Published 12:07 am Friday, December 19, 2008
By all accounts, “Christmas in the Center” Monday night was a tremendous success.
More than 100 people came out to be entertained, to enjoy the fellowship of friends and neighbors and to support the arts in Pike County.
“Christmas in the Center” was a fund-raising event for the Johnson Center for the Arts and the sense of seasonal giving far exceed the goal of $10,000, said Richard Metzger, executive director of the Troy-Pike Cultural Arts Center.
“We were excited and pleased with the ‘Christmas in the Center’ event,” Metzger said. “It opened with Shelia Jackson and Friends at the Johnson Center for the Arts. It was wonderful to be sitting among the Christmas trees in the main gallery listening to Christmas music performed live.
“To think that we can have events like this in Troy, Alabama. I would never have been able to afford a ticket to an event like this when I was living in New Orleans. This was a world class event and would have easily cost $150 a ticket.”
Metzger said the Troy-Pike Cultural Arts Center board of directors and volunteers worked hard to bring about the ‘gala’ that followed Jackson’s concert at The Studio across the street.
“Volunteers brought side dishes and Raymond Sexton barbecued tenderloins,” Metzger said. “The food was outstanding. We didn’t have a full house, but it was close. And, for this time of year, participation was outstanding.”
The fund-raising event included silent and live auctions and every item “on the block” was sold.
“Larry Hancock was the auctioneer and he kept things moving and fun,” Metzger said.
“Everyone had a good time with it. We were excited that we exceed our goal. We are so blessed here in Troy and Pike County to have people willing and able to support us so that we can continue to bring quality exhibits and programs to the Johnson Center for the Arts.”
The funds raised through “Christmas in the Center” will be used to bring world-class exhibits to the arts center.
In January, the center will feature a quilt show of 18 African American quilts from the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts.
“The featured quilt artist for this show will be Yvonne Wells, an Alabama artist who has gained world acclaim,” Metzger said. “The show will also include a couple of quilts by the Gee’s Bend quilters.
In the downstairs gallery, there will be an exhibition of 52 of Bill Wright’s black and white environmental photographs from around the world.
Metzger expressed appreciation to all of those who contributed in some way to the success of the “Christmas in the Center” fund-raiser.
He also invited everyone to visit the Christmas Extravaganza, a display of Christmas trees, at the Johnson Center for the Arts through Jan. 2.
“The Johnson Center is a good place to bring visitors during the holidays,” he said. “We welcome them and, as always, admission to the arts center is free.”
Hours for the Johnson Center for the Arts are 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 1 until 5 p.m. on Sunday. The center is closed on Mondays.