May 2020 offers a unique opportunity to enjoy a weekend of fantastic music, from bluegrass to broadway, in support of Haywood Street! Friday, May 8th, the Steep Canyon Rangers hometown show @ Salvage Station benefits the Downtown Welcome Table; Saturday, May 9th, Imagine….Reprise! supports Fresco programming. Ticketing pages for both shows open today!

Click here for Streep Canyon Rangers (goes live at 10 am today!)
Click here for Imagine…Reprise!

This week we celebrated Haywood Street Respite’s sixth year in operation!

Respite is a safe environment where adults experiencing homelessness can stay on a short-term basis to rest, recover and stabilize following an acute health event. Every month, approximately 18 Friends are welcomed into this healing community. Over 200 individuals were served in 2019.

The success of Haywood Street Respite is the outcome of a truly unique approach to healing, the dedication of staff and volunteers, and the gift of every human who walks through its doors.

Thank you Strada for a belly and soul filling meal this Wednesday at the Welcome Table!


1. For the month of January, Ultimate Ice Cream has dedicated proceeds from all Vanilla Ice Cream sales to benefit Haywood Street. We thank them for their commitment to this yearly fundraiser!

2. A reminder that donations to the clothing closet can be made on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 AM – 12 PM. Please drive around to the back alley and enter through the white door. If donating any other day or time, please utilize one of our two blue donation bins which are located offsite at:

  • Biltmore United Methodist Church, 376 Hendersonville Rd. 28803
  • Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church, 789 Merrimon Ave. 28804 — between 8 am and 3 pm


1. Meal prep and information sheet.

2. Prepare a meal for Respite! Sign up here.


Nearly every time I visit my sister and her wife in Asheville, they always have an event to attend and usually I end up tagging along (birthday parties, art gallery openings, Butoh performances, benefits, fundraisers and other various social events).

Last summer, my sister invited me to a boxed lunch fundraiser at Haywood Street Congregation. They were raising money to support the commission of artist, Christopher Holt, to paint a Fresco in the sanctuary of the church. The Fresco is meant to celebrate our homeless companions and immortalizes their worth and significance to humanity through art.

While I was sitting in the pews, eating my hummus sandwich and watching the artists climb the scaffolding to lay the first paint down, my heart was stirred by God to choreograph a group dance inspired by Holt’s work and perform it in front of the Fresco. That is how the dance began, a calling to do it. Now, all I had to do was honor this request I believe came directly from God.

As the Director of Dance at Mercersburg Academy, a small private boarding school in rural Pennsylvania, my task would not prove easy as I am not a resident of Asheville. After I returned from that particular visit to my home state of North Carolina, I shared the idea and vision with one of my colleagues who suggested I reach out to a student of ours, Selina Xiao ’20. Selina had pursued an independent project in photo journalism of the unhoused in Chambersburg, PA the previous year, which made her a potentially perfect fit to partner with me in this project. I met with Selina and she quickly became very excited about collaborating with me in bringing the film and dance aspect together. Through her contacts I was introduced to the director of the local Cold Weather Shelter. We met to talk about how the shelter worked, the men and women whose lives had been touched by the shelter, then things just seemed to flow from there.

It is a miraculous thing—obeying God. Just getting out of the way, surrendering to His plan—allowing things to unfold without resistance, and trusting Him in the creative process. Next, I chose my cast, found the right music, title and some very inspiring stories to inform the movement vocabulary.

“Works of Mercy” first premiered on the campus of Mercersburg Academy, November 9th, 2019 at the Burgin Center for the Arts. The dancers organized a fundraiser in the lobby, raising over $600 to contribute to the Fresco project. Their hope and mine, is to perform our piece in front of the Fresco in April of 2020. In the meantime, I am on sabbatical during the winter term and plan to reset the piece for professional dancers from the Asheville area to do a performance in January.

God’s will be done.
Denise Dalton
Director of Dance
Mercersburg Academy

* The original “Works of Mercy” performance can be viewed here. (If you are asked for an access code, use: Mercersburg Academy 

For more Faces & Stories, click here.