Artist, community organizer and co-founder of the Northland Poster Collective, Ricardo Levins Morales’ work blends social commentary with an undeniable hopefulness. (For thirty years, Northland Poster Collective was an activist arts organization and business devoted to using art in support of organizing, education and movement building). This conversation revolves around Levins Morales’ experiences growing up in Puerto Rico, radical politics, and the importance of the arts and the artist in modern society.

What happened next?

Ricardo Levins Morales continues to encourage hope through works of art. His studio and showroom is located at 3260 Minnehaha Avenue South, in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis – but you can also visit his website to see his vast array of his particular brand of hopefulness. Ricardo explains that posters have long been the primary format for his work because they lend themselves to wide distribution while keeping prices accessible, though fine art prints are available through the shop’s website to those with greater financial means to support the art.

Levins Morales has been at this for many years. He witnessed firsthand the power of activism as a young man in Chicago during the turbulence of the 1960’s. His activism has brought him to solidarity with farmers, as well as environmental, labor, racial justice and peace movements. He has come to see his art and organizing practices as a means to address individual, collective and historical trauma.

You can read all about his work – and see more examples of his creations – in this story from MN Original.

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Listen to other episodes of Minnesota Portraits and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

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This story is made possible by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and the Friends of Minnesota Experience.

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George Floyd’s police killing has inspired countless artists across the globe to create murals in his honor, works that also call for justice and anti-racism reform. And that’s left a lot of people wondering what will happen to the works of art – many created on temporary surfaces such as plywood panels – when communities start to rebuild. Students and professors at the University of Minnesota have created an online database that aims to catalog these expressions so they can be studied for years to come.

Craving new routes for your daily walks? Both Minneapolis and Saint Paul feature “outdoor galleries” of vibrant murals – many of which reveal social justice themes – that might just fulfill your hunger for beauty and meaning in these times of social distancing. Your murals walking tours in Minneapolis and in Saint Paul await, complete with maps for easy navigation.