10th a day of remembrance to an artist who spent much of her life in Asheville, and we are planning several events that will be part of this week of celebration that takes place from March 8–14, 2020.

New this year is the Spirit of Zelda Award, which has been established to honor the free and creative vitality of Zelda Fitzgerald who left a lasting mark on the city of Asheville and the world. Zelda’s dedication to the arts were witnessed through her painting, literature and dance.

This *$100 Award* is provided by The Zelda Fitzgerald Day Committee to a woman residing in Western North Carolina who embodies artistic passion while building and strengthening community.

Candidates for this award demonstrate a steadfast determination, utilizing creativity to achieve desired goals. Overcoming barriers i.e.: sexism, racism, financial setbacks, recovery from health issues or addiction, etc. will be given priority. Creative gifts could include: writing poetry or prose; performance art; the visual arts; dance; music; non-profit work; community organizing; gardening or other. A strong candidate is someone who serves her community to help make the world a more compassionate and connected place.

The award is intended to aid in the completion of a current or future project.

To apply, fill out the following questionnaire by *January 31st, 2020.*

My Giving Story

Lori & Maia

It is the time of year where the days get shorter. We begin to look inward at what the year has brought. Attached you will find my entry to the My Giving Story Contest. I would LOVE if you clicked on the attached link to read and then “VOTE” for my story. The more votes, the more likely Aurora Studio will be at receiving an award for its work. Thank you. https://binkd.co/kRC1S

A NOTE from Lori Greenberg

Aurora Studio & Gallery is proud to announce that it has added several new members to its Board of Directors. Recent newcomers to the board include: Carol Anders, Kelsey Holland and Barbara Kimbrell. Each of them are excited to get started, the following are excerpts of who they are and what they have had to say about Aurora Studio & Gallery. 

Carol Anders retired in 2006, from a 20 plus year career with Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, a national relocation and real estate company. Her duties included training real estate agents and sales managers in selling skills, and using franchise products & services. In addition, she was a business consultant to many of mid-sized companies, coaching them in recruiting and team development practices. As a member of the Aurora Board she would like to orchestrate some fundraisers and community awareness events and exhibits, as well as, assist with programming when needed.

Kelsey Holland is originally from Tuscaloosa, Alabama and holds a bachelors and a masters in Social Work from the University of Alabama. She currently works as a LifeSet Specialist Manager at Youth Villages, where she assists youth who are either coming out of the foster system, have a mental health diagnosis or just need a little extra support to navigate into adulthood, with the end goal being independent living. She has an 11 year old lab and lives with her boyfriend in Asheville. She takes kickboxing classes and enjoys hiking and staying active. While Holland says she is not an artist, she is a performing artist who has had a passion about the arts since she was five. She is enthusiastic about integrating the arts with mental health supports. She has also seen firsthand how Aurora Studio can help someone who is struggling. Holland plans to assist networking and event planning.

Barbara Kimbrell is recently semi-retired and works part-time at Second Springs Counseling doing DWI assessments. She has her Masters in Social Work and is a licensed clinical addiction specialist. She is an author and is currently writing her second book, “Paper Planes”. She describes herself as “an artist-in-the-making” and is putting together a ten series mindful art therapy workshop. She has worked over 30 years in human services and most recently was the substance use disorder counselor at the Women’s Prison in Swannanoa. More importantly, she is a person with a dual diagnosis: substance use disorder/addiction and depression. She openly shares that she has her own history and struggles, which included hospitalization and shock treatments. She is a “thriver” and believes the arts and having a positive support network were a huge part of her ability to manage issues and create change her life. She believes that people are much more than their diagnoses AND sometimes can even use them to aid in being more compassionate, empathetic and creative individuals. A friend of Kimbrell’s volunteers with Aurora Studio and told her about the need for volunteers, who was intrigued by the possibilities. Kimbrell then met Lori Greenberg (the board chair and founder of Aurora Studio) and became wrapped up in her vision and energy which convinced Kimbrell that this was something to which she wanted to commit. She believes in volunteering having done so all her life. It is her way of making amends and giving back.

Founder of Aurora Studio & Gallery, Lori Greenberg, says she is thrilled to be working with these talented individuals (as well as current board members; Jesse Davis and Rhonda Davis, no relation). Aurora Studio is a supportive art space for individuals who have been impacted by mental health needs, addiction and/or homelessness. The program is in its seventh year of hosting weekly half day workshops and is routing for expansion. 

Greenberg says she has witnessed the profound positive impact that the visual arts play in the lives of its participants. “There is a powerful synergy that fills the room when people make art together in a supportive atmosphere”. 

For more than six years, Greenberg has been hosting the weekly workshops which have space for up to ten participants. The format includes: a support group like structure which invites Visiting Artists from around Buncombe County to come in to teach. Art supplies and lunch are provided and while the program asks participants for donations, no one is turned away due to inability to pay. In fact, most participants are not in the financial position to afford to attend such art workshops. Greenberg adds, that due to the fact that many of the artists who attend Aurora have been impacted by trauma, in one way or another, that making art offers a healing component. The program also creates friendships and breaks the isolation many experience.

Since its inception, Greenberg has had the vision for Aurora Studio & Gallery to have its own space and offer daily workshops. She believes the program is fortunate to be able to be able to use the space in the West Asheville Community Center as it meets the needs for weekly classes. However, her concern is for the future and to be able to offer workshops daily. While most new referrals are through word of mouth, Greenberg would like to see the program become more financially solvent before offering new classes.

Aurora Studio has eased by with mostly volunteers and no salaried staff. Over the last year and a half, Greenberg has begun networking with other nonprofits to provide both therapeutic support to community members and gain sustainability. Like many nonprofits, Aurora Studio depends upon the generosity of its donors. Greenberg is eager to see what the coming year brings with expanding the board, outreach and community support. If you are interested in learning more about Aurora Studio & Gallery, check out their web-site at: www.aurorastudio-gallery.com, if you would like to donate, simply click on the donations page.

From Board President, Lori Greenberg

Thanks to our interns, Venea King, Jackson McMahon, Addie Starbird & Alice Cleary.

I want to take a moment and say THANK YOU to our wonderful UNCA interns, Alice Cleary, Venea King, Jackson McMahon and Addie Starbird who have completed a semester with Aurora Studio. Each has shared their gifts of creativity and kindness with our program.

Over the course of the semester Alice has helped with food donations and prepped our lunches (we have never eaten so well). She has networked with area businesses for future art exhibits AND together with Venea they have both helped to host our groups (welcoming participants and offering poetic readings). Venea has started this blog, sharing photos of artists work and interviews with our Visiting Artists. Jackson has helped create this new web-site (there is still some fine tuning, but we are well on our way, thanks to his work). He also taught a fun class on creating small sculptures with scrap wood. Addie, another artist has helped with graphic arts and is creating an animation from the work of one of our artists. The animation will be released on the web-site come mid-summer so stay tuned!

I wish each and every one of them the best as they either continue with their education or move on into their careers. It is not good-bye however as Addie and Jackson have agreed to come back next year through our Visiting Artist Program. Venea would like to volunteer and Alice has agreed to continue as an Intern again in the fall. We are all very lucky.

There are some other canvases on the easels at Aurora. We are continuing to branch out and network with other organizations. Since this winter we have been partnering with Seek Healing, bringing an art table to their monthly gatherings. We also have been working with WNCAP and are in the process of developing some groups for interested individuals. We are continuing our outreach, so that we may offer more therapeutic art programs starting this fall. If you work at a recovery program and are interested in learning more, contact Lori at lori_aurorastudio@hotmail.com for more info.

Wishing you all the beauty found in creativity and community,