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Dream of arts center in Mountain City is coming true

Johnson County Arts Council President Nancy Garrick signs the lease for the long awaited Johnson County Center for the Arts.

By Paula Walter

For a long time, the concept of an arts center in Johnson County was a dream.  It is about to become a reality as the Johnson County Arts Council is preparing to opens its doors to a new center located in the Heritage Square area of the county, adjacent to Heritage Hall in downtown Mountain City.
A committee was created to develop plans under the guidance of Cristy Dunn, Temple Reece, Nancy Garrick and Evelyn Cook. “We’ve wanted this to happen for a long time,” said Reece.
Farmers State Bank has partnered with the Johnson County Arts Council to provide a site for the new facility.  According to Temple Reece, the plan is to buy the building at the end of a three-year rental agreement.  “They have worked with us very well, “ Reece stated.
The Johnson County Center for the Arts will provide a facility to offer art and music classes, a coffee shop, a performance space, and a gallery where the unique works of local artists and artisan can be sold.  The center offers an opportunity for shoppers to buy local and support the work of Johnson County artists.
According to the Johnson County Center for the Arts website, enrichment opportunities that can be found will be songwriting, storytelling, creative writing, weekly jams, coffee and pastries, pickin’ on the porch, yoga classes, art classes for all ages.   It will be the headquarters for the Long Journey Home.  Johnson County and Appalachian culture wares will be for sell, along with Appalachian books, as well as books written by local authors.  There will be musician workshops and arts classes for adults with disabilities.  The center will offer small concerts, featured artist exhibits, painting parties, displays of student art, offerings for veterans and seniors.  In addition, there will be family paint night, art therapy, film making, arts for preschool ages children during the day, music program similar to JAM for adults and coffee talks.
The Johnson County Center for the Arts mission statement says:  “The Johnson County Center for the Arts is a comprehensive art center serving the residents of Johnson County and surrounding communities and visitors to the area who are seeking authentic Appalachian artwork as well as meaningful events and enrichment experiences. With a primary focus on young artists, the local art community, and Appalachian culture, the objective is to provide a place for artists of varying ages, abilities and interests to flourish by offering a venue to showcase, sell and encourage growth and learning.“
“Our hopes are to have a ribbon cutting at the Carmen Deedy fundraiser on August 29, 2017,” said Reece.  “It’s been a dream and we knew it would happen.  We didn’t know when or where, but we were going to be sure to make it happened.”