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.