News // April 9, 2019

From April 5-8, Minneapolis hosted the Men’s Final Four Basketball Tournament which brought in 94,000 out-of-state visitors and $142 million estimated total revenue for the Twin Cities. Over the last few months, JXTA was involved in this huge event; members of our team designed marketing materials, a fully-customized mural, custom backboard designs, and more, working with various partners to help make this an extraordinary week for basketball fans and visitors.

The North Commons facility renovation included a custom mural designed and painted by JXTA resident artist Alex Smith. Photo by Justin Sengly.


JXTA’s involvement included various projects produced in a wide range of mediums and formats. Alex Smith, resident muralist and Free Wall and Textiles & Screen Printing Lab Lead, created a full-scale mural at the newly-renovated North Commons recreational facility; Graphic Design Lab designed informational and marketing materials for visitors, a custom vinyl mural for the North Commons ancillary space, and custom backboards for the Final Four teams; and JXTA Chief Cultural Producer, Roger Cummings, put the finishing touches in graffitti on the backboards.

North Commons Renovations

The Final Four “Legacy Project” is a community investment by the Final Four and its partners in an effort to positively impact Final Four host cities. This year, Dove Men Plus Care and Target Unilever invested a six-figure donation in upgrades and improvements to the North Commons recreational facility in North Minneapolis. Kickoff ancillary events were held at North Commons to unveil the makeover on Tuesday, April 2, 2019, and community members including Minneapolis Parks Superintendent Al Bangoura, Minneapolis Final Four Local Organizing Committee (MLOC) CEO Kate Mortenson, ex-NBA player and Minneapolis native Devean George, MLOC Project Manager Ivan Cardona, and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey praised the positive impact of the project for the Northside. “North Minneapolis is deserving of a primo facility. North Minneapolis is deserving of excellence,” said Mayor Frey of the facility’s restoration.

The North Minneapolis community celebrated the North Commons renovation unveiling with media and partners on Tuesday, April 2, 2019. The renovation included a custom mural created by JXTA resident artist Alex Smith.


JXTA resident artist Alex Smith works on the mural in the North Commons gymnasium.


As part of these renovations, JXTA resident artist and Free Wall and Textiles & Screen Printing teaching artist Alex Smith produced a full-scale mural painting to decorate the newly renovated gym area. Inspired by basketball iconography and by the youth who will eventually use it, the mural serves as the perfect backdrop for the gymnasium’s basketball court. In addition to this large-scale mural, Graphic Design Lab apprentices Patricio De Lara (20) and DJ Bryant (19) and Graphic Design teaching artist Greta Kotz designed a vinyl mural to decorate an ancillary recreational space. Says Kotz: “We wanted to create an energetic mural that depicts both education and creativity. With help from JXTA apprentices DJ Bryant and Patricio De Lara, we decided on some playful typefaces, color palettes, and an inspirational quote from Albert Einstein: ‘Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.’”

The North Commons facility renovation included a vinyl mural designed by apprentices in Graphic Design Lab. Photo by Justin Sengly.


North Commons is and has been an integral facility in the North Minneapolis Community; an investment of this scale demonstrates the commitment to community assets in this area. We are proud to have contributed to this full-scale renovation.

Minneapolis Local Organizing Committee

JXTA has worked with MLOC, the organization in charge of planning this massive event, since their bid for hosting the Final Four in Minneapolis in 2014. JXTA provided creative support in this bid, installed a basketball-themed sculpture at MLOC headquarters, and this year got involved in Final Four event planning. Graphic Design Lab designed and facilitated the production of marketing materials for VIP visitors including four brochure designs, an album cover, an album insert, four notecard designs, a flyer, five hangtags, a tote bag, a cookie canister design, and nearly 100 individual icons.

