Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 16, 2018

Kessel, Johnston to be honored with portrait

Jul 27, 2018

A portrait of Suzan Kessel and Sally Johnston will be unveiled tonight before the “Coming Home – Coming Together Concert,” which starts at 7:30 p.m. in the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center.

The portrait of the two women was done as a tribute to their enduring, passionate leadership and dedication to the center.

“The story of the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center is a thriller; a story of ups and downs; a story of determination and can-do; a story of frustrations, delays and disappointments; a story of conflicts, and of conflicts resolved,” said the arts center’s executive director Rustin Lippincott. “A story about men and women in love with a community. A story of 21st century complexities, snarling red tape, unforeseen circumstances, and realities of life. It is a story that has made the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center a marvel, a symbol, a monument, to what a small town can do when a dream is shared.”

Lippincott said it was Sally Johnston and Suzan Kessel who gave birth to the original idea.

“Two intelligent, level-headed, dynamic, small town women - and a passionate commitment to make it happen,” Lippincott continued. “Two women raised in an environment where no one is a stranger. Where helping, sharing, pitching in is standard operating procedure. Where self-sufficiency is taken for granted and a simple promise, ‘can do,’ sets an entire community in motion.”

Through the hard work of Kessel, Johnston, and countless others, the center opened its doors to the public in October 2017. Lippincott said there is a collective that is grateful for their passion and grateful for the ladies’ warm hearts and headstrong, no-quit mentality.

“The 500,000 people who have walked through the center doors over the first decade wouldn’t have had this opportunity if it weren’t for Sally and Suzan,” he said. “We are thankful for their leadership and guidance, which have brought families together in front of the Sondheim curtain and their passion that brought couples together at wedding receptions. Sally and Suzan brought us the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center, which has brought over community together.”

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