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Coming 2024: “Homegrown Utica Fest” will bring art & wellness together!

Sipp Culture is continuing to build its legacy with One Nation One Project’s Arts for Everybody, a year-long campaign supporting artists and leaders across 18 cities as they create art projects aspiring to create healthier communities. Sipp Culture is partnering with the Jackson Hinds Comprehensive Health Center and the town of Utica for this project.

The 18 cities will premiere their projects simultaneously on July 27, 2024.

A Sipp Culture Community Advisory Group is planning the “Homegrown Utica Fest” to bring together art, food, music, and wellness to engage the Utica and surrounding communities in a celebratory and impactful day. 

“The prompt for One Nation One Project’s campaign is ‘No place like home.’ For the town of Utica, this slogan means lifting up a community that at one time did not need to be concerned about food access because the town was a community of growers. We have a really rich community of growers of food. 

Sipp Culture’s work has started with engaging the community from its onset. … What we decided to do was form a community advisory group facilitated by daniel johnson…”

– Brandi Turner, Co-Director, Sipp Culture (quoted in Mississippi Free Press from below)

Mississippi Free Press logo
Aliya Veal recently wrote about the project in the Mississippi Free Press:

Utica Locals Tackle Food Desert Woes With ‘Homegrown’ Festival (excerpts)


…A project like this allows johnson and the Utica community to stretch the traditional understanding of what people label as art—describing the acts of bringing people together and building trust, forming relationships and broadening the sense of belonging people feel in elements of shared culture as an art itself.

“You look at the Civil Rights Movement and the role of singing, distinctly the role local southern singers played; I mean social movement is really predicated on shared cultural touchstones, and that’s really part of what we’re working on this year,” johnson said. “How are we bringing the community into this? How are we creating the invitation, the entry points?”


One Nation One Project brought mason jars filled with soil and seeds to the Utica community in celebration of the Homegrown Utica Festival and Utica’s homecoming on Oct. 21, 2023. Photo courtesy Sipp Culture

For Utica, the homegrown festival is the focal point with different initiatives like the food club and the committee that is partnering with Utica Elementary and Middle School art teacher Magan Hawkins to bring in an artist-in-residence to work with eighth graders around oral histories with food.

“Schools and grocery stores are big pieces that communities orbit around. So when you lose those things, in a way, you lose the thing that’s tying you together,” johnson said.

…Sipp Culture received $100,000 to put this project together with the opportunity receive more funding if needed. The Homegrown Utica Festival is a way to reactivate the spirit of growing food that the community has hd a hand in planting.

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