Staff & Artists

Alex Smith

Textiles & Screen Printing Lab Lead and Free Wall Instructor | JXTA Alum – started w/JXTA: 2001

cred3Founder of Nice City Clothing and Minnesota Vice

about3Alex Smith is an artist, designer, and educator. A self-taught Graphic Designer, he’s designed and printed t-shirts since 2006 and worked for major brands including MN Nice and Mecca. He founded two local apparel brands: Nice City Clothing in 2007 and Minnesota Vice in 2012. He also ran a print shop where he desiged and printed t-shirts for clients. Alex started as a student at JXTA in 2001 and after finishing high school returned to teach. After leading mural painting and custom-designing sneakers for a few years, he eventually helped to establish the Textiles & Screen Printing Lab in 2007. He returned to JXTA in Summer 2018 to teach Free Wall and now leads the Textiles & Screen Printing Lab.


Abdul-Hafeez Nakumbe

Outreach and Engagement Coordinator | started w/JXTA: 2018

cred3BS | Community Health Education – Minnesota State University Mankato

Quote3“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” – Dr. Seuss

about3Abdul-Hafeez, a Minneapolis native, poet, and hip-hop recording artist is thrilled to lead Juxtaposition Arts Outreach and Engagement. Engaging and nurturing fellow creative geniuses is a rewarding challenge I enthusiastically enjoy. Outside of JXTA you can find me, volunteering, or in the library. Hobbies include: biking, competitive sports, reading, video blogging, and building businesses.


Adrienne Doyle

Tactical Lead and Development Associate | JXTA Alum – started w/JXTA: 2015

cred3Sustainable Progress through Engaging Active Citizens (SPEAC) cohort member | 2014

Quote3“A society must assume that it is stable, but the artist must know, and he must let us know, that there is nothing stable under heaven.” – James Baldwin

about3Adrienne Doyle makes space for black folks. Her multimedia practice uses DIY tools and methods to center the collective, connective, and vulnerable aspects of marginalized identities. She creates the representative media she wishes was available to her as a kid. She is the founder of Burn Something Zine, a submission-based, queer- and trans-inclusive media space for women of color. She has collaborated with Red76 to publish the “Dreamy Communal Black Artist House Manifesto,” proposing a black artist-led communal household that functions as public space for study, creation, and unlearning.


Charlesa Dixon

Executive Catalyst | Started w/JXTA: 2017

cred3BA | Interior Design, Business Administration

about3When a fresh idea or innovation hits the wedding & events industry, Charlesa Dixon knows about it. An event-organizing veteran with over two decades of experience, she has her finger on the proverbial pulse of what’s new and exciting in the world of event design. Nationally recognized, she brings a sense of style, sophistication, and real inventiveness to each client as the Creative Director of Excellent Occasions, an event production firm located in the Twin Cities. Ms. Dixon came to JXTA in October 2018 where she serves as the right hand to both DeAnna and Roger Cummings as the Executive Catalyst. Charlesa holds a double major in Interior Design and Business Administration. As a creative, she’s taught ballet, modern, and liturgical dance, written and directed theatrical productions, and designed sets and costumes for various productions over the last 20+ years. Charlesa loves time with family, traveling, critiquing movies and restaurants, and finds joy in kite-flying.


Drew Peterson

Contemporary Art Lab Lead | JXTA Alum – started teaching w/JXTA: 2010

cred3Ellen Battel Stoekel Fellow | Yale Summer School of Music and Art Anderson Ranch Residency | Jerome Emerging Printmakers Residency 2014-2015

MFA | School of the Art Institute of Chicago; BFA | UMN Twin Cities

Quote3“There are no impossible dreams: there is just limited perception of what is possible.”

about3Drew Peterson is an artist, printmaker, and educator based in Minneapolis, MN. His studio practice employs traditional and contemporary processes that combine printmaking, painting, and drawing to achieve large scale abstract works on paper. Recently his focus has shifted towards collaborative and interactive methods of working which take the form of print publishing and arts education. In 2017 and 2018, Peterson received two Minnesota State Arts Board grants to develop Entity Editions +EDU, a print publishing and arts education resource that uses printmaking and other artistic approaches to build relationships with the Twin Cities community. Along with the VALT course, Drew teaches Printmaking at the University of Minnesota. Drew Peterson began working with Juxtaposition Arts as a 16 year old participant in a summer mural project! He says that summer experience had a tremendous impact on his decision to become a working artist. In thinking about his work today as both a practicing artist and teaching artist Drew says, “What I enjoy most about my work at JXTA is seeing young people make their own discoveries and gain a sense of understanding and accomplishment. Engaging with young people and the JXTA community helps me escape the individualist mentality that a studio practice can develop. It’s meaningful. It feeds my soul.”


