A library devoted to art in public finds new home as a resource for creative North Minneapolis community

Forecast is donating its Public Art Library to Juxtaposition Arts

Forecast Public Art Executive Director, Theresa Sweetland, is proud to announce the donation of the internationally-recognized organization’s public art library to Juxtaposition Arts (JXTA). The collection of over 2,000 print, digital and multimedia materials will soon be a part of JXTA’s new facility in North Minneapolis. Forecast’s team connected with Juxtaposition Arts to talk through the goals and details of such a transition during the pandemic as Forecast adopted a new mission, moved to a more flexible, remote organization and expanded their training and public art consulting work nationally. “This donation ensures that this beloved resource lives on to inspire the next generation of public artists, designers and urban planners here in our home communities and I know it will continue to build with the energy and contributions of JXTA apprentices, educators and youth.” shares Sweetland.

The public art library will reopen when JXTA’s new facility’s construction is complete [slated for fall 2022].

A workshop group in the Public Art Library in fall 2019. Photo by Ne Dah Ness Rose Greene.

What is the Public Art Library

Housed at Forecast Public Art’s office in Saint Paul, Minnesota for over thirty years, the Public Art Library has maintained a non-circulating collection of more than 2,000 print, digital, and multimedia materials from the field of public art. With a collection as diverse as the field itself, the library includes exhibitions catalogs, artist monographs, journals and periodicals, reference materials, public art maps and guides, as well as the complete series of Forecast’s internationally renowned print magazine, Public Art Review (PAR) (1989-2020). The library was not something Forecast planned, notes Forecast’s founder, Jack Becker, “but grew out of our commitment to include book reviews in PAR when there weren’t many books on public art.” The library continued to grow out of resources collected for the magazine, including titles sent to the organization by individual donors and publishers. Open to the public by appointment, the collection served as a resource for local artists, researchers, curators, creative practitioners, educators, students, designers, and anyone interested in the broad field of public art. 

Who is Forecast Public Art

Forecast is a nonprofit organization that activates, inspires, and advocates for public art that advances justice, health, and human dignity.

A nonprofit organization founded in 1978, Forecast consults with decision-makers on public art and cultural planning efforts, helps find, select, curate and commission public artists and artwork, and supports public artists with funding, training, and opportunities to advance their public art careers. Forecast places particular emphasis on access for BIPOC artists and groups that are traditionally excluded. As a national organization, Forecast’s team aims to set standards for ethical policies, processes, and outcomes in the field. To do this, Forecast recognizes the need to change power dynamics that have resulted in inequities within the organization, in the broader public art field, and as a result of previous work. 

On the ground, this work results in a number of policies and initiatives aimed toward addressing inequity and serving the community through public art. In 2018, Forecast introduced a professional level training intensive for BIPOC arts administrators called GroundWork. Since 2019, the organization has offered equity audits to identify inequities in public art collections. Forecast is also known locally for its long-running artist grant program, which provides grants to early- and mid-career Minnesota-based artists looking to advance their work in public art. 

More broadly, Forecast’s new Change Lab is designed to place a critical eye on public art policies, funding, and processes across the country to understand their connection to and ability to challenge the most pressing issues of our time. In 2021, they announced a new research fellowship program designed to creatively disrupt the status quo to advance justice in the field of public art. The inaugural Change Lab Research Fellow, Amina Cooper, is focusing on racial justice in public art. A call is out now for the second fellow, who will focus on Indigenous visibility.

With a national spotlight in the Twin Cities and our young artists of color engaged in what our streets look like, Forecast is committed to equity work. The artists coming out of JXTA are the very artists that Forecast wants to support in the future. “We recognize the importance of beginning this relationship while these young artists are forming and learning about the possibilities of public art and allied fields,” says Forecast Board Chair Dudley Voigt. “As we continue to invest in an equitable future to public art, donating our library to an institution deeply invested in youth is a natural next step.”

Who is Juxtaposition Arts (JXTA)

Juxtaposition Arts develops community by engaging and employing young urban artists in hands-on education initiatives that create pathways to self-sufficiency while actualizing creative power.