Avahnii Lewis (17), an apprentice in Graphic Design, was the lead on this project:

“Each of us working on the initial concepts for the brochures and other materials had a unique idea that varied in style, color, and feel. My concept is very focused on simple illustration and bright color palettes, making the brochures easy to understand yet also vibrant and eye-catching. The design includes icons that I created which relate to the theme of the day – basketball – and Minneapolis. I was excited when MLOC selected my designs, as all the concepts submitted by my peers were strong. After that, the project moved quickly and I led a team of other designers in lab to produce a wide assortment of materials. I’ll be starting college applications soon and I can’t wait to add this huge project to my portfolio.”

One of the marketing brochures Avahnii created for the Local Organizing Committee centered around “food.”


Participating in an event of this scale allowed us to flex our creative muscles and work closely with folks from various organizations to make it a reality. JXTA Graphic Design Lab worked closely with the Local Organizing Committee to make sure materials and experiences created were unique and special. Said MLOC CEO Kate Mortenson: “From the beginning, JXTA has supported the Minneapolis Local Organizing Committee in laying out an artistic vision for the dense, dynamic and diverse experience Minneapolis has to offer visitors to our region. The leadership and mentorship at JXTA allowed us to access quality artistic vision and execution for the many elements of our program.”

In addition to creating marketing materials for visitors, JXTA was also commissioned to create a set of custom-designed and painted backboards which were unveiled at the Minneapolis Convention Center on Thursday, April 4, 2019. Inspired by the design for the installation at MLOC headquarters, the backboards were designed by Graphic Design Lab, and the finishing touches were hand-painted by JXTA Chief Cultural Producer Roger Cummings. The backboards were unveiled and presented to the Final Four teams at the SALUTE fan ceremony on April 4 to kick off the weekend’s activities.

JXTA attended the “SALUTE” kickoff celebration of the Final Four teams on Thursday, April 2, 2019. Each team received a custom JXTA-designed backboard with their team name and custom painting by JXTA co-founder and Chief Cultural Producer Roger Cummings.


The Virginia Cavaliers’ custom-designed backboard.

The Texas Tech Red Raiders’ custom-designed backboard.

The Michigan State Spartans’ custom-designed backboard.

The Auburn Tigers’ custom-designed backboard.


JXTA’s involvement in these projects demonstrates the commitment from local and national organizations to include and support local organizations in executing large-scale events like the Final Four. We’re proud to have been selected to contribute to this weekend of activities and to showcase the talent fostered in our vibrant Twin Cities.

Take home your very own piece of JXTA Final Four swag! Pick up a limited-edition t-shirt designed and printed by JXTA apprentices at the Chameleon pop-up shops in Gaviidae Common. Plus, you could win a restaurant gift card! Learn how at MSP Mag.

News // March 28, 2019

Designers in our Graphics Lab recently completed a set of custom-designed murals for the newly opened location of Rojo Mexican Grill in Downtown Minneapolis. Graphic Design senior apprentice Patricio De Lara designed two murals inspired by Mexican history and iconography. The first mural, the larger of the two and printed on vinyl, is installed in the main dining area of the restaurant (check out the installation process above). De Lara digitally designed the second mural and hand-painted it in the staircase leading up to the restaurant’s second floor with help from Graphics Lab Lead Greta Kotz.

De Lara, Mexican-born himself, pulled inspiration from a number of sources to create the pair of complementary decorative pieces:

“Creating these two murals for Rojo Mexican Grill was extremely fulfilling, both creatively and culturally. I was born in Mexico, and I thoroughly enjoyed the research phase to produce this work in which I took into consideration the client’s needs while also paying homage to the rich culture that my home nation has to offer. This is also the first mural I have painted by hand; I was able to get my hands dirty and learn to replicate something that I created into a large-scale format. This offered lessons that I will carry in my work moving forward.”

Both murals are on view now in the newly-opened Rojo Mexican Grill at 921 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55402.

Above: The mural painting in progress. Below: Graphic Design apprentice Patricio De Lara paints the stairwell mural.


