Ideas, News // November 8, 2016
BY: JXTA

Our new Reflections series brings Juxtaposition Arts alums together with our current Pathways to Colleges and Careers (PaCC) fellows for conversations on careers and creative aspirations.

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Houston White by Chris McDuffie and Giant Steps

The first guest was local entrepreneur Houston White (JXTA class of 1995), proprietor of H|W Men’s Room, an upscale barbershop, cafe, boutique and community meeting space in the Webber-Camden neighborhood of North Minneapolis. Houston is also the designer of the Black Excellence line of clothing and apparel. With his shop and increasingly visible Black Excellence brand Houston is attempting to spark a resurgence of creative energy and outstanding achievement in the Black community while also supplying others with a sustainable means of employment.

The long-time trendsetter recalled how in his early days at Juxtaposition Arts he benefited from the hard critique he received from his instructors as well as from the competitiveness of his peers: “we were all trying to outdo one another.”

“Nobody can beat me at being me.”

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Houston White with PaCC Fellow Shelique Combs

Returning to JXTA 21 years later, Houston says that his engagement with the PaCC Fellows was as inspiring for him as it might have been for them. The Fellows took particular interest as Houston recalled operating a barbershop from his aunt’s basement and designing and selling t-shirts while a student at North High School. Likewise, they welcomed his wisdom that they prepare themselves for the occasional failure as they pursue their creative futures.

Stay tuned as we continue to reflect!

Ideas, News // November 8, 2016
BY: JXTA

Members of the Singapore-based ArtsWok Collaborative riding our People Powered Carousel. Photo by ArtsWok Collaborative.

Hosting and exchanging ideas with visitors is essential to our making the impact that we envision.

This year we have had the pleasure of hosting guests from places near and far, including members of the Singapore-based ArtsWok Collaborative, Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Exchange, a group of artists from Tunisia, and representatives from the Cincinnati-based philanthropic lab People’s Liberty.

All of us on the trip work with young people as one of the communities we develop programs with, and so it’s eye-opening to see the different approaches different organizations take when it comes to youth development. JXTA has a wonderful space located within community, and we very impressed with how entrepreneurial the organization is. From land acquisition and development of buildings as a community investment, to providing tangible career opportunities for the youth served… It has provided us food for thought on how arts-based community development can be designed. –Su-Lin Ngaim of ArtsWok Collaborative

DeAnna and Roger [JXTA’s CEO and Chief Cultural Producer] know what it means to invest in a place (North Minneapolis) by investing in that place’s people. People’s Liberty shares the same values. We too have a physical place/hub situated intentionally within one of Cincinnati’s distinct urban neighborhoods. Like DeAnna and Roger, we believe that the shape (and future) of a city is determined by who gets involved. While our work isn’t focused exclusively on youth, there is a lot of crossover. By providing funding, connections, design/storytelling support and mentoring to our grantees, we believe we can play a role in powering the next cadre of leadership in Cincinnati. Moreover, DeAnna and Roger are two individuals that exude the qualities of our Haile Fellows. We wish they lived in Cincinnati! –Megan Trischler, People’s Liberty

What an honor it is for us to attract the world to our community!

Ideas, News // November 8, 2016
BY: JXTA
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Plans showing Bubble Rooftops’ component parts

 

Juxtaposition Arts is a proud winner of the KaBOOM Play Everywhere Challenge.

Get ready for Bubble Rooftops, a project of our Tactical Urbanism team meant to promote everyday play by developing a large-scale, solar-powered bubble maker.

Past visitors of Juxtaposition Arts might be familiar with the bubbles that have cascaded from our rooftop at 2007 Emerson Ave N. since 2006. Now we go big!

Bubble Rooftops supports our social enterprise efforts by developing a prototype which will eventually be replicated and available for purchase. That way you’ll be able to join in the play.

Expect the launch of the first bubble maker in the summer of 2017.

 

Ideas // November 4, 2016
BY: JXTA

JXTA youth bring their creative visions to a complex design problem and look to make a section of the riverfront accessible to this Northside community!

