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Johnson Center receives $100,000

The Johnson Center for the Arts has received $100,000 from the Troy Board of Education through funds donated by Sen. Wendell Mitchell.

The funds will be used to implement an instructional in-service program to train teachers to integrate the arts into their lesson plans, following the Alabama Course of Study Standards guidelines for every subject.

The funds will also be used to produce proper storage materials for the upcoming photography exhibit titled “Looking Through the Lens: 100 Years of Photography,” featuring the works of Holman Johnson of Troy and D.L. Hightower of Clayton.

“Each year, the Alabama Legislature assigns a certain sum of money to senior members of the Senate to direct to projects and programs that benefit the overall education system in the state,” Mitchell said.

“I elected this year to channel the funds given to me for this purpose to support the arts and programs that will help educate the youth of Pike and surrounding counties.”

Mitchell said the money has to go through a school system and, because the City of Troy is so supportive of the arts programs, he chose for the money to go through the Troy Board of Education.

Mitchell said these funds are not being taken away from the regular appropriations for the schools of Pike County. They are over and above those funds.

“Sen. Mitchell has been a great supporter of our Center from the onset, not only with financial assistance but with his presence at many of our programs,” said Mack Gibson, chair of the Troy-Pike Cultural Arts Center board of directors. “We deeply appreciate what he has done and is doing for us as we continue to provide art education in a first-class art museum for the citizens, especially the children, of this city, county and surrounding counties.”

Once the “Looking Through the Lens: 100 Years of Photography” exhibition closes at the Johnson Center, it will become a traveling exhibition titled “Walking Wendell Mitchell’s History Lesson Exhibition with the Johnson Center handling and scheduling the exhibition.

The photography exhibition will open at the Johnson Center for the Arts the first week in August and run through November.

Students in grades three through 12 countywide will view the exhibit.

The funds, made possible through the efforts of Mitchell, also will be used to provide student transportation to the exhibition.

“The exhibition features two gentlemen who documented the agrarian history of this area from the early1900s through the 1960s and early 1970s,” said Richard Metzger, executive director of the Troy-Pike Cultural Arts Center. “The in-service program for teachers in grades three, four and five will give teachers hands-on projects to re-enforce what the students are taught in the classroom in Alabama history and also in language, science and math.”

Prior to viewing the “Looking Through the Lens” exhibition, Metzger said an art specialist will go into the classrooms and talk to the students about the exhibit and what they will see.

“Following the exhibition at the Johnson Center, what the students saw and learned will be reinforced through classroom discussions.

The $100,000 funding will make it possible to provide the art specialist, teacher handouts to the students, supplies for the projects associated with the arts experience and field trips to the Johnson Center.

“The classroom presentations and projects are paramount to the success of this exhibition,” Metzger said. “The appreciation and understanding of art helps students with problem solving and, through arts experiences and activities, we should see improvements in test scores over time.

“As evidenced by this donation, Senator Mitchell continues to provide leadership, support and a strong vision for District 30. Through his ongoing support in bringing outstanding art and educational programs to the area help ensure that the Troy-Pike Cultural Arts Center mission of cultural enrichment of the lives of all citizens through the exposure to and education in the arts is fulfilled.”

The presentation of the check will be held on March 15 during the regular monthly board meeting of the Troy-Pike Cultural Arts Center.