Donor to match Johnson Center’s fundraising efforts

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Johnson Center for the Arts’ annual membership drive is heading into the final stretch with a $10,000 prize when the finish line is crossed on Sept. 30.

Vicki Pritchett, Johnson Center executive director, said the goal for the 2015-2016 membership drive is $10,000 and an anonymous donor will match that amount if the goal is reached.

“By reaching our membership drive goal of $10,000 that amount will be doubled by the generosity of one of our donors,” Pritchett said. “We are so excited and so appreciative of that expression of generosity but, first, we have a membership goal to meet and we are confident that our goal will be met.”

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Pritchett said memberships are the lifeblood of the Johnson Center.

“We are an admission-free cultural arts center and our memberships are what keep us going,” she said. “When I was at the Bill Bates Leadership Institute last week, I was talking with the director of the cultural arts center in Gadsden. He was amazed that we don’t charge admission to the Johnson Center. He said, ‘You can’t do that. You can’t make it that way.’ But we have made it that way and we plan to keep making it that way. Our board members are committed to an admission-free arts center. But, it’s impossible to do without the support of our community.”

Memberships are the largest fundraiser for the Johnson Center and to further encourage individual and business/corporate memberships, incentives are being offered at different levels.

“The incentives include special pricing on trips offered through the Johnson Center,” Pritchett said. “The European trip that will be led by Pam Smith only has two places still available. We have weekend trips planned and day trips. There will also be special pricing for members at events sponsored by the Johnson Center.”

Annual memberships to the Johnson Center for the Arts range in price from $30 to $5,000 with increasing incentives at each level.

“With the $5,000 platinum memberships, the member has the opportunity to be the sole sponsor of one of our events or exhibits,” Pritchett said. “Troy Bank and Trust is a platinum member and will sponsor our Wildlife Art of Pike County exhibit this fall. The competition is a juried art competition for students in grades K through 12. The competition has been extended to include schools in Crenshaw and Coffee counties.”

Pritchett said state and local funding helps keep the doors of the Johnson Center arts complex open.

“In addition to the Johnson Center for the Arts, we have The Studio and the Annex, which were both donated to the Troy-Pike Cultural Art Center,” she said. “We own and maintain all three facilities and there is a good amount of cost involved.

“We receive funding from the City of Troy, the Pike County Commission and the City of Brundidge which helps pay salaries, utilities and insurance. We get grant funding from the Alabama State Council on the Arts in support of our exhibits and programs.

“We appreciate all of the support and could not continue to operate without it. This support, coupled with the memberships, keeps the doors of the Johnson Center open admission free.

“More than 10,000 students have come to the Johnson Center without it costing them a dime. We want to keep them coming and we can do that with the community’s support of our membership drive.”

Pritchett expressed appreciation to the Alabama State Legislature for its support of the arts statewide by providing funds for arts programs.

To become a member of the Johnson Center for the Arts, visit the arts center at 300 East Walnut Street in Troy. Hours of operation are 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and until 3 p.m. on Saturday. For more information call, 334-670-2287.