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Arts Minded: Salute to our local heroes

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opinion River Falls,Wisconsin 54022
River Falls Journal
Arts Minded: Salute to our local heroes
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

An opinion piece in the Minneapolis Star Tribune called attention to the fact that, while our military are great national heroes, we have three holidays to honor them. Independence Day, however, offers us the chance pay tribute to other heroes. As does the First Amendment of the US Constitution which gives us the right to create the art* and fight the civilian “wars” that are in our hearts, to support the causes that mean most to us, to celebrate any heroes we choose to. The writer mentioned at least 50 national heroes—among them Rachel Carson, Pete Seegar, Patsy Kline, Norman Borlaug….


It seems to me that Independence Day calls on us to celebrate our local heroes – at least as many as we have space for. First, because it is our national holiday and this is an arts piece, we need to celebrate the freedoms US independence gives to artists to express what they feel and invite us to feel with them. While, some of the following heroes of River Falls are not artists, all of them make a mark in River Falls because of the first Amendment – freedom to express oneself. Joel Foster, of course, who found and founded this place where we all live in beauty (even in years like this one) and his descendent Bruce who did much to keep River Falls history alive and trout fishing as well:

There’s Roger Browne and Rainbow Barry, who are among the farmers who raise and sell organic produce safe for us and safe for the environment. And poet Thomas R. Smith –who not only writes fine poetry because he must but also provides local musical entertainment. There’s Ila June Brown whose Gallery 120 offers a place for local artists to show their work even when CAB is not having events; David Markson with his gifts of music, theater and the visual arts helps keep our minds always on the beauty around us, Doris Fuka (no longer with us) and Emily Lyon Hanson for gifts of theater, Spike Hoffman (also no longer with us) who did so much for local amateur sports that a park is named after him, Doug Johnson for pottery and music (both in public performances and at memorial services for local soldiers).

Katie Chaffee for all the arts and events celebrating local artists she has organized at the library and elsewhere – including Halloween haunted houses; Karen Bye who won a gold medal in the Olympics; Nancy Holden who organized Coalition for a Compassionate Community which in its maturity will benefit us all, ministers past—Art Moody, Dick Hoblin-- and present Father Harris, Bill Montgomery who ministered—and continue to minister-- not only to their own congregations but to the whole community, Iner Isaacson who, in the 70 and 80s, drove his aged station wagon to the market in St. Paul every day so that River Falls people would have fresh produce (and, incidentally, was one of the first WWII troops across the strategic Remagen Bridge on the Rhine), And ALL the First Responders, fire fighters and safety volunteers (including student crossing guards) who react instantly to emergencies and make the rest of us safer,

Let’s celebrate them all – and all the ones you can think of that I could not or did not have space for.

And now those who entertain us and act for us and teach us such as those below:

Music in the Park: CAB’s own expanded Music in the park (2 evenings a week)—at Veteran’s Park on Main Street:

--July 4, 7 pm PRACTICAL GOODS, Fun, Folk and Rock from husband and Wife Pair

--July 5 7 pm. GROUP 47 Jazz Trumpet Leads this Twin Citiies quartet*

--June 12, River Falls Days 3-5 p.m. Tin Pan Alley Alley Cats Classic Jazz from another Era

HAVE WATER, WILL PAINT Watercolor Group: Opening 4 - 7, Gallery 120, 4 – 8 p.m. , featuring Eldora Schober Larson, Nomi Brandt, Bettie Peterson, Liz Wolf, Clayton Snow, Tom Gunderson, Ed Paulson, Mary Baker, Sherry Krom Schroeder. Refreshments and sale at adjacent Global Made.*

Chill on the Hill UWRF summer concert Series at Amphitheater; 7 p.m.:

--July 1: Kids from Wisconsin, Youth Show Choir

--July 8: Robert Everest, World Music

--July 15: Tommy Bentz Band, Jam Style Rock and Roll

Seasons on the St. Croix Annual sale: Friday, July 4, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; seconds, experiments, undiscovered art; unusual ALL DAY roll out because of holiday.

The Wizard of Oz: Phipps, July 18 – August 3; Phipps center for the Arts; Tickets: adults $22, students of all ages: $15. Check Phipps Web Site for more information.

And Many more as River Falls Days celebrates it 40th anniversary


--by Sue Bridwell Beckham, arts columnist