• DATE: August 7, 2014
  • TIME: 6pm-8pm
  • LOCATION: 1001 Plymouth Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55411

For the Hennepin Human Services Hub in North Minneapolis, Hennepin County’s request for visible and functional public art resulted in the JXTA EnviroLab creating bicycle racks for the new facility. In the style of break-dancers, the bicycle racks are inspired by the culture and human elements of hip hop. Join us tonight to see instructor Sam Babatunde Ero-Phillips give demos on how to lock up your bike and take a tour of the new facility.

Bicycle racks designed by JXTA EnviroLab.

Hip-hop inspired bicycle racks designed by the JXTA EnviroLab for the Hennepin Human Services Hub in North Minneapolis.

  • DATE: July 25-July 26
  • TIME: Various times
  • LOCATION: Various points on West Broadway Avenue in North Minneapolis

FLOW 2014







This July, be sure to join Juxtaposition Arts, as well as other Northside artists and organizations, for FLOW!

Hosted by the West Broadway Business and Area Coalition, FLOW  is the  annual arts crawl that celebrates the Northside community by shining a light on the creative efforts of its residents. On the 25th, JXTA will be holding an evening arts sale of youth artwork. JXTA studios will also be open throughout the afternoon and evening of the 26th. Don’t miss it! For more information, visit the official website for FLOW.

Ideas // July 24, 2014
Enviro Design Lab installing swingset at JXTA

Enviro Design co-instructor Coal Dorius and youth artist Alaja install a new swingset in the pocket park adjacent to the JXTA gallery.

FLOW Northside Art Crawl is a key occasion to connect with our neighbors and supporters at JXTA. Emerson & West Broadway is one of the FLOW anchor intersections and our aim is to be an energizing space where connections happen. This summer nearly 50 local teens  are employed part time at JXTA. (About 1/2 are STEP-UP Achieve apprentices.) Ten youth work in the Environmental Design Studio where they are spending the summer renovating outdoor space around the JXTA campus.  Young people are putting their creative and technical skills to work in the real world in spaces on our campus, such as Saint Satoko pocket park (between JXTA and Urban Homeworks).

Sam Babatunde Ero-Phillips the long time lead of the Enviro Studio says, “For FLOW, we will set up the site model so people can see the initial ideas of the campus and essentially the work that went into creating what is literally in front of them. People will be able to move around the alleyway to view the model, see a new mural going up, and sit in a new seating area while checking out our pocket park. We’re hoping that they’ll really enjoy the experience.

Some of the things that the youth are learning through this hands on project is how to create a three dimensional object that is at a scale appropriate to the space it is located and in proximity to other objects in the space. These are fundamental to a number of different fields that revolve around form and function, such as urban planning, interior design and landscape design. They’re learning how to move from an abstract idea, sketch, study model, and then physically create the large  scale object – using a one to one scale. They understand ratio and what scale means for the very basis of design. Overall, something that is in line with the JXTALab program is an emphasis on practicing the skill of going from ideas into actions and objects. Through the current JXTA campus redesign, that’s what the young people have done.

Mural from Public Art

Public Art  and Enviro Design Studio’s work  can be seen in the alley way adjacent to the 2007 Emerson gallery building.  Local teens will be painting a mural here during FLOW.

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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Ideas // July 21, 2014

The starting point is oftentimes a sidewalk, block or street in your neighborhood. Then, you add local ideas for increasing engagement and social vitality. That’s when you’ll start to see tactical urbanism, a community-powered spin on traditional urban planning, in motion.

JXTA's tactical urbanism at Northern Spark 2014

All of the Lights: our bike-powered carts created a dazzling effect at Northern Spark 2014. Photo by Kory Lindstrom.

Using people-focused interventions like light up carts, art-making, bubbles, and games – tapping into people and local assets – to infuse vitality into public space, is the main premise behind the Juxtaposition Arts tactical urbanism projects. Beginning last year, we’ve had an influx of people hiring us to initiate engagement and place-making projects on the Northside and throughout the city, as a strategy to increase connections between people and boost safety. This summer we have taken our carts, bikes, surveys, and activities to bus stops on Nicollet Mall downtown, and to sidewalks and places where people gather in North Minneapolis.

