Cameron Downey is the artist, poet, and approaching- high school junior at The Blake School who won the 2015 Poetry Out Loud competition for the state of Minnesota. A North Minneapolis native, Downey is a speaker at our June 25 Next Generation of Parks lecture event talking about her work at Juxtaposition Arts (JXTA).
I caught up with Cameron for a quick chat on art, the parks, and what she wants to be when she grows up. Enlightened by her perspective on her life, feeling privileged with many platforms in art, Cameron expressed it’s not by her choice but designed destiny. This is certainly an artist to watch.
How is it working with Juxtaposition? How’d that come about…?
I was in 4th grade, sketching my name in bubble letters everywhere. My mother signed me up for the Freewall class at Juxtaposition and I’ve never left…! I’ll always be here to some capacity. JXTA is my summer job now. It’s served as a platform for my curiosity and exploration of concepts, the world of art and what it can do. This is the reason I can have an intelligent conversation about art. Here at Juxtaposition, everyone loves what they do, it’s just different.
Can you expound on your perspective and experiences as it pertains to your contributions creatively?
My art has to reflect what’s going on within me. There’s a level of responsibility to my gift. Living in North Minneapolis all of my life, being educated in private schools for the majority of my life, it’s by no coincidence I’m here. Sometimes my art is like a refuge, a place I’m safe to express myself and then people identify with me, whatever it is I’m feeling.
Tell me more about mobile engagement works, what is it…?
When we go out on bikes with decorated carts filled with lights, bubbles or other eye-catching novelties… Personally I love doing it! It will always have a place in art and everyday life. Perfect in many ways!
What do you see the role today’s youth play in designing of parks?
Youth are the future of parks! We’re existential to the parks existence. Parks will adapt to our need for technology… or maybe even be a haven away from it.
What programs should be implemented, further supported or introduced to encourage youth in the parks?
I think the way the parks are curated in the city should change. For example, by not having fences, having more streetlights and even transit to parks. There should be transit discounts with specific stops to parks.
Is there anything you’d like to add…? Anything you want our Members and supporters to know about you…?
Yes…! I’m only 16 and I’m not sure what I’ll do after college. Any suggestions…? (lol) I just want to be happy and help others be happy in my community and beyond.