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Arts Minded: Get ready for the GALA

It's time for the Community Arts Base's GALA again with all the features you love: The chance to see and buy visual arts, hear fine music, eat fine "local" food, and dance if you want to.

It's this Saturday night and you can buy tickets at the Dish and the Spoon Cafe, the Whole Earth Grocery and from many CAB board members and friends around River Falls.

You won't want to miss the special features of this year's GALA.

First, there's the food art. Food art? What is food art?

Ideally it's art made out of food, but we've stretched it a bit to painting done with colors from local foods and T-shirts decorated with food you find in the average American refrigerator.

In addition to dough and fruit art, we will have photos of food.

It's all in honor of "What We Need Is Here" and its 2010 emphasis on local food; maybe even some pastry pottery.

Food artists include Thea Ennen, Cathy Cliffe, Sue Buchard, Mark Tomlinson and Sarah Cain.

As usual the 15th annual GALA has three fine arts pieces to raffle for those who attend and buy raffle tickets.

Our first artist this year is a newcomer to the visual arts part of CAB: Mary Foster, quilt artist. You may know Foster for her artistic garden creations, for the huge party at her house every spring just when her gardens are ripe for viewing, and for all her good works around town such as helping with the barn dances.

But Foster is also an avid and very artistic quilter. Foster carries her love of gardening, of nature's green, into her quilts. In fact, her quilt for the GALA is called "The Green Quilt." It is nearly all green and burgundy.

You have to look hard to see the intricate piecing among the flowers and foliage that highlight this quilted throw, just the size for your sofa.

Foster is in line to inherit her auntie's gorgeous antique oak quilting frame, but at this stage she had to quilt the modern way.

And then we have Glass by Pauly: From his new Quarry Glass Blowing Studio, Pauly Cudd will bring us a piece of his hand blown glass. It's always challenging to guess what he will come up with next but it's going to be beautiful and mystical.

Of his glass blowing career Cudd says, "In 2002, I re-enrolled in UW-RF to study studio glass...Over the next six years the draw to hot glass became so strong that it changed my future....Glass blowing has become my life's passion. I am attracted to the mystical qualities of fluid glass."

And our third raffle artist, painter Harvey Fields, comes to us from a varied career, all of it related to art and computer imaging.

A specialist in combining painting with computer design, Fields has taught art in a variety of Midwestern universities from the University of South Dakota to UW-Madison, UW-Stout and UW-River Falls.

He credits much of his inspiration to places he visited in the military: In alphabetical order, but not in order of importance they include Australia, Bangkok, California, Hawaii, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina and Viet Nam.

Fields' written and visual work has been published in numerous newspapers and arts periodicals.

And when the GALA's over, we can take to the roads in search of art in its natural setting: The studio.

For a wide ranging view of what regional artists are doing and selling, there is the Earth Arts Spring Art Tour of the Upper St. Croix Valley: May 1-2 2010, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. See for a map and more information.

Closest and most personal is The Creative Drive: Seventh annual driving tour of artist studios; over 40 artists at four sites within minutes of each other; May 1-2; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; see and a map on Facebook.

The River Falls Public Library continues to keep art in our vision with the following:

All School Art Show: April 25- May 27; exhibit of the best work from public and private schools in the past school year.

Music Teacher Picks: Sunday, May 2, 2 p.m.; to complement the All School Art Show, a recital by students of River Falls private music teachers; no charge; refreshments will be served.

Foreign Film Series: (Israel); The Band's Visit; Monday, April 26, at 7 p.m.