News // December 23, 2014

This past October, creative agency Knock, Inc partnered with us to create ornaments for the 2014 White House tree lighting through the Pathway of Peace project. Take a look at the video our friends at Knock created of the experience. In the meantime, we wish you Happy Holidays from all of us at JXTA!

News // December 16, 2014

What happens when a JXTA apprentice phases out of their JXTALab studio? How are they supported by the organization that has trained them in developing their artistic skills? What further support do they need to reach their educational and professional goals?

Presentations by JXTA staff and partners took place on December 13, 2014, to introduce the new JXTA PaCC initiative.

L-R: JXTA staff and partners Sarah Hayosh, Grace Empie, and DeAnna Cummings present the PaCC Initiative to JXTA participants, board and staff on December 13, 2014.

These are the questions among others that a new program at Juxtaposition Arts is seeking to answer through a solution-based approach. The newly launched JXTA Pathways to College and Careers (PaCC) Initiative focuses on providing professional and educational support to a JXTA participant when they time-out of a JXTALab or program, due to our age limits (10-21 years).

This past Saturday, the core pieces of PaCC were presented to JXTA youth participants, board members, current staff and alumni by the initiative’s core team. JXTA executive director DeAnna Cummings reinforced to attendees the organization’s mission of training and employing youth artists as a connection and a pathway to the creative industries in our city. “The art design firms are lacking people of Black, Latino and Hmong backgrounds, specifically,” she pointed out.

Through the year-long PaCC Initiative, the involvement of JXTA teaching artists, youth artists and building upon a 10-year collaboration with the University of Minnesota’s College of Design through ReMix will help to pinpoint specific ways to promote a more diverse art and design industry in the Twin Cities and in the region.”That’s ultimately what our work is about: is that you all grow up and out of JXTA and pursue careers as successful artists and designers in the Twin Cities,” Cummings said directly to the youth present in the audience.

“We want to bring the Twin Cities to equity, where everyone has fair and just access to opportunities, especially related to the built environment. The people making the decisions of the built environment need to reflect the people that live here.” -Kristine Miller of University of Minnesota’s ReMix.

One phase of PaCC was administered by U of M graduate student Sarah Hayosh and JXTA alumni and graphic designer Adrienne Doyle last summer. Qualitative interviews were conducted with a total of 10 current JXTA participants. During their evaluation process, Hayosh and Doyle synthesized the themes and patterns pulled from the in-depth conversations to learn what the biggest challenges JXTA participants face upon their departure from their Labs.

Among the findings, Hayosh reported that almost all of the participants that were attending college at Minneapolis Community Technical College (MCTC) said that affordability was the main reason for selecting that particular institution. Another example presented was the impact of one-on-one relationships the participants have with their lab instructors that often led them to learning about professional opportunities that they otherwise would not have known about.

These findings, along with current JXTA processes such as Listening Sessions and new initiatives like customized opportunity navigation, entrepreneurial direction and technical content-based workshops, will inform the next phase of PaCC. New Sector Alliance fellow Grace Empie will spearhead a number of these projects along with the core PaCC team over the next 11 months. It now stands that 30 young people who have signed up to be a part of this process will be encouraged through these newly designed methods to focus on their personal goals through June.

“Today is a huge celebration,” JXTA staffer and PaCC team member Betsy Altheimer concluded. “This is a hand-off for something that has been an idea for a long time. Now it’s moving into something that is being embedded into what we do at JXTA.”

edited PaCC Pilot lauch and brunch 12.13.14

The Pathways to College and Careers (PaCC) presentation at our 1108 building on December 13, 2014.

SPECIAL THANKS: We could not do this work without the support of our partners and funders, Sundance Family Foundation, Youthprise, Bush Foundation, Otto-Bremer Foundation, Aroha Philanthropies, and New Sector Alliance. Thank you.

Looking for a way to support us in doing this work ? To help us push forward this initiative and JXTA work at-large, sign up for our e-newsletter and we’ll make sure to keep you up to speed on opportunities. As always, we appreciate your financial support as we work towards securing 100 supporters for 100 youth artists by the end of the year. Donate on our GiveMN page, here. #JXTAGive100

News // October 29, 2014

Juxtaposition Arts went to Gamut Gallery in downtown Minneapolis for the opening reception of Target‘s 4th annual Curative exhibition in October.

