JCA board welcomes Bobby Welch
Published 4:00 am Tuesday, October 20, 2015
When you are looking for ways to grow the arts in your community, you look to the best.
That’s exactly what the Johnson Center for the Arts board of directors did.
The board invited Bobby Welch, executive director of the Mary G. Hardin Center for Cultural Arts in Gadsden, to be the featured speaker at the Johnson Center’s board retreat at The Studio on Monday.
“With Bobby Welch as its director, the Mary G. Hardin Center for the Cultural Arts, is celebrating 25 years in 2015,” said Vicki Pritchett, Johnson Center executive director. “Gadsden is a center for the cultural arts and we were excited and honored to have Bobby Welch share the success of the private/public partnership between Mary G. Hardin Center and the city of Gadsden with the our board.”
Welch said the first steps toward a center were taken in 1984 and the Cultural Arts Foundation was created in partnership with the city of Gadsden.
A recent poll showed that in 2013 the Gadsden Cultural Arts Foundation had a total economic impact of $3,193,799 and supported 105 full-time equivalent jobs.
“We know that Gadsden is a great place for the arts and now we have proof that the arts are great for Gadsden,” Welch said.
Troy Mayor Jason A. Reeves said the city of Troy has contracted for services with the Johnson Center for the Arts.
“It is remarkable to see the progress the Gadsden Cultural Arts Foundation and the city of Gadsden have made in the area of the cultural arts in 25 years,” Reeves said. “What they have done gives us great hope for the future for the cultural arts in Troy. The Johnson Center has made and will continue to make a positive impact on the quality of life in Troy for all of our citizens.”
Reeves said the Johnson Center is an important part of the arts in the community and in downtown Troy.
“We will continue to work together to enhance the quality of life in Troy through the arts,” Reeves said.
Earl Ellis, Johnson Center membership chair, said, too, that it is amazing what the
Gadsden Cultural Arts Foundation has accomplished in a relatively short time.
“Hearing Bobby Welch was inspiration for our commitment to the arts,” Ellis said. “Not only do the arts impact the quality of life in a community, they can have an economic impact and play an important role in the revitalization of our downtown area.
“Bobby Welch said, 25 years ago, there was a 90 percent vacancy rate in the Gadsden business community. Today, there is a 90 percent occupancy rate. That’s an indication of what the arts can mean to a city’s economy.”
Mack Gibson, board chair, said, looking down the road 15 years, he envisions Troy’s interest in and support of the cultural arts playing an important role in the continuing development of downtown Troy and as a source of pride throughout the community.
Pritchett said the annual board retreat is an opportunity to introduce new board members and officers and to access where the Johnson Center is and where it’s going.
“At the board retreat, we looked at our vision for providing Pike County with the best of the cultural arts,” Pritchett said. “We used this time to brainstorm and come up with ideas to accomplish our funding needs and to plan events that will positively affect the county and be a draw for tourism.”
The new board members for the year 2016 are Jeff Kervin, Bill Hopper and Ginny Hamm.
Mack Holmes will chair the board with John Ramage, vice-chairman and Cliff Eubanks, treasurer.