AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – An elegant gallery reception for a good cause!

Friday night was the opening reception for a new art exhibit in the Ann and Ellis Johnson Gallery, which is part of the Jessye Norman School of the Arts.

And as JNSA Executive Director Gary Dennis explains, it was for a good cause, too: a new roof at the arts school.

“And they were kind enough to do it in support of out 20th anniversary and the fact that we really need a new roof. It’s been 20 years since the old roof was put in place and we’re starting to get some leaks in the front of the building and it’s time for it to be repaired.”

The works displayed comprise the inaugural exhibition of local artist, Dr. Tina Whitehouse. The centerpiece is a stunning painting of the founder, opera diva and Augusta native Jessye Norman.

Whitehouse says her passion for art is only topped by her passion for opera, so the show is a wonderful merging of the two.

“She is well-known all around the world, In Paris, people know her more than they know her in Augusta. I saw this photo of her and I remember her as a person and I wanted to paint her. And I rendered that painting just because I love her.”

You can see Tina Whitehouse’s inaugural exhibit for yourself at the Ann and Ellis Johnson Gallery, which is open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from noon until 3pm. It’s at the corner of 8th and Greene Streets in downtown Augusta. Enter on 8th street.

The exhibit will be up through the end of October.