News // July 25, 2016

JXTA Class of 2016: Meet Tiara Cortez


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

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Full name: Tiara Cortez

JXTA Lab/Studio: Textile Lab 

How did you first hear about JXTA?

I heard about JXTA from Jahliah, an older  JXTA apprentice. We went to South West together and that’s where I met her. I graduated from St. Louis Park High School.

How long have you been apart of JXTA?

I’ve been involved in JXTA since summer 2015.  I’ve been working here since January 4th.  I remember this because it was the day before my birthday.

What’s the best thing about your studio?

I am in Textile Lab. The best thing about Textile is that I feel like I earn my money. I can see the work that I am doing and it is fulfilling to see an immediate result from my work.

Which JXTA experience are you most proud of?

One day, JXTA went to the Women’s Club for an art show. JXTA was selling apprentice art and I was able to go and take pictures. It was a cool experience for me. I think some of them are on Instagram and Facebook.

What was your biggest challenge here?

My biggest challenge is that when I began VALT, I used to live far away. It was a hard for me to go back and forth between home and JXTA. I stopped coming but JXTA gave me a second chance to complete the program. I later moved closer to JXTA.

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

I would say GO FOR IT and don’t be scared to let your artistic side out.

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

I will be taking a gap year and then attending Dunwoody Trade School or MCTC, Minneapolis Community and Technical College, to become an ultrasound technician through the Radiology Program.

What has been your experience with North Mpls?

My experience has been good and bad. The bad is that there is a lot of violence around where I live. Recently, a woman was killed about six or seven blocks away from my house. There is always a lot of shootings that happen and that is scary because I have to cautious of that. Coming to JXTA feels safe and that has been the good.

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

I learned about gentrification here. Before I came to JXTA, I didn’t know what it was. I learned about it through a conversation that I had in Textiles with the other apprentices. Someone brought it up and I asked more questions about it.

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

I don’t know that many artists. I would say Lindsay, one of my lab leads in Textile.

In one sentence, describe your experience.

I wasn’t really expecting to feel at home like I do now. It is really just a big family. I love it here.

Read about another graduate!