The event, which featured design and art work created by Target employees, was juried by JXTA Contemporary Art apprentices and the branding for this years event was designed by GraphicLab apprentice Patricia Ghost. Check out snapshots from the evening that along with 2d art displayed in the gallery, featured a musical mix of Afro-beat, funk and eighties pop & soul by Gamut Gallery co-owner James Patrick, live screenprinting of posters and totes by the TextileLab and food from Hola Arepa.



News // October 1, 2014

In September, the City of Minneapolis’ Public Works department launched their Parklet Pilot Program in three commercial corridors in Minneapolis.

Parklet in front of Juxtaposition Arts

A 2014 Parklet installed on Emerson in North Minneapolis.

One of the parklets is positioned in front of the 2007 Emerson building here at JXTA, at the intersection of Emerson and Broadway. The parklet consists of movable café chairs and tables. It is surrounded by planter boxes with an arrangement of assorted flowers and plants set upon a 32×6 wooden deck. A simple idea and design that carries great impact.

Considered a temporary space to “encourage pedestrian engagement in the urban environment,” JXTA’s Artistic Director Roger Cummings observes that the pilot fundamentally and physically addresses issues of modifying accessibility to appropriate seating and relaxing in the area. “The parklet is programmed in a way to dovetail what we like to do: organizing people and activating space,” he says.

On Broadway, where there’s plenty of pedestrian activity, on-street seating areas are not a common occurence. For Cummings, the pilot doesn’t strike him as a “fly-by-night transient urban hippy-esque placemaking thing,” but rather a pop-up intervention in a non-traditional space.

“I have read feedback that Broadway and Emerson just sticks out,” he explains of reactions he’s come across since the parklet’s installation. “But when the [Northside] bus shelters do not provide an ample and respectful way to seat and gather and host neighbors, students commuting to school, people who are getting groceries, elders, and people with children, an intervention such as the parklet addresses those accessibility needs in a tangible and immediate way.”

EXTRA: Check out a time lapse video of the construction of a parklet.

  • DATE: Friday, September 12, 2014
  • TIME: 7pm
  • LOCATION: Juxtaposition Arts, 1108 West Broadway Ave, Minneapolis, MN, 55411

Sparked by recent news coverage on Mike Brown and Ferguson, MO, join us on our campus this Friday for a viewing of the news documentary, “Hands Up: Don’t Shoot Our Youth Movement.” Presented by Freedom Radio and TV, the event will begin at 7pm with beats and an artist/community lounge conversation, followed by the viewing at 7:30pm and a Q&A discussion with filmmaker Ralph Crowder at 8:15pm. View the event flyer here.


News // September 3, 2014
BY: Drew Peterson

Drew Peterson SmallA youth artist’s first venture into the world of JXTA begins with the Visual Art Literacy Training course, also known as VALT. For 8 to 12 weeks beginning in the fall, winter/spring, and summer, participants develop the technical drawing skills necessary to be hired and succeed as apprentices in a JXTALab Studio. When it comes to VALT, its all about how you start. Youth artists between the ages of 10-21 are encouraged to apply for this free course, here

Portfolio progression + collaborative exercises + individual development through technical drawing skills. Drawing is the infrastructure for an array of artistic and professional disciplines – think painting, sculpture, graphic design, and architecture. That’s why the beginning stages of VALT are rudimentary drawing lessons that guide participants through the learning of the materials, the pencil, the paper and physicality. Still life and portraiture both fall under representational art making and cover the object-based and figurative drawing styles that we teach in VALT.

As the instructor, the still life pieces I design for the students to draw consist of simple forms and objects. Take for instance a drawing of a coffee mug. The mug is geometric and void of complex textures and weird shapes. As the students become more comfortable with rendering the objects like the mug, we then introduce other technical variables, such as value studies. Simply put, a value we use can be the spectrum between light and dark. With practice, you will be able to identify the value spectrum of the still life and figure out how to use various levels of shading within the drawing to give the piece dimension.

The type of figurative drawing that we focus on is from-the-shoulders-up portraiture, which provides a straightforward perspective of the face. Each student works from a clear black and white photograph of a classmate.  We also do perspective drawings, defined as either an exterior landscape or an interior space. In the winter, we’ll set up in the classroom from a vantage point that gives us a dynamic view of the room. A variety of angles, range and depth gives you the most interesting experience when learning how to draw perspective. In addition, we will spend time developing strategies for measuring and for understanding proportions.

