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Arts Minded: Art on the Kinni is the friendliest event around

To paraphrase the opening lines of A Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens): "It was the best of houses; it was the worst of houses." As I prepare to leave a home of 37 years and move to one smaller, newer and more convenient, but still in walking distance to downtown River Falls, good things continue to happen. Last Halloween, a stone rooster turned up in my yard (as things do in River Falls on Halloween!) I placed it on a stone in my corner flower garden, hoping that its owner would see it and retrieve it.

A week ago, I heard that a new neighbor I have been hoping to meet for a year or more was wondering what ever happened to her rooster! The neighbor, Sarah Church, had redone the early 20th century house in a fantastic blue that I loved. Armed with the knowledge that she would welcome her rooster, I walked to the end of the block — I didn't carry the concrete rooster—it was too heavy. But she welcomed me, her daughter carried the rooster to its home, I got to see the wonderfully renovated blue house and I have a new friend.

It's situations and neighbors like this that make River Falls the wonderful place we live— and make Art of the Kinni one of the best regional events every September. All of this is to remind all of you to come to Art on the Kinni Sept. 9, where you will not only see wonderful art displayed artfully, hear fine local music, eat a variety of interesting foods; you will find friends to hug, dogs to pet, and new people to meet. Not only is "AOK" about the best annual event in River Falls; it is friendliest event in the area!

But of course, our town and our area abounds in fine artistic events and venues:

• Garden Divas has contributed this year's Art on the Kinni judges; If you haven't visited Garden Divas, do so. You needn't buy anything — although the Divas will appreciate it if you do — their purpose is charm guests with all things "garden." Plants to buy, ideas for gardening, a few gimcracks to purchase, cosy seats for resting and talking, and lots of comforting and beautiful items to enjoy.

• Barb Bend, the artist of dolls made from cast off "stuff" that charm us and call to mind human foibles and human drama has three shows this fall. Unfortunately, you have missed one (so did I — doggone it!) at Carpenter Nature Center. But you can still go to Stillwater to see two more: A group of artists that live in the St. Croix Valley watershed will show at Stillwater Guild Art Gallery. Most of these artists are well known in the Valley for the quality of their work. And e-qui-nox (yep, lower case is intentional) hosted by ArtReach St. Croix.

• The third is e-qui-nox, a beautiful show hosted by a dynamic organization, ArtReach St. Croix. Art Reach has actively promoted the arts and celebrates the natural beauty of our region by bringing together talented artists and passionate naturalists. The show runs through Saturday, Sept. 30.