The bustling Uptown intersection of Lake Street and Lyndale Avenue welcomed a new gallery and fair trade store among the area’s numerous restaurants and shops with the grand opening of Regla de Oro November 20. The space adds Latin American flavor and social justice awareness to the popular Lyn-Lake restaurant and shop destination.
“The purpose of the gallery and fair trade store is to contribute to the arts education and social justice communities,” owner Jessica Smith said. She plans to give a portion of Regla de Oro’s proceeds and hold benefit nights to contribute to the causes.
Smith decided it was time to open Regla de Oro after operating the business out of a small condo for a couple of years and encountering a grim job outlook when she started searching for work this past July.
Latin American cultures, fair trade and social justice are no strangers to Smith. She’s worked on public health projects in Ecuador and Costa Rica, and community development in Nicaragua. She was also the first administrator for the popular Minneapolis-based fair trade establishment Peace Coffee.
Regla de Oro translates as “The Golden Rule,” which holds personal importance to Smith, after seeing communities struggling in developing countries firsthand.
“To improve health situations and the well-being of the people making the items…and that communities are healthy and thriving … I’d just want someone to do that for me,” Smith said.
She plans to apply for Regla de Oro to be fair trade certified through the Fair Trade Federation after the Federation’s mandatory wait period of six months.
“I think fair trade is so important,” Smith said. “This is something I can do to be a part of the system, so that people are paid fairly.”
Fair trade-certified products must meet established criteria that enforce fair pay and working conditions for producers in support of a vision to sustain the communities they live in. Fair trade gifts available at Regla de Oro include scarves, candles, chocolate bars, lip balm, skin products, and ornaments decorating a Christmas tree, which is visitors’ first sight upon entering.
Visitors could also view featured artist Tammy Ortegon’s folk-style paintings depicting Twin Cities scenes, such as the “Lowertown St. Paul” archival print and the “Midtown Global Market” acrylic on canvas, and Nicaraguan pottery.
|Finding Regla de Oro
3007 Lyndale Avenue S., Minneapolis
A Mayan calendar with paintings by Guatemalan artists also available at Regla de Oro will contribute all of its proceeds to support NISGUA, Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala, and social justice programs in Guatemala.
There are no set credentials for determining featured artists, though currently many of Regla de Oro’s represented artists “are Latino, but also involved in social justice in their personal lives,” according to Smith.
“I think it’s really interesting stuff,” customer Shireen Stone said of the gallery and store. “Very well-displayed, very beautiful. The prices are very reasonable, too.”
|FAIR TRADE BENEFIT NIGHT FOR THE RESOURCE CENTER OF THE AMERICAS
Join Regla De Oro Gallery – Art and Fair Trade Gifts on Friday, December 10th when they host a benefit night for the Resource Center of the Americas.
On this special night 20% of your purchases will be donated to the Resource Center of the Americas. Shop for fair trade holiday gifts from 5pm – 8pm and support social justice in the Americas.