Arts Minded: Filling the art scene voidWant to get fired up about something other than the weather? After a long period of dormancy a new coalition of artists has emerged, like the Big Bang, at the convergence of the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers.
By: Phyllis Goldin, columnist, River Falls Journal
Want to get fired up about something other than the weather? After a long period of dormancy a new coalition of artists has emerged, like the Big Bang, at the convergence of the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers.
The Hastings-Prescott Area Arts Council (HPAAC) is the long awaited organization that takes over where the former Great River Road Arts Coalition, of the 1990s, left off. Both groups felt a void in the region’s arts scene that is now being smartly rectified.
Like her predecessor, Rebecca Massey, Mecca Manz of the HPAAC is a dedicated artist and organizer. Despite the consuming demands of life she carried the torch, not only for the new group, but also for a new space.
The resulting Orange Dragon Gallery opened amid much fanfare a block off downtown Prescott on Orange Street at the end of June.
On the roof over the front door a large welded dragon welcomes all who dare enter.
The opening reception offered a delicious array of orange food and drink, the latter spilling misty clouds from punch bowls cooled by dry ice. At least indoors the dragon was temporarily at bay.
Outside the front door artist Dale Lewis, responsible for the sculpture on the roof and several others in the gallery, was charbroiling skewers on another of his creations, a double headed dragon grill. Blistering heat notwithstanding, musicians on the street front and in the back sculpture garden created a fresh ambiance.
A memorable event to be sure!
Now that artist members of HPAAC have renovated the house gallery — rented to them at an irresistible rate by a patron of the arts — there is excellent room to exhibit and sell their work.
Anyone who doubts that the arts support economic vitality might take heart from the brisk sales enjoyed by the Orange Dragon Gallery when its doors opened. Many artists and community members have given selflessly to its creation. In time more artists, musicians, writers and others will contribute energy to the endeavor and, like the River Falls Community Arts Base, add color, wonder and joy to the river and rural communities in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Want to support the arts? Visit the following websites:
Correction: The July 19 Arts Minded column incorrectly indicated that Red Wing, Minn. is one of the communities involved in the Great River Road Confluence Project. The communities involved are River Falls, Prescott, Afton, Minn. and Hastings, Minn.
--Continuing summer art classes for children and adults at Blue Horse Farm, a verdant spot near New Richmond, with artist Karla Faith. More information at www.bluehorsefarm.com.
--Continuing through Aug. 18, constructions by Gary and Mary Ann Carlson at River Falls Public Library, Main and Union streets, an exciting exhibition by established artists with connections to UWRF.
--Continuing Mondays through Aug. 27, 7 p.m. Nancy Miller, Director of the River Falls Public Library, has another foreign film series in process. Cinema refreshments served.
--Friday, Aug. 3, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Opening reception and silent auction at The Phipps Center for the Arts, 109 Locust, Hudson. The show and bidding continue daily and conclude Thursday, Aug. 16 at 7 p.m. with “A Seriously Fun Art Auction Gala.” More than 70 local and regional artists’ works are up for auction to support The Phipps. The gala also includes sweet and savory hors d’oeuvres, wine and live music. Wear what your art desires. Tickets $35 in advance, $45 at the door. Call 715-386-2305 or visit www.ThePhipps.org for more information.
--River Falls Community Arts Base presents Music in the Park, Veterans Park, Elm and Main streets. Remaining performances include:
Friday, Aug. 3, 7 p.m., River Falls Cultural Project (jazz standards)
Saturday, Aug. 4, 7 p.m., The Ditch Lilies (classic bluegrass)
Friday, Aug. 10, 7 p.m., The Steve Meyer Band (blues and rock)
Saturday, Aug. 11, 7 p.m., Chimney Fish (acoustic guitar duo)
Sunday, Aug. 12, 12:30 to 3 p.m., The Merts (swing band, old time rock n’roll)
Friday, Aug. 17, 7 p.m., Chris Silver Band (blues/rock/jam) — Note: We Bike River Falls Community Bike Ride begins at 6 p.m. and returns for the concert. All bikers welcome.
Saturday, Aug. 18, 7 p.m., JayBee and the Honey
-- Tuesday, Aug., 7 at 7 p.m., UWRF’s Chill on the Hill Summer Concert Series concludes with Shoeless Revolution (funk/rock) and Luna and the Sunbrothers (jazz), at the Wall Amphitheatre. Rain Site is the University Center Falcon’s Nest. Food will be available for purchase. For more information call 715-425-4444.
-- Saturday, Aug. 11 from 7 to 8:30 p.m., “A Cabaret of Consciousness” by writer and actor, Gina Citoli at Caring Hands, A Nurturing Wellness Center, 427 Vermillion St., Hastings, Minn. Call 651-480-8244 or visit www.creatingreality for more information.
--Wednesday, Aug. 15 is the deadline for the 2012 Photo Contest sponsored by St. Croix River Association. For more information visit www.stcroixriverassociation.orgm.
-- Saturday, Aug., 18 at 7:30 p.m., The Classic Big Band and The Nostalgics at The Phipps. Adults $24, students $17. Call 715-386-2305 or visit www.ThePhipps.org for more information.
--Saturday, Sunday, Aug. 18 and 19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Herbster Studio Art Tour, Celebrating the Arts on Superior’s South Shore. Visit www.HerbsterStudioArtTour.comm for more information.
-- A request for art and poetry from veterans or veterans’ family members for a River Falls Public Library exhibit “Touched by War” that opens with a reception Aug. 25. Contact Jera at 715-425-0905.
--Live music at Earth Angels, Junior’s Bar and Grill, The West Wind and other establishments in River Falls.