Couple’s generosity benefits Johnson Center

Published 7:52 pm Thursday, March 13, 2014

Tom Brantley and his wife, Frankie, have sponsored a gallery at the Johnson Center in honor of his mother, Dorothy Hattaway Brantley.

Tom Brantley and his wife, Frankie, have sponsored a gallery at the Johnson Center in honor of his mother, Dorothy Hattaway Brantley.

Dothan attorney Tom Brantley has deep roots in his native Pike County. His wife, Frankie, shares his love of home and of family. When the Johnson Center for the Arts in Troy was in its infancy, he suggested they sponsor a gallery in memory of his mother, Dorothy Hattaway Brantley, she readily agreed.

A couple of years ago, the Brantleys noticed the plaques that designated the different galleries at the Johnson Center were not of the quality one would expect in such a handsome, historic building.

“About two years ago, Tom and Frankie came to us and said they would like to donate the funds for new plaques,” said Wiley White, Johnson Center development coordinator. “Of course, we were delighted with their interest and excited that they were willing to fund the project.”

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Tom Brantley admitted he is rather particular when it comes to details. He wanted the plaques to maintain the historic charm of the arts center and reflect the integrity of those for whom the galleries were named – his mother, Dorothy Hattaway Brantley, John and Eloise Kirk, Mack and Mary Gibson, George and Muriel Saunders, Jones Allred Chapman and Jane Jernigan Brantley.

It was important to Brantley that the plaques maintain the historical integrity of the 100-year-old building.

“We wanted to make sure the plaques were done right,” White said. “We wanted them to be source of pride for the arts center and for Tom and Frankie.

“The materials that were left over from the renovation of the old post office were in storage. Among those materials were large pieces of the marble that was used throughout the post office and much of it was used for baseboards.”

Tom Brantley said he liked the idea of using the marble as a base for the plaques. He chose the color of bronze for the plates as well as the font for the lettering and the design.

The curvature of the bronze plates mimicked the curvature of windows in the building.

When all of the elements came together, the plaques had a simple but distinguished look.

“They were a perfect fit with the Johnson Center,” White said. The Brantleys agreed.

Tom and Frankie Brantley visited the Johnson Center Wednesday for the first time since the plaques had been installed.

“They are just what we had imagined,” Brantley said.

“This project began with the gallery as a way to honor my mother. She always said for us, her children, to be creative with our hands and our minds. I’ve always wished that I could play an instrument or draw. I can’t do either but Frankie and I can support the arts in other ways. The gallery and the plaques are things that we can do.

“We love Brundidge, my childhood home, and we love Troy. We appreciate the opportunity to continue to be apart of Pike County through the arts.”