Identified as the first public skatepark in Minneapolis at the time of its completion in May 2019, the 4,200 square foot plaza was one result of an ambitious four-year, $14 million campaign to build a new design headquarters and update the campus of Juxtaposition Arts (JXTA), a non-profit youth art and design education center, gallery, retail shop, and artists’ studio space. Rather than leave empty for four years the site of the new building, a prominent corner lot in North Minneapolis, JXTA designed and build a plaza that combined art, flexible open space, sustainable stormwater management, and skateboarding.
This student-led design, with assistance from City of Skates, the University of Minnesota Landscape Architecture Department, and the City of Minneapolis, consists of moveable furniture for multi-use purposes and skate features like a bank to wallride with cantilevered manual pad, bank to curb, and two round quarter pockets. Serving as a backdrop is an 840-foot long mural by Bronx-based graffiti artist Tats Cru, created during his residency in spring 2019. Three rain gardens, connected by a trench drain, occupy approximately fifteen percent of the site, infiltrating stormwater runoff from JXTA’s building and adjacent buildings to the west and north. The native plant gardens with red osier dogwood, sedum “Autumn Joy” and prairie dropseed were designed and planted by youth apprentices to improve the site’s scenic and ecological values. The plaza’s development and design are a tribute to the unique and vivacious character of North Minneapolis community.