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Juxtaposition Arts (JXTA) - A Positive Force for Artistic Northside Youth

Article by Claudia Kittock, photos by Rick Kittock

In a small storefront in North Minneapolis is a place where magic happens. The first clue to that magic are the bubbles that cascade from the front of the building. When my husband asked why there were bubbles, Davu Seru, Communications Director, asked us, “How do they make you feel?” We said they made us feel happy and joyful. “That’s why they are there.”

Davu Seru, Communications Director

Juxtaposition Arts (JXTA) started in 1995. It was founded by DeAnna Cummings, Roger Cummings, and Peyton Russell. The first home for JXTA was Peyton Russell’s studio, and the first program offered was a Studio Arts Program that met 4 days a week, 4 hours a day for 8 weeks. The curriculum consisted of mentoring by professional artists to make art, learn art history, and to exhibit and sell their own art work.

In 2004, with support and leadership of JXTA Founding Board, JXTA purchased 3 buildings at the corner of West Broadway and Emerson and converted the building at 2007 Emerson into the Northside's first youth visual arts program space, gallery, and offices. This is the building that blows bubbles!

JXTA places a high value on learning by doing, because they know young artists learn and grow in their core competencies through experiences. They provide a safe space, mentorship, connections, and tools so that young people can practice the critical skill of turning their creative ideas into fully realized art products.

As a JXTA participant, youth grow as a confident and competent artist, overcoming creative challenges and achieving visible successes. Young people who have participated in JXTA’s programs have gone on to become professional artists, business owners, activists, students, and proactive community members.

"They always want us to do better
by encouraging us and pushing us
past our limits at times."

Every student at JXTA begins in the Visual Arts Literacy Training (VALT). Designed for young artists to explore, refine and grow their skills in the arts. VALT is an opportunity to learn alongside professional artists to build a base of skills to use in future educational and professional endeavors. Interested young people only need apply on the website. The VALT is free to all who apply.

Once JXTA students reach a level of mastery in the Visual Art Literacy Training they may apply for a paid apprentice position and work with professional artists in graphic design, screen print, environmental design, contemporary arts or public art studios. As one student said, "They always want us to do better by encouraging us and pushing us past our limits at times."

The art produced at JXTA is exciting. We were privileged to have a tour of the facility and left exhilarated by what we saw. Art is made here! Youth are pushed to discover their talent and themselves. This is a place filled with joy! Consider investing in their work as they strive to become the largest employer of youth in North Minneapolis.

Claudia can be reached at

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