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ArtsMinded column: As summer turns towards fall

Well the lazy, hot, dry days of Summer 2018 are coming to a close (a couple more dry days first, I understand). It has been a fine summer with fine arts concerts, exhibits, performances sponsored by CAB, the River Falls Public Library, the University and other summer specific events.

The walks and cultural events in River Falls, always fine in summer, have expanded and improved; for example, we can now go all the way around Lake George, we have a fine new, grant-funded film theater in addition to the one we've enjoyed for many years (adjacent to the traditional Falls Theatre), parks renewed and schools preparing to open.

Our young grandson, making use of some of the pleasure places in our city, learned to ride a

bike right here on the Greenwood and Meyer Middle School grounds this weekend. He had

difficulty keeping off the bike the rest of the day, he was so pleased with his new skill. He lives near the Greenway (public safe bike path) in Minneapolis; now he will be able to visit his friends without the help of his parents.

The arts have kept up with the city. For Fall, we have the campus reopening with free classical concerts, exhibits in the Fine Arts Building and on campus, new eateries downtown and the recovery of a stolen Dale Lewis Sculpture!

You may remember sculptor Dale Lewis. He creates fine animal sculptures from scrap metal. He did the sculpture of a flying bird on the extension of the Helen White Parkway behind City Hall.

His works have been shown in all the surrounding galleries — they also appear in Twin Cities area parades. The most important connection Dale has with CAB is that a couple of galas ago, he donated a sculpture to the CAB Gala raffle—and raised mucho money for our organization.

Well, a couple a weeks ago, one of Dale's sculptures, a crocodile at least 12 feet long—was heisted from an exhibit. You remember crocodiles—similar to alligators, but often larger and

more ferocious and found in tropical waters. This one created by Lewis of "junk" (cast off metal) transformed into art items of beauty — and exhibited in this area. Well Dale's crocodile was

stolen; following is Dale's own description of the recovery:

"A tipster gave me a name and address Friday morning that I provided to the police. Two St. Cloud State juniors admitted to taking the sculpture and led them to the Croc. [photos appeared in local papers]. The crocodile is being placed at the Paramount Center for the Arts until I can pick him up at 9 a.m. Monday [the recovery is done!]

"There was no damage and the two students have clean records.

"The caller didn't seem concerned about the reward for a conviction, pressing charges doesn't

seem like a good plan.

"I would like to see them [the perps!] do an interview to talk about the thinking process.

"The Croc has been recovered!

"I thank everyone who helped make this happen."

Learn more at artistdalelewis.com

Events and opportunities

ART's HOUSE continues to be open three days a week: Thursdays (1 -5 p.m.), Fridays (1 -7 p.m. with "openings" and refreshments when new exhibits open), and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The featured artists for August are Ken Brisson, watercolors; Rita Zawislak-Brandt, acrylic paintings; Judy Ritger, rosemaling; and John and Deb Koch, paintings and woodcuts.

The Hammond Arts Alliance continues to thrive at Foster Hall in Hammond. The publicity

these days seems to be exclusively on Facebook, but an exhibit by artists Robert Francis

Broderson, Patti Peterson, Val Frank, Paul Dressang and Michael Houser will occur at Foster

Hall Sept. 15-17. At 7 p.m. Saturday evening, Harvey Fields' Band will perform.

Orange Dragon Art Gallery, Prescott: Summer exhibit continues through Aug. 26; the fall exhibit opens Aug. 29 with a reception Sept. 2. (BTW, the Orange Dragon features a dragon sculpture by the aforementioned Dale Lewis on the front of the building).

Koko

One other tidbit for those who love language and revere animals who have made names for themselves: Koko, the gorilla whose apparent aptitude for sign language endeared her to fans around the world, died in her sleep last Tuesday morning in California, according to the Gorilla Foundation, which oversaw her care. She was 46.

Koko became an instant celebrity in her youth thanks to an early facility with American Sign Language. That fame was bolstered over the years as Koko, a western lowland gorilla, charmed entertainers like Fred Rogers and Robin Williams as well as their audiences.

"Koko touched the lives of millions as an ambassador for all gorillas and an icon for interspecies communication and empathy," the Gorilla Foundation said in a statement. "She was beloved and will be deeply missed."

By the age of 4, Koko had developed a vocabulary of more than 170 words and showed an ability to use language creatively, Penny Patterson, her longtime caretaker and trainer, told The New York Times in 1975.

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