Arts center honors Gibson

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Mack Gibson was honored for his 12 years as chairman of the Johnson Center for the Arts Board of Directors at the board’s annual retreat Monday at the Troy Airport.

“Mack is the only chairman the board has had and, if it were not for him, the Johnson Center would not be where it is today,” said Vicki Pritchett, Johnson Center executive director. “Mack was pivotal in getting the Johnson Center renovated and he has been our number one fundraiser. Through fundraising, we can maintain free admission to the arts center and continue to offer extensive arts exhibits.”

Pritchett said Gibson has been selfless in his commitment to the Johnson Center and to the arts in Troy.

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“If it were not for Mack, we would not be sitting here and in this position of expansion,” Pritchett said. “He is leading us in our New Decade of Vision, which includes the renovation of the Johnson Center Annex to include classroom space for youth and adults in the areas of music, pottery and artwork.

“We appreciate Mack and we do thank him.”

The board also welcomed three new members, Mayor Jason A. Reeves, Dr. Walter Givhan and Steve Flowers.

“We are excited and honored to welcome our new board members,” Pritchett said. “They all share the board’s vision for the arts in our community and they will be instrumental in that vision becoming reality.”

Pritchett said Reeves has a progressive vision for the revitalization of downtown Troy and how the arts can be a part of that.

“Mayor Reeves realizes that a cultural arts center is instrumental for economic development, expansion and growth,” she said.

“Dr, Givhan is the senior vice chancellor for advancement and economic development at Troy University. He has an interest in the arts that has been expanded through his extensive travels with the Air Force. His membership on the board will be pivotal to a strong community relationship with Troy University. We look forward to various collaboration projects with the university.”

Flowers’ many years in politics as a television and radio annalist and as a syndicated columnist will be beneficial to the Johnson Center board, Pritchett said.

“Steve’s background as a state representative brings a knowledge of state funding for the arts to the board and for the continual funding of the arts,” Pritchett said. “He has an interest in the arts and recognizes the importance of the arts for our community.”

The retreat featured two guest speakers, Pam Allen, chair of the Troy University art and design department, and Martha Lockett, executive director of Arts Revive in Selma.

Allen said Troy University has a vision of collaboration between the university and the Johnson Center.

“That collaboration will bring art endeavors to Troy and various arts training and opportunities to the Troy University and Troy communities,” Pritchett said. “Martha Lockett talked with us about the grassroots efforts, Arts Revive, that is underway in Selma to revitalize their downtown area. Arts Revive has recently completed the renovation of one building as an arts center and has purchased three empty buildings for future revitalization efforts.”

Pritchett said Arts Revive has received more than $300,000 in grant funding for its revitalization projects.

“It was inspiring to hear what they are accomplishing in Selma and their vision for what could happen in their downtown,” she said.

“With our Decade of Vision, we, too, can accomplish great things.”