Over 100 years of



The YMI Cultural Center elevates Black communities through cultural, economic and leadership development activities.

Initially branded as “The Young Men’s Institute”, the more commonly known YMI Cultural Center is one of the oldest, most unique and beautiful Black cultural centers in the United States. The YMI is a local landmark within the City of Asheville, North Carolina and is on the National Register of Historic Places.


The 1892 construction of the YMI was funded by a loan to the Local Black community leaders from George W. Vanderbilt. Designed by Richard Sharp Smith, the site architect of the Biltmore Estate, the 18,000-square foot multi-level YMI building was constructed by more than 100 Black craftsmen who also worked to build George W. Vanderbilt’s mansion. Construction was completed in 1893.  The YMI was built exclusively for the

Blacks living in Asheville, North Carolina.


Today, the mission of the YMI Cultural Center is dedicated to elevating Black communities through cultural, economic, and leadership opportunities and programs. 

39 South Market St, Asheville, NC 28801

(828) 257-4540