Johnson Center looking to hire local artists, extends reach to Troy’s campus

Taylor Boydstun

Staff Writer

The Johnson Center for the Arts opened the doors to its new building in downtown Troy  on Thursday, Sept. 15.

The building, intended for art classes of all kinds, is across the street from the museum, and right beside The Studio, at 303 E Walnut St.

According to Vicki Pritchett, executive director of the Johnson Center, this project has been in the works for quite some time now.

“We have been looking for a place because we did not have space here at the Johnson Center to have just the lessons set up,” Pritchett said. “If they used The Studio, then we would have to set up, then put up every time. So we wanted something completely dedicated to lessons.”

The Johnson Center hopes to offer classes in visual and performing arts to children and young adults. It is also looking to hire artists to teach the classes at this location.

“We are looking for working artists who would like to give lessons or perhaps do a workshop,” Pritchett said. “And we’re also writing a grant to have university theater intern majors do after-school workshops in drama.

“Right now, we only have one artist. She only has two classes, but we hope that we’ll be able to extend that. Our goal is to have something going on every afternoon.”

Day Barnes has been teaching at the Johnson Center for over 11 years in various locations. Though she is originally from Laurel, Mississippi, she has resided in Troy for over 37 years now.

“I love teaching children because they are so eager to try anything and they typically aren’t afraid of failure,” Barnes said. “Most older students have been told they can’t draw or that their drawings aren’t good. Consequently, they are somewhat harder to teach and encourage.”

When looking to hire artists to teach, they are looking beyond the typical visual art lesson.

“It’s not just visual arts,” Pritchett said. “It’s not just painting, drawing. We want workshops and whether it’s drama or guitar lessons or whatever.

“We charge a nominal fee, with a small percentage going to the Johnson Center for the Arts, and the remainder going to the art teacher.”

“I think that the Johnson Center reaching out to students is fantastic,” said senior art major Hannah McDougal from Gilbertown.

“Getting a start in any career is intimidating, especially something as subjective as art. I would absolutely love to become involved with this endeavor.”

In order to choose a name for the building, the committee behind the Johnson Center for the Arts held a contest that ended Sept. 25.

People submitted name ideas ranging from “The Art Tracks,” which alludes to the nearby train tracks, to “Nouveau Studio de Art,” which roughly translates to “the new art studio.”

Though the contest has closed, the committee has not yet announced the name.

Students interested in applying to serve as interns or teach can contact

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