Juxtapostion Arts: Re-designing the Future

Kaleb Williams

A JXTA Program group based on artist Romare Bearden’s work. Courtesy of Juxtaposition Arts.

Through two plus decades Juxtaposition Arts has been a beacon for creative talent and a catalyst for community change in the North Minneapolis community. Dwelling on Emerson Ave and Broadway Ave, Juxtaposition Arts (known as JXTA) has been a hub for Northside young creatives to find their voice and passion while gaining valuable hands-on work experience. JXTA’s excellence is shown through their young artists working in tandem with studio leads to complete projects for their clients spanning across the city. For 25 years JXTA has mentored young artists with the help of creative industry professionals to cultivate future artists and their creativity.

JXTA is the first of its kind in a lot of ways, specifically by being Black owned, Black led, and Black operated. It functions as a youth-oriented visual arts institute known for community collaborations, studio classes and workshops, public mural programs, and art exhibitions. Employing 50 – 75 artists ages 14 – 22 known as “Apprentices”, through five production studios and teaching free art classes for young people 8 – 22, JXTA is a host to Young Black Excellence. This Black owned and Black led non-profit develops community by engaging and employing young (Northside) artists with the goal of redesigning the community through art, redeveloping how to achieve education, and reshaping how the creative industry looks and functions.

This Voltron like organization, comprised of five design studios (Graphics, Textile, Ceramics, Environmental Architecture, and Tactical & Urban Planning), hosts Apprentices to work on real client work and get paid to do so. With internships, travel opportunities, and supplemental programs to help the Apprentices complete their next steps; JXTA functions as a year-round opportunity for young people to understand and learn how to advance their creative and personal goals, while also in an environment tailored for them to succeed. To pair along with the paid programming (Apprenticeships), JXTA also has a list of free programming (intro to drawing, graffiti classes) that anyone can be a part of. Apprenticeships are generally obtained through the free programming JXTA offers, which shows their staff’s commitment to the young artists that come through the organization. Throughout that is Minneapolis, it’s impossible to not see their hard work, talent, and influence. Their murals, sculptures, exhibitions and skatepark illustrate the enormous culture and value of North Minneapolis and its people. 

JXTA’s building in Lego format by artist Jesse Mohler. Courtesy of Juxtaposition Arts.

A juxtaposition is placing two elements close together to compare and contrast the two, in visual arts, a juxtaposition of elements is used to evoke a response from the audience, such as creating meaning from the contrast. In music, it is an abrupt change in elements and in photography and painting is used to elicit meaning through placement of objects or proximity to other characters. Ironically, Juxtaposition Arts is fueled by the same creative energy pouring out of North Minneapolis contrasted to how many view that community – a community consistently overlooked and brushed aside. As a 25 – year pillar in the North Minneapolis community, JXTA is proud of the fact that its changing perceptions of THEE Northside.

Hour of operation: M-Th 10am – 4:00pm CSTVisit juxtapositionarts.org to learn more and connect on Instagram at @jxta_arts

Published by Artdose Magazine

Founded in 2013, Artdose Magazine LLC is an independent print and digital art magazine committed to connecting and supporting the visual arts in the Midwest. Published by Frank Juárez, the magazine is premised on the belief that we all share common goals of introducing, engaging, and offering diverse art experiences. Artdose Magazine LLC appears in print as a bi-annual art magazine, through a weekly art e-newsletter and on Instagram and Facebook. About Frank Juárez Frank Juárez is an award winning art educator, artist, publisher, art coach, and former gallery director living and working in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.. Organizing local and regional art exhibitions, community art events, facilitating presentations, supporting artists through professional development workshops, use of social media and networking has placed him in the forefront of advancing and promoting local artists and attracting regional and national artists to collaborate, network and exhibit in Wisconsin.

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