Environmental Design apprentices conducting research via kayak

Our Environmental Design lab has teamed-up with Minneapolis Parks Foundation, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and City of Minneapolis to conduct community engagement work for the Great Northern Green Way Trail Link.  Door-knocking, community bike and kayak tours and data collection using artist designed zines have so far resulted in a proposal which connects  26th Ave. N  to Ole Olson Park and a newly enlivened former industrial site along the Mississippi River.

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Photo by Bully Creative

Recently the Enviro team presented their new plans along with Planning Director for the City of Detroit, Maurice Cox, who specializes in democratic design and citizen planning. Attendees got to hear about a summer full of creative problem solving with community and plans to bring more green infrastructure and employment to the Northside.

Check out the Minneapolis Parks Foundation website for more information.

There’s more to come in  spring and summer of 2017. Stay tuned!

Ideas, News // July 21, 2016
BY: JXTA

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 2.38.02 PMA new mural is up at 1100 West Broadway! Join us at FLOW on Saturday, July 30th for the celebration.

“Who We Are” was designed by youth and adult artists in  JXTA’s Public Art Studio. It is inspired by the works of Emory Douglas, Minister of Culture to the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, who conducted a workshop at JXTA last year. Apprentices worked for two weeks this June with Houston-based artist Jamal Cyrus and JXTA Director Roger Cummings to develop the design.  Then Public Art lead artist, Tia Simone-Gardner, took over to support the youth to bring the mural to completion.  The mural includes photos of ancestors and heroes which were contributed by community members.   In creating this work of public art, the public art team seeks to honor and affirm black life through a celebration of ancestry. Artists from our Public Art studio say this about the project:

We began working in June of 2016, shortly after the passing of Prince and Muhammad Ali. And during the making of this mural we saw the killings of both Philando Castile in St. Paul and Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge. We also saw Lashae Jones lose her two year-old toddler, Le’Vonte King Jones, just a few blocks from the JXTA campus. […]

We are invoking the Black Madonna as an inherently revolutionary figure because she represents a source of power, which counters the more pervasive images of Black women and children as submissive and helpless. The Black woman is a pillar of the Black community and, so, the mother and child image is also deeply political. She pushes us to think about freedom not as a ballistic series of events but as a space of radical communion.

Corresponding with the mural, FLOW weekend will open an exhibit of the Public Art Studio team’s process drawings and an installation celebrating home and the rituals of everyday Black life at the 2007 Emerson Gallery.

 

Ideas // July 8, 2015
BY: JXTA

Twelve apprentices at JXTA have reached that pivotal milestone in their lives: high school graduation. And we’re here to celebrate each one’s accomplishment. Learn more about Mai. #JXTAGraduates

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Full name: Amairani Jonapa-Sanapria

JXTA Lab/Studio: Graphic Design Lab

How did you first hear about JXTA? 

I heard it because during my art clas at Washburn, Shelley came to talk to our class about it. I just got very interested in it at that time because I was looking for a job, and she said they train you and you get a little overview of everything an artist should know in the VALT program.

Whats the best thing about your lab?

I was a little bummed because I’m not familiar with computer and technology. But I told [my instructor] Ken, I’m willing to work hard and learn. I’m very open-minded so taking the whole experience in is the best part. And also working with the people here, they’re so funny and energetic and I just really love being around them. I think this is the best job I ever had – it’s so fun working with artists!

Experience at JXTA that you’re most proud of?

Getting my whole portfolio (from VALT) done in time. Because when I do something, I kind of feel like I take too much time on it because I want to get it perfect, but sometimes letting loose and just going with the flow is better than worrying about the little details. What I found is that if you don’t worry so much you can have something gorgeous that sometimes you don’t even see when you’re stressing out.

Advice for a potential VALT participant?

If you were to come, you will be willing to work and not complain because if you look at it, you are learning things someone else in the street might not know. Just taking those experiences in will be helpful for the future especially if you are into art, and that’s going to make you build and create anything you want.

Which color would you choose to sum up your experience at JXTA and why? 

I think my favorite color is green, but I can relate green to many things. Green is basically my ‘Go’ sign. And here at JXTA, green is telling me to never stop, and never stop trying, because I know that I’m an artist and this is what I want to do with my whole life.

You’re a high school graduate now! Where do you want to go or do next?

