Rafala Green, Artist for all Time - We are blessed to have a new ancestor in the spirit world

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Wed, 08/05/2009 - 00:00.


I was deeply saddened to learn today that Rafala Green passed away, April 7, 2009, in Elgin, Texas.

She should have been celebrated in real NEO then, but her impact here was so personal, subtle and spiritual that few people in Cleveland probably knew she existed. Her masterpiece in Cleveland was a labyrinth, built with neighbors outside the Hodge School where she lived, for a while.

She and this work were spiritual centers for the neighborhood. 

Her work was focused on helping others find their spiritual centers, and she spoke of people from the neighborhood growing from helping with the art installation, and then walking the labyrinth in reflection. It seems some neighbors did that nearly daily.

Her powerful paintings took viewers on the same trip, but through stunning visual messages.

Lessons I learned from talking with Rafala shaped my perspectives on public art and my vision for how people and neighborhoods may come together - her love of art and people inspired me. It is wonderful she and her work are remembered here and around the world, offering lasting inspiration for others - please feel free to share your memories.

As a very personal experience, in remembrance of this powerful artist and person, visit Rafala's website, still unchanged from several years ago, when she still lived at the Hodge.

I am so sorry she is gone. I am sorry for Cleveland, too.

Thank you Rafala. You are missed, but we know you are with us, and we're doing your thing!

Read about Rafala's life, and some tributes from friends, at The Alley Newspaper, here.

Rafala was REAL NEO Artist of the Day July 4, 2006.

Rafala was featured in a write up of a Hodge School group show December 1, 2005. Evelyn's observations were:

Rafala Green has returned to Cleveland after years of working in other cities. She is a teacher and public art advocate, and the instigator and initiator of the group at the Hodge. Her “labyrinths” in pastel with her unique hand made frames hang in the second floor common area. Their bright colors and spiritual quality are captivating but it is her labyrinth in the yard outside the building that has really drawn in and captivated the community. Her outdoor labyrinth, made of brick boarders and plantings is an ambitious project that requires the help of all the artists in the Hodge and the people in the neighborhood – people who once felt alienated by the artists, but have now become part of the community.

I always hoped Rafala would have the opportunity to work more with our community, in life. That opportunity is lost forever. But, I know there are many people here who carry her lessons forward, since her passing, so she certainly is not lost.

Let's make Rafala proud.

Mandalas and the Spirit

  Today we are going to explore the art of Mandalas and poetry...I believe that Rafala's spirt lives on.  Local Spirit Artist Carol Anderson recently signed on this site.  She airbrushed the clouds on our big book project.   I hope she can be persuaded to display here.  She is not so much into technology, and who can blame her :)  Her rejection of too much technology, probably explains her radiant, youthful appearance.

Later: the day went well, albeit exhausting--we had a good turnout of the regular kids, plus some new faces.  Beautiful mom and her four beautiful daughters also showed up today.  I realized when mom revealed that she recently relocated from Tremont...that one of the beautiful daughters was the young sylph I watched dance to her own music last year in Tremont's Lincoln Park.  It was probably one of the most crushingly, achingly beautiful experiences in my life.  So now, the sylph lives in my neighborhood.  And, folks, I live in the City of Cleveland.  Do you know what you are missing?  See the Morrison Dance works in Tremont this Friday: