Colby Caldwell

From how to survive your own death, Photo by Clark Hodgin

Colby Caldwell, an internationally esteemed photographer, took a risk by coming back to Western North Carolina. He’d grown up in Mills River, but moved to Washington, D.C., in the mid-’80s to attend the Corcoran School of the Arts & Design. He blossomed as an artist in the D.C. area — his work has been shown at Hemphill Fine Arts Gallery and spotlighted in the Washington Post — and earned a tenured professorship at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Over time, though, he grew disillusioned with his role at the school, especially when administrative work stole time from teaching. Six years ago, after noticing Asheville’s artistic evolution during visits, Caldwell made a decision to relinquish the security of his tenureship and come home. “I didn’t want to become a cranky 80-year-old professor,” he says. Out of that leap came REVOLVE. Caldwell describes his progressive venue as a “gallery, studio, and teaching/think-tank space.” Located in Ramp Studios, at the edge of the River Arts District, and born out of a collaboration with the Media Arts Project, REVOLVE has given Caldwell a front-row seat to the city’s vibrant creative community.