News // March 25, 2019

We need your help! We’re preparing a blank wall that will be filled by a brand new mural created by Bronx-based artists Tats Cru to serve as a the backdrop to our forth-coming skate-able art plaza (more on that here). To create the mural design, we need input from community members like you: who are your s/heroes?

Some of our s/heroes include (pictured above) LGBTQ activist CeCe McDonald, MN Attorney General Keith Ellison, lawyer/activist/speaker Nekima Levy-Pounds; plus, Mahmoud el kati, Nellie Stone Johnson, Sharon Sayles Belton, Shawntera Hardy, and Spike Moss. Now, we need you to nominate your s/heroes so we can make this a robust, diverse, and vibrant work of public art available to all who visit the plaza.

Ways to nominate your S/HEROES:

As this is a community mural, we ask that nominations be of public or semi-public figures. We will accept nominations until April 14, 2019.

Help us fill this blank wall!



News // March 11, 2019

Mural detail.

We’re excited to unveil a brand-new mural at Lucy Craft Laney Community School in North Minneapolis. With funding from the City of Minneapolis’s Collaborative Safety Strategies, Hawwa Youngmark, lead teaching artist on the project, worked with Lucy Laney third, fourth, and fifth grade students to complete a mixed media mural in their auxiliary multi-purpose space through the Beacons after school program. From October 2018 through March 2019, Hawwa, photographer Zainab Youngmark, and JXTA programs and outreach intern Jahliah Holloman worked with students to develop design concepts, practice multimedia construction, and eventually craft the mixed media mural.

Above: Hawwa Youngmark works on the collage section of the mural. Below: students practice creative work by drawing portraits.

The Collaborative Safety Strategies Initiative called for an outdoor mural to bring awareness to violence prevention on the intersection of Lowry and Penn, an intersection with disproportionately high levels of crime. Its proximity to Lucy Laney has affected the young people at the school: the mural’s creation serves as a response to this.

Says Hawwa: “Our design relates to the mural theme (neighborhood violence) by highlighting one of the most important aspects of the community: our children. These children have been hurt and affected by the violence in many ways and this is our way of showing how beautiful and important they are.”


Students at Lucy Laney work on painting and collaging the mural.

Working with JXTA Chief Cultural Producer Roger Cummings, Hawwa came up with concepts by drawing from the 2016 “Who We Are” mural, it itself inspired by the works of Emory Douglas. The Lucy Laney mural features similar rays of color (in gold) and photographs of Lucy Laney students taken during the after-school sessions. Photographer Zainab worked with students to learn the basics of photography and practice capturing images that would ultimately be used in the project. The images of students serve two purposes: to ensure current students’ ownership of the mural – in its location and creation – and to leave a legacy and act as a personal connection to the future students of Lucy Laney.

Students from Lucy Laney Elementary School celebrated its unveiling on Wednesday, February 6, 2019.

The indoor multi-purpose room mural is complete; now, a banner version will be created and hung outside Lucy Laney for the public to see as the final element of the project. Keep an eye out in the coming months outside Lucy Laney.

The completed mural.

News // March 8, 2019

Ceramic “face jugs” created by JXTA youth in Contemporary Lab.

NCECA 2019

Minneapolis, MN, March 27-30

Join us for events hosted during NCECA 2019!

Friday, March 29, 5-8PM:

Veronique Wantz You Am I opening reception & fundraiser

In conjunction with Artaxis, Veronique Wantz Gallery will hold a fundraiser at the reception for You Am I: A celebration of Modern Identity for JXTA through the sale of donated works by Artaxis members.

About the exhibit:

Intermingled, intertwined, interfacing. In an age where we seek ideological purity, You Am I examines how each of these facets of our identity can coexist in analogous ambiguity. How are these multiplicities embraced? Is there a singular thread that weaves across the identity landscape: binding, repairing? Is there a rise of fantastical individualism? Or does identity melt into a pool of punctuated homogeny? As the dance progresses, do we forget to notice? Our diversity becomes our unity as we sway forward to the beat of this neoteric revolution.

