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Michael Johnson

Community Engagement Manager
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Michael Johnson manages community engagement programs, oversees the Filling the Well podcast, and supports operations for Creating Connection, a national social change initiative that leverages the relationship between existing public values and arts and culture. Prior to joining Arts Midwest, Michael supported community organizing, fundraising, and communications for several non-profit and higher education organizations based in the Midwest.

Rural Roots

Michael grew up in the quarter-million club of resourceful rural Iowans who are cultivating creativity every day in communities of one thousand people or less.

Creative Ventures

Outside of Arts Midwest, Michael creates in his Minneapolis studio and is a proud member of the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association as well as a former teaching artist for Big Brother Big Sisters. Michael is passionate about place and has enjoyed serving on boards for homeless shelters, neighborhood associations, and tool libraries. He launched and directed Creative St. Paul, and has showcased work for Made Here and Art Shanty Projects. For more information about Michael’s art, visit his website or listen to an interview about his work.


Family Farms Weave Connections Through Barn Quilts (Creating Connection)
Tackling Health Inequities Through Creativity (Creating Connection)
Johnson’s Murals Strengthen Communities in Iowa and Ecuador (Cornell College)


MA in Arts and Cultural Management from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota (Hennepin County, Minnesota)
BA in Politics and Studio Art from Cornell College (Linn County, Iowa)
High School Diploma from West Lyon Community School District (Lyon County, Iowa)

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