“VALT is unique in the sense that you are in a studio classroom environment where you are provided space and ample time to get into a process. This involves a lot of personal time management. You have to figure out a new relationship to that amount of time. It is an important skill to have.” 

You are going to be in an environment where you’re with other young people who are at similar stages of their artistic development. Although we have such a diverse range of ages in the classroom, there is a type of camaraderie that happens and a collective development that I find to be important. Depending on your age, you’ll have an opportunity to be a mentor and potentially influence the people that you are working around, which strengthens leadership values.

We’re not only teaching the technical act of drawing which is applying a material to a piece of paper. We use a classic approach in each lesson because it is our desire as instructors for each individual to understand how to look differently at the world and use the power of observation to refine your personal style & technique.

EXTRA: Drew Peterson is a practicing artist and instructor who is also a JXTA alum. In addition to his work at JXTA you can find him at Highpoint Center for Printmaking as one of three recipients of the Jerome Emerging Printmakers Residency for 2014-2015.

News // September 3, 2014
BY: Roger Cummings

Rogers CummingsThis past summer, our version of tactical urbanism used a collaborative approach. We worked with partners from the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District, the West Broadway Business & Area Coalition, and Trust for Public Land with a goal to engage people through small to medium-scale, visual & interactive interventions in select public spaces in our city.

Our Tactical Urbanism team and Mobile JXTA traveled to neighborhood blocks and highly-frequented public spaces around the Twin Cities, seeking to create interventions to activate spaces and spark engagement with art making and energy. Our team, made up of myself, Kristen, Trey, Roxanne, Jahliah, Dean, Cedrick, Hawa, Cameron and Chango – a combination of youth apprentices and artists, community organizers and activists – was designed to deploy intentional “tactics” to amp-up community engagement.

Known as Mobile JXTA, we built pedal-powered engagement units by repurposing bikes and illuminated them with LEDs and fold-out surfaces that functioned as gaming units, art project units or rolling musical spectacles, complete with bubble machines. Then we hit six Northside areas, including Broadway, Emerson and Penn, Plymouth, Lyndale, 26th and Lowry. We also set up at 4th and 7th on Nicollet Mall during the Farmer’s Market on Thursdays as well as some evenings and weekends.

Interventions are non-traditional strategies or tactics, physical or figurative devices, that break up fallow social grounds to find out what’s going on in the community, and if things are not functioning well, to come in between what’s not working and bridge that to what could work or be better.”

Our team interacted with hundreds of people this summer by being in places where pedestrians could literally bump into us. We conversed with a variety of community members – elders, youth, business people, homeless people, the police – about social and community issues over a game of dominoes or spades. Our team was diverse enough that each of us had something to contribute to the engagement. In other words, certain topics or perspectives I could relate to people about, whereas other times JXTA staff member Kristen or youth artist Chango could.

What we found during our explorations was that tactical urbanism provides opportunity for interaction and learning between people who don’t often connect in public space. Our charge was simple and intentional: it was to engage with people who use the space. It was to observe how people interact with one another, friends and strangers. It was to identify what works and what doesn’t and how it could work better in the areas of functionality, fostering neighborhood safety, art appreciation, and cultural enhancement, all through a non-traditional, youth-centered approach.

MORE: Our plan for next season is to be even more intentional with our engagement tactics, but we want to hold onto the spontaneity and serendipity we experienced this summer. What would you like to see Mobile JXTA and the Tactical Urbanism team do next year? Roving dj parties? Workshops? Let us know your thoughts and ideas by tweeting us at @JXTA_Arts and use the hashtag #mobileJXTA.

Roger Cummings is an artist and maker and the artistic director of Juxtaposition Arts.

News // September 3, 2014

The last weekend in July, Northside’s largest organized art crawl FLOW welcomes neighbors and art collectors from around the Twin Cities. See in pictures the event’s brightest moments on our campus.

Juxtaposition Arts Gallery space

Our first-in-a-long time Contemporary Arts Sale featured pieces from JXTA apprentices and youth artists. Using artwork spanning from the past 10 years of programming, 2D pieces were showcased and sold.