We’re using tools like bicycle-powered carts that light up and play music, both to create welcoming, positive spaces in public places and to gather feedback from community members for a variety of development projects that are being planned. From our carts, JXTA apprentices and adult organizers play dominoes, spades, chess and Jenga with people who are passing by and ask folks for their take on the state of the neighborhood and city. We also have art-making activities that people can try, like designing buttons, or creating custom backpacks while listening to music and watching bubbles blow down the street.

tactical urbanism

Observation+engagement: feedback from neighborhood participants showed differing wants and needs in the social context of nearby urban spaces. 2013

One question we habitually ask ourselves in doing this work is both present tense as much as it is prospective: “what can we do to involve a range of people who have a stake in this place in meaningful ways in deciding the future of the place?”  The Trust for Public Land is working with community members to increase social connections and access to being active outdoors in North Minneapolis. The West Broadway Business and Area Coalition hopes to identify strategies that will make West Broadway a more inviting, safer place to be a pedestrian and shopper. We’re also working with the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District, which is part of the Downtown Council, to create spaces along Nicollet Mall that are more welcoming, creative, and fun, especially for young people who tell us they need more things to do downtown. 

Join us at FLOW on July 25 and 26 to see the JXTA tactical carts and much more!

Big ups to Roger Cummings, Sam Babatunde Ero-Phillips and Caroline Kent and their Creative City-Making project which informed many of the projects that we’re utilizing this year. Also shout out to our partners, youth apprentices and artist organizers, Roxxanne O’Brien, Tish Jones and Shelley Martin. 

Ideas // July 16, 2014

We recently sat down for a Q&A session with artist, drummer, educator and founder of Voice of Culture (VoC), Kenna-Camara Cottman, to find out a little more about her work as a choreographer, and what being a member and manager of the JXTA 1108 Artists’ Co-operative is really like.

From dancing onstage at the Walker to working with students in classrooms across the Twin Cities, her passion and commitment to creative outlets is limitless. No matter where Kenna goes, however, her dedication to both Minneapolis’ Northside and the Black community endures. Be sure to catch Kenna and VoC at FLOW on Friday, July 25, then at NEW SPACE hosted at First Avenue on Friday, August 1st at 7pm!

Kenna-Camara Cottman

Kenna-Camara Cottman. Photo by Gene Pittman.

JXTA: How long have you been a dancer and choreographer?

KC: I’ve been dancing since I was five, and I’ve been a choreographer since the late 90s, when I actually started making work that would be performed around [the Northside] by my colleagues and myself.

JXTA: What were the first things that you started doing?

KC: I danced with a couple of groups where we all collaborated on the work, so that was probably the first thing. One of the early groups was called Black Pearl. We did mostly hip-hop and social dancing, more so than Modern or Contemporary.

Then, I actually curated a show before I went off into choreography. It was called the Black Choreographer’s Evening (2003). I had danced in other people’s pieces at the Walker Art Center which has this annual choreographers’ evening. And at the time, I was like, “This is cool, but I would like to see a different kind of a focus for the evening, to get maybe a different kind of work.” I thought we could do it on what I consider to be Black forms of dance. There was hip-hop, there was contemporary from a Black perspective, there was Afro-modern, there was traditional African—just an array of whatever you consider Black dance. So I put that show together, had that at Intermedia Arts, and then I did that two more times, and then just going from there to different directions of making work, or being in other people’s work.

JXTA: How does the 1108 Artist’s Co-operative work and what kinds of work do the other artists produce?

KC: The Co-op is a way for a particular group of artists to have space to do our work, but also at times to try and come together and either have events for the general public or events just for us, to foster our development as artists. I was the first artist to get in here, and [I’m also] the liaison between JXTA and what would become the Co-op. We have film and video, we have hair design, we have photography, we have a lot of visual artists, we have architectural design. And then there’s me, who does drum, dance and movement. We’re figuring out how to be a co-op, and not just a place where we rent space. We’re all connecting with each other, in pairs and in trios, influencing each other and broadening our horizons.

Kenna Quote

JXTA: Tell our readers a bit about your work with Voice of Culture.

KC: Voice of Culture (VoC) is a professional drum and dance group, with ages from 5 to over 40. We do traditional West African rhythms, but with a Black American twist. We’re all Black, and we all recognize our place in the diaspora: some people are Jamaican, some people are Black American, some people are straight from the African motherland. So, we mix it up, because we speak to where we are: we’re here, we’re in the Northside, we’re in St. Paul, it’s 2014. The people are out there, so we can’t stay exactly traditional—we flip it towards the younger generation, to try to get people to latch onto our stuff. These beats are the foundation of everything that you hear, and VoC is all about performing that and presenting that. I teach that myself as an educator, but when VoC comes to it, it’s like we manifest it.

