Artists At Work

As the pandemic reality unfolded in the Spring of 2022, the curatorial and production company The Office (New York & London) set out to craft a social impact project “inspired by the Depression-era Works Progress Administration” which would be “designed to give artists resources to continue to produce work” and “build new structures and partnerships that will help to sustain the creative sector in a post-pandemic America.” A stated outcome is to “embed the arts more deeply into communities to the benefit of society as a whole.”

In short, The Office knows that “Artists are the messengers who will lead us into the future—their work will help us to understand our new world; their creativity and inspirations will both express and allow us to maintain our humanity through trials that feel inconceivable.“

With the Artists At Work project currently unfolding among artist cohorts and communities in LA County, the Mississippi Delta, and the Greater Chattanooga “Thrive” region (and another group soon to begin in the Borderlands), daniel johnson is honored to have been selected to work alongside the Mississippi Center for Cultural Production (Sipp Culture) and the Jackson Hinds Comprehensive Health Center to imagine a new relationship which connects their common commitments to community health in the town of Utica, MS. 

Over the course of 2022 and into 2023, daniel johnson’s Artist At Work project is the performance of a  patient, curiosity-driven relationship building artwork to connect the work of the Mississippi Center for Cultural Production and the Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Center in Utica, MS. There are an array of connections between Sipp Culture’s community engagement around food, culture, and storytelling in Utica and the long-time commitment the Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Center has had to the town of Utica. To offer just an inkling of how deep these roots go, the Utica Clinic was the first JHCHC clinic which Sipp Culture Co-Director Carlton Turner utilized as a child. He and JHCHC CEO Dr. Jasmin Chapman recently made the connection that she may very well have been the Carlton’s first dentist.

While the project is still in it’s early stages, johnson is spending his time getting to know the area by frequenting businesses, exploring the area on his tricycle, attending community events, and researching the empty lot next door to the clinic which both Sipp and JHCHC think there might be an opportunity for a community-led design process. — Jackson, Mississippi