Johnston Community College has officially opened The Frank Creech Art Gallery. The new gallery, located in the Arts Building on the JCC campus, is a collaborative project between the College Foundation, the Johnston County Arts Council, and the College’s Fine Art and Graphic Design faculty to recognize the late Creech’s significant contributions to the visual arts community.

Frank and Friends, the gallery’s inaugural exhibit, will include 20 pieces of Creech’s collection from various periods in his career as well as well as other art of his colleagues and students.

An open house to introduce the museum-quality exhibition space to the college and larger community is planned from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 3. A private dedication ceremony will be held Thursday evening, Dec. 2.

JCC President David Johnson said the College is honored to house the art gallery in Creech’s name. The gallery will serve as an integral education component for JCC’s art students as well as a source of cultural enrichment for the Johnston County community.

“Frank was a unique individual who loved JCC, his community, and the expression of life through his art,” Johnson said. “It is fitting to have a specific facility on campus which memorializes his contributions as faculty member and artist. We are extremely grateful for all of Frank’s friends and family who have had a part in making this opening a reality.”

A graduate of Duke and Florida State universities, Creech was admired for his distinct collection of sculptures and paintings that reflected his passion for visual expression. Creech taught and later led the Art Department at JCC. His artwork is in private and public collections and in museums throughout the United States. His cast bronze and aluminum sculptures are displayed on the campuses of Duke, Yale, Delaware, Penn State and Francis Marion universities. Other public commissioned works include “The Story Teller” at the Gaston County Public Library and “The Reader” at the Public Library of Johnston County and Smithfield. Creech’s “The Rescue” is at the entrance of the Paul A. Johnson Auditorium on the JCC campus. In 2005, he was named to the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the state’s highest civilian honor.

The 1,500-square-foot gallery contains state-of-the-art exhibition space as well as a 750-foot reception area to eventually be used for the public sale of artwork. The gallery interior is equipped with museum-quality lighting, climate control, hanging and security systems. With its grey, hand-finished concrete floors, contemporary white walls, and distinct crown molding, the exhibition space balances a modern feel with traditional Southern architecture.