Above: DeAnna Cummings. Photo: Ryan Stopera.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, arts organizations move forward. The McKnight Foundation named northside arts nonprofit Juxtaposition Arts (JXTA) CEO and cofounder DeAnna Cummings as its new Program Director of Arts. She starts June 1.

“DeAnna has been a local leader across sectors for decades, and McKnight has been a longtime advocate and funder of JXTA,” said Pamela Wheelock, McKnight’s interim president, in a press statement. “We are delighted by DeAnna’s decision to join McKnight and eager to see her talent and vision add to our strong Arts program.”

One of three JXTA cofounders, Cummings has built the organization over 25 years to be an incubator for young urban artists to gain entrepreneurial skills and work with professional artists. The organization grew into a revitalizing force for the North Side community, with more than 3,000 people aged 12 to 21 going through its programs.

In her new position, Cummings will lead McKnight’s arts program, focused on “supporting artists to create vibrant communities,” according to the organization’s announcement. Cummings has also served on the Bush Foundation’s board of trustees since 2013, and was a DeVos Institute Fellow in arts management. She holds a masters in public administration from Harvard University, and studied sociology and psychology at the University of Minnesota.

She will go from managing a staff of about 100 at JXTA to working with two direct reports, quite a shift.

“I won’t mind, for awhile, not being responsible for the whole thing,” she said.

In 2019, McKnight awarded 181 grants totaling $10.1 million to support working artists in Minnesota. Established in 1953, the McKnight Foundation promotes a creative future, with the intention of building climate solutions, equity and inclusivity and supporting the arts in Minnesota. The foundation has around $2.3 billion in assets and grants about $90 million per year.

Cummings does not know her departure date from JXTA. The board is in the beginning phases of organizing a search for a new CEO.