Mitchell tours arts center

Published 7:09 pm Monday, July 6, 2009

When Sen. Wendell Mitchell, D-Luverne, commits funds to a project, he likes to follow the project through. So, when he was invited to visit the Holman and Ethel Johnson Center for the Arts in Troy last week, he made time to do so.

“Sen. Mitchell has been instrumental in the arts center project from the onset and this was the first opportunity that we’ve had to walk him through the Johnson Center since the grand opening almost a year ago,” said Richard Metzger, Center executive director. “We invited him down so that he could see how far we’ve come and also to thank him for his continued support.”

On the tour, Mitchell viewed the Kenji Shinohara Japanese woodblock exhibit and also Ruth Walker’s “Memories” exhibit.

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“This was my first time to see the entire facility and I was very impressed with what has been accomplished,” Mitchell said. “I can’t imagine that other communities the size of Troy wouldn’t be a little envious of an art center of this caliber. If the Johnson Center is not the best art center for a community the size of Troy, it’s close to it. I’m proud that I was able to lend support to a facility that will mean so much to the Troy and Pike County communities for many years to come.”

Mitchell said he has long viewed the arts as tools of education.

“You can take all of the science and English that is offered, but if you don’t have an understanding and appreciation of art and cultural history then you don’t have the complete education that you need to compete in today’s world. To be really well rounded, you needed to be exposed to the arts.”

Mitchell said he was the first, or one of the first, to put seed money into the cultural arts center project.

“I was in Troy the day that the plans for the arts center were finished,” he said. “We were there in the public relations and tourism office, and when I saw the plans, I knew that I wanted to do what I could to make sure the project became a reality.”

Mitchell donated seed money to the arts center project that day and has made donations periodically since that time.

“And, from what I’ve seen, the money was very well spent,” he said.

“The Johnson Center for the Arts is a great asset to Troy and Pike County and will be for many years to come.”