News // July 25, 2016

We’re celebrating seven apprentices who have accomplished High School graduation this year! #JXTAGraduates

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Full Name: Namir Fearce 

JXTA Lab/Studio: Public Art and Contemporary Art

How did you first hear about JXTA?

I first heard about JXTA by coming to the building with my mom and signing up to do a comics class when I was seven.

How long have you been apart of JXTA?

I’ve been involved with JXTA for six years now.

What’s the best thing about your studio?

I do Contemporary and Public Art. It allows room for exploration and gives you room to explore your voice and artistic practice.

Which JXTA experience are you most proud of?

I am mostly proud of the portfolio that I’ve built here and the projects that we’ve done over the summer in Public Art. My favorite is the work that we did with Jamel Shabazz.

What was your biggest challenge here?

My biggest challenge here has been staying inspired.

What advice would you give to a young person interested in JXTA?

Just come in and find out the information, get the cards, do the VALT class if your interested in art. Definitely come and do it!

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

I plan on going to school, college, at Columbia School of Fine Art in Chicago where I will be pursuing fine art.

What has been your experience with North Mpls?

My experience with North Minneapolis has been beautiful. Its been really good getting to know the community and the people and having a heart and love for it.

What greater social awareness have you gained while being at JXTA?

I had a lot of social awareness coming in but JXTA has taught me something about thinking twice and improving my critical thinking skills. Also, JXTA has taught me to think about how my art can speak to the times.

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

Kara Walker, David Hammons and Jamel Shabazz.

In one sentence, describe your experience.

JXTA has given me the tools to better find myself and better see the impact that I want to make on the world.

Read about another graduate!
News // July 25, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 11.36.20 AMOn July 7, 2016, upon hearing of the police killing of Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, students in the Visual Arts Literacy Train Program (VALT) at JXTA produced a large scale collaborative artwork which reads:

“My melanin is not your target practice. They kill our fathers, then mock us for being fatherless. They say we have freedom but I don’t think we do. I don’t like this feeling. I always start crying. I must be so weak. I feel the racism. History repeats itself. We’re raised to trust them. They can’t be trusted, with anyone. They’re inhumane. When you walk around with a hoodie on you could get shot. They’re still killing kids. I’m staying positive. I’m trying to stay positive. All these black people they killed for no reason. The word that comes to mind is ‘Accountability’. The system is rigged, but still we rise, we will have compassion, we’re still here!”

News // July 25, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 11.47.33 AMThe pocket park next to 2007 Emerson Avenue will debut a new pedal-powered bike carousel, during FLOW: Northside Arts Crawl on Saturday, July 30th, 12-7pm.

Christopher Lutter-Gardella and North resident  Brandon Brown were commissioned to design and fabricate the metal structure of the carousel. They will work with youth from JXTA on artifying the bikes which will power the piece.

The project is the result of a two year collaboration between JXTA’s Environmental Design and Tactical Urbanism teams, Trust for Public Land and Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of Minnesota.  In that time, we conducted community engagement activities where we talked to hundreds of North Minneapolis residents and stakeholders and asked for their ideas about how art and design could help to promote good health and increased social connections.

The carousel is a pilot, that will help the partners to test the appeal of free outdoor fitness opportunities among different types of people.  It will temporarily live in the park next to JXTA before making its way to different locations around the Northside.


News // July 25, 2016

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It’s time again to celebrate our high school graduates!

We could not be more proud of the seven JXTA apprentices who are 2016 high school graduates!

Click on their photos to get to know a little about these talented individuals as they reflect on their own artistic development, what artists inspire them and how their time at JXTA has shaped who they are, and what they want to do in the future.  Congrats graduates!

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News // July 25, 2016

image110 year-old Ciojwé Davis has been commissioned by Target Corp to illustrate the artwork for its fall back-to-school campaign!

Ciojwé overcame the 14 year-old age requirement for being hired as a paid apprentice at JXTA by taking two consecutive Visual Arts Literacy Training (VALT) courses. It was in this past spring’s VALT course that the young resident of North Minneapolis connected with our partner, the creative agency KNOCK INC to develop concepts to be considered for their Target campaign.  Ciojwé’s work was singled-out by KNOCK and Target from a dozen submissions put forward by JXTA most of which were created by our teen-age apprentices!

In payment for her designs, Ciojwé  received a one-time artists fee of more than what an apprentice would make in an entire year at JXTA, and Target has expressed interest in future collaborations with Ciojwé!  Look for Ciojwé’s designs at Target Stores across the country now through the back to school shopping season.

A big congratulations to one of the youngest JXTA team members!

News // July 25, 2016

Juxtaposition Arts attracts people with bright minds, deep talents and sincere hearts.

