News // September 3, 2014

Local youth from Juxtaposition Arts’ Environmental Design studio were commissioned to create designs for bike racks and a large-scale public sculpture for the new Hennepin County Services Hub Building.

Bike smile 2

Apprentices Demetra, Chango and Cedric +  Enviro Design Lab instructor Sam  with break dancing bike racks

Located on Plymouth Avenue at 7th Street in North Minneapolis, the building was redeveloped by The Ackerberg Group to provide neighborhood residents with financial, social and public health services. The grand opening at the end of August brought out community members and leaders, including Congressman Keith Ellison and Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges.

JXTA’s primary goal for the project was to provide local youth a paid experience working on a real project from conceptual sketches to the final construction document sets. This entire process happened over the 2013/2014 school year. Enviro apprentices worked alongside the instructors to create the art concepts, then shared their designs and received feedback from community members at several open houses. Out of this process, the two pieces that were most popular and most feasible to build were selected to be fabricated and installed. Congratulations to Dean (18 years old) who designed the b-boy bike racks and Chango (17 years old) who designed the “North Arrow” sculpture.

“We want to continue to build relationships with developers and city officials in order to involve local youth in significant ways in shaping new construction projects throughout the Twin Cities, ” says Samuel Ero-Phillips, Enviro Design lead instructor. This is real work experience that not many designers have access to while they are still in high school. It will build a foundation for the young artists’ futures.

UPDATE: The “North Arrow” sculpture is now installed! Also, view more pictures of the opening event on our Facebook page.

“North Arrow,” the public art piece designed by JXTA’s Enviro Design studio.

  • DATE: Wednesday, August 20, 2014
  • TIME: 5:30-7:30pm
  • LOCATION: 3333 Penn Ave N, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55412

Back to School Jam








The Cleveland Neighborhood Association is hosting their final summer Party in the Park event this Wednesday, August 20th with a “Back to School” theme. You can RSVP for the party on Facebook, or simply show up. Stay for dinner, design a new backpack with JXTA youth artists and stick around for more. We hope to see you there!

  • DATE: Saturday, August 16, 2014
  • TIME: 10am-4pm
  • LOCATION: Minneapolis Convention Center Plaza, 1301 2nd Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55403

Discovery Day
is an event and opportunity “to explore new ideas and discover new ways of experiencing the environment around you.” The Mobile JXTA bike-powered carts will be in full-effect and open for visitors to take part in games, art-making activities, charge cell phones and more. Discovery Day is a part of Creative City Challenge‘s summer-long programming. We hope to see you, your friends and family at the plaza!


JXTA youth apprentices create buttons with visitors in downtown Minneapolis.

  • DATE: Friday, August 15, 2014
  • TIME: 7-10pm
  • LOCATION: Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis
Mobile JXTA

Mobile JXTA. Photo by Kory Lindstrom.








If you’re nearby downtown Minneapolis Friday evening, keep an eye out for us! The JXTA Mobile Engagement Units and the Tactical Urbanism team will be on and around Nicollet, from 7-10pm with games, lights and good energy. This is part of a project we’ve been working on this summer with the Downtown Improvement District (DID).

  • DATE: August 14
  • TIME: 9:30am-3:30pm
  • LOCATION: Nicollet Mall Farmer's Market

We’re back with the Mobile JXTA carts at the Nicollet Mall Farmers Market, just south of 9th Street.  This Thursday, youth apprentices from Environmental Design and the GraphicsLab will share their work and introduce art-making activities that you can participate in. Plus, our latest summer edition JXTA  t-shirts and buttons will be available for purchase!

mobile jxta

  • 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.