DeAnna Cummings joined McKnight in June 2020 as Programu ya Sanaa director. Founded on the belief that Minnesota thrives when its artists thrive, McKnight invests in the arts and other sectors to support the state’s working artists and advocate for the value of their work.
Cummings is a cofounder and served as the CEO of Juxtaposition Sanaa (JXTA), a social enterprise business in north Minneapolis that trains and employs historically underestimated youth as a springboard to higher education and careers in art and design. Established in 1995 as an after-school program in the North Side’s Sumner-Glenwood neighborhood, JXTA has become one of the most important cultural institutions in the Twin Cities.
Prior to cofounding JXTA, Cummings served as a program officer for the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council and as a senior administrator for the Council on Black Minnesotans, since renamed the Council for Minnesotans of African Heritage.
Cummings has served on the Bush Foundation’s board of trustees since 2013. She is a 2016 Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal Women in Business awardee and a Minnesota Public Radio 2013 Arts Hero. From 2016 to 2018, she was a DeVos Institute Fellow in the selective fellowship program in arts management at the University of Maryland, College Park. She holds a master’s in public administration from Harvard University and studied sociology and psychology at the University of Minnesota.