Johanna K. Taylor is a hybrid scholar/practitioner whose work is grounded in a core value of art and culture as catalyzing forces advancing justice in daily life. As a researcher her work explores questions of civic impact and cultural equity through the intersection of policy, art, and place by working with national and global collaborators. As an administrator she has organized public programs and exhibitions that unite artists and community organizers, scholars and policymakers to explore the systems shaping our shared futures.
Taylor received an MA in Arts Management from Carnegie Mellon University, PhD in Public and Urban Policy from The New School, and was a Creative Cities Fellow at Stanford University. She currently is an assistant professor at Arizona State University and program director of the Herberger Institute’s transdisciplinary Creative Enterprise and Cultural Leadership MA program. She has taught classes to students and the pubic in community engagement, media and the creative industries, cultural policy, urban studies, socially engaged art, and urban research methods.
As an arts administrator and programmer, she worked at the Vera List Center for Art and Politics, BRIC Arts|Media, and A Blade of Grass among other organizations. In those organizations she led teams developing publicly engaged work including the launch of the Jane Lombard Prize for Art and Politics, which led to year-long embedded programming with prize winners Theaster Gates and film collective Abounaddara. Currently she is on the advisory board of borderless, a global platform connecting local communities for social change through pop culture. This work is being launched with a group of youth researchers and local cultural producers at Habib University in Karachi, Pakistan while expanding into a global network across other countries including Thailand, United States, and South Africa.
Taylor’s collaborative research centers art practices as processes for systems change. She was an embedded researcher in Gregory Sale’s project Future IDs at Alcatraz, a collaborative criminal justice project that invites system impacted people to create ID-inspired artworks. She launched CAIR Lab with Mallory Rukhsana Nezam and Amanda Lovelee. The collaboration advances capacities of artists embedded in government that connect art practices in non-arts contexts to advance civic goals. The work has been presented at the ArtPlace Summit and in a public program at the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture, and in articles for academic audiences as well as for government staff.
Her book The Art Museum Redefined: Power, Opportunity, and Community Engagement (Palgrave MacMillan, Sociology of the Arts, 2020) explores the shifting agendas of art museums as they begin to look beyond gallery walls to more intentionally collaborate with their local communities. The book draws on global examples of museums that extend beyond their typical exhibitions and collecting, finding that cooperation is critical to build a community practice, requiring institutions to disrupt organizational hierarchies by sharing decision making power with artists and communities.