After 30 years, a major labor arts institution is closing its doors. Founded in 1979, the Minneapolis-based Northland Poster Collective earned national renown for its creative work. Northland has churned out thousands of posters, T-shirts, buttons and other materials for organizing, educating about and celebrating the history and struggles of working people and organized labor. In the process the group has penned or popularized some of labor’s favorite slogans.
Northland’s creative work supported union campaigns nationwide. A few years ago, the AFL-CIO’s national headquarters in Washington, D.C. hosted an exhibit of Northland’s posters.
Northland opted to stay clear of foundation grants, preferring to seek all of its support from the products and services it offered unions and other grassroots organizations.
“After three decades of working to undermine Wall Street, it finally fell on us,” explained founding member Ricardo Levins Morales.
The worker-run business will operate at full capacity until the end of June. All of its inventory will be put on sale both online and at its Minneapolis store, 1613 East Lake Street. Storefront hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays.
A union shop, Northland’s workers currently are members of the Minnesota Newspaper Guild/Typographical Union.
A union T-shirt business, now called Aztech Graphics and a union button shop, River City buttons, will carry on facets of Northland’s work. Levins Morales will open his own studio.
Northland will be remembered for having worked closely with organizers around the country to bring color, creativity and humor into their campaigns.
Northland’s web site, where a wide array of art and products may be viewed and ordered, is www.northlandposter.com.
For more information, call 800-627-3082 or 612-721-2273.
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