The Winner of Our Social Media Contest for Best Local Artist Talks Asheville

Local painter Molly Courcelle found art through the guidance of her mother, artist Bee Sieburg. Courcelle honed both her appreciation of art and her own talents as a child with weekend trips to D.C. galleries and birthday parties splattered with art supplies. It’s no surprise that Courcelle pursued a degree in painting. 

Courcelle, who spent her college summers teaching art at nearby Camp Graystone, introduced her parents to our mountain town, and followed them to Asheville shortly after their own move to run The Gardener’s Cottage with her mother (which they sold in 2004). It was the landscape, and the people, but also Asheville itself, that inspired her. “Asheville seemed to encourage people to really live life to the fullest,” she remembers. 

Asheville in 1998 was a different place: Courcelle recalls music shows at Be Here Now and the avant-garde cuisine of Salsa’s spawning block-long lines. And yet, “The things that attracted me to the city then remain the same,” she continues. “Asheville continues to encourage us all to truly experience a full life!”

Courcelle and her art have changed too. She began painting again after her two children were born and before adopting her third. “I worked while my little one’s would go to mother’s-morning-out a few days a week at The Wedge Studios. The River Arts District was beginning to really become a place of interest and I was exposed to galleries and collectors right away.” Though she intended to slow down, the frenetic pace of RAD’s art world—which draws more and more collectors every year—wouldn’t allow her to do so, and she now paints in plenitude.

You’ll find signs of Courcelle’s path in her paintings: florals inspired by flower shops, the blurred colors of Gaugain from childhood trips to the museum, and Asheville’s rolling hills dabbed into her landscapes. 

In 1998, people would ask, “Do you mean Nashville?” These days I hear, “Asheville? I love Asheville!” Then, I saw people I knew when I spent an evening downtown—that’s even how I met my husband!

Forever Favorites:

—City Bakery

—Tops For Shoes

—Blue Spiral One Gallery

—Malaprops Bookstore

Best Asheville Additions:

—French Broad Chocolate Lounge

—Wicked Weed

—Woolworth Walk