Spend a few hours in Asheville and you’re bound to notice the hippies. Everywhere. Long hair, tie-dyed shirts, the whole enchilada. There’s a two-block stretch of storefronts on Lexington Avenue that looks for all the world like a chunk of Haight Ashbury, circa 1965.
Admittedly, I have a weakness for flower children. To me, they represent creativity and honesty and freedom and health. Love, too. All the clichés.
In Asheville, they seem woven into the very fabric of that city’s artistic community. They provide it an authenticity that Greenville’s lacks, possibly because the arts in Greenville serve a more consciously ornamental function.
I don’t lose much sleep over the future of the indigenous arts. They’re a byproduct of life. The ornamental arts, though, superimposed, fluffed and fed like orchids in a greenhouse, they’re a byproduct of prosperity.