JMMF Strategic Planning Process

Organization and community: Jackson Medical Mall Foundation (Jackson, Mississippi)

In the early phase of the Community Development Investments program, Daniel Johnson, a socially engaged artist, joined the Jackson Medical Mall Foundation's artist advisory committee. When participation in their programs began to dwindle, Mahalia Wright — recently promoted from a staff position in human resources to lead the new arts and culture department — invited Johnson to provide feedback about the strengths and weaknesses of their work. This interaction led the Jackson Medical Mall Foundation (JMMF) to embark upon a strategic planning process to integrate arts and culture into core operations and connect more deeply to visitors and area residents.

Significant Developments, Johnson's company, assists clients across sectors to center their work and identity in community narratives. Recognizing that all individuals are culture bearers, Johnson invited JMMF staff to see themselves as artists and to view the Mall as a cultural hub. A key population for Significant Developments were staff from the maintenance, environmental services, and security teams who often lived within close proximity of the mall, and were in the best position to reveal the connections between the community and the institution. The artist team conducted interviews, facilitated conversations, and engaged in arts-making activities with staff, which informed a strategic cultural plan to inform future creative placemaking activities in and around the mall, and authorized staff to permanently uphold arts and cultural work.