On February 4th I was so excited to attend a reception at Anderson University to unveil a portrait that I painted of Johnny Mann. Betty Mann commissioned the art as a gift to the university. It was an absolute joy to work with her and learn about their love story and Johnny's passion for music and for Anderson. The art that we created together will hang in the Rainey Fine Arts Center, which houses The South Carolina School of the Arts at Anderson University and the Johnny Mann Center for Commercial Music.

Johnny Mann was a Grammy Award-winning composer, arranger and friend of the Anderson University. After moving from California to Anderson in 2005, Johnny became involved in Anderson University’s events and programs, and wrote Anderson University's Alma Mater, “The Sounds of Anderson.”

During his association with Anderson University, Johnny was instrumental in establishing the commercial music program at The South Carolina School of the Arts. After Johnny passed away in 2014, Anderson University's President Evans Whitaker honored his memory by announcing the creation of the Johnny Mann Center for Commercial Music during his memorial service.

Jamie and Betty

In this photo, Betty and I pose with the painting. One of my favorite parts of the reception was listening to the piano that is featured in the art.

"Max playing on John's digital piano made me so happy! We heard him play, "Up, Up and Away," a tribute to John's arrangement that music students from AU sang under his direction. John loved everyone and everything about AU!" - Betty Mann

The afternoon was also special thanks to Andy Waterman, John's recording engineer. He was able to visit the university to lead a masterclass for some of AU's students. It was a joy to meet him at the reception. It is so inspiring to be part of such a beautiful celebration of Johnny's legacy at Anderson!

Read more about the event on the Anderson University website.