Photo courtesy of Florence Art School.
Activities & Interests
Florence Thomas Art School
Florence Thomas Art School in historic downtown West Jefferson, North Carolina, is dedicated to inspiring excellence in the arts through instruction in the fine arts, master crafts, and heritage crafts. It includes the Florence Thomas Gallery and Reception Center, a classroom and weaving studio, lodge, cabins and a gift shop on 10-beautiful acres bordering the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway.
Classes and Workshops
From May to October, Florence Art School hosts more than 50 one-to-three day workshops, with classes ranging from painting to weaving, handmade paper to digital photography, and creative writing to traditional music, as well as children's classes.
Founded by an Appalachian Painter
The school was founded in 2007, upon the death of Ashe County native Florence Thomas; a soft-spoken farm woman who was probably the greatest artist - with many hundreds of paintings - the High Country has ever produced. She captured the soul and the mystery, and ultimately the comfort, of common things-farm animals, flowers, landscapes-found around her rural Appalachian home. A gallery of her works is open year round.
Nearby Blue Ridge Attractions
The location and facilities lend themselves well for retreats and other special events. Many natural and culturally significant areas are located within a 30-minute drive of the school including the Blue Ridge Parkway, the New River, the Ben Long Fresco "The Last Supper" in Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, and the West Jefferson Downtown Arts District.
Visitors are welcome to walk the grounds during daylight hours, visit the gallery and enjoy the rich cultural heritage of the area.
Hours of Operation
The Florence Thomas Gallery and Reception Center is open year round (weather permitting), Monday - Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm.
Workshops are offered May to October in the Classroom and Weaving Studio 9 am - 4 pm. Preregistration is required.
Admission to the Florence Thomas Gallery is free.
Special events such as Fiber Demonstration Day, Fibers Market, and Instructor Open Studios are provided free of charge. Up-to-date information is available on the school's website. Registration is required for workshops and there is a fee for tuition, optional lodging and lunch.
Hours of operation and fees are subject to change. Contact directly for most current information.
Florence Thomas Art School 264 Trading Post Road Glendale Springs, North Carolina 28629 Just off the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 259. (336) 982-2499
- West Jefferson (1 mile)
At an elevation of 3,200 feet, surrounded by Fraser fir and pine forests, West Jefferson's climate offers relief from hot summers,
- Mount Jefferson State Natural Area (2 miles)
Mount Jefferson State Natural Area near Jefferson, NC offers great views, hiking, and a diversity of trees, shrubs, and wildflowers.
- The Museum of Ashe County History (3 miles)
Exhibits reflecting the history of Ashe County are housed in the historic 1904 County Courthouse in Jefferson, NC.