Last week, Fredericksburg artist Johnny Johnson was celebrated by fans, friends, and family alike. Guests gathered in the auditorium of the Fredericksburg Visitor Center, where Johnson’s artwork has been on display (and continues to be) for all to view. These 20 pieces of art have been on loan to the Visitor Center, donated by multiple local residents including Mayor Mary Greenlaw and Ambassador Pamela Bridgewater, the latter of whom provided remarks at the Johnson event.
In the 1950s Johnson intended to explore an artistic career in New York, but after he began teaching art in Fredericksburg, he decided to stay and transform the artistic community in the city. Many of the event’s guests claimed that the exuberant art scene of downtown Fredericksburg is thanks, very much in part, to Johnny Johnson. Bridgewater recounted how she took art classes under Johnson in grade school, and later invited him to teach art in Jamaica while she was stationed as its Ambassador.
Thanks to Dr. John McGuire III of the McGuire Foundation, Johnson’s work will be on display at the Visitor Center until June 26th. The McGuire Foundation encourages artistic expression among youth, and has facilitated the art and story of Johnson to be displayed and told throughout the city of Fredericksburg.
The McGuire Foundation and last week’s event have made clear the impact that Johnson has had artistically, historically, and culturally in Fredericksburg. His legacy is exemplified through the students he taught for decades, the family and friends who carry his story, and the beautiful art still hanging in the Fredericksburg Visitor Center. Johnny Johnson is a visionary, and if his words at the event were any indication, he is far from finished with his artistic work.
The Johnny Johnson Art Exhibit is still hanging in many homes and the Fredericksburg Visitor Center at 706 Caroline St. Read more about the event here.