Urban Orchard Supports Artists


Urban Orchard Cider believes in supporting mural artists


Murals in Asheville couldn’t happen without the investment of local businesses commissioning the art. Josie Meikle of Urban Orchard Cider Company believes it’s the responsibility of local businesses to support artists who contribute to our city’s vibrancy. “Growing up here in the 1980s and 1990s, the town of Asheville was not quite what we see today. There were boarded-up windows and not a lot of businesses.” When her family decided to open up a cidery, Josie said “it was based on a local-centric ideal.” For example, all the apples they use to create their cider come from just 15 miles down the road in Hendersonville.

Her family is very intentional about the cider they serve. Cider is classified as unfortified wine, and Urban Orchard takes this art seriously, aging all of their varieties for eight months or more.. They offer 9-10 styles on tap, ranging from dry to sweet, and always featuring creative farm-to-table ingredients. They also have a selection of fun seasonal flavors like the Kimikama, which means Christmas in Hawaiian. This variety is infused with cranberry, which gives it a bold, semi-sweet, and tart flavor as well as a beautiful red hue.

In the past 20 years, Josie has watched the city change dramatically. “There are so many new people moving in, which is great for the city and our economy, but we are creating a situation where many artists aren’t able to afford to house,” she said. Urban Orchard believes in working with and supporting the local artists who’ve made the city what it is today. “We strive to create a network where we are all supporting each other, artists, musicians, and local businesses,” she said


Early West Asheville Murals were inspiring 


Josie’s first favorite city mural was the “Play every day” mural on the Short Street Cakes building, which is one of the many murals that have come and gone. She said “the mural was inspirational because it sparked such joy in people. We got to watch people interact with the art, posing for photos and always leaving laughing.” This sparked a creative vision for Josie to include murals on all of her Urban Orchard locations.

At their West Asheville cidery, Josie commissioned Kathryn Crawford, one of Asheville’s most accomplished female mural artists,  to paint a piece on their street-facing wall in her floral style of blooming apple blossom with fruit. “When I started seeing her pieces pop up around town I was enamored,” Josie said. “She has such a great eye for bringing in hard, modern lines and mixing them with soft natural pieces, such as a feather or flower. I knew immediately I wanted to work with her.”

At their other location in the South Slope, Urban Orchard hosts a mural created by Ian Wilkenson and Ishmael. When I asked Josie about Urban Orchard’s artistic philosophy and style she explained that her family shares concepts, but gives the artists the space to interpret their ideas.

Urban artists want to incorporate local history and culture into their pieces. Their South Slope building was once a cigar-rolling factory for Hav-A-Tampa, one of the world’s best-selling cigars. Their work is an homage to a Cuban cigar foil and advertisements with vintage images also and also features their signature cider. Next, they mixed in the “effervescence and bubbliness of a cider” she said. Ishmael’s studio is also in the building, and more of his work is featured inside, including a mural over the bar and several canvases all done in his signature style.


Asheville has historically had a thriving art scene


Josie and I also discussed Asheville’s thriving local street artist scene, whose history stretches more than a century.. “It stems from when people visited on holiday or to seek cures at sanitariums for tuberculosis. We had a lot of authors and artists come through this area. After the Great Depression, Asheville closed off for a number of years. It wasn’t until the 1990’s when we saw a resurgence of music, art, and alternative entrepreneurs,” she remembers

Connecting with local artists and the businesses that commission pieces are the core of Mountain Mural Tours. We are committed to connecting with business owners to learn about their relationships with artists and how this impacts their design decisions. Urban Orchard is one of our closest partners and the host of our beverage pit-stop at their West Asheville location.

When we discussed approaches to help other businesses commission art, Josie said that Mountain Murals is a great step in that direction. “An urban art tour brings more awareness to people that come into the city and offers a historical perspective [of Asheville art] and why it’s important for us to maintain these spaces for artists”.

You can see the full interview with Josie Mielke here on YouTube.

1 hour 30 minutes
Group Size
4 to 12

Walls that Speak-Mountain Mural Tour-River Arts and Downtown Asheville

Creativity abounds in Asheville and our artists love to take to the streets. Join us on a colorful urban art tour through the River Arts District and Downtown Asheville with an amazing collection of murals, graffiti, sculpture, and street art installations. You’ll learn about the creators’ stories and inspirations, local history, and the community businesses that have made Asheville a national tourist destination.

