Location: Ricardo Levin Morales Art Studio, 3260 Minnehaha Avenue
Ricardo Levin Morales comes to Minneapolis and Longfellow by way of Puerto Rico, Chicago, and New England – arriving in the Lake Street area (Powder Horn/Phillips) in the late 70s. He and a collective of like-minded folks chose MPLS for its size (smaller than Chicago), its proximity to colleges, but its independence of those, as well. So, not a college town, per se. In 2008, with the Wall Street implosion, the cooperative disbanded and Ricardo needed his own digs. He chose the earlier spot on Minnehaha in Longfellow as he lives nearby; when more space was needed he heard about this wonderful spot next to Peace Coffee.
His art is distinct. You will recognize pieces and have a, ‘no kidding!’ moment. He designed the Lake Street logo that was later painted on the side of the former Elsa’s. His messaging is strong and gentle at the same time. He takes you to the edge of thinking differently than you may be used to and eases you into that conversation. He is a union shop and makes buttons for various causes – these might be for political causes — but he’s clear: there’s no ‘us and them’. Ricardo also tells me that in his art there is no “lampooning” of a group for their beliefs, rather he prefers the opportunity for peaceful, thoughtful and informative discussion.
In his bio he defines himself as: a healer by temperament; and a troublemaker by necessity. I asked about the ‘healer’ piece, however I thought it was clear; he’s a gentle man; there is a calm and peace about him. But he shares that the healer-role is needed in discussions, speaking events, dialogues, and (may I add) the messaging with his art. He mentions that this is especially necessary as there may be earlier trauma to an individual or community. As to the ‘troublemaker’, he uses the analogy of the forest: the ground must be disturbed and disrupted to allow the sun in for new growth.
I’d encourage you all to stop in for a bit and walk up to that edge and ease gently into a conversation. And, meet Ricardo!