Paxson views exhibit as vital to community

Published 9:38 pm Friday, October 9, 2009

Duane Paxson moved to Troy when he was 3 years old so he considers himself “almost” a native son.

As an artist, Paxson takes great pride in the evolution of the arts in Troy.

“When I was growing up, we had a few arts opportunities, but nothing like what is offered in the Troy community today,” he said.

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“Back then, I remember being fascinated by the work of woodcarver, Robert Pugh Windham. Larry Godwin of Brundidge was an artist in residence and Altrice Johnston was a potter. Other than that and a few other pockets of art, Troy University’s art department was the most exposure we had to art.”

Paxson’s dad, Robert Paxson was the chair of the art department at Troy State College, and he was greatly influence by his dad’s work.

Life is a huge part of Duane Paxson’s world, and he is excited to be an exhibitor in the Celebrating Contemporary Art in Alabama: The Nature of Being Southern at the Johnson Center for the Arts in Troy.

His Jelly Bean Angels are very popular with visitors to the arts center.

“The Nature of Being Southern” exhibition features the work of 41 Alabama artists, all of whom are recipients of the prestigious Alabama State Council on the Arts Individual Fine Art and Crafts Fellowship Awards.

“This is pretty amazing to have this many Fellowship artists exhibit in one place at one time,” Paxson said.

“And for a town of this size to have a faculty and an exhibit like this is amazing. You would expect an art center like this to be in a large, major city.”

Paxson said “The Nature of Being Southern” is a very diverse exhibit and one that will appeal to varying interests and backgrounds in art.

“This exhibit will expose young children to the visual arts and that is most important,” he said.

“Children need to be exposed to the arts at an early age so they will develop an interest in them. Those who are not exposed to the arts until later in life usually will not be interested.

“That’s why it’s so important that we have a facility like the Johnson Center for the Arts available. We get children when they are very impressionable, and they will develop an interest in art that they will enjoy for a lifetime.”

An Artists Reception will be held from 5:30 until 8 o’clock tonight at the Johnson Center for the Arts on East Walnut Street in downtown Troy.

The informal reception is open to the public and everyone is invited to come, view the exhibitions and visit with the artists.