Stage set for Johnson Center grand opening

Published 10:36 am Thursday, September 11, 2008

The stage is set for the Grand Opening of the Holman and Ethel Johnson Center for the Arts in Troy on Sunday, Sept. 14 and there is growing excitement throughout the city.

Richard Metzger, executive director of the Troy-Pike Cultural Arts Center, said the arts center and Troy tourism staffs and a host of volunteers have been working for weeks preparing for the long-awaited event.

“We’re ready and looking forward to Sunday” he said. “We expect a large crowd in town for this historic event.”

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The opening of the Johnson Center for the Arts on Sunday will usher in a new era in the arts and put Troy and Pike County on the map as a cultural arts center for the state, said Mack Gibson, chairman of the arts center board of directors.

“This arts center is proof that Troy and Pike County have a prominent place in the arts in Alabama,” he said.

Prior to the Grand Opening Ceremony of the Johnson Center for the Arts on East Market Street, the Troy University Jazz Band will be in concert on the outdoor stage. The jazz band is under the direction of Ray Smith.

The Grand Opening ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. with Tonya Terry of WSFA Television as emcee. Music will be provided by Shelia Jackson and the Troy University Trumpet Ensemble.

Special remarks will be given by Metzger, Gibson, Dr. Jack Hawkins Jr., chancellor of the Troy University System; Dr. Manley Johnson of the Manuel and Mary Johnson Foundation and Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford.

The keynote speaker for the event will be Al Head, executive director of the Alabama State Council on the Arts.

Following Head’s address, the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Johnson Center of the Arts will be held and visitors will be invited to tour the center for the arts.

Special music will be provided by pianists Lyra Crapps, Scott Sexton and Haley Jackson.

The Prints of Andy Warhol is the featured exhibition in the main gallery. Other exhibits are the works of Pam Allen, Jim Campbell and Alice Wright in the upstairs galleries.

In the downstairs galleries are the Brantley family and Corley Chapman Jr. Collection exhibits and the artwork of Sally Fenn and Sarah Dismukes.

Street closings for the event are Oak Street to the railroad on Walnut Street and on Market Street from Elm to Academy. The streets will be closed from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Sunday.

Parking areas for the grand opening of the Johnson Center for the Arts are the parking lots of First United Methodist Church, Pike County Courthouse, Troy City Hall, Byrd Drugs and the Tourism building, downtown square, and the grass area behind Botts & Ray. The Johnson Center for the Arts parking lot will be reserved for handicapped parking.