Artist talks art and entrepreneurship at Roseland Community Center

Published 12:02 pm Tuesday, July 18, 2023

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DeWaye Barton speaks to children at RISE! Summer Camp


TRYON— The Roseland Institute for Summer Enrichment (RISE!), which is celebrating its 30th anniversary, welcomed Asheville artist and entrepreneur DeWaye Barton Thursday afternoon to the Roseland Community Center at 59 Peake St. for a talk on everything from art and community service to entrepreneurship. The Upstairs Artspace co-sponsored the event, where Barton’s artwork is currently on exhibition.  

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RISE! Camp Leader Latisha Miller spoke about the camp’s purpose at the event.

“We run the camp for two weeks in the summertime, and this session, we’ve been focusing on teaching the children they come from greatness,” Miller said. “So each child has been assigned a different black leader, and when the camp wraps up, they will give a performance where they share what they’ve learned about the leader they were given. They’ve learned songs, life skills, and we’ve really focused on bringing in folks from different walks of life, like Mr. Barton, so the children can see they can be anything they want to be.”

Barton, a poet and visual artist, is known for his work with found objects fused into social commentaries. He founded Hood Huggers, a company that offers bus tours of historically troubled neighborhoods in Asheville along with numerous community projects.

During his talk to the children, Barton encouraged those who wished to come up and point to one of the many exciting items and artifacts placed before them. Some items showcased local African-American history, current projects affecting predominantly African-American communities and how to turn the negative into a positive when possible. 

Barton’s work is featured at the Upstairs Artspace in Tryon, where an installation in the downstairs gallery illustrates his Community Accountability Plan. This playbook guides communities in grassroots revitalization strategies and information on the Hood Huggers Tours, which brings to light the hidden heritage of African American places and people throughout the Appalachian or Affrilachian region, a term coined by Frank X Walker to describe African-Americans living in rural areas. Several young people from Hood Huggers Under Instruction have contributed artwork to the exhibition.

“I’ve been making art since the 90s and have just now begun selling it,” Barton says. “My pieces are usually much larger than the ones featured at the Upstairs. They are all found pieces, with each piece used having a story of its own.”

For more information on DeWayne Barton, visit His artwork will continue being displayed at the Upstairs Artspace through July 24.