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Volume 26, Number 2 — February 2019

Johnson City Area Arts Council serves five counties & one city

By Leslie Grace | A! Magazine for the Arts | December 31, 2014

The Johnson City Area Arts Council has provided access to the arts since 1982. It serves the people of Johnson City and Carter, Greene, Johnson, Washington and Unicoi counties in Tennessee.

In July 2014, the non-profit was given potentially crushing news: the City Commission eliminated all of its funding. According to a news release issued at the time, "Our board was prepared for a 10 percent reduction in appropriations, as we knew it has been the city's intent to fade out the support gradually, but the total elimination for FY15 was truly a shock. The organization faced devastation, but was preserved by arts benefactors, James C. Martin and Sonia and Jim King. Charitable contributions were made in honor of beloved wife and mother, Mary B. Martin. The JC Area Arts Council's Annual Arts in Education Conference, held each year for regional arts educators, will now proudly bear Mary's name."

In addition to the contributions from Martin and the Kings, the council is funded through grants from the Tennessee Arts Commission, membership contributions, individual and corporate donations, foundation grants and program revenues. The membership consists of arts constituents and individuals. A volunteer board of directors governs the council.

The JCAAC is one of 14 agencies across the state of Tennessee authorized to re-grant funds from the Tennessee Arts Commission in support of community arts projects.

This year those Arts Builds Communities Grants were given to Central Ballet Theatre to fund an original ballet, "Rapunzel: A Tangled Tale," East Tennessee State University's Slocumb Galleries for an exhibition of American Indian/Alaskan Native artists, Science Hill High School band boosters for their marching band invitational, Johnson City Public Library for a contra dance series, Appalachian Resource Conservation and Development Council to develop and market a mobile app as an educational tool for The Quilt Trail, Johnson City Community Theatre to fund the production of "White Christmas," Doak House Museum to support public workshops and lectures by David Williams, and the Johnson City Senior Center Foundation for the Senior Chorale program.

The council also offers a yearly workshop on how to apply for a grant.

In addition to its duties for the Tennessee Arts Commission, the JCAAC provides educational opportunities for children and teachers.

"We began the second Arts Corps program in the nation which offers high-quality arts instruction at no cost to homeless and at-risk youth in our area," Suzanne Burik-Burleson, former executive director, says.

"For almost 30 years, we have offered the region's only Arts In Education Conference, drawing kindergarten through 12th grade arts educators from over 20 counties in Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia for arts-specific professional development. We have also showcased hundreds of regional artists through gallery and public art exhibitions."

The Arts in Education Conference this year featured 21 workshops and focused on how the arts can be interwoven into all other academic aspects and the facets of daily life.

The keynote speaker was Arianna Ross. Ross weaves the power of dance, music, theatre and spoken word in an entertaining environment while providing valuable knowledge of the arts. Her shows have been held for audiences ranging from 50-10,000 people. She has taught and performed nationally for organizations such as the National Theatre, East Tennessee State University, DC Community Partnership for the Kennedy Center and American Alliance for Theatre Education.

Their latest exhibit was the paintings of Anne Gurney Thwaites, which was part of an ongoing public art partnership between the council and the Johnson City, Tenn., Public Building Authority. Past exhibits included mixed media works by Philippine-based curator Marinel Contreras, Valeria Renee Pitts, Don Davis, Drake Walsh, Theresa Markiw and others.

Their next event is an exhibition at the Millennium Center of paintings by Gary Chambers from Feb. 2 through April 30.

For further information about the JCAAC, visit Their office is located at 300 East Main Street, Suite 302-D, Johnson City, Tennessee.

>> KingsportARTS provides workshops & grant funding

Young women pose in front of their creations after a JCAAC sponsored workshop.

Party-goers get into the spirit of things at "UnCork the Fun: Hooch, Flappers, and Art!," JCAAC's 2013 fundraiser.