Johnson ’06 uses passion for the arts in new role

Jessica Johnson ’06, Executive Director of the Iowa Cultural Corridor Alliance

“If I could sum up what the Corridor offers in one word, it would have to be ‘access,’” says Jessica Johnson ’06, the newly appointed executive director of the Iowa Cultural Corridor Alliance (ICCA). “We have so many things to enjoy and so many opportunities to enjoy them.”

Off the top of her head? Short commute times. Low entrance fees. Minimal parking problems. Diverse offerings from sporting events to farmer’s markets, music scenes to good food… add to those offerings a rich compilation of health care, higher education opportunities and strong industry, and you have the perfect ingredients for a well-rounded and robust city.

“It would be hard to have such easy access to so many things in a larger metropolitan area,” says Johnson, who earned a degree in business management and marketing from Mount Mercy. “We sometimes forget that we could very easily have to sit in traffic for an hour every day just to get home after work.”

In her new role at ICCA, Johnson will help lead the 150-member coalition of arts and culture groups that enhance collaboration, networking, funding and quality of life in the Corridor. “We have an amazing arts and culture community here, and I’m excited to work with our partners and continue collaborations,” says Johnson, of which her alma mater is a member.

Johnson values the opportunity to come back to campus as an alumna and member of the community, and appreciates the added cultural events Mount Mercy offers through speakers, plays, galleries and thought-provoking lectures every year.

“Mount Mercy’s speakers and events add to the cultural variety here,” she says, noting in particular an annual favorite, the Holocaust speaker. “The more you learn about other people and backgrounds, the more fulfilling your whole world is.”

Her advice for young alumni who want to tap into their community? “Get out there and meet people. Volunteer, plug into networking events. Build meaningful relationships. It’s great to have a job you love, but what do you do
when you get off work?”