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New gallery and artist collective to open in downtown Asheville

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9/12/2011 - New gallery and artist collective to open in downtown Asheville
by Jason Sandford - Asheville Citizen Times

New businesses start every day - and new businesses here in Asheville are something for all of us to celebrate!

ASHEVILLE -- Lauren Patton wants you to think of her new downtown business as the embodiment of a comic convention.

The business, ZaPow!, will be part art gallery, part artist collective and part book arts center. It's scheduled to open Oct. 1 at 21 Battery Park Ave. in 2,800-square-feet of newly renovated space on the ground floor of the Battery Park condos building.

"It's going to be the family-friendly place for the geek counterculture to hang out," said Patton, an illustrator and co-owner of the business with Matt Johnson, her husband.

The business includes traditional gallery exhibition space, as well as graphic novels and comic books, according to Patton. It will also offer studio space for artists and writers. Those are all elements fans can find at a typical comic convention, such as Asheville's Fanaticon.

Two spaces, dubbed ZaPods, will be available for rent on an hourly, weekly or monthly basis.

"These provide a space for individuals to work on their next column, novel or illustration. When you rent a ZaPod, you get your own desk in a cool art-filled environment where you can pull a curtain for privacy or leave it open to people-watch," Patton said.

The business also plans to offer publishing help for writers and illustrators.

Illustrator Daryl Slaton said he'll be offering various sizes of his artwork, framed and unframed, for sale at the ZaPow gallery.

"ZaPow will be a welcomed addition to Asheville as it adds an extra dimension to the downtown gallery experience," Slaton said. "I am also excited about the services that ZaPow will offer to artists."

Patton and Johnson live in Haywood County and have been working for a Sylva software company. Their new business will feed their interest in the arts, with the general goal of being a hip, family-friendly "nexus of nerdiness," Patton said.

A grand opening event is set for 7 p.m. Oct. 14, with the Asheville band The Mad Tea Party performing.

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