Carlos Rojas and other Nicaraguan artists at Regla de Oro

<i>Nemagon</i> by Carlos Rojas 

Nemagon by Carlos Rojas 

Regla de Oro, a gallery and fair-trade gift shop located in the Lyn-Lake neighborhood, hosts a reception this weekend celebrating its current exhibition featuring alumni and teachers from Taller Artistico Xuchialt (TAX), an art school in Leon, Nicaragua. Among the represented artists are Carlos Rojas, who is now based in the Twin Cities, and Marlon Moreno, the director of the school, who will be at the reception on Friday.


Jessica Smith, who owns Regla de Oro, was introduced to TAX through her association with Project Minnesota León, which does community development work in the state of León, Nicaragua. 

"The school and the artists were a huge inspiration for me," Smith says. While she was working at the school, she helped create small-scale public exhibits. When she opened up Regla de Oro in 2010, the students helped her choose the name of the gallery, and Rojas helped her choose the original logo. 

Regla de Oro acts as a gallery and retail shop, selling fair-trade gifts and crafts. It first opened in 2010 on Lyndale and Lake Street, and moved a year and a half ago to its current location next to World Street Kitchen. 

Smith says that the gallery typically showcases local artists, but as Moreno was going to be in town, she saw an opportunity to feature him and other artists from the school. It worked out because every March, in honor of Arts Education Month, Smith has done an exhibition featuring a school. In the past, she has highlighted work by students from Perpich School of the Arts, for example. 

<i>Eyes and Ears</i> by Marlon Moreno

Eyes and Ears by Marlon Moreno

Besides offering unique art and fair-trade products, Regla de Oro also gives back to the community. Every six to eight weeks it donates a portion of its proceeds from sales to various nonprofits, social justice groups, and arts education. Past recipients have included Headwaters for Justice, Minnesota Fair Trade Coalition, SooVAC, and Perpich. For this weekend's event, a portion of the sales will go to TAX, the only accredited art school in León, Nicaragua. 

The exhibit includes a number of pieces by Moreno, who paints in the Primitivista style, which was developed during the Pre-Sandinista Revolution era, at an artist commune started by priest, poet, and politician Ernesto Cardenal. The paintings are filled with bright colors, and are marked by thick black outlines that separate the shapes that make up the figures.  

There are a number of pieces as well by Rojas, who moved to the Twin Cities after meeting his wife, who was a volunteer at Minnesota Project León. Rojas's work is deeply political, working on anti-war themes and touching on issues deeply rooted in Nicaragua. His intricate paintings employ surrealism and symbolism, creating work that resonates. 


Carlos Rojas (CambiaRte), Marlon Moreno, and the other members of Taller Artistico Xuchialt

Through April 13

Regla de Oro

2743 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis

The reception will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, March 21