Much of our work could not be accomplished without the help of the team of full-time summer interns. We are thankful to Ilyana Duby and Jane Hornsby  from Macalester College, and to Hawa Adula, who joined us from Yale University. The trio’s energy and get-it-done attitude buoyed our team this summer. We’re grateful!

IMG_9021Youth at JXTA who are nearing high school graduation now have someone in-house who is focused on helping them achieve their next steps.  Tanika Reese joined us this summer to work on our Pathways to College and Careers program as a family achievement coach employed by the Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ).  Tanika spends half her time with youth at Juxtaposition and the other half across the street supporting youth from Cookie Cart.  Tanika studied Organizational Administration at Metropolitan State University and has over 15 years of professional experience in public welfare, human services, employment training and administration. She is a native of Chicago, who moved to Minnesota 24 years ago, and raised three children here. Tanika has a “passion to eradicate generational poverty” and views college-readiness as a strategy in that fight.  Our team is grateful to Tanika and NAZ for our deepened partnership which will ensure that youth at JXTA have a leg-up as they move into adulthood.

Our new Communications team is eager to help us stay in touch.

davuDavu Seru our new Communications and Marketing Manager has returned to Juxtaposition 20 years after being among the first class of JXTA participants when he was a student at North High in 1995. With eight years of PhD work and a pre-graduate school stint in academic publishing, Davu has strong research, communication and administrative skills. In addition to his work at JXTA he is active in the Twin Cities literary and performing arts communities and is a part-time adjunct professor of African American literature and culture at Metropolitan State and University of Minnesota. Davu is particularly excited about working with JXTA’s Youth Media Team apprentices and activating the JXTA alumni network.

Onward!  JXTA team members exploring exciting opportunities!

Adjoa Akofio-Sowah, our former Communications and Marketing Manager, is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Landscape Architecture at George Washington University in D.C. following a residency in her ancestral hometown in Ghana this past fall.

Selah Obinrin (fna Shelly Martin), left her 2-year post as Outreach and Engagement Manager and Jared Hanks was promoted to the position she vacated.  Selah is currently working in spaces where she can support sustainable food systems and holistic, integrated lifestyles with community. She’s back at JXTA temporarily this summer as the manager and an artistic contributor to Wild Seed which will be unveiled at FLOW on July 30!

We celebrated Nate Young’s 10 year anniversary with JXTA last summer.   This fall we wish him well on his next journey, as he has accepted a tenure track faculty position at the University of Chicago.

Caroline Kent spent four years as an instructor at JXTA before leaving to focus on her career as an independent artist and teacher. Caroline is a 2016 McKnight Visual Arts Fellow and will move her career and family to Chicago once her fellowship is completed.

Betsy Altheimer has served as head of Development & Strategic Communication since 2012 and this summer has transitioned to a consultancy role.  Betsy will support the JXTA team’s search for a new full-time Director of Development to begin in the fall. Betsy says that in her 4 years at JXTA she has witnessed the organization move “from JXTA the after school program to JXTA the social enterprise.” When asked about what she liked most about serving here, Betsy says JXTA is composed of “some of the most beautiful, incredible and resourceful people,” to which we reply: it takes one to know one!

Finally, a shout goes out to our Chief Executive Officer, DeAnna Cummings, who has just returned from a month long fellowship at the University of Maryland in Washington D.C. as a distinguished DeVos Fellow. The DeVos Institute Fellowship allows DeAnna to spend a month each summer for three years (2016 – 2018) focusing on big picture strategic planning with an international cohort of colleagues and experts in the field.  DeAnna views her fellowship period as a “special opportunity to gain new tools and connections, so that Juxtaposition can continue to be the best at what we do for decades to come.”

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.


News // July 14, 2016
Wild Seed at Mayday 2016

Wild Seed at Mayday 2016. Photo by Carol Banks Olyphant

Juxtaposition Arts is partnering with community artists for a special presentation at FLOW: Northside Arts Crawl at 2pm on Saturday, July 30th.

Come out and take part in Wild Seed: a production of puppetry, theater and music to pay homage and reverence to ancestors’ labor and contributions to the nation. Special homage will be paid to ancestors who have recently made transition such as Prince, Muhammad Ali, Kirk Washington Jr. and Philando Castile.

Leading up to FLOW, the Wild Seed artists will host free, open to the public, inter-generational workshops where community members are invited to the JXTA campus to make costumes and work collaboratively on puppets and other art pieces. All levels of experience are welcome. Teaching artists will be there to support you!

The free workshops will be at 1108 W. Broadway Avenue  as follows. Drop in anytime.

  • Wednesday July 20th, 4-8pm
  • Thursday July 21st, 4-8pm
  • Saturday July 23rd, 10am-2pm
  • Wednesday July 27th, 4-8 pm
  • Thursday July 28th, 4-8pm

Following the workshops, bring your costumes and creations and join the artists in a procession down West Broadway during FLOW on Saturday July 30th, 2pm.

