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Arts Minded: Enjoy the arts during summer's second half

River Falls Days is over; summer 2009 is over half done.

The boulevards will be free of seats and blankets until the next parade and, once again, when we don't eat at home, we'll resort to the conventional restaurants.

The street food has gone back to wherever it hides for 11 1/2 months a year. And dancing in the streets will be impromptu and cost nothing.

River Falls itself however, continues and the Community Arts Base continues.

Friday evenings are graced by Music in the Park, Thomas R. Smith is engaging bands for the Barn Dances that will return in October, and we're looking for a volunteer to coordinate the Holiday Art Crawl.

On Mondays, the Art on the Kinni (AOK) Committee meets to make sure this year's art fair -- a Kinni River Ramble event -- is the best ever. The great news is that local potters Bob Fritz and Doug Johnson -- both recovering from serious illnesses -- are back at their wheels and they along with their works will be at AOK Sept. 12.

By the way, because we want this year's AOK to be even bigger than last year's, the deadline to apply for an AOK booth has been extended until the end of July (see listings below for more info).

The Farmer's Market is bursting with peak harvest vegetables and fruit, along with such welcome additions as made on the spot crepes, live music, local honey and lots and lots of local flowers.

The Farmers' Market is itself a work of performance art. Any Saturday morning go the to university end of Second Street where you can enjoy the produce and, perhaps even more gratifying, greet your friends and neighbors.

The town itself is bursting with new art outlets. For a taste of merchandising past, visit the River Walk Mercantile with traditional snacks, arts stuff galore and artists actually creating art on the site.

Then there's the new Karma Gifts on Main Street which carries local art as well as choice gifts, just next to the Dish and the Spoon Café, where coffee and food are arts in themselves.

And don't forget Global M.A.D.E. with art from the parts of the world we are not often exposed to and, as if that were not enough, a spacious gallery that features a new trio of local artists each month.

Then there's the natural art around us. Take walks on the White Pathway and cross Swinging Bridge. For the more energetic, try the paths below the lower dam. Just go past the tennis courts to the downward trail at the southwest corner of Glen Park. You can walk to the Foster Cemetery and revel in arts past.

Or just enjoy the sights in your neighborhood. Gardens are lush this time of year. Pray for rain and take part in the following:

Music in the Park will feature, on July 17, Vicki Emerson, who returns from New York with her blend of folksy blues; July 24, The Ditch Lillies with acoustic roots music; and July 31 Cam Waters with swampy delta swing: Three music and friend packed Friday evenings.

Art on the Kinni Call for Artists: There's still time to apply for a stall for the Saturday, Sept. 12, art fair; brochures are available at Dish and the Spoon Café and the Whole Earth Grocery, the CAB website at or send e-mails to David Markson at or Sue Beckham at

Enztaler Musikanten and Brant Trachtengruppe: Authentic German song and dance troupe 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 23; final concert in the 2009 UW-River Falls outdoor concert series; free; bring a picnic basket or purchase grilled food and ice cream from the Falcon's Nest.

At the River Falls Public Library, Translations from an Arid Land: Navajo-style sand paintings by Michael Augustin opens Saturday, Aug. 8. Augustin will create these on site and is willing to let spectators observe the process as he installs this show.