I always thought about this in three ways. I relate to my dad. We have a lot of stereotypes as Hispanics, like the women stay home and cook, and I know that’s not my future because I’m more of an outdoor person. So not only this year but a couple of years back, I started going out more, camping, and I love camping, I love being outside, working with people and bonding. I heard about Wilderness Inquiry and I got a little bit more information about them and I think that’s something I really want to do.

I also go and work in construction with my dad and I think that’s really fun because I get to make the blueprints and help him sketch out what he’s going to build because he remodels places and inside buildings.

The third thing that I’ve always wanted to do since I was little, is be a makeup artist. I love makeup and to me there’s different types of artists, there are tattoo artists – even people that work in construction, I think that’s art. For me, I feel like makeup is not to make you feel beautiful, because everyone is beautiful and sometimes we don’t see that in people. But I feel like make up is like a little touch of shimmer that can make you glow and remember how beautiful you are.

The most important thing about being an artist/designer/maker/creative is:

Being open minded and accepting all of the other work around you.

Read about another graduate!

Ideas, News // June 8, 2015
BY: Coal Dorius
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Artist and instructor Coal Dorius demonstrates measuring and sizing mirrors with teens from Landfall Teen Center. Photo credit: Landfall Teen Center.

The Environmental Design Studio headed to Landfall, Minnesota this past spring to undertake a collaboratively designed public art project with members of the Landfall Teen Center. An initiative of the Stillwater-based non profit FamilyMeans, the center provides gathering space for older teens in the community to host events, participate in art activities and gain and develop leadership skills.

The JXTA/Landfall Teen Center collaboration started in the summer of 2014 with Enviro Studio instructor Coal Dorius and apprentices Chango Cummings and Tenzin Jhangchup. The goal was to create a hangout space on the deck of the center and create two murals that would enhance the area by illustrating the spirit of the community. The team met bi-weekly to ideate and implement a cohesive design that incorporated ample seating, planter boxes, and a custom painted table. The two coinciding murals centered around themes of family and the multicultural richness of the community.

Landfall Mural

One mural was designed by placing mirrors on the roof of the teen center that could reflect over Tanners Lake and could be seen by people driving on 94. Each mirror was cut to mimic a shingle on the roof, custom painted and tiled with messages of unity and ‘family’ placed front and center. Photo credit: Coal Dorius.

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Enviro Studio sat down with Landfall teens and collected a list of the countries people were from. We then printed the flags from those countries and went to work transferring them to a wall. Photo credit: Landfall Teen Center.

This collaboration with the Landfall Teen Center was a tactile representation of using art as a catalyst to spark conversations that identified the features of a community that mattered to the participants most: diverse members that together, created a strong sense of “family” that is now even more visible in the identity of this place.

Ideas // December 20, 2014
BY: Drew Peterson

Drew Peterson SmallIt’s my honor as an artist and instructor, to talk about why your support of JXTA makes a difference for young people in the present and the future.

 

I’m a teaching artist at Juxtaposition Arts (JXTA) and I started my life as a professional artist right here at JXTA as a teen. I have come full-circle and my work with the young artists in the Visual Art Literacy Training (VALT) program is fuel for my artistic practice.

VALT is the first step for JXTA participants to gain experience and connections to begin shaping the world they want to see, starting in the Twin Cities. VALT is provided at no cost to youth participants, and every lesson prepares each individual for a paid position in our art and design studios, known as JXTALabs.

Snapshots from our 2014 Visual Art Literacy Training (VALT) class that I teach.

Snapshots from our 2014 Visual Art Literacy Training (VALT) class that I teach.

VALT happens because of the support of people like you: our friends and investors. As we near the year’s end, our goal at JXTA remains to secure 100 givers to support 100 youth artists on their artistic journey. I’m asking you to make a year-end gift to JXTA and share our #JXTAGive100 campaign. When you give in any amount or share about our work with your networks, we are positive we will reach our goal.

Thank you & happy holidays,

Drew Peterson, artist and VALT instructor

Ideas // July 24, 2014
BY: JXTA
Enviro Design Lab installing swingset at JXTA

Enviro Design co-instructor Coal Dorius and youth artist Alaja install a new swingset in the pocket park adjacent to the JXTA gallery.

