John in the main gallery at New Morning, circa 1980s

When John Cram moved to Asheville in the 1970s, he saw the city through an artist’s eyes–venerable mountains, lush botanical life, promising historic buildings, and spirited people. In short, Cram saw all the elements of a world-class community. Cram’s vision was to celebrate the beautiful and provocative artworks that are continually created from this unique environment.

In 1972, Cram opened New Morning Gallery, a small shop for high-quality crafts, which has since grown to over 12,500 square feet showcasing “art for living”. The Asheville gallery is a national destination for those seeking handcrafted furniture, home accessories, ceramics, glass, jewelry, garden sculpture, and other imaginative gifts created by American artisans. The North Carolina room collection reflects the state’s rich range of creative individuals and affirms NC’s status as a leading art and craft center.

Cram continued to pursue his dreams through the creation of Blue Spiral 1, the expansive downtown contemporary art gallery which houses the largest collection of paintings by Will Henry Stevens. Bellagio, an art to wear clothing boutique, opened in the early 90s in the Village as a collaboration with Matt Chambers, and in December 1997, Cram began screening art and independent films at the restored art deco-styled Fine Arts Theatre adjacent to Blue Spiral 1. Bellagio Everyday joined the downtown businesses from 2005 to 2020.

John’s legacy endures in his three distinctive galleries that showcase the imagination and skill of regionally and nationally-known artists and craftspeople.