Our Initiatives

DeAnna Cummings

“We can employ the creative genius of youth to connect with our neighbors and understand what makes them feel safe, valued, healthy and thriving.” 

DeAnna Cummings creates authentic opportunities for youth and residents in North Minneapolis to exercise creative leadership through hands-on experiences in the arts. Juxtaposition Arts (JXTA), an arts education program, cultural center and social enterprise that Deanna founded with her husband, Roger, in 1995, is a place where youth typically considered “at-risk” can develop their talents, improve their outcomes in life, and make positive contributions to their communities. Since its founding, JXTA has worked with more than 10,000 young people and attracted more than $70 million in infrastructure investments to its surrounding community. In 2016, the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities recognized JXTA as one of the top 50 out-of-school arts programs in the country. 

Earlier in her career, DeAnna was a program officer at the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council in St. Paul, where she oversaw arts-related grantmaking in 11 Minnesota counties. She also worked as senior administrator at the Council on Black Minnesotans, where she focused on policy, communications and administrative needs of the organization.
DeAnna studied sociology and psychology at the University of Minnesota, and has a master’s in public administration from the Kennedy School at Harvard, where she researched nontraditional business, education and community development enterprises. She is adjunct faculty at the University of Minnesota, teaching arts and cultural leadership, vice chair of the Bush Foundation, co-chair of HS ExL Action Team for the Northside Achievement Zone, and has consulted on, curated and written about dozens of community arts efforts over the last 20 years.


Juxtaposition Arts; Minneapolis, MN

Area of Focus:

Creative placemaking

Fellowship Project:

Conduct site visits to determine if the Juxtaposition Arts model can be replicated in other communities to spur economic gains, energize local residents and raise standards of living for residents—especially young people.

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