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Arts Center celebrates Resilience

Asa Nelson, 13, of Vilas plays the fiddle during the opening night of “Heart of the Mountains: Resilience” last week at the Johnson County Center for the Arts in Mountain City. Photo by Tamas Mondovics

By Tamas Mondovics

The Johnson County Center for the Arts has no shortage of local support, which was once again highlighted during the opening of its latest show entitled “Heart of the Mountains: Resilience.”
“The opening of ‘Heart of the Mountains: Resilience’ was very well attended on Friday at Johnson County Center for the Arts,” said Johnson County Arts Director Cristy Dunn.
Emphasizing the community’s support for local art, Dunn said that she is always amazed at the quality of work produced in the county, but emphasized that “this show is one of the best so far.”
The presentation of some of the best pieces of art in the region, included a hand-carved oak box by George Sanfilippothe, a quilt by Lorraine Darocha as well as Hand Painted Drum by Velina Hewett, just to name a few.
Befitting the region’s love for music, the show’s opening night, was not without the appropriate and tastefully chosen entertainment provided by Asa Nelson, who brought his fiddle, banjo, and guitar to set the tone as well as the mood for the event.
“Asa fiddling was the highlight of the evening,” Dunn said.
Nelson, 13, of Vilas, has won numerous awards for his old-time fiddling. The young musician enjoys playing traditional Appalachian music and has competed at many Old-Time Fiddlers Conventions as well as performed at the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Wide Open Bluegrass Festival in Raleigh.
“Heart of the Mountains: Resilience” is sponsored by Tennessee Arts Commission and GoJoCo, promoting a healthy, active lifestyle in a connected community, and Tennessee Arts Commission.
GoJoCo believes that a healthy community requires everyone to work together opening the doors to partnerships.
“We are promoting relationships among workplaces, places of worship and neighbors who can encourage one another to live healthier lifestyles by focusing on moving more as well as eating smarter and enjoying a life free of unhealthy products,” said Angie Stout.
“We felt that since February is National Heart Month, and this event focuses on the heart of the region, it was a great way to connect our efforts of healthy living through art. Getting involved in the arts is one of the best ways to enjoy a healthy, active life in a connected community. Sponsoring this event just felt natural.”
For more information about the Johnson County Center for the Arts, please visit