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Artsminded: Art on the Kinni wrap up

As most of you know, we had a bang up Art on the Kinni Saturday. The weather was the best it ever gets here -- and that's pretty darn wonderful.

The artists and their art were superb -- and what's more exciting, most of them sold a lot of art to very enthusiastic customers.

The crowds were huge: we "clicked" 4,700 visitors. Even given that a few got counted twice because they came and went, that's a lot of folks in downtown River Falls.

This year's show produced fantastic and representative winners. These were so well chosen and so representative of so many features of the art world because we had a top notch judge.

Many of us know Ed Krause -- he's been around here for years doing art, fishing, loving the nature and the arts of the area. And he was a superb judge.

That's true for several reasons: Ed is not only an artist himself but an aficionado of art. He has experience judging bigger art fairs including the Uptown Art Fair in Minneapolis. Mostly, however, he is a fine judge because he doesn't believe art should be competitively judged.

Of the time he spent judging, he says "The judge often felt the folly of trying to judge, as it implies winners and losers which he finds antithetical to the spirit of art making. That said, some art moved me more than other work and narrowing it down to four for recognition was difficult. "

One honorable mention winner is well known to the River Falls area art world: Laurie Wilson, a fused and stained glass artist. If you are one of the few who missed the fair, Laurie has work you can see at Karma gifts.

Laurie does art that combines function and fine art. She creates irresistible lamps that I, at least, pine for. For art lovers with small budgets, her "wee" platters -- spoon rests, soap dishes, card trays -- are seductive, as are her nightlights.

She also does decorative glass on commission for interiors -- an example of such creation is the glass in the West Wind.

According to the Judge, "The luminous qualities of glass are fully realized in her graphically strong and colorful landscapes, evocations of an obvious ardor for the undulating hills, trees and changing seasons that surround us."

Ellen Wold received the other honorable mention award for her photographs and prints. In these images there is a sense of exploration and careful observation -- the places depicted moved her to "make something," so she made something to share with us. She applies her knowledge and appreciation of nature and this region to her expertise with paint and with printmaking.

As the second place winner John Koch, in his words, "combines a love for the outdoors with traditional printmaking to produce hand pulled wood cut prints." According to the Judge, "The images embody a sophisticated pictorial sense using a visual vocabulary of local river imagery. Rich in the tactile qualities of a cut surface, the pictures materialize by layering rich colors printed from multiple blocks."

Amy and Matt Palmer's jewelry was awarded the first place prize. "The collaborating artists make elegant use of discarded materials (finely tooled old watch parts, silverware, mechanical fittings, glass, etc.), reincarnated as inventive and intimate wearable sculpture -- animated by a spirit of play."

Matt does the metal work of making the discarded parts into art in his "private" studio -- and then turns each piece over to Amy who does the fine decorating in her private studio.

You can see "judge" Ed Kraus' own work at the Gallery 120 opening Friday evening. See listings below.

We wish also t0 thank Jens Gunelson, the local photographer who has shared his work with us for many years as chief photographer for UWRF. Now he uses his skills supporting local organizations -- especially CAB.

More local arts events:

--Call for artists: Annual downtown River Falls Art Crawl, Saturday, Oct. 20, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Main Street. Artists who wish to sell their wares at a downtown business at this annual event should contact Melody at or Val at Karma Gifts. The art crawl will be accompanied by festive fall foods and activities at other businesses. Photos and info from Art Crawls past are available on Facebook page River Falls Community Arts Base: Art Crawl.

--September Artists at Gallery 120: Friday, Sept. 14, 4-8 p.m. in the gallery adjacent to Global M.A.D.E. Featured works by Leslie Batt-Lutz, Thea Ennen, Dave Ja Vue, Ed Krause, and James Wilson.

--Homecoming Choir Concert at UWRF featuring a choral performance of the UWRF Spirit song, "Our Chance to Fly:" composed by Phyllis Goldin and arranged by J. Michael Roy on Sunday, Sept. 30 at 3 p.m. at the Abbott Concert Hall, Kleinpell Fine Arts Center.

--Take Me to the River: Art, dance, music, theatre, story. Explore dozens of venues up and down the St. Croix River. Look for brochures at art venues. Nearby and soon. Rustic Road 13 Pottery Event: Trout Lily Farm, 1148 Troutbrook Road, Saturday, Sept. 15, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 16 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

--Touched by War Exhibit at the River Falls Public Library through Sunday, Sept. 23. There are two programs associated with this exhibit. The first is a veterans poetry and storytelling evening, on Thursday, Sept. 13, at 7pm. And, local author and former school district administrator, Bernie Abrahamson, will discuss his book "The Other American Heroes of WWII" on Thursday, Sept. 20 at 7 p.m.

--Moonlight and Magnolias: St. Croix Off Broadway Dinner Theatre, through Saturday, Oct. 27. Curtain at 8 p.m.; dinner served anytime between 6-7 p.m.. For more information call 715-386.2394 ext. 333.

--Take Me to the River --Two Weekend event, organized by Art Reach St. Croix: Sept. 15-16 and Sept. 22--23. A "festival of festivals" in the St. Croix River Valley. Along the river, discover arts, festivals, concerts, theater, storytelling, fine dining, funky fare, against the backdrops of the glorious autumn foliage. Visit Art Reach

for details and maps.

--Adopt a River Sculpture Trail - Exploring the Minnesota State Fair River Cleanup Sculptures: Learn about the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Adopt a River program and the State Fair sculptures it creates on Sunday, Sept. 16, 2 2:40 p.m. at the Great River Road Visitor and Learning Center in Prescott. For more information call 715-262-0104.

--Franconia Art and Artists Celebration: Franconia Sculpture Park, Franconia, Minn. on Saturday, Sept. 22, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Open to the Public; $5 to park