Lessons learned: ‘Woodlawn’ star to help kick off JCA membership drive

Published 3:00 am Thursday, August 18, 2016

Hank Erwin was an outsider when he spoke often to Birmingham’s Woodlawn High School football team during the 1973 football season. But when the movie “The Making of Woodlawn: The True Story” hit the big screen, Erwin was cast into national prominence.

People across the country tuned in to his message of hope and love that led to the spiritual awakening that inspired the Woodlawn football team, the school and a large segment of the Birmingham community during a time of racial unrest.

After a government mandate, black students desegregated Woodlawn High School. Racial tensions between the Woodlawn players were eased when Hank Erwin showed the players a “better way.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“Woodlawn” is a 2015 American Christian sports drama film that was directed by Hank Erwin sons, Andrew and Jon.

The Johnson Center for the Arts has invited Erwin to be the guest speaker at its membership drive kickoff event at 7 p.m. Tuesday in The Studio on West Walnut Street across from the Johnson Center.

Vicki Pritchett, JCA executive director, said Erwin, a graduate of Troy University, will share his spiritual journey and tell how his story is the central story of “The Making of Woodlawn.

“We are excited to have Hank and Shelia Erwin here to help us kick off our annual membership drive,” Pritchett said. “They share our vision of improving the quality of life for all the citizens of Troy and Pike and surrounding counties through the arts.”

Pritchett said the Johnson Center for the Arts depends on memberships to ensure that admission to the local arts center remains free of charge to the public and that the JCA continues to offer quality exhibits and programs that include all of the arts including music, theater and dance.”

Pritchett said that the Johnson Center offers seven levels of membership and, with each increasing level, the opportunities also increase from the prior level.

An individual membership is $50 and includes invitations to members-only special events, the JCA newsletter and the member’s name on the wall.

A family membership is $100 and includes all opportunities from the individual level plus all children’s events.

The Friends of the Arts level is $250 and includes the opportunities of the family membership and also special travel opportunities.

The benefactor level is $500 and includes the opportunities from the friends level plus 15 percent off one rental of any area of the JCA.

Those who choose the $1,000 Silver level of membership receive opportunities from the Benefactor level with an extra 5 percent off the rental of any area of the JCA. They also receive two tickets for Christmas at the Center.

Those who opt for the $2,500 Gold membership may take 25 percent off one rental of any area of the JCA and receive four tickets for Christmas at the Center in addition to all member invitations, the newsletter and the name on the wall.

Platinum memberships are $5,000 and include 50 percent off one rental fee, four tickets for Christmas at the Center and will be a named sponsor for one exhibit at the JCA.

“We encourage everyone who is interested in the arts and in improving the quality of life for all our citizens to become a member of the JCA,” Pritchett said. “The benefits of membership are great for our members and support the Johnson Center so that others my also benefit.”