An organization that strives to shape a positive message about North Minneapolis, a section of the city challenged by high rates of poverty and lagging economic investment. To create beautiful, engaging and creative art and design, they train and employ young people to develop their talents on projects in collaboration with professional teaching artists and designers. Through that work, the organization shares the message that the community’s youth have something valuable and important to contribute to their community and beyond, while empowering them and furthering economic justice through the arts. JXTA’s portfolio includes work by multiple creative hubs called JXTALabs: Graphic Design, Textiles & Screen Printing, Ceramic Art, Public Art & Murals, Environmental Design, and Tactical. A 2019 and 2020 project involved collaboration across JXTA’s Tactical, Graphic Design and Environmental Design labs to work on the North Regional Library redesign, in collaboration with the County and architects. Previously, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board hired JXTA in 2019 to engage Northsiders with park planning, and to create a master plan for the park’s public art. In 2020, the downtown Minneapolis IDS Center contracted JXTA to create murals for passersby during major construction, which were installed in early 2021 by JXTA co-founder and Chief Cultural Producer Roger Commings with Teaching Artist Alex Smith. Also in 2020, JXTA’s mural team was commissioned by BMO Harris Bank to create a mural in response to the social unrest after George Floyd’s murder. Teaching Artist Alex Smith, with apprentices Bereket Weddall, Makeda Parrish, and Elijah Buchanan created a colorful mural to “represent the city of Minneapolis and [their] communities moving forward — together.” Projects like these reinforce the positive narrative and show young people at work on development sites.

Transitioning a Collection + Goals for the Future

As Forecast sought a new home for its library, their team spoke with JXTA leadership about why Forecast wanted the library rehomed, specifically somewhere that will see more use and serve more people, especially young people. Dudley Voigt, Forecast’s Board Chair, says, “Seeing the library end up where it will serve more people, especially young people, means it can impact emerging practitioners and grow as their work does.” Both parties wanted to ensure a good fit for JXTA’s mission and not an undue burden, and worked through the details of a smooth transition.

Says Chief Cultural Producer and Co-Founder Roger Cummings: “A big thank you to Forecast Public Art for the donation of your public art library. As we celebrate our 25th anniversary at Juxtaposition Arts, we are in the middle of a capital and legacy campaign for our campus at Emerson and Broadway on the Northside, with the goal of ensuring that JXTA will be a resource for young artists for the next 25 years. We’re celebrating breaking ground on our new headquarters on Friday, September 21 with an event open to the public and invite you to join us for this momentous occasion.

“Our vision for the campus includes a library and archive, with resources that youth, staff, alumni and the broader community can draw inspiration and learning from. Forecast’s incredible collection of public art books will be a focal point of this library and an invaluable resource for our students and the community.” 

Many threads connect the two organizations—whose work have long supported each other, from FLOW Northside Arts Crawl to the impressive list of Public Art Projects in North Minneapolis that JXTA has had a hand in. Forecast board member Nathan Johnson, an architect with 4RMU+LA, the team working on JXTA’s new building, adds, “As a Forecast Board Member and one of the lead designers for the Juxtaposition Arts Campus, I am excited for the opportunity to integrate Forecast’s library, which has a 30-year legacy, into the new Arts Campus. It will provide knowledge for diverse youth for generations to come,” says Johnson. 

JXTA’s new campus will include a new 18,000 square foot four-floor headquarters on its original campus on the corner of North Emerson and West Broadway Avenues. The new building will house the five JXTALabs, a rooftop terrace, gallery, and the public art library. 

As Forecast moves away from hosting a physical collection of resources, their team continues knowledge-sharing through virtual and in-person training for artists and community stakeholders, along with publishing FORWARD, the new free digital publication about how artists partner with communities to tackle the vital issues of our time.

Press |  for more information + Press quotes please contact: 

Theresa Sweetland, Director, Forecast Public Art; theresa@forecastpublicart.org
Dudley Voigt, Chair, Forecast Board of Directors; chair@forecastpublicart.org

Sarah Thamer, Media Minefield; saraht@media-minefield.com
Gabrielle (Gabby) Grier
,
Managing Director, JXTA; gabrielle.grier@juxtaposition.org