WWNH: Offering support to many area artistsArtists tend to be solitary souls in search of their particular reasons for being, while endeavoring to express ideas they hope will resonate with others.
By: Phyllis Goldin, columnist, River Falls Journal
Artists tend to be solitary souls in search of their particular reasons for being, while endeavoring to express ideas they hope will resonate with others.
Regrettably, isolation may also be an affliction that puts an artist at risk of losing heart and aborting creative possibilities.
That’s why the concept of a group of artists working together over an extended period of time is so important. Such an artists’ group, known as What We Need is Here (WWNH), has existed for the last several years under the umbrella of The Phipps Center for the Arts in Hudson, and organized by its artistic director, Anastasia Shartin.
Fortunately, despite some changes in membership, a steady core of local and regional artists gives the group depth and continuity. WWNH has a second branch that includes over a dozen non-profit organizations committed to sustainable community development, of which the River Falls Community Arts Base is a member.
Early on the artists’ group focused on ecological awareness through the arts. A number of artists and environmental experts delivered presentations that strengthened resolve to keep on going. Pretty soon the group began holding exhibits in the attractive Atrium Gallery at The Phipps.
Then, this May, the group had an exhibit at the Living Green Expo on the Minnesota State Fair grounds. It featured a project called “Voices on the River.” Artists in canoes harvested plant material from the Apple River and made it into thick, beautiful paper. Small boats, simple or decorative, were fashioned from the paper. In time, some of the boats were floated down the Apple River and, again, at a celebration on the St. Croix River.
The latter event included music, a puppet play, “Are You Thirsty?” showing the plight of the river by Minneapolis based “Heart of the Beast Theater,” and a performance by Hudson based “Just Add Water.”
Artists also created “A River Runs Through Us,” a shimmering river mural that accompanied a procession to the shore of the St. Croix to affirm appreciation for the river. As the event unfolded, children and adults alike were riveted by the compelling way information about an endangered river was presented.
Throughout this summer artistic work, coupled with educational presentations, continues with river and conservation themes. Projects and events like the recent Painted Rain Barrel project, the hands on planting of an Artful Rain Garden (at Seventh and St. Croix in Hudson), the Artful Rain Garden Fair: Cirque du Soil and “Voices on the River” spun off the WWNH group.
Next week there’ll be another opportunity to attend “A River Runs Through Us” event. See details below.
WWNH, a consistent and growing presence for artistic growth and environmental health of our rivers and lands, is one more example of the vital role of the arts.
As Aldo Leopold said, “A thing is right only when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the community, and that community includes the soil, waters, fauna and flora, as well as people.”
Events and opportunities (free unless otherwise noted; please confirm details):
Continuing on Monday evenings at 7 p.m. through July: Foreign Film Series at the River Falls Public Library.
Tuesday, July 12, 7 p.m.: UW-River Falls Summer Concert Series presents Willy Porter, acoustic guitar at the Wall Amphitheater (rain site University Center); July 26 - Chapin Sisters, folk/pop (rain site ACH).
Friday, July 15, 7 p.m., CAB presents Music in the Park featuring Galactic Cowboy Orchestra (country-edged jazz fusion) at Veterans Park, Main and Elm, RF. July 29 - Jeff White (rootsy back porch guitar and vocals).
Saturday, July 16, 3 p.m., CAB’s Saturday Music in the Park featuring Soiled Doves (“dirty girls play sweet music); July 30 - Bill Gnatzig (fine old time picking and vocals).
Wednesday, July 20, noon to 6 p.m. at Hudson Lakefront Park: “A River Runs Through Us;” artists’ group event in conjunction with the St. Croix River Association’s Centennial Paddle arrival in Hudson. For more about the event and canoe flotilla go to www.bluethumb.org/calendar/458/ , http://scrapaddle.org/ , firstname.lastname@example.org http://artfulraingarden.net/.
Thursday, July 21, 7 p.m., The Phipps Center for the Arts, 109 Locust, Hudson, presents the first ever Art Auction Gala and Fundraiser featuring over 80 local and regional artists’ work no larger than 12' by 12' by 12'. Advance tickets $35, at the door $45. Call 715-386-2305. For other Phipps summer offerings 715-386-8409 or www.ThePhipps.org.
Earth Angels Gallery and Coffee House offers live music Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Also, The West Wind Supper Club offers Wednesday evening concerts on the patio and Junior’s Bar and Grill features many fine musicians in concert every week.
Wander downtown River Falls and you’ll find other establishments offering live entertainment. This city is hopping!
Franconia Sculpture Park summer events info at 651-257-6668 or email@example.com.