We just did a piece called “Congo Square.” In New Orleans, there’s a place where the ancestors were allowed to gather and play the drums on Sunday. We wanted to tell that story [of Congo Square], but with drum and dance. So we had the kids, and we laid out our storyline, and we made up a new song to go along with it. There was a story for us to tell, and we had the dance part to represent slavery and freedom on Sunday—we put it all into a story.

JXTA: What do you enjoy about being a dance instructor?

KC: I feel like being physical is a way to tap into connections, because it’s not always only verbal, or even written. The way we tap into each other’s energy, through physicality, sharing physical space, and doing things with our body rhythmically, makes us connect. I think what I enjoy about teaching, is actually more so about connecting.

Ideas // July 11, 2014

Young people remain the central creative force behind traditional graffiti art. Here at JXTA, the summer Free Wall: Introduction to Aerosol Painting workshop touches on the history of this art form while covering the technical fundamentals of aerosol painting, or “writing”, as it is known within the art practice. The next Free Wall session begins July 15, and you can still enroll here. 

Free Wall instructor Eli Esters teaches layering technique to artists from Contemporary and Public Art studio, while instructor Caroline Kent looks on.

Eli Esters and Ezra Nausner-Wilson have been the lead artist instructors in Free Wall since 2010.  Under their mentorship each summer, young artists learn the fundamentals of control of the can (i.e. the proper spraying techniques and positioning for ultimate mastery of the art form). “We learn how to create a mural, how to tell a story with your mural, what kind of objects and images go along with that,” Eli says. “Even if [we’re] just working with letters and spray paint, [we’re] learning about color, depth, perspective.”

Students as young as 8, are given the wide expanse of the J&J Furniture Plus building on Emerson. They then have free reign to practice each lesson for 3 weeks.

“You have to be able to think outside of the box and be creative, definitely,” Ezra asserts of the workshop’s main objective. What he’s looking for from participants is dedication and willingness to apply what they’ve learned with their own interpretation mixed in. “There’s no right or wrong; it should be from the heart. That’s my definition of art.”

Free Wall

Youth artist Virdell practices painting curves and angles in preparation for a new JXTA summer mural.

The final session where the youth create their own visual piece to present to the entire class, is an important milestone for the budding artists. Eli associates this final stage as a conglomerate of each artist’s practice of setting goals, accomplishing them and then displaying the result of that process. “You have to stand by your work, not hide behind it. That can inspire you to do anything,” he states. “Sometimes, you can inspire other people, change them, with your work. It helps youth build their self-worth.”

Whether it’s a cereal box with shadowed lettering, advertisements with unique graphic design, or even other murals around the neighborhood, Ezra encourages his students to pay attention to detail and the environment around them for inspiration. “When you’re stopped at a red light and [a mural] catches your eye, it makes our world more interesting and it shows the creativity in the community.”

EXTRA: Apprentice artists from the Contemporary & Public Art studio joined up with Free Wall this week to learn the basics of aerosol painting, too. They will be unveiling a new, collaboratively designed mural for JXTA’s main building in the months to come.

News // June 26, 2014
startribjxta.jpg 3

Instructor Caroline Kent was surrounded by students during a drawing class earlier this month at Juxtaposition Arts in north Minneapolis. (Caption from the Star Tribune; image by Monica Herndon).

Bush Foundation’s Community Innovation Grants in the Headlines

The Bush Foundation‘s new shift in giving was the cover story in the Star Tribune, which included our Bush Prize mention and visual highlights of JXTA. Bush’s new Community Innovation Grants are targeting initiatives that focus on “innovation and collaboration” – and that includes some of the work we do here at JXTA.  You can read the article at the Star Tribune.



Public Art studio artist Azlyn creates a rendering of the JXTA alleyway that includes ideas for the remodel of the space.

ArtPlace Grant Spurs on Creative Placemaking Projects

Organizations with initiatives steeped in creative placemaking are at the forefront of ArtPlace America‘s giving. ArtPlace has doled out grants – a grand total of $14.7 million – to 79 communities across the U.S. (Find the full press release and list of grantees here.) We’re proud to be one of the recipients of a grant geared towards projects that “play an explicit and intentional role in helping to shape communities’ social, physical, and economic futures.”

