By Sofia Haan
This September, Juxtaposition Arts is hitting the streets. For the first time since the pandemic, master class artists from JXTA—North Minneapolis’ only Black-led arts and design organization—are exhibiting their work for the greater Twin Cities art community as a part of Open Streets West Broadway on Sept. 10.
Open Streets, a global movement designed to connect people to their neighborhoods without the disruption of car traffic, has only been around the West Broadway area for about four years, but JXTA has been involved the whole time.
“It was great because it was able to block off the street,” JXTA co-founder and Chief Cultural Producer Roger Cummings says. “Now we get to occupy the street and show what kind of different things we are capable of doing as a design firm that works with youth.”
For JXTA, this event is a welcome opportunity for emerging artists to come together and demonstrate the capabilities they’ve been honing in a series of master classes throughout 2022.
“Everybody has been kind of shut off for the past few years and haven’t been to as many gallery shows,” Cummings says. “[The students] are excited to show, talk about, and sell their work…it’s been a while since we’ve been able to do that in person.”
Despite the restrictions and delays of the last few years, JXTA hasn’t slowed in its mission to engage young artists in hands-on arts education. “We’ve had a hybrid of both [in-person and virtual classes],” says Cummings. “This exhibition is a combination of two classes…and it was a way to start to get people back in the mix of in-person learning and getting their hands dirty. This was one of the first times they were really able to see and work with their peers.”
Typically, between 45 and 55 young artists are working at JXTA at any one time, but the Open Streets exhibition will bring together eight students from both printmaking and mixed media master classes. During a February and a June 2022 session, artists attended two- to three-hour classes, four to six days a week, held by artists who currently have a local practice in what they’re teaching. The majority of these students have taken at least one class with JXTA prior to the master class, Cummings says, but a few joined after submitting their portfolios for consideration. Currently, JXTA only offers two master classes, but based on the overwhelming response to these classes, Cummings and his team are planning more for the future.
The Open Streets West Broadway Exhibition comes at an exciting time for JXTA, as they open registration for new Visual Art Training programs, release textile design collaborations, and move into a new complex in October. “This is going to be the first time all the labs are together in one space,” Cummings says. “It hasn’t been like that for several years. We’re looking forward to opening up for the public and showing them what we have and engaging with the world.”
When You Go:
Saturday, Sept. 10, 11:30 AM – 4:30 PM, free
Broadway Ave W to Penn Ave N to Lyndale Ave N