Johnson County —
Walking into the main entrance of the old J.N. Long Elementary School, the walls of the main hallway are lined with tables filled with different pieces of art ranging from photographs to watercolor paintings.
Large paintings of children, books, meadows and past presidents are painted on the walls. On the first door to the right music can be heard as Jeannie Allen teaches students of all ages how to play the piano.
Just ahead the gift shop has a plethora of original works for sale. Upstairs are empty classrooms that will soon turn into art galleries.
One can hear women laughing as they paint on easels. A banner at the back of the room reads Johnson County Art Guild.
The Johnson County Art Guild, one of Cleburne’s oldest cultural arts group, has never had a permanent home until now.
The J.N. Long Cultural Arts Complex has a long way to go but the future looks bright.
The center finally found a home last fall when Cleburne Friends of Cultural Arts signed a contract with Cleburne ISD for use of the J.N. Long campus at 425 Granbury St. as a cultural arts complex. Board President Alden Nellis received the keys to the building from former Superintendent Tim Miller.
The old building was originally an elementary campus until 1996, when it became a kindergarten. In 2007, it became the adult education building. Adult ed continues to use the annexes while CFCA has use of the gym, cafeteria and main three-story building.
“It has given us a permanent home for meetings and events held by our member organizations,” Micki Nellis said. “Many of the cultural arts groups were meeting in ‘found’ places or holding workshops at their kitchen tables.”
About 14 culture arts groups in Johnson County are members of CFCA and have used the complex for meetings and workshops. Some of the groups include Cleburne Camera Club, Brazos Chamber Orchestra, Johnson County Iris & Daylily Society and the New Dreams Sound Studio.