By Teresa Crowder
The Tennessee Arts Commission announced its grant funding last week for the fiscal year 2022. The Johnson County Center for the Arts is among the organizations that will receive funding with a total of $24,670 to fund two grant proposals. The Johnson County Center for the Arts was awarded $14,750 by the Rural Arts Project Support grant. This grant program is explicitly designed to support arts projects in
rural communities, and $10,100 was awarded for Creative Placemaking.
Rural Arts Project Support funding allows Johnson County Center for the Arts to provide quality classes at affordable prices to anyone in the community. Classes are planned based on feedback from the community, and this year a summer camp for kids, a landscape painting class series, a clay sculpture workshop, watercolor, leather craft, and much more will be offered.
This funding also allows for the purchase of supplies for classes and for the Maker Space, an area where anyone can come to do a project any time the doors are open. In addition, this funding supports the website, print and email newsletters, and other publications that help get the word out about events and classes.
Creative Placemaking supports efforts to create a sense of place through the arts. Johnson County has benefited from other Creative Placemaking grants in years past. Several of the murals were made possible through this fund, and this year’s project builds on the work that has already been done with the downtown Mural Mile.
Creative Placemaking funds will also add wayside exhibits at some of the
county’s most noteworthy cultural heritage sites. Currently, Johnson County Center for the Arts is in the process of creating a Cultural Heritage Map that will be finished this month. “The map will include approximately thirty culturally
significant sites throughout the county. These sites include the place where the historic 1925 Fiddler’s Convention was held, the capture site of Tom Dooley, and Nick the Hermit’s grave. The homeplaces and gravesites
of some of the most influential artists in early country music, including G.B.
Grayson, Clarence “Tom” Ashley, Clint Howard, and Fiddlin’ Fred Price, are also among Johnson County’s cultural heritage sites, as is the little house on the Clint Howard Farm where the album, Old Time Music at Clarence Ashley’s was recorded. This was Doc Watson’s first album and is now in the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress”, says Cristy Dunn, Johnson County Center for the Arts Executive Director. A committee will choose sites to receive markers, and more will be added over time.
“The project also builds on the Long Journey Home Festival, which takes place every Labor Day weekend, unveiling a new mural and a musical heritage tour
with live music at many
of these cultural heritage sites. The cultural heritage map and wayside markers with linked videos will tell our community’s collective story and bring Johnson County’s unique heritage to life for residents and visitors. The map and wayside exhibits will be available year-round. Participants can pick up or download the map and create their own route or follow one of several suggested tours, such as “The Murder Ballad Tour” or the “Tom Dooley Tour.”, continues Dunn.