By Alyssa Schnugg
*Editor’s Note: Artist daniel johnson prefers for his name to be written in lowercase.
Lafayette County Artist-in-Residence daniel johnson is hosting an Interest Meeting Saturday to create and define a project that will be reflective of the community and is rooted in the relationship between land and power.
johnson began working on the project in February, holding previous community meetings and many one-on-one conversations with local residents including professors, performers, librarians, visual artists, educators and community organizers.
“After spending time in dialog with community members from Taylor to Abbeville, I found that many local people were considering the relationship between land and power in their own work, whether it was research-based, artistic or part of their community organizing work,” johnson said.
On Saturday, the public is invited to meet johnson and discuss ideas for co-creating a public program from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at The Powerhouse.
“While many are coming at this topic from different directions – food sovereignty, affordable housing, spiritual connection, civil rights – all of them seemed to be pushing on this topic in an interesting way and so this program offers a platform for bringing all these perspectives into conversations with each other,” johnson said.
Last year, the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council was one of three sites selected for the In-State Residency Program by the Center for Arts and Public Engagement. johnson was selected as the county’s artist-in-residence.
In 2017, CAPE held listening sessions across the state, including Oxford, to discover what the art community thinks are the challenges and opportunities facing Mississippi. CAPE created core issues in the state and are providing grants to artists to develop participatory events that help to address those issues and build a public artwork project.
johnson said the meeting is open to anyone who is intrigued by a discussion of how land relates to power.
The goals of Saturday’s meeting include:
– Connect a diverse group of people who resonate with this theme
– Answer questions about how we can bring everyone’s perspective together in one program
– Get a sense of the size and scale of the program (it might be an afternoon or it may be something which happens over the course of a week)
– Begin solidifying a core group of people who would like to participate.
“Ultimately, this program will take the shape of the participants and will offer space for workshops, lectures, art exhibits, performances and more,” he said.