Why Choose R+W?

Equipping community members for transformative living.


In our 21st century society, creative design and innovative problem-solving skills are becoming more valuable and necessary in the classroom and the modern work force. Roots + Wings School of Art and Design provides opportunities for this type of creative growth by encouraging and developing the unique gifts in every student, from pre-school through high school and beyond.

innovators of all ages working together during one of our Pop Up Adventure Play Days at our Roots + Wings Creative Campus.

innovators of all ages working together during one of our Pop Up Adventure Play Days at our Roots + Wings Creative Campus.

students from the irl after-school program at Asheville Middle School working on tiles for the mural at Hall Fletcher Elementary school with artist Alex Irvin.

students from the irl after-school program at Asheville Middle School working on tiles for the mural at Hall Fletcher Elementary school with artist Alex Irvin.

The Challenge

Without proper avenues for creative exploration, most students begin to doubt themselves as innovative thinkers or worry only about getting the right answer. Since they are not encouraged to exercise their imaginations, they progress through elementary, middle and high school believing they are “not creative.” When they graduate into the real world, these students lack the tools to thrive in an increasingly entrepreneurial economy. As a result, businesses and organizations today, hungry to hire innovative thinkers, are at a loss to find suitable candidates.

“Creativity now is as important as literacy,” says Sir Ken Robinson, an internationally-recognized leader in education. “Imagination is the source of every form of human achievement. And it’s the one thing that I believe we are systematically jeopardizing in the way we educate our children and ourselves.”

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What We Offer

At Roots + Wings School of Art and Design, our goal is to nurture and encourage the natural creativity within students of all ages through innovative design, dynamic art education and community collaboration. We accomplish this through:

Unique art education approach

Our innovative programs are designed to help students of all ages build their creative confidence, learn to think independently and collaborate as a team.

Excellent and experienced faculty

We are dedicated to hiring extremely talented and gifted faculty who respect and inspire students. As collaborators on creative projects, teachers help students acquire specific skill sets and encourage them to use their imaginations.

A design thinking foundation

Our curriculum revolves around a design-thinking platform that encourages innovation and practical application. Programs emphasize:

  • Creative Process and Critical Thinking Skills – Not only are students taught the mechanics of various art media processes, they learn to visualize possibilities, stay positive and persevere, think outside the box, plan and prioritize, take risks to create, express themselves, evaluate, rethink problems and work independently. They also gain confidence, learn to respect and collaborate with other group members and have FUN!
  • Community Engagement (see Design Lab After-school Program video)
  • Real-Life Application for Projects – Rather than just letting kids come up with creative ideas, design-thinking teaches students what it takes to make a good idea work. Students become engaged in projects that address real-life issues and themes relative to their experience and seek to find real-life solutions for needs within their communities. As a result, students learn how to make a difference as creative citizens.
  • Local Mentors – Art and design professionals working within Western North Carolina are invited to work in partnership with Roots + Wings School of Art and Design or give classroom presentations about their work, helping to bridge the gap between education and the real world.
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