Ideas // October 2, 2018

Contemporary apprentices Justice Jones and Kachina Henry (left and center, respectively) interview visiting artist Kealeboga Tlalang. Photo by Riché Effinger.

Contemporary Studio apprentices interview visiting artist-in-residence Kealeboga Tlalang

This month, South African mixed media collage artist Kealeboga Tlalang is here to lead an artist residency and to partake in his first U.S. solo exhibition (on view in the JXTA Gallery through November 10). In addition to the exhibition, from September 20 to September 27, Kealeboga led an artist-in-residency with the apprentices in the Contemporary Art Lab. Under Kealeboga’s instruction and by following his lead as he created his own large-scale collage portrait, apprentices explored multimedia collage techniques.

Using a single portrait photo as a reference point, they all began their work by sketching outlines in charcoal. To add texture and depth, they ripped up (all local) newspapers and used paint to add splashes of color and produce their own interpretations of the portrait. The result was a varying range of work, every piece showcasing each apprentice’s style and flair while also adhering to a unique art-making approach.

During this residency, Contemporary apprentices Kachina Henry and Justice Jones sat down with Kealeboga to ask him a few questions about his work and life. Read the full interview below, and if you’re interested in learning more, don’t miss Kealeboga’s artist talk on Thursday, October 4th at 7PM in the JXTA Gallery, 2007 Emerson Avenue North. The event is free and open to the public.

The following interview was recorded and edited for clarity and accuracy.

JXTA Apprentices: Who are you? Where are you from?

Kealeboga Tlalang: I’m Kealeboga. I’m from South Africa. I’m based in Johannesburg.

J.A.: This is your first solo U.S exhibitio; what are you most excited about?

K.T.: What is exciting is that this is my first-ever solo show.

J.A.: How did you get connected to JXTA?

K.T.: I think it was through a friend, her name is Erica. Erica came to South Africa. I think she came for a business tour and she came across a homeowner magazine because she was looking for interior designers. There she saw my work and said, “You know what, I want to find this guy,” and came looking for me. We met and she wanted to buy a piece of art from me. Unfortunately, I had no pieces for sale back then, so she decided to commission art for herself. Ever since then she’s been getting calls from friends that love my work. She then introduced me to both Roger and DeAnna Cummings and Kevin Winge and we all came up with the idea of my visit to the U.S. for an exhibition and residency.

Photo by Riché Effinger.

Photo by Riché Effinger.

J.A.: That’s awesome. So how long have you self-identified as an artist?

K.T.: I would say I was very young , around three years old, when I discovered my talent. Lucky for me, I have an uncle who does sculptures. I watched him and that’s how I fell in love with art. From there I started doing my own sketches and drawings.

J.A.: Tell us about your creative process.

K.T.: First of all, I need a reference to work from. Then, I sketch a picture with charcoal. After that, I cut small pieces of newspaper and use this as the base for the collage-work. From there I paint over the charcoal and newspaper.

J.A.: Do you teach often? What has the residency with JXTA’s Contemporary Art Lab been like for you?

K.T.: I’ve never taught anyone how to draw or collage ever in life. I never had the time. I spend most of my time in my studio; like 14 hours a day, Monday to Sunday. I never have time to teach so I’m blessed to be here now. I’ve gotten to learn from some of the apprentices because they’re really talented. I’d love to take this opportunity and experience back home and go to schools and talk to students about how to create something out of nothing.

Contemporary Arts Lab apprentices works-in-progress. Photos by Riché Effinger.

J.A.: You’ve talked about a connection between art and math in your work. How is it visible?

K.T.: It’s still a work in progress. I’m working on some pieces now to show how they correlate.

J.A.: What has been the most surprising thing about your visit to Minnesota/the United States?

K.T.: There’s no difference from me being here and back home in South Africa. The people have been amazing. It’s been great working with the apprentices. I can do this more often.

J.A.: Anything else you want to tell us?

K.T.: Next year I have 2 solo shows. I’m going to France and I’m going to the UK. I’m super excited. I want to give back and tell people they can make a living being creative.

Photo by Riché Effinger.

RSVP to Kealeboga Tlalang’s Artist Talk on Thursday, October 4 at 7PM HERE. “Kealeboga Tlalang” will be on view in the JXTA Gallery (2007 Emerson Avenue North) until November 10.

Ideas // February 23, 2017
Monday, Feb 27th, 5-7pm:
Please join Juxtaposition Arts’ Tactical Urbanism apprentices for a special community presentation of their youth participatory action research (YPAR) project, “Dolla Dolla Bill Y’all: Black Business and Economic Development on West Broadway.”

ddbThe presentation will take place on the Juxtaposition Arts campus at 1108 West Broadway Ave, Minneapolis, MN. Food will be provided and a Q&A discussion will follow the presentation.

Thanks to Youthprise who’s support made this project possible.

You can RSVP at the Facebook event page.
Ideas, News // November 8, 2016

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.


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.”


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

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

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

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.


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

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

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


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

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.


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