Textile Lab

Apprentices Justice and Edward show off new summer t-shirts designed and printed by the Graphics and Textile labs respectively.


Starting early for VALT. A FLOW attendee tries her hand at still life.

Enviro Design studio’s site model was displayed for attendees to look closer at the concepts for the newly redesigned Saint Satoko pocket park in the lot between JXTA and Urban Homeworks.

Parklet Preview

The City of Minneapolis’ Parklet  was installed for the day.  It’ll make a reappearance this September through October alongside our newly designed pocket park.

Public art

Hawwa and Camila from Public Art Lab show the design for a mural they painted on the JXTA building.


Fresh summer t-shirts in the Textile Lab retail shop. The shop is open year-round to design and print custom orders and sell original & limited  edition pieces.

More images from the day’s events…


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Photo credit: Julia Henry, JXTA Yale summer associate and Christopher Rogers, Textile Lab apprentice.

News // September 3, 2014

Local youth from Juxtaposition Arts’ Environmental Design studio were commissioned to create designs for bike racks and a large-scale public sculpture for the new Hennepin County Services Hub Building.

Bike smile 2

Apprentices Demetra, Chango and Cedric +  Enviro Design Lab instructor Sam  with break dancing bike racks

Located on Plymouth Avenue at 7th Street in North Minneapolis, the building was redeveloped by The Ackerberg Group to provide neighborhood residents with financial, social and public health services. The grand opening at the end of August brought out community members and leaders, including Congressman Keith Ellison and Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges.

JXTA’s primary goal for the project was to provide local youth a paid experience working on a real project from conceptual sketches to the final construction document sets. This entire process happened over the 2013/2014 school year. Enviro apprentices worked alongside the instructors to create the art concepts, then shared their designs and received feedback from community members at several open houses. Out of this process, the two pieces that were most popular and most feasible to build were selected to be fabricated and installed. Congratulations to Dean (18 years old) who designed the b-boy bike racks and Chango (17 years old) who designed the “North Arrow” sculpture.

“We want to continue to build relationships with developers and city officials in order to involve local youth in significant ways in shaping new construction projects throughout the Twin Cities, ” says Samuel Ero-Phillips, Enviro Design lead instructor. This is real work experience that not many designers have access to while they are still in high school. It will build a foundation for the young artists’ futures.

UPDATE: The “North Arrow” sculpture is now installed! Also, view more pictures of the opening event on our Facebook page.

“North Arrow,” the public art piece designed by JXTA’s Enviro Design studio.

News // July 23, 2014

Just days away from the event, our team is pumping up our lineup for the Northside art crawl FLOW. Artist and Gallery & Contemporary Art director Nate Young, co-instructor Caroline Kent, and youth apprentices are organizing an compilation exhibition and art sale featuring work from youth artists spanning 10 years.

Namir at JXTA

Youth artist Namir holds up one of his earliest JXTA paintings that will be on sale.

Pieces from over the years of past and present apprentices and youth artists are on exhibition and available for purchase at our opening reception this Friday, July 25 from 4-7pm and on Saturday, July 26 from 11am-7pm in the gallery of our main building. The exhibit consists of 2D pieces from Contemporary Arts Lab, Freewall, Textile Lab and drawings from VALT which will mainly come unframed.

“The proceeds of all the sales go to make our lab run.” Nate’s talking about the Contemporary Arts Lab at JXTA, housed in the 1108 building. It’s an environment and space, Nate says, where youth have the ability to explore their own creative ideas, in whatever way they choose – through drawing, painting, sculpture, even installation. “Because we don’t necessarily do [alot of] client-based work, we [can’t] support the Lab [solely] through commissions. This is the way that people from parts of the community and all over can support this particular Lab and get some really good artwork out of the deal too – at affordable prices.”

Not only creators of the work, the apprentices will be able to brush up on their entrepreneurial skills as well. “The sale of your work is part of being an artist,” Nate asserts. The apprentices will be present, and they will be able to talk to people about their work and interact with potential collectors. Even more, the youth artists get a hands on experience of pricing their work and how art sale transactions take place.

“It feels good when someone buys your work, ” Nate says. “The buyer wants to live with it, eat with it if they hang it in their kitchen, sleep with it if they put it in their bedroom or shower with it if they put it in their bathroom. It’s a good feeling when someone wants to love and be around your work.”

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