Ultimate Guide to Asheville Murals and Street Art

Asheville boasts a thriving art scene, made possible by an impressive population of local creatives who work hard to bring a little extra whimsy to this magical city. This beauty can be found within a variety of museums, galleries, and studios. It’s also evident while strolling outside, with murals adorning numerous walls.

The unique murals of Asheville are increasingly popular as Instagram backdrops, with visitors and locals alike going out of their way to make the most of these photo opportunities. More importantly, however, these works of art provide thought-provoking statements on modern life while celebrating all that makes Asheville special.

If you’re looking for a unique and cost-effective activity that introduces you to the best of Asheville, add a self-guided mural tour to your itinerary.

Be sure to include the following gems in your artistic adventure:

Dolly Parton Mural

Artist Gus Cutty painted this mural in 2018 at the request of Beauty Parade salon owner Terra Marshall — a devoted fan of the country music queen Dolly Parton. While the art scene on Haywood Road is constantly changing, Dolly’s beaming smile has proven a beloved constant that music lovers can depend on to deliver a much-needed dose of positivity.

Sloth with Sloth

 

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Just a few feet down from Dolly Parton rests a decidedly less attractive figure. Artist Austen Mikulka’s version of Sloth from The Goonies adorns the wall of Orbit DVD. The work features an actual sloth on the subject’s shoulder, sporting a friendly smile no doubt learned from observing the lovely Dolly Parton.

Lexington Gateway Mural

 

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Giving a splash of life to a formerly dark and depressing underpass, the Lexington Gateway Mural project was started in 2007 by six local artists. The mural depicts the past, present, and future of the Asheville area. Included renditions feature historical archetypes, as well as modern-day occupations currently thriving in the region. A few years after the project’s launch, more details were added to depict two men playing chess in nearby Pritchard Park — an homage to the real-life friends known for regularly meeting for this very purpose.

Triangle Park Mural

Completed in 2013 with the help of over 100 volunteer painters, the Triangle Park mural celebrates the history of Asheville’s African American business community. After redevelopment in the 1960s and ’70s brought sweeping changes to the area known as The Block, a major piece of Asheville’s African American economic and cultural heritage was lost. This project brings to life the memories of that era, along with the familiar faces of those who made it so special.

Foundation Walls Project at River Arts District

 

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Since 2016, graffiti artists from all over the country have visited the Foundation Walls Project, looking to put their unique stamp on an ever-evolving canvas. This sprawling area contained within the River Arts District features more than thirteen acres of colorful creations that change on a regular basis.

Don’t get too attached to your favorite piece of art, as it could be covered up a day later and replaced with a new creation. The upside? Not two visits to the Foundation Walls Project are exactly alike.

The Odditorium Bar

 

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One of West Asheville’s most notorious hangouts, The Odditorium Bar is meant to be gawked at, and, of course photographed. Inside, patrons enjoy freak shows, burlesque performances, and other peculiar sorts of entertainment. Outside, the vivid imagination of owners Amy Marshall and Tamy Kuper are on full display, with the walls of the building adorned with the kind of eye-catching art that manages to stand out even in the quirky city of Asheville.

Shindig on the Green

For over half a century, folks from all over the Carolinas and the South have flocked to Shindig on the Green — a celebration of mountain music and Appalachian culture. In 2016, as part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the Shindig, artist Doreyl Ammons Cain unveiled a mural in Pack Square Park featuring the most notorious artists to perform at this wonderful destination.

The Dude at Sky Lanes Bowling

 

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More than a few fans of the Coen brothers cult classic The Big Lebowski have made their way to Asheville to check out another Gus Cutty creation: The Dude, who watches over the customers of Sky Lanes Bowling. Some would argue this is the most impressive mural in all of Asheville, but that’s just, like, their opinion, man.

Chicken Alley

Only in Asheville can you find such an impressive piece of art on an otherwise unassuming wall in a quiet part of town. Made possible by local artist Molly MustChicken Alley commemorates the quirky history of its location, which was once a popular hangout for feathered friends. Legend has it the alley is haunted by the ghost of Dr. Jamie Smith — a turn-of-the-century physician who was murdered in the alley while breaking up a bar fight in 1902.

Til Death Do Us Part at Fleetwood’s

 

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Asheville artist Kathryn Crawford has produced vivid works throughout Asheville, but this piece at Fleetwood’s Rock-N-Roll Wedding Chapel may be her most memorable. Numerous happy couples have posed for wedding pictures in front of this intriguing mural, which is decorated with romantic images such as a sunset, roses, and chrome skulls.

Fox at Haywood Country Club

Haywood Road’s mural scene is legendary due to the sheer volume of works on display. The otherwise unassuming Haywood Country Club makes an instant impression thanks to the fox that stands watch outside on the wall. While the country club itself closes for the winter, this wonderful piece of art can be enjoyed on a year-round basis.

There’s no experience quite like strolling through the heart of Asheville and happening upon a delightful mural. Keep your eyes open as you explore this lovely city — and have your camera ready so you can snap pictures of the nation’s most compelling street art.