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Center for the Arts celebrates 4 years

Government officials and art enthusiasts prepare to cut the ribbon officially signaling the Johnson County Center for the Arts grand opening four years ago. Since this time, the center has continued to grow and the organization now officially owns its building. File photos.

By Meg Dickens
Staff Writer

A lot has changed since the Johnson County Center for the Arts opened its doors in 2017. From rewiring the old storage building into a functional gallery, classroom, and sales space to gaining ownership of the building, the Center for the Arts has been on a long journey since its genesis. Now artists and patrons alike take a moment to look back at how far the center has come on its fourth anniversary.

“The Center for the Arts officially opened its doors four years ago,” the Board of Directors announced. “Our mission is to empower our community and bring them together through teaching, encouraging, and supporting a variety of artistic forms and experiences.”

The center is inclusive, boasting the slogan “art is for everyone” and making sure to practice what it preaches. People of any age and talent level have access to classes or workshops in everything from painting and sculpting to marketing, robotics, and filmmaking. The center offered a combined 107 classes, online classes, workshops, and summer camps to the public in the last four years.

Director Cristy Dunn credits the center’s supporters and volunteers for its success over the years. The current 38 volunteers have reportedly donated around 3,800 hours of their time throughout the years. Without this support, the 44 art shows so far would not have been possible.

“My favorite thing about the Center for the Arts is the way that all our artists work together to inspire and encourage one another,” Dunn told The Tomahawk. “Beginners and young artists connect with more experienced artists and everyone benefits. The Center for the Arts is what it is because of the many volunteers and supporters who give tirelessly of their time, talent, and resources. It is a special community.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused those involved with the center to learn a variety of new skills. Officials announced last week that the annual Long Journey Home event headquartered at the center would move to a virtual platform because of the pandemic. Between last year’s virtual event and the new skills gained, officials now know how to host events and classes virtually and expect fewer problems despite this year’s move being last minute.

The Johnson County Center for the Arts offers local Appalachian art from 45 juried artists. The center is currently open on Thursdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Find out more about this organization, upcoming classes, and events at