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Could the next arts enclave transform the suburbs?

Emily Patrick, epatrick@gannett.com 11:39 a.m. EDT August 4, 2015 Asheville-Citizen Times

"Heather Maloy leased the former Spurs building at 1501 Patton Ave. Inside, she'll create space for her professional ballet company, Terpsicorps Theatre of Dance, and a school for children and adults.

She has plans to transform the former honky tonk into three separate dance areas. One room will be large enough to host audiences of 40-60 people for recitals and visiting professional events.

White paint and some indoor demolition will go a long way, she said, and the building already boasted high ceilings.

"If you step back and think about what you can do with the building, it's actually kind of a cool, mid-century modern building," she said. "I was shocked when I walked into that building. From the outside it doesn't even look like it would have high ceilings."

She said most people she's talked to are open to the idea of a dance company making its home among the fast food chains and convenience stores of the west side of Patton Avenue.

Asheville artists Jon Sarver, left, and Todd Fowler talk about growing more urban artwork onto buildings around West Asheville in front of a large mural on the Sky Lanes Bowling Alley.   William Woody / wwoody@citizen-times.com, William Woody / wwoody@citizen-times.com

Asheville artists Jon Sarver, left, and Todd Fowler talk about growing more urban artwork onto buildings around West Asheville in front of a large mural on the Sky Lanes Bowling Alley.   William Woody / wwoody@citizen-times.com, William Woody / wwoody@citizen-times.com

"People will say, 'Wow that's really different from where you were before' — because it is," she said. "Because it's not just going to be Terpsicorp's space (for professionals) but because we're doing a school, I think people's minds have opened up a little bit about that area of Patton because it's really convenient and centrally located for people."

She said the reason for moving the school to Patton Avenue is simple: The rent is "exponentially cheaper" than in the River Arts District, where, like Sawyer, she rented room in the Switchyards building."

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