RSVP on Facebook

Saturday, March 30, 12-4PM:

Pop-up events on the JXTA campus

  • JXTA youth apprentice ceramic work for sale
  • Ceramics and Contemporary Art open studio
  • Group tours of campus ($150 suggested donation)
  • Current exhibit on view in the Emerson Gallery: Mara Duvra TO BE SEEN / TO BE MANIFOLD
  • Mara Duvra artist talk: 1PM

RSVP on Facebook

News // March 7, 2019

Buildin’ it up since 1995: join the movement at Juxtaposition Arts’ third annual Move the Crowd fundraiser on Friday, May 3, 2019.

When: Friday, May 3, 2019
Where: Juxtaposition Arts, 2007 Emerson Avenue North

RSVP on Facebook

Single tickets: $250


Move the Crowd 2019 will feature:

  • Visiting artists TATS CRU custom-painted pieces for sale
  • TATS CRU artwork exhibition in the Emerson Gallery
  • Live art demonstrations: aerosol art, digital illustrations, screenprinting demonstrations, and more by JXTA youth apprentices and teaching artists
  • Appetizers and drinks
  • Live DJ
  • Art-making activities
  • Exclusive art for purchase (from the JXTA archives)
  • Major announcements

Sponsorship levels:

For more information on sponsorship packages, contact kevin.winge [at] juxtaposition [dot] org or click HERE.

News // January 22, 2019


On view in the 2007 Emerson Gallery February 11 to April 6, 2019

Juxtaposition Arts (JXTA) proudly presents the work of Minnesota-based visual artist Mara Duvra in the 2007 Emerson Gallery on view from February 11 to April 6, 2019. Her current body of work, Tending: meditations on interiority and blackness, is focused on centering softer visual representations of women of color, using poetic and ephemeral imagery to understand Blackness beyond public identities. This work addresses what it is to be hyper-visible and simultaneously unseen. The opening reception and artist talk will be held on Thursday, February 14: doors open at 6PM, and the artist talk will take place at 7PM. Gallery admission and all events are free and open to the public.

Tending is about the quiet and quotidian, the still and meditative. With photographic images, poetry, found objects, and small sculptural arrangements, Duvra creates an environment that encourages stillness and contemplation of interior landscapes. The installations and corresponding texts introduce wonder and imagination into the handling of black identities. In this project, Duvra uncovers poetic representations of tenderness, calm, and creativity in order to create a rich anthology of representations of blackness.

Open hours & artist talk during NCECA 2019:

Saturday, March 30, 2019
Open Hours: 12:00-4:00PM
Artist Talk: 1:00PM
Emerson Gallery, 2007 Emerson Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55411

RSVP on Facebook

About the Artist:

Mara Duvra is a visual artist and writer. Her research-based practice combines photography, poetry, and video to create installations that explore stillness and interiority as critical modes of self-study. Duvra’s current body of work, Tending, uses poetic and ephemeral imagery to understand Blackness beyond resistance or public identity. Originally from Maryland, Duvra received a BA in Studio Art and Psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park, and an MFA in Studio Art from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Her work has been featured in local galleries such as Soo Visual Arts Center, Public Functionary, and Yeah Maybe, and she was an Artist-In-Residence at The White Page. Duvra is currently a Jerome Emerging Artist Fellow, a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative recipient, a curator at the Waiting Room at Gallery 71, and an instructor of painting and drawing at Saint Paul Academy and Summit School.

