Discipline: Interdisciplinary Art – multimedia installation

Samantha Johns

Discipline: Interdisciplinary Art – multimedia installation
Region: Minneapolis, MN
MacDowell Fellowships: 2019

Samantha Johns is a director, designer, and producer working in contemporary performance. She is also a poet and scenic artist. Johns studied performance and design at The University of Minnesota and SAIC. Her work uses truth-telling and first-person revelation to access sincerity, and often plays with exhaustive or durational processes. She is looking for the edge of theatre.

While at MacDowell, she worked on install tactics for Missives, wrote 100 letters for Missives, built a score for a 40-minute performance called You and Me, and experimented with large text installations. Missives is a project where I am writing a letter to every person I have ever known. These letters culminate in an installation performance, where all letters are displayed open for the public to read, while I am present reading letters aloud.

In 2014, I made a list of all the people I know (2,763+), I am still adding names. I started writing letters at Tofte Artist Residency (Jerome foundation) in 2015. Other writing residencies: ROAM (FL, 2017), Drop Forge (NY, 2017), Villa-R (Sicily, 2018), and as an NC State Artist in Resident (2018).

Made at MacDowell

Fellow Works Supported by MacDowell

Missives (project)



Samantha Johns worked in the Heinz studio.

The icehouse, built of fieldstone in 1914–1915, was a practical part of Marian MacDowell’s plan for a self-sufficient farm. Winter ice cut from a nearby pond was stored here for summer use on the property. Idle since 1940, it was a handsome but outdated farm building. In 1995, Mrs. Drue Heinz, a vice chairman…

Learn more