The Samovar Arts Lounge

The transformation of Cheney Graphics into the Samovar Arts Lounge was an inevitable and daunting feat. For 15 years the studio has been the home of artist Phil Cheney IV and Cheney Graphics run by and with Phil Cheney III. It was a long time dream to create a gallery within the shop, a place for events and to display and sell some of Asheville’s best art.

Of course items have a way of accumulating in a 4,000 square foot space, and the dark walls and ceilings left vast areas unseen, keeping the space occupied. Robert Seven, another for-runner for Asheville’s art scene, and close friend of the Phils, decided to clear some space and make his own workshop among some of the untouched areas. Robert’s involvement and eye for environment was the major catalyst to the transformation of the space in the Riverside Business Park. Phil Cheney and R7 set a date for the revealing of the new gallery to take place just before the holidays, and left themselves about 2 months to make it happen.

The items collected went into Illusionary walls built by Phil Cheney IV. He used recycled wood and screws to make thick walls with shelves that could be accessed when necessary and with art hung on them most of the time.


Rob 7 painted the floor gray and walls and ceiling white with help from the rest of the team (including of course Phil and myself and Justin Thompson of Watershed and Southern Raft Supply). I helped clean and organize a work area, and sorted the ink for the screen printing machines by color.

My clothes got completely covered with the paint, which I appreciated. I absolutely adore working with color, especially sorting it!

The openings turned out to be so much more than I expected. The final transformation had taken place over night, and when I arrived to set up Rhetorical Factory clothes among 6 other artists, I knew it was a place I had never been before.

Twinkle lights were in place, Rob’s DJ Booth was in full swing, there were already guests in the lounge and art was all around! We had our very own area with dressing room accommodations, and amazing art back grounds by Phil Cheney. The rest of the walls were filled with art from many more artists, by Robert 7 featuring his spectacular “Rondelles” which are mostly recycled. By Phil who had a great range of paintings and drawings available, with some work dating back to 2000. Justyn Thompson had prints and paintings, Intergalactic Hobo had beautiful leather work, Beth Broccoliway brought Imports from her recent world tour, and there were retro lino cut prints and other spooky art by Jason Krekel.

 French Broad River Baby! (sold)

The people who came out were close friends and supporters of the arts. There was a beautiful offering of snacks and warm cocktails, lots of interesting people to meet and lots of exchange. I was really glad they planned for two nights, and cannot wait for the next event on January 31st!

Check out this Article in the Citizen Times, the Samovar Arts Lounge Facebook Page, and email for an appointment to see the Arts!

Bethany Adams
Bethany Adams


1 Comment

phiL cheneY
phiL cheneY

January 14, 2014

WoW! This is a really Great ARTicle! Thanks for Your in-depth REporting Style!

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.