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Wild Goose Creative Names Justin Johnston as New Executive Director

Mackenna Swing Mackenna Swing Wild Goose Creative Names Justin Johnston as New Executive DirectorJustin Johnson relaxes at Wild Goose Creative — Photo by Lauren Garms
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Justin Johnston is a classically-trained musician, and music has taken him on a worldly adventure. Johnston has performed in castles in Germany, spent summers in Aspen, and freelanced in Chicago, Toronto, Cleveland and Columbus. Johnston also has worked alongside extraordinary worldly musicians like Yo-Yo Ma.

And now, beloved arts nonprofit Wild Goose Creative welcomes Johnston as its new Executive Director.

Originally from a small town in upstate New York, Johnston came to Columbus for undergraduate studies at The Ohio State University. His transition from artist to art administrator resulted from a personal experience he had as an artist, while performing in a touring orchestra in Germany in 2006. The performance theme was “water,” which served as an appropriate topic given that it rained all day. The show was performed outside in a parking lot and, despite the rain, it sold out.

This was an eye-opening experience for Johnston, as he reflected on how hard it is for orchestra performances in the United States to draw large audiences, let alone performances in a parking lot in the pouring rain. The German citizens had a dedication to the art, and expressed how integral and deeply engrained it was to and within their culture. Inspired by this experience, Johnston decided he wanted to affect change at home in the United States.

With eight years of experience in arts administration under his belt, Johnston serves as a qualified and experienced new leader for the organization. Johnston spent time working in arts administration at the Royal Conservatory in Toronto, where he brought music to the schools and taught children, as well as at the Chicago Symphony, where he worked on music programing. After traveling around the globe, Johnston found himself missing Columbus, and moved back to work locally as an arts administrator for ProMusica and the Lancaster Chorale.

Johnston has a long history with Wild Goose, and describes himself as “insanely excited” about his new position, having been a big fan of the organization for quite some time. He has attended events both as a community member and as a performer. Johnston views Wild Goose as a place of tremendous opportunity for local artists to engage with the creative talent right here in Columbus. He secured his position just under a month ago, and is a leader who the board believes “brings to our organization professionalism, passion for the arts, and a keen sense of humor”. Johnston believes his first role in this position is to “take the amazing things that [Wild Goose] is already doing and shout it from the rooftops”. Long-term plans for the organization include continuing to seek out community partners and developing new relationships, as well as organizing and growing a group of community volunteers.

There are many ways to get involved with the organization. Wild Goose has its own unique programming, as well as rental space for local artists. From participating in the six o’clock in the morning dance events like Wake and Shake, to attending a group reading of Moby Dick for twenty-five hours straight, Wild Goose offers events for creative minds of all ages, backgrounds and neighborhoods to come together and let their inner wild goose loose.

To volunteer, become a member, donate, or connect, visit www.wildgoosecreative.org for more information.

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