The time has come to say goodbye to Cherry Johnson, our Watauga County Arts Council Executive Director of 28 years. She officially retires on July 31. Cherry’s love of the arts, determination to share the arts with our community, and dedication to the Arts Council has been a beacon of light for us all. I am sure many of you have had the pleasure of getting to know Cherry personally over the years.
She loved chatting with all the members of the Arts Council and cherished those relationships. She loved the energy of the arts happening all around her in the Blue Ridge Arts Space. She will be greatly missed and we are sure she will miss each of you. We hoped to have a big send-off party for Cherry but with the threat of COVID-19 still clouding our lives, we are forced to do something a bit more creative. Please consider submitting a note of thanks, well wishes, or favorite memories to share with Cherry. If you have any photographs you wish to share we encourage you to attach them to this form. We hope to put together a book with the notes we receive and photographs from her tenure with the organization.
We have also set up the “The Cherry Johnson Legacy Fund” in Cherry's honor. Cherry wants this organization to continue to grow and thrive. This fund will help support the organization's future endeavors to fulfill the mission that Cherry had of “Making The Arts A Presence In Our Community.” Please consider honoring Cherry’s years of service and dedication to this organization with a donation to this special fund.
Thank you for the role each of you has played in making Cherry's time with the Arts Council so special. We appreciate you and look forward to the future. SINCERELY,
The Board of Directors Watauga County Arts Council
Cherry Johnson has been the Executive Director of the Watauga County Arts Council since August 1, 1992, nearly 28 years ago. Since she began working with the Arts Council the organization has grown enormously in size and scope and now serves the entire community in countless ways, among them a wide array of children’s programming and community programming, grants to local organizations and artists, and a variety of services to benefit and assist the artists of Watauga County.
She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration as well as a Bachelor of Science in Arts Education from Appalachian State University. Additionally, she holds an Associate in Arts degree from Wingate College and is a graduate of the Blue Ridge Leadership Challenge as well as several other professional training programs.
She and her husband, JR (Roby) are both Watauga County natives who grew up in Wingate, NC as "faculty kids" at what is now Wingate University. They have five children (ranging from 24 to 43 years in age) as well as six grandsons (1 1/2 to 18 years) and are expecting their first granddaughter in late spring of 2020.
In the past Cherry has been a university instructor, a public school teacher in visual art, a piano teacher, a small business owner, and she and her husband continue to own and manage several small rental properties in the area and in Wingate.
Over the years, Cherry has been involved with the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce, the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce (serving on their Board of Directors for twelve years), the Boone Sunrise Rotary Club, the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts Board of Directors, the Hayes Performing Arts Center, and numerous other committees and boards throughout both Watauga County and the region.
She and her husband are planning to begin their retirement years by travelling the country full-time in a motorhome "until they are tired of traveling" but periodically circling back by North Carolina to check in on their rental properties and to visit family and friends.