DeAnna Cummings Transitioning to the McKnight Foundation

Photo by Ryan Stopera.

Juxtaposition Arts CEO and Co-Founder DeAnna Cummings to assume role of Program Director of Arts at the McKnight Foundation

DeAnna Cummings, one of Juxtaposition Arts (JXTA)’s three Cofounders and current CEO and Co-Director has announced that she will be transitioning to the role of Program Director of Arts at the McKnight Foundation. Starting June 1, 2020, Cummings will lead McKnight’s Arts program, which supports working artists to create vibrant communities. “DeAnna has been a local leader across sectors for decades, and McKnight has been a longtime advocate and funder of JXTA,” said Pamela Wheelock, McKnight’s interim president. “We are delighted by DeAnna’s decision to join McKnight and eager to see her talent and vision add to our strong Arts program.”

The Juxtaposition Arts team will assemble a transition committee, and with leadership from Cofounder and Chief Cultural Producer Roger Cummings, will assist in the ongoing process over the next several months. 2020 marks JXTA’s 25th anniversary, and this transition will serve as a launching point for celebration, reflection, and investment in the future and sustainability of JXTA in the next 25 years and beyond; concurrently, we will celebrate DeAnna’s 25-year investment in Juxtaposition Arts and the Northside.

A message from the JXTA Board of Directors:

It is with great joy that we share the news that DeAnna Cummings, one of our beloved founders and leaders, is leaving JXTA later this spring to take a leadership position at the McKnight Foundation as their new Arts Program Director. For 25 years, DeAnna has been providing one-of-a-kind leadership in North Minneapolis, at JXTA and in the nonprofit and arts sectors more broadly. Through her leadership and her entrepreneurial skills and spirit, she has, with Roger Cummings (Chief Cultural Producer) and so many others over the years, built what we all know and experience as the power and beauty of Juxtaposition Arts.

JXTA was birthed because in 1995, nothing like it existed. There was no place in North Minneapolis – or Minnesota – for historically underestimated youth to build their future through visual art and design. With a commitment to community engagement, racial justice, and the creativity and innovation of young people, DeAnna has helped build something that 25 years later exists only in North Minneapolis.  From an afterschool arts program to a multi-faceted art and design cultural institution, from renting space from others to owning thousands of square footages of real estate at one of the most important intersections in North Minneapolis, DeAnna has been doing her work with a deep commitment to people and place.

DeAnna has been our fierce and grounded leader, moving us all along our journey. From her curiosity and humility, her intelligence, and her aesthetic, every part of her leadership and presence is imprinted on all of who we are. She makes us better every single day. But also, from the beginning, DeAnna rejected the notion of the single leader. Her definition of leadership has always been a collective one.  She’s built something that she wanted to exist and thrive beyond her tenure. She’s been intentional about surrounding herself with other talented leaders and dispersed power and agency throughout the organization.

We will feel her absence at Broadway and Emerson. But we are excited that the entire regional arts community will benefit from her leadership at McKnight Foundation. Additionally, all of their partners and grantees, and the arts sector more broadly, will gain beyond measure. For this, we are grateful for this new opportunity for DeAnna. We will, of course, find ways to celebrate her leadership at JXTA; stay tuned for announcements of celebrations for JXTA’s 25th anniversary.

Thank you, DeAnna, for 25 years of commitment to the Northside and its young leaders.


Read more about this appointment on the McKnight blog.

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