Minimum Wage



 A one-day-only exhibit brings the minimum wage debate to life, at a time when the Minnesota legislature is expected to be in negotiations over the “Raise the Wage” bill. The five artists of Rogue Citizen each create over forty works, using one hour per piece.  The community is invited to buy any of the paintings, for any price they choose, at or above Minnesota minimum wage. Over 200 resulting paintings will be shown at 4:00 p.m., alongside exciting speakers, including workers and politicians fighting to raise wages. Live music and DJs begin at 6:00 p.m. Notable, local artist Guante will perform for minimum wage plus tips. Other performers include Ander Other, known for his work with Doomtree; Jeremy Carpenter, previously of KMOJ; activist and acoustic guitarist, Pilar Vatres; Skip Grandz and Mark Kreazy from the new “MNworks” compilation album — available at the event; and hosting and spoken word by SEIU Local 26 president Javier Morillo-Alicea. A grant from Arts and Democracy Project covers all event overhead, allowing 100 percent of the proceeds to be donated to three community low-wage worker organizations.

The Minimum Wage exhibit seeks to raise awareness for low-wage work in Minnesota, currently one of four states with lowest minimum wage at $6.15 an hour. The Economic Policy Institute recently analyzed our local economy; they found the average annual income needed for a family of four to be $73,526, in order “to live free of serious economic deprivation.” This disparity takes a toll on some of the hardest-working members of our community. A recent report by the Jobs Now Coalition found that raising MN minimum wage to the proposed $9.50 an hour would increase state spending power by $472 million, while improving economic security for 357,000 MN workers and 137,000 children. The effected wage-earners are not just teens with summer jobs; over seventy-five percent are over the age of twenty, and are predominately women.

This exhibit is a community collaboration of organizations with diverse backgrounds, roles and political views. The Arts and Democracy Project uses art to engage underrepresented Americans in social justice; their funding made this event possible. Minnesotans for a Fair Economy is a coalition of labor, community and faith organizations, lending it’s experience to this project. One hundred percent of exhibit proceeds will be donated to Minnesota Young Workers, Centro de Trabajadores en Lucha (CTUL), and Greater Minnesota Worker Center; organizations of and for low-wage workers that advocate for fair working conditions and fair wages. In honor of blue collar workers, Pabst Blue Ribbon has provided a generous sponsorship for this show. Neighboring restaurant Devil’s Advocate will offer a ‘blue plate’ dinner special and PBR special to all exhibit attendees. Sponsorship also provided by Modern Radio Record Label. These organizations join Rogue Citizen and Gamut Gallery to create an event that is fun, meaningful and can help people in need.

 Rogue Citizen is a collective of five artists with varied backgrounds in printmaking, graphic design, graffiti, illustration and traditional painting. It was founded late 2009 after Blaster, Dalsen, Lizardman and Matt McGorry met working as security guards. Over the last four years they have been recognized for local and national wall murals, prolific live-art at local shows, concept exhibitions, event promotion and volunteer work with youth. In the process, Rogue Citizen has become a fixture in labor and social justice campaigns. They have produced graphics for demonstrations and press, including work on-location in Washington DC in 2011. In 2012 they were invited as artists-in-residence to create a triptych mural for the SEIU International conference in Denver. In 2013 Rogue Citizen gained a fifth member in Ugaso, math genius and self-taught painter who currently lives in San Francisco.