Artist website:

About Juxtaposition Arts:

Founded in 1995, Juxtaposition Arts develops community by engaging and employing young urban artists in hands-on education initiatives that create pathways to self-sufficiency while actualizing creative power. JXTA’s work builds North Minneapolis’ cultural, financial, and social capital by training the local youth workforce in creative industries and investing in the equitable development of North Minneapolis and the West Broadway commercial corridor. JXTA offers free year-round arts learning programs for youth, community events, and jobs for teens in the core program JXTALabs. After completing the rigorous 12-week Visual Arts Literacy Training (VALT), youth aged 14-21 are eligible to apply for an apprenticeship in one of the JXTALab micro businesses. JXTA employs 70 young artists and 30 adult artists and staff annually. For more information, please visit

Juxtaposition Arts’ current contemporary arts programs are made possible by a host of individual donors and the generous support of AchieveMPLS, Best Buy, Bush Foundation, General Mills Foundation, George Family Foundation, Harvard Club of Minnesota, The Kresge Foundation, McKnight Foundation, Minneapolis City of Lakes, Minneapolis Foundation, Minnesota State Arts Board, Otto Bremer Trust, Rosemary and David Good Family Foundation, Surdna Foundation, Target, Twin Cities LISC, , and funded in part by the arts and cultural heritage fund as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the Legacy Amendment vote of the people of Minnesota November 4, 2008.

News // January 3, 2019

“It’s really an evolution of how you actualize the mission and extend it to more people…I hope that funders will see the potential, and know that it’s possible because [JXTA is] already doing the work”
Kate Wolford, McKnight Foundation President


We’ve just launched the largest initiative in our history: a $14 million capital campaign to build a state-of-the-art facility at our current location. A generous lead gift of $1.3 million from the McKnight Foundation ensures a jump-start into this campaign and into new territory. McKnight’s gift re-enforces our belief in our mission and demonstrates the value of what we do at Juxtaposition Arts. JXTA’s success is due to the continued advocacy from those in our many shared communities: this is what makes JXTA possible.

From left to right: McKnight Foundation Arts Program Director Vickie Benson, JXTA Chief Cultural Producer Roger Cummings, JXTA Tactical Urbanism Lab Lead and Development Associate Adrienne Doyle, JXTA Chief Executive Officer DeAnna Cummings, Textiles Lab Lead Ben Peterson, and McKnight Foundation President Kate Wolford.

We’re raising money to build a new facility, but this project is much more than raising funds for a building. The new structure on the corner of Emerson and Broadway will house new and expanded programs, employ new and seasoned artists and designers, and ensure young people have access to the arts for generations to come. This foundation will allow us to plant firm roots and to continue our place-making mission on solid footing as we move into this next phase of JXTA’s trajectory.

Thank you to the McKnight Foundation for their continued support. Together we’re building a secure and exciting future for JXTA.

To learn more or to get involved, contact Kevin Winge at

Video by Free Truth Media:

McKnight Foundation

News // December 18, 2018

Client: Este’s Funeral Home
Project: Funeral Home Fence Design

Team: Environmental Design Lab
Project Description: Este’s Funeral Home commissioned a set of decorative walls for a contemplative garden space in their new location on Penn and Plymouth. Working closely with the Estes family, the Environmental Design Studio created a nature-inspired perforation pattern in weathering steel to enhance the garden.


Client: Thor
Project: Thor HQ Facade Design

Team: Environmental Design Lab
Project Description: Two perforated stainless steel “murals”” were built for the Penn and Plymouth avenue facades of the new THOR HQ building, unveiled in 2018. The portraits celebrate the legacy of African Americans in Minnesota and their many important contributions to the state.

Detail of the Thor HQ stainless steel “mural”

News // December 14, 2018

We’re super excited to introduce “HeXtra” a modular-infinitely configurable-infinitely growable-super fun-public gathering-seating sculpture-scape. Public spaces. Work places. Your home. Yup, you buy it by the module. 100% of the profits will fund our programs for young artists and designers. Support JXTA artists AND make public gathering places all at the same time. HeXtra by JXTA + Lazor Office.

Custom colors available. Contact for inquiries.