Gabby Coll

Communications Manager | started w/JXTA: 2018

cred3BA | Art History – St. Olaf College

Quote3“No hay que llorar | Que la vida es un carnaval | Que es más bello vivir cantando” – Celia Cruz

about3 Gabby has been involved in and an advocate for the arts, arts organizations, and artists for almost her entire professional career. Shortly after graduating with a B.A. in Art History from St. Olaf College, she held internships at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Walker Art Center and was Co-Director of the Third Place Gallery in Minneapolis before taking a full-time position as Communications Coordinator at First Avenue. She is excited to bring her experience in the Twin Cities’ robust arts scene to her work at JXTA and is lucky to work in a place where she learns something new every day.


Gabrielle Grier

Contemporary Art Lab Lead | started w/JXTA: 2019

cred3Master’s of Education | Youth Development and Leadership; BA | Studio Art and Youth Studies; College of Education and Human Development | International Educational Policy/Community Engagement Researcher, University of Minnesota; 2018 University of Minnesota/YMCA-Strategic Impact Committee | Co-Chair

Quote3“Before a child talks they sing. Before they write they draw. As soon as they stand they dance. Art is fundamental to the human experience.” – Phylicia Rashad

about3 I am an artist, visionary, facilitator and participant of growth, perspective shifts and intentional responses to social and political change. With a strong focus on the exploration, documentation & claiming of cultural and historic identities, my work is filled with robust imagery, narrative and the essence of my spiritual existence.

I am contemporary in the sense that I am ever evolving, while being conscious of what ancestry has taught me. It is but of great homage and gratitude that I use what I have been gifted; the passion and ability to continue to create both pot and vessel that carries on tradition and voice. This is my job. My responsibility to my Creator and to the community which holds me.


Greta Kotz

Graphic Design Lab Lead | started w/JXTA: 2018

cred3BFA | Illustration – MCAD 

about3 Greta Kotz is a visual artist based in the Twin Cities with a focus in design, illustration, and interdisciplinary arts. Through working with local design agencies and running her own freelance business, she has developed experience in branding, print, packaging, and identity systems. Greta is also a freelance illustrator for magazines, publishers, and advertisers. Her interdisciplinary artwork consists of her obsession with line, rhythms, patterns, and elements from nature, people, and magical realism. Greta is also an active volunteer for AIGA Minnesota, and is recognized by the Society of Illustrators.


Jahliah Holloman

Program Assistant | JXTA Alum – started w/JXTA: 2012

cred3JXTA Alum; currently pursuing a Business Management Degree at MCTC

Quote3 “Ain’t Nobody Got Us Like We Got Us”

about3Jahliah Holloman is an artist, facilitator, and Alumni of the Contemporary Arts program at Juxtaposition Arts. Born and raised in North Minneapolis, Jahliah believes in the mission of Liberating the Northside by spreading good vibrations and emphasizing community resources to make them stronger instead of going further away from the community to thrive. Eliminating the “get out of the hood” mentality and replacing it with the philosophy of nurturing our hood is key.


Jared Hanks

Head of Business Development | started w/JXTA: 2014

cred3BS | Youth Development & Education – University of Minnesota

Quote3“Elegance is simplicity. Elegance is to get rid of all the superfluous things, and focus on the most beautiful one.” – Paulo Coelho

about3 As a mentor, writer, reader, and explorer, Jared funnels the energy of his combined experiences – working in Minneapolis Public Schools AVID program, creating an enrichment program for homeless youth and families which he continues to run, board president of a South Minneapolis housing co-op – into his current efforts in youth work. “JXTA allows me to combine my passion for youth development and education in my role,” he says, “while also tapping into my affinity for social enterprise and innovation.”

Kristen Murray

Program Director and Tactical Urbanism Lab Lead | started w/JXTA: 2013

cred3MA | Landscape Architecture with Public Policy – UMN Twin Cities; BA | Electrical Engineering – Rice University

Quote3“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” ― R. Buckminster Fuller

about3For Kristen, JXTA is a place where the love of learning and the love of art-making come together. Incorporating her backgrounds in youth development, urban design, and program development into her role at JXTA, Kristen sees the intersection of design and entrepreneurship as a boost to a youth artist’s impact in their immediate environments. “It is a wonderful thing,” Kristen says, “to be a part of a team of young people, artists, designers and leaders who ask big questions and look at the world with a sense of possibility and a desire to create.”