News // June 6, 2014

Ancestry Books’ Grand Opening

Ancestry books flyer

When: Saturday, June 7, 2014
Time: 12-2pm for celebration; doors open officially at 2pm
Where: 2205 Lowry Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55411

Details: Located on Lowry and Penn in Northside, Ancestry Books will have its grand opening this weekend. A new North Minneapolis book store defined by co-founder Chaun Webster as a third place, Ancestry commissioned the JXTA Graphics Lab to design their logo and the Enviro Design studio to design, cut and build custom bookshelves for the new store. Join the owners, supporters and friends on Saturday to celebrate.


Northern Spark 2014

Northern Spark 2014

When: Saturday, June 14, 2014
Time: 9pm
Where: All over Minneapolis

Details: JXTA is going “mobile” this year at Northern Spark, the dusk-to-dawn Minneapolis arts festival. Among works of hundreds of artists, our bike-powered carts will carry along interactive games & activities, and will project live tweets that will reveal our location throughout the night. So challenge us to an intense match of dominos – if you’re up for it!


“Formations, Sediments, Cover-ups and Remnants”

Art by Christopher E. Harrison.

When: Opening reception on Saturday,
June 28, 2014
Time: 6-8pm
Where: Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts

Details: 1108 Co-op artists Christopher E. Harrison and Daniel Kerkhoff will be exhibiting their work in a dual showcase this June. The event description is as follows: “The work in this show explores the integration of natural materials and layers to examine the relationship between time, memory and the world we inhabit.”


FLOW: Northside Arts Crawl 2014

 Friday, July 25 –  Saturday, 26, 2014
Time: Friday evening, Saturday afternoon & evening
Where: Along West Broadway

Details: Next month, be sure to join Juxtaposition Arts, as well as other Northside artists and organizations, for FLOW! This annual arts crawl celebrates the Northside community by shining a light on the creative efforts of its residents. On the 25th, JXTA will be holding an evening arts sale of youth artwork. JXTA will also be open throughout the afternoon and evening of the 26th. Don’t miss it!


Lindsay Splichal’s Exhibit at Highpoint 

Now showing through July 3, 2014Lindsay Splichal Time: Mon–Fri, 9am–5pm, Sat, noon–4pm* and by appointment
Where: Highpoint Center for Printmaking

Details: Textile Lab instructor Lindsay Splichal is the recipient of the 2013-2014 Jerome residency with Highpoint Center for Printmaking. Utilizing a variety of surfaces to create her prints including reclaimed materials, Lindsay focuses on print itself
as an object. Her work is currently exhibited in the Main gallery at Highpoint.

Open Gallery at JXTA

Now showing through July 3Contemporary Arts at JXTA
Time: Mon-Thurs, 10am-3pm
Where: JXTA Gallery

Details: Curious about what the Contemporary Arts Lab apprentices have been working on? Come through! Now installed in the gallery space, the youth artists display a variety of 2D, 3D and mixed-media pieces in their first exhibit this year. For purchasing information or related inquiries, contact Nate Young at


News // May 27, 2014

Summer at JXTA brings new opportunities for young artists to both develop artistic skills and be producers in the Northside creative community.


VALT in session. Photo by Phillip Hussong.


Enrollment is currently open for the JXTA introductory programs Visual Art Literacy Training (VALT) and Free Wall. This summer, youth ages 8-21 will have the opportunity to work alongside professional artists who assist program participants in developing and expanding their drawing technique and creative skill set. *Youth artists who are also interested in becoming a JXTA apprentice are required to enroll in VALT.


VALT: June 23 – August 14, 2014.
VALT takes place Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, from 9am-12pm. Program participants must be able to attend every session day. For more information on VALT, go here.

Free Wall – Introduction to Aerosol:

  • Session #1 begins June 17 – July 10, 2014
  • Session #2 begins July 15 – July 31, 2014

Free Wall takes places Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, from 9am to 12 pm. Program participants must be able to attend every session day. For more information on Free Wall, go here.


When:  Thursday, June 5, 2014 at 5:30pm.
Where: Juxtaposition Arts, 2007 Emerson Ave. N, Minneapolis, MN 55411, in the gallery.

Note: orientation is required to confirm enrollment and only available to  those who have been pre-registered to attend. Orientation includes an interview, an introduction to artist teachers and to other class participants, and an overview of course objectives. Participants are asked to bring personal art creations to orientation.

  • If you have questions about applying, please contact Shelley at or give us a call at (612) 588-1158.