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1 hour 30 minutes
Group Size
4 to 12

Dolly Parton and Beyond- Get off the Beaten Path of Asheville Street Art

Get ready to immerse yourself in Asheville's vibrant urban art scene on this guided walking tour! We'll explore hidden alleyways and bustling streets, discovering the stories and artistic talents behind the city's most captivating murals.
Our adventure begins in the River Arts District downtown, where the city’s art culture was born. We'll marvel at diverse styles, from photorealistic portraits to abstract creations. Our knowledgeable guide will share insights into the local artists and the messages they aim to convey.
No Asheville art tour is complete without a visit to West Asheville! Here, a vibrant community spirit shines through the colorful murals that adorn the walls. We'll stop by the legendary Beauty Parade Hair Salon, where a true Asheville icon – Dolly Parton – graces the side of the building. Artist Gus Cutty's creation features Dolly in all her rhinestone-studded glory, joined by the fabulous RuPaul in a recent update. Snap a selfie with this Instagram-famous mural and learn the story behind this unexpected artistic duo.
We will encounter murals that celebrate Asheville's rich cultural heritage, and local businesses close to the community's heart, or whimsical designs that spark your imagination. Our guide will keep you engaged with interesting facts and anecdotes about the murals and the artists who breathe life into Asheville's streets.
This tour is perfect for art enthusiasts, photography lovers, or anyone seeking a unique way to experience Asheville's culture. It's a chance to appreciate the artistic energy that pulsates through the city and be surprised by the beauty found in unexpected corners. So hop on the bus and join us on a colorful adventure!

1 hour
Group Size
2 to 12

Asheville Art Walk: Street Art Gems of Foundy Street in the River Arts District

Asheville Art Walk : A Graffiti and Mural Tour of the River Arts District

Unleash your inner art explorer on Walk the Line, a guided walking tour through the vibrant graffiti scene of Asheville's River Arts District (RAD)!

Immerse yourself in a world of artistic expression as we navigate the dynamic streets of the RAD, uncovering hidden alleys and showcasing large-scale murals. Our expert guide will peel back the layers, deciphering the messages and techniques behind each piece.

Here's what you can expect:

Discover iconic works by renowned Asheville street artists.
Learn the history and evolution of Asheville's graffiti scene.
Gain insights into the local artists' inspirations and styles.
Explore the cultural significance and impact of street art.
Uncover hidden gems tucked away in unexpected corners.
Capture Instagram-worthy photos of Asheville's most captivating street art.

Asheville Art Walk is perfect for:

Art enthusiasts curious about the world of graffiti.
Visitors seeking a unique and off-the-beaten-path experience.
Anyone who appreciates the vibrancy and raw energy of urban art.

Join us on the Asheville Art Walk and discover the hidden gems of the River Arts District!

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2 hours
Group Size
Up to 14

Unveiling the Urban Canvas: A Private Asheville Mural Tour

Asheville Mural Unveiling: A Private Tour for Teams, Families & Celebrations

Transform your next team outing, family reunion, or birthday bash into a unique and unforgettable experience with Asheville Mural Unveiling, a private walking tour celebrating the city's vibrant street art scene!

Unleash creativity and spark connection:

Team Building: Our interactive tour fosters collaboration and communication as your group works together to decipher hidden messages and artistic styles within the murals.
Family Fun: Engage all ages with a captivating exploration of Asheville's colorful streets. Capture the excitement of discovery and create lasting memories together.
Birthday Celebrations: Make your special day even more unique! This private tour offers a personalized touch and a backdrop for amazing photos to commemorate the occasion.

Tailored to your group:

Flexibility: Customize the tour route and pace to suit your group's interests and abilities.
Engaging Guide: Our knowledgeable guide will share fascinating insights into the history and cultural significance of Asheville's murals, keeping everyone entertained and informed.
Photo Opportunities: Stop and capture stunning photos in front of the city's most captivating street art.

Asheville Mural Unveiling is the perfect way to:

Bond with colleagues outside the office.
Create lasting memories with loved ones.
Experience Asheville's artistic pulse in a fun and interactive way.

Make your next gathering truly special with Asheville Mural Unveiling! Contact us today to book your private tour.

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