Leslie Barlow

Visual Art Literacy Training Instructor | started w/ JXTA: 2014

cred3MFA | MCAD; BFA | University of Wisconsin–Stout

about3Leslie Barlow is a visual artist living and working in Minneapolis, MN. Primarily an oil painter, Barlow’s current work employs the figure and narrative elements to explore complex social issues like race, multiculturalism, “otherness,” representation, and identity. In addition to teaching at Jxta, she also teaches at the University of Minnesota, and serves on Made Here’s artist advisory panel, the Northeast Minneapolis Artist Association board, and the leadership team of MidWest Mixed. When not creating art, Leslie enjoys being active and rock climbing, taking naps with her rescue dog Pip, and sewing and assembling her own cosplays that she wears to sci-fi conventions.

Niko Kubota-Armin, NOMA, AIA, NCARB

Environmental Design Lab Lead | Started w/ JXTA: 2017

cred3M.Arch | UMN Twin Cities; B.A. | Sociology – Bowdoin College
National Organization of Minority Architects | American Institute of Architects | National Council of Architecture Registration Boards

Quote3“You are not a profession that has distinguished itself by your social and civic contributions to the cause of civil rights. You are most distinguished by your thunderous silence and your complete irrelevance.” -Whitney M. Young Jr., Keynote address at the 1968 American Institute of Architects National Convention

about3Niko Kubota is a public artist and architect focused on community engagement with a passion for moving the field of architecture beyond its status quo. Niko’s public art seeks out stories from community participants and uses novel techniques to share these stories through sculpture. At Juxtaposition, he teaches apprentices the tools of architecture and making so that they will be the creators of not just their careers, but also the neighborhoods they live in. Niko brings a well-traveled design perspective from work and study in Tokyo, Maine, Denmark, and Haiti.


Robbie Seltzer

Environmental Design Lab Lead | started w/JXTA: 2018

cred3B.A. | Middlebury College, Vermont; Working toward M.S. in Urban Planning, University of Minnesota; Co-Founder of Yeah Maybe art gallery in Minneapolis, MN

about3Robbie Seltzer has worked in architecture, construction, jobs training and even started an art gallery out of his living room. Teaching at Juxtaposition lets him bring all of those skills together. And then, combine it with the crazy range of talents under the JXTA roof. “It’s actually pretty magical,” he says. “I believe we can make things here that can’t happen anywhere else.”



Takara Henegar

Development Manager | Started w/JXTA: 2019

cred3MNM | Master of Nonprofit Management – Hamline University; BA | Journalism & Business – Northwestern College

Quote3“Some people could look at a mud puddle and see an ocean with ships.” -Zora Neal Hurston

about3Takara is passionate about dreaming big and making space for others to do the same. Takara brings 19 years of diverse nonprofit experience to JXTA. Most recently, Takara worked as an Associate Program Officer for the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundations. As JXTA’s fund development manager, she will help bring in resources, mostly financial, to JXTA. “Most people think of fund development as just asking for money, but my job is a mixture of creativity, research, strategy, storytelling, and relationship building. JXTA is a culmination of many things I love and am passionate about including education, hands-on learning opportunities, art, design, big thinking, youth of color, finding your passion, nurturing your talents, collaboration, North Side, and black liberation. I am honored to be a part of the squad!”


Tia Simone-Gardner

Exhibitions Lead | JXTA Alum – started w/JXTA: 2010

cred3Ph.D | Feminist Studies – UMN; MFA | Interdisciplinary Practices and Time-Based Media – University of Pennsylvania; BA | Art and Art History – University of Alabama Birmingham

about3Tia-Simone Gardner is an artist, Black feminist scholar, and educator. Her creative practice engages drawing and photography through ideas of ritual, iconoclasm, and geography. Her work attempts to merge spliced together moments and images that speak to a politics of location, collapsing and expanding the time and space of everyday encounters with being and Blackness. Tia, a native of Birmingham, Alabama, received her BA in Art and Art History from the University of Alabama in Birmingham, her MFA in Interdisciplinary Practices and Time-Based Media from the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.d. in Feminist Studies from the University of Minnesota. She has participated as Studio Fellow in the Whitney Independent Study Program, and held artists residencies at the Center for Photography at Woodstock, New York; IASPIS in Stockholm; and the Frank Mohr Institute of Art in the Netherlands. Tia is a 2016-2018 McKnight Visual Artist Fellow and a 2018 Visual Artist Fund recipient.