Putting art in service to community—and skate boarders

Ivan Phifer/MSR News Pop-up vendors at the North Market Juxtaposition Arts Pop-up

The New Market has decided to attempt a viable solution for keeping the black dollar in the black community. In collaboration with New Market—a coalition of black businesses hosting pop-up markets around the Twin Cities—youth visual art nonprofit Juxtaposition Arts created a new skate park just this summer as a way to celebrate growth in the community to the new age.  

An event on Saturday, Oct. 12 at the corner of Emerson and Broadway Avenues promoted black business, community, and a new 21st century aspect to the neighborhood. Participants, vendors and performers showed up to christen the new park in 33-degree weather and strong winds. The bad weather would not stop these black entrepreneurs, artists and skate enthusiasts.

“This event is just about celebrating Broadway and the people here,” said Juxtaposition Arts apprentice Essence Enwere. “The skate park is made from the space of our old building. We created it for the kids in this neighborhood so they can be artistic, safe, and have fun.”  

The skate park concept started about two years ago and was completed at the beginning of last year. The new landmark helps turn an area that has been plagued by poverty and crime for decades into a space for art and black business.  

“We created a beautiful arts space directly on the corner of Broadway and Emerson,” Enwere emphasized.  

Ivan Phifer/MSR News Juxtaposition Arts members

Juxtaposition Arts has held previous events such as one on Oct. 4 at the skate park, giving away free food and skateboards. They also established a free art program called VALT (Visual Arts Literacy Training), where participants learn to drawn and acquire basic concepts of art design. This is the program students go through before becoming hired on as apprentices. It focuses on charcoal, drawing, painting and other disciplines.  

Kendricks Bady, who has worked with the contemporary art portion of Juxtaposition for the past two years, said the clothing line in Juxtaposition is another way to show love to the community. They have quotes and themes that revolve around art and music. T-shirts had phrases such as “move the crowd” and pictures representing women empowerment with the state of Minnesota stitched in.  

Bady said that as he grew up he would wonder, when passing the same corner, “What type of place is this?” As he started his path in the creative fields, he learned there was a lot more to art than he had previously known. “It also provides opportunities and brings out skills.

“There’s graphic designing, ceramics, textile, spray painting. This is how you have different ways of expression and story-telling. You can describe through art stories of yourself and/or your neighborhood.” He also described how once art pieces are made, they have a chance to sell the work, teaching entrepreneurship.  

Juxtaposition has five labs that showcased recent art pieces. The graphics lab focuses on logos and apparel. They sold posters at the event. The textile lab focuses on clothing and screen printing designs.

The viral lab on environmental design is more construction-based. The contemporary lab focus on pottery. The tactical lab focuses on the community, with 14-to-21-year-olds who want to venture into any of these five positions.  

 The workshop series and internship program, called Pathways to College and Careers, meets once a month to discuss such things as scholarships, portfolios, and college readiness. 

To follow Juxtaposition events, stop by their office at 2007 Emerson Ave. in North Minneapolis, or visit www.juxtaposition.org.