Also, you can attend FLOW and participate in the parade even if you didn’t attend a workshop. Don’t miss it!

Juxtaposition Arts
1108 West Broadway Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55104

Visit the Facebook event.


JORDAN HAMILTON is a multi-media visual artist. He is known for his work as a painter, muralist and community organizer. Based in Minneapolis, he has done a number of murals and public artworks in the Twin Cities, throughout the United States and internationally. Recently he has been delving into the art of puppetry, sculpture, performance, and interdisciplinary arts. Jordan also works as a freelancer in design and photography. He strives to use art as a tool to build community and a platform to address issues and realize ways to better the world around us.

SELAH OBINRIN is a freelance facilitator, consultant, community organizer and healing justice creative. She has 15 years of experience in facilitation, program management, community organizing, and youth development. Selah is a founding member, trainer, and advisor for SPEAC (Sustainable Progress through Engaging Active Citizens), a ten years strong community organizer and neighborhood leadership training at Hope Community in South Minneapolis. She is a member of the Diaspora Healers Network (A black/African Diaspora healers collective) in Minneapolis, and a trained member of the Soul Medic Community Care Institute providing trauma informed wellness supports during community justice response situations. Selah is a vegan urban gardener whose interests include exploring experiential learning models and popular education as youth development pedagogy, urban agriculture, healing justice and the arts. Her independent practice Selah’s Apothecary provides freelance facilitation, organizational development, and healing justice workshops with a holistic approach & practice.

JUNAUDA PETRUS and ERIN SHARKEY composed the Minneapolis-based artist collective Free Black Dirt. Free Black Dirt seeks to spark and engage in critical conversations. Junauda Petrus is a writer, aerialist, playwright, creative organizer and performance artist. She has received a Givens Foundation fellowship, a Jerome Travel and Study grant and a Many Voices Mentorship with the Playwright’s Center, and a Naked Stages Residency at the Pillsbury House. Erin Sharkey is a poet, essayist, educator, and graphic designer. She was nominated for Best New Poets 2015, was 2015 Givens Foundation for African American Literature fellow and a 2016 VONA/Voices fellow, and has been published in Paper Darts and Walker Untitled. Free Black Dirt is committed to creating original projects for stage and screen performance, hosting innovative events, organizing local artists, and promoting and supporting the emerging artists of color community in Minneapolis and beyond.

News // March 24, 2016

Leah Gilliam - GameLeah Gilliam’s long career of making media continues to expand the horizons of technology-based art in relationship to culture. An accomplished film/videomaker, new media artist, coder, strategist and game designer, Gilliam brings race, gender and sexual orientation into sharp conversation through interactive projects. Her interests range from the obsolescence of technology to the cultural and imaginative implications of human contact with Mars. More recently, her analog board games create a low-tech space for people to have real-world conversations through fantastical scenarios.

Also an educator committed to equity in the tech world, Gilliam held the post of new portfolio strategist at Hive Learning Network NYC and now serves as the newly appointed VP of Strategy & Innovation at Girls Who Code, a national non-profit organization working to close the gender gap in technology.

Following the talk, you’re invited to stay for a playtest of Lesberation, a story­telling game in which players combine personal actions (verb cards) and personal belongings (noun cards) to construct inventive solutions to the fractious problems plaguing a lesbian­-separatist commune. Guided by game facilitators, players work together to repurpose their items and lend their actions to solve the crisis and further advance a p​ro­lesbian agenda.​ Note: Lesberation includes adult themes and is intended for mature audiences.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

2:00 pm

Juxtaposition Arts
1108 West Broadway Ave
Minneapolis MN 55411

Note: This event was rescheduled from April.

Co-presented by Northern and Juxtaposition Arts.

This talk is part of a series called, organized to explore conversations on art, technology and embedded practice. is presented in concert with Art(ists) on the Verge, a year-long, intensive, mentor-based fellowship for emerging artists working experimentally at the intersection of art, technology, and digital culture presented by Northern For more information, visit

News // January 26, 2016
BY: DeAnna Cummings

Kevin Powell Flier

Juxtaposition arts will be hosting a free Community Conversation, and Book signing with Activist, Writer, Public Speaker, and Author of the critically-acclaimed new book “The Education of Kevin Powell: A Boy’s Journey into Manhood” (Atria Books/Simon & Schuster).

Doors open at 6:00 PM, and Ancestry Books will be selling copies of “The Education of Kevin Powell: A Boy’s Journey into Manhood” throughout the evening.

Featuring DJ Reggie Mckeever and spoken word artist S’sence Adams.

Friday, February 5, 2016
Juxtaposition Arts
1108 West Broadway Ave
Minneapolis MN 55411
RSVP via our Facebook Page