State Senator Jay Hottinger (R-Newark) today honored Somerset Mayor Thomas Johnson for receiving the Community Development and Participation award at the Governor's Awards for the Arts ceremony in Columbus.

Hosted by the Ohio Arts Council and the Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation, the annual ceremony honors individuals and businesses who have made a remarkable contribution to the arts in their community.

After retiring from a career in international banking, Perry County native Thomas Johnson became the mayor of Somerset in 2010. Mayor Johnson served on Governor Kasich's 2014 Arts and Culture Capital Bill Committee that recommended $3.4 million in funding for 18 Appalachian arts projects. Somerset, a 1.16 square mile town with a population of 1,481, has received more than $5 million in public and private grants to aid in economic development efforts, including historic preservation and arts support.

"Mayor Johnson has been a real friend to the arts in Perry County," said Hottinger. "His passion for developing arts and historic development projects has brought much-needed investment to the region."

In addition to supporting Somerset arts organizations and activities, Mayor Johnson has also demonstrated a special passion for developing Somerset's Historic District for regional arts outreach.

For more information about the Ohio Arts Council, visit


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