Allen and Barry Huffman have been collecting contemporary southern folk art for the past 40 years. Both collectors are originally from the South, and their journey together has led them around the southeastern United States, from Florida to Alabama to their hometown of Hickory, NC. In each place, they formed bonds with regional artists and learned first-hand the narratives of each artwork. Within their collection are subsets of folk art, including self-taught artists driven to share their messages, crafts for the tourist market, and southern pottery. The guiding principle evident throughout their collection and the generous donation of contemporary southern folk art that they have gifted to the Asheville Art Museum is the story told by each of these artists through their artworks.
Artists featured include Barry Gurley Huffman (GA, 1943–Present Hickory, NC), James Cook (Glen Alpine, NC 1934–1984 Lawndale, NC), Albert Hodge (Vale, NC 1941—Present Vale, NC), Howard Finster (Valley Mead, AL 1916–2001 Rome, GA), Addie James (SC 1943–2011 Statesville, NC), James Harold Jennings (Pinnacle, NC 1931–1999 Pinnacle, NC), LaVon Van Williams Jr. (Lakeland, FL 1958–Present Lexington, KY), and more.