News // 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 Jahliah. #JXTAGraduates

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Full Name: Jahliah Holloman

JXTA Lab/Studio: Contemporary Art Studio

How did you first hear about JXTA?

I heard about JXTA through a program called Step Up. That was 4 years ago in 2011 I think. I was in the summer program.

Whats the best thing about your studio?

I really like the freedom that we get to express ourselves and our creativity. I think one of best things that we do is the talks: the discussions and critiques that we do. They help us dive into why we do the things we are doing and we learn a lot more about ourselves than we think we know. I’ve learned a lot about myself, and I call [my studio] art therapy. It’s a hard thing, opening up about yourself and your life because your art is like your life.

Which artist has influenced your work most, or is just a personal favorite?

The first artist I learned about was Kara Walker and I do a lot of work about her. I really like her art. It brought a lot of light to my eyes about the world and about real life issues. But I feel like the artists that I look up to now are probably my instructors because I know them and I see the work and effort they put in. They put their hearts and their love and their sweat into everything that they do and then on top of that, they come here and they educate us. So I feel like the artists that I am actually influenced by and aspire to be or do as much of if not more, are my instructors, Nate, Tia, and Caroline, and the artists in this community. The artists in my community are the people I look up to because I know them as real people, I know their art, and I have come to love their art.

Advice for a potential JXTA participant?

I would encourage them not to be too scared to try things because some people come in to Contemporary worried. They’re worried about expressing themselves. I think you should just try new things when they are placed in front of you and just be appreciative of those things because not everyone gets the things that we get here, like the ability to talk to so many influential people, so many intellectual and wise people. It’s always good to try new things and appreciate those new things and the skills that you might gain from them.

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

Maybe green or yellow. And I don’t even like yellow or green, but I just feel that way. Maybe because there’s a lot of green when I look around – I just see green. And a lot of my earlier work was a lot of like muddy, neutral colors, and browns and stuff. And maybe that’s probably why I thought it was green or yellow because that’s when I started here that’s all I was doing, just green muddy groggy, messy things. And I think it evolved into the person that I am today, which is still messy but more colorful.

Where do you want to go or do next?

I’m not sure. I’m going to live life and be happy. Being at JXTA has also brought a lot of things to the light for me, like social justice and social injustice. I feel like I might lean towards that – being some kind of community organizer, or being involved in community engagements which I already am doing, I work in Tactical Urbanism. I just feel for the world.

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

I want to make art that I’m proud of and I feel accomplished with.

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.

News // March 24, 2015

Last Thursday, our friends, family, co-builders and supporters like you, came out to Part One of the first Contemporary Art Apprentice Exhibition of 2015! We were thrilled to see you and take in good art with good people, in good spirits.

Check out some of the images from the closing reception. Want to see more of the apprentice’s art? Come view it in person at the opening reception for Part Two of the exhibition on April 2, 2015, Thursday night. Find the details on our calendar.

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Big thanks and praise to Contemporary Art apprentice Canaan and JXTA Tactical Urbanism co-instructor Adrienne for capturing these images of the evening – stellar shots! #JXTAcpArt

News // March 9, 2015

The 2015 Community Impact Awards we were nominated for by Minnesota Business Magazine was a great opportunity to share our story and learn of other organizations, companies and people doing work that creates a lasting effect on our neighborhood, our community, and our Twin Cities.

Watch the video created by the talented Ladd Films of the nominees Cookie Cart,Tech Dump and us in the category of Social Enterprise. We’re so proud to do this work.

News // February 16, 2015

We rocked the lantern fest workshop at our 1108 building. Light, color, good music and best of all, good to see all of you.

Remember: on Saturday, February 21, take part in the inaugural MPLS Lantern Fest from 5-8pm. Participants of lantern creation workshops from all over the Twin Cities will come together to Light the Winter Night starting at 6pm at the Marquette Plaza in downtown Minneapolis. Take a lantern home with you afterwards. Find all of the details here.

In the meantime, see snapshots of a fun night with JXTA apprentices, staff and friends and neighbors like you. Thanks for coming and we hope to see you back at JXTA soon!


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We want to give a shout out to the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre and the Minneapolis Downtown Council for creating this event and making this workshop possible.

News // December 30, 2014

Youth apprentices laying pavers this past fall at a pocket park designed by JXTA EnviroLab for the Common Bond affordable housing development on West Broadway.

Dear JXTA Supporter,

Thank you so much. We’re grateful for your donations, partnership, go-aheads, and good words. Your investment in Juxtaposition Arts sustains all of us – students, apprentices, instructors, staff and board members alike.

We started the #JXTAGive100 campaign last month, with a goal to inspire 100 people to support 100 youth artists by the end of 2014. You stepped up and we surpassed our goal. To date, 102 of you invested in #JXTAGIVE100. When your contribution joins forces with our mission and a young artist’s ingenuity, this triune produces outstanding accomplishments.

I’m proud of what young artists at JXTA have done this year, from addressing transit and public health issues through placemaking, to designing public artbranding events and spaces and collaborating with government, non-profit partners and local galleries, and more.

So why stop at 102? Let’s keep going, keep sharing and keep giving. Before the end of the year, if you value what we do at JXTA and have not made a financial contribution yet, I hope you’ll take this opportunity to action your beliefs. You can donate here or share this message with someone.

You not only help us make this work possible, but you also help sustain it, everyday. You’ve inspired us to reach higher in the coming year. From the bottom of my heart, I appreciate the support you have given us towards our vision and for 2015.

Have a BIGGER and BOLDER New Year,

Roger Cummings, Artistic Director at JXTA

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.”

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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.