We develop community by engaging young people in the arts in order to build skills, expand assets, nurture relationships & promote equity.
Founded in 1995, Juxtaposition Arts (JXTA) supports the youth of North Minneapolis and other areas of the city to develop the confidence, skills, experiences, and connections they need to enter the creative workforce as dynamic innovators and problem-solvers. Youth who participate at JXTA increase their potential to accomplish their life goals and contribute to revitalizing the communities where they live and work.
Our work is grounded in a unique, replicable model that has been recognized as exemplary by experts such as the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities, Philantropedia, and international thought leader Charles Landry (who coined the term the creative city). JXTA's approach is built around six areas of practice - hands on art making, study of art history, critical discussion and interpretation, creative economics (jobs training, exhibitions, commissions & sales), valuing diversity, and leveraging our assets. JXTA students, artists, and leaders work in the real-world, serving real clients. Youth grow from learners to apprentices, entrepreneurs, and even teachers before venturing well-prepared into the world.
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I was like a baby bird living inside a shell before I came here. JXTA hatched me. –Adonis, 18 years old, JXTA graduate
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We define visual art in the broadest sense and currently teach contemporary & public art, graphic design, screen printing, and environmental design. Programs are generally led by a team of two professional artist designers who are paid contractors. Youth to adult artist ratios are limited to ten to one. JXTA’s core program begins with Visual Arts Literary Training and progresses to employment in JXTALab -- a full service youth staffed design firm which opened in 2010. Investments from individuals like you have helped to fund the wages of almost 100 part-time youth workers at JXTALab in three years.
Last year JXTALab generated over $23,000 in sales from 32 clients including the West Broadway Business Coalition, LUNDS Food Holdings, Twin Cities LISC, FLOW: A Northside Arts Crawl, Voice of Culture and Theater Coup D'Etat. In addition JXTALab youth apprentices designed and built an art “pocket park” on Emerson Avenue, several large scale murals throughout North Minneapolis, and contributed to the design of a skate park in St. Paul. For a startup business this indicates excellent potential, however it covers less than 10% of the total costs to operate. A team of corporate marketing professionals has advised us that a reasonable long term goal is that JXTALab client work will generate 50% of total operating costs. We need your support as we continue to scale up JXTALab.
By 2016 when JXTALab is fully scaled and staffed we will employ and train up to 10% of the youth in North Minneapolis per year (100 youth). Through the experience of relevant real-world creative work more Northside youth will be prepared to enter college, start their own businesses, or be employed as designers, illustrators, architects in a blossoming 21st Century innovation based economy.
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“To be successful in life, you have to be able to creatively solve problems. That’s really what being an artist is. It’s not just creating paintings and getting in a great gallery show; the artists who are successful teach, do commercial work, and do art. That’s creative problem solving; it’s the entrepreneurial path and the crux of what we do.” -Roger Cummings, Artistic Director JXTA
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In addition to these core programs JXTA connects with hundreds of youth each year through short term residencies led by our teaching artists in schools and other agencies. We offer a broad range of introductory workshops and public events in collaboration with partners such as the Walker Art Center, the UofMN Dept of Landscape Architecture, the West Broadway Area Coalition, and Minneapolis Beacons. JXTA is rooted in North Minneapolis on West Broadway Avenue the area’s main commercial street. Together we use our individual assets and rally around a shared goal to develop opportunities and artists centered spaces that can spurn a locally owned art based movement as the catalyst for equitable redevelopment in our neighborhood and city.