Element's work with Juxtaposition Arts started with the first of its kind Skate-Able Art Plaza skatepark in north Minneapolis. With the physical infrastructure of North Minneapolis facing disinvestment for decades, JXTA's former building required a tear down due to structural failure. Rather than leaving an empty lot while fundraising to design a new campus, JXTA apprentices worked with City of Skate to design and install the Skate-Able public art plaza and outdoor gallery.
With the kind of vision and creativity that has long been the trademark of the 25-year-old arts institution, the staff at JXTA, along with partnerships with architects, design build contractors, artists, apprentices, skate park design/build teams and skate professionals, created an urban skate park with murals, artwork, landscaping, and sculpture that is an instant community centerpiece. Element’s Kevin Kuppe had the pleasure of working with the JXTA team as a project manager, assisting the staff to coordinate contractors to complete the unique project during a short (and rainy) spring season.
Working alongside both public and private partnerships such as Hunger Skate Parks, Concrete Science, Nelco Landscaping, MWMO, Bailey Nursery, and Tats Cru, the project balanced creativity, community, functionality, and efficiency. With deep research into skate-able parks and features that can endure the cold Minnesota weather, the team carefully assessed the varying surface materials and elevation with appropriate drainage, stormwater management and long-term maintenance planning. Along with the incorporation of native plants, locally sourced materials and resources, and artistic lighting practices, the plaza has transformed the appeal of the major West Broadway intersection and has become a major communal gathering place.
Juxtaposition Arts was founded on developing community by engaging and employing young urban artists in hands-on education initiatives that create pathways to self-sufficiency while actualizing creative power. Since the vision came to life in the Fall of 2019, the outdoor plaza has fulfilled the organization's mission and has brought together neighbors to safely maintain social distance, exercise, plan, and dream together for the future, and has become part of an ambitious and transformative vision of reimagining the plaza into a campus for future growth.
Element continues to work with the team at JXTA to coordinate work with their design, fundraising, and construction teams for their 30,000 SF campus redevelopment project in north Minneapolis. The renovation of two buildings will be reimagined to provide a new 15,000 SF art center and plaza for the nonprofit organization.
*photos provided by MWMO