FLOW Northside Art Crawl is a key occasion to connect with our neighbors and supporters at JXTA. Emerson & West Broadway is one of the FLOW anchor intersections and our aim is to be an energizing space where connections happen. This summer nearly 50 local teens  are employed part time at JXTA. (About 1/2 are STEP-UP Achieve apprentices.) Ten youth work in the Environmental Design Studio where they are spending the summer renovating outdoor space around the JXTA campus.  Young people are putting their creative and technical skills to work in the real world in spaces on our campus, such as Saint Satoko pocket park (between JXTA and Urban Homeworks).

Sam Babatunde Ero-Phillips the long time lead of the Enviro Studio says, “For FLOW, we will set up the site model so people can see the initial ideas of the campus and essentially the work that went into creating what is literally in front of them. People will be able to move around the alleyway to view the model, see a new mural going up, and sit in a new seating area while checking out our pocket park. We’re hoping that they’ll really enjoy the experience.

Some of the things that the youth are learning through this hands on project is how to create a three dimensional object that is at a scale appropriate to the space it is located and in proximity to other objects in the space. These are fundamental to a number of different fields that revolve around form and function, such as urban planning, interior design and landscape design. They’re learning how to move from an abstract idea, sketch, study model, and then physically create the large  scale object – using a one to one scale. They understand ratio and what scale means for the very basis of design. Overall, something that is in line with the JXTALab program is an emphasis on practicing the skill of going from ideas into actions and objects. Through the current JXTA campus redesign, that’s what the young people have done.

Mural from Public Art

Public Art  and Enviro Design Studio’s work  can be seen in the alley way adjacent to the 2007 Emerson gallery building.  Local teens will be painting a mural here during FLOW.

Ideas // July 21, 2014
BY: JXTA

The starting point is oftentimes a sidewalk, block or street in your neighborhood. Then, you add local ideas for increasing engagement and social vitality. That’s when you’ll start to see tactical urbanism, a community-powered spin on traditional urban planning, in motion.

JXTA's tactical urbanism at Northern Spark 2014

All of the Lights: our bike-powered carts created a dazzling effect at Northern Spark 2014. Photo by Kory Lindstrom.

Using people-focused interventions like light up carts, art-making, bubbles, and games – tapping into people and local assets – to infuse vitality into public space, is the main premise behind the Juxtaposition Arts tactical urbanism projects. Beginning last year, we’ve had an influx of people hiring us to initiate engagement and place-making projects on the Northside and throughout the city, as a strategy to increase connections between people and boost safety. This summer we have taken our carts, bikes, surveys, and activities to bus stops on Nicollet Mall downtown, and to sidewalks and places where people gather in North Minneapolis.

We’re using tools like bicycle-powered carts that light up and play music, both to create welcoming, positive spaces in public places and to gather feedback from community members for a variety of development projects that are being planned. From our carts, JXTA apprentices and adult organizers play dominoes, spades, chess and Jenga with people who are passing by and ask folks for their take on the state of the neighborhood and city. We also have art-making activities that people can try, like designing buttons, or creating custom backpacks while listening to music and watching bubbles blow down the street.

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Observation+engagement: feedback from neighborhood participants showed differing wants and needs in the social context of nearby urban spaces. 2013

One question we habitually ask ourselves in doing this work is both present tense as much as it is prospective: “what can we do to involve a range of people who have a stake in this place in meaningful ways in deciding the future of the place?”  The Trust for Public Land is working with community members to increase social connections and access to being active outdoors in North Minneapolis. The West Broadway Business and Area Coalition hopes to identify strategies that will make West Broadway a more inviting, safer place to be a pedestrian and shopper. We’re also working with the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District, which is part of the Downtown Council, to create spaces along Nicollet Mall that are more welcoming, creative, and fun, especially for young people who tell us they need more things to do downtown. 

Join us at FLOW on July 25 and 26 to see the JXTA tactical carts and much more!

Big ups to Roger Cummings, Sam Babatunde Ero-Phillips and Caroline Kent and their Creative City-Making project which informed many of the projects that we’re utilizing this year. Also shout out to our partners, youth apprentices and artist organizers, Roxxanne O’Brien, Tish Jones and Shelley Martin.