Juxtaposition Arts is a youth art and design education center. JXTA curates training and camps for artists to deepen their skills, employs artists in their respective fields, and provides the space for artists to sell their work. JXTA is hosting a “sneaker ball” tonight to celebrate its grand reopening.
Founder and Chief Cultural Producer Roger Cummings says the space is back, bigger and better than ever. He says the community outgrew the space formerly known as the “Annex,” located at 1808 Emerson. The building now has three stories and a rooftop deck. He says the arts community deserves a home where creatives can be embraced as their authentic selves, rather than “othered.”
“I was ‘othered’ in high school.” says Cummings. “In high school, I didn't have any people that were creating space for me. For me, they said that our breakdancing wasn't real dance, our graffiti wasn't real art, our emceeing wasn't real poetry, our hip hop wasn't real music, and our culture wasn't really culture. And so I made a point to try to make space that holds true for future generations beyond hip hop – for people who don't see themselves in a traditional thing. I'm making space for that.” Cummings continues. “You don't have to identify with hip hop to be a part of having your manifestations out in the public and having space.”
Cummings says the “for us, by us” model is in the fabric of the building. Cummings says JXTA contracted Black architects to renovate the space and take part in the legacy.
“This is like a really nice way of saying thank you to our community and to our block. This is the embodiment, the DNA of Afrofuturism,” Cummings said. “This is a really lifelong goal for me.”
Cummings says JXTA’s legacy will likely change over time, as the organization adapts to serve the changing needs and desires of young Black artists.
“I'm not gonna be here forever, nor do I want to be here forever. I want to be able to make it so that the next generation or generations doesn't have to start from scratch and start a nonprofit, and get viability and find funding, I want to be able to get this where it is now, and then be able to pass this on to the next generation so that they can say this is what's important to us.
The sneaker ball will feature a ribbon cutting, music by DJ Travitron, an inaugural exhibition, and a silent auction. Sneakers are highly encouraged; admission is $50.