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Arts Minded column: It's almost Gala time!

By Sue Bridwell Beckham

It's almost spring (hope it quits snowing before this reaches you!) and it's almost GALA time—April 21 at the River Falls Golf Club. Out of the past comes CABSTOCK and ALL your great memories of those days. If you are, like me, old enough to remember or sentimental enough to wish you could, do come to CABSTOCK and bring all your friends! And dress for it, listen to music that will get you prepared, sentimentalize about all our early days and prepare for great eats (they' going to be Woodstock reminiscent).

Expect to bid on the great raffle art. The work is wonderful, the artists are well selected and your bid helps talented up and coming artists move ahead with their careers. It may make your home even more elegant than it is too.

For instance, there is the wonderful "scratchboard" bird by Jon Grancorvitz. John is a "self taught artist" who has done well. He had a great teacher! He has a studio in the downstairs of the Hudson home he shares with his family (including the dog). His formal education is from Hennepin Technical College and Concordia. To earn a living, he is supervisor for Creative and Media Services at Allina Health. But more to the point here is that he shows at The Phipps Center for the Arts in Hudson and he does works with the Minnesota Watercolor Society and Northstore WaterMedia Society.

He also does commissions. All of his works are masterful, but he is particularly proud of a watercolor he did of a treasured violin that was lost in a fire; his representation, done from a photo, was so evocative that a family member wept. Much of his best work is on commission; he wants everybody to know that his splendid talent is available. To see more, check his website or drop in at River Smiles Dentistry (Second Street just north of the Post Office) where Jon's piece is on display.

The "vase" (to this author reminiscent of an ancient Greek "amphora") displayed in the window at Freeman Drug was "thrown" by amazing young ceramicist Casey Beck. You will certainly wish to bid on that. Casey, still an undergraduate, is talented to say the least. This young man already has an exhibition history. He has exhibited at The Phipps, the Northern Clay Center, in Tennessee, in Colorado, and the Sewanee Clay Community for the past three years — and on and on.

He began "throwing" at 16 and is such a natural, that he "threw" three or four basic pots on the wheel while we were interviewing him. He "fires" with prominent local artist Randy Johnston. For this piece, he admits he did have ancient Grecian pottery (among other things ) in mind. He calls it a vase; those who like to have fun with language might say "urn" or "Amphora." Casey was first introduced to pottery by his high school ceramics teacher, Kurt Kenow.

The "Wavy Falls Mural" by Sue Fries (now on display at Dr. Anthony Novak's Eye Surgery and Laser Center, Pomeroy Street, River Falls.) Sue, who was awarded Honorable Mention at Art on the Kinni 2017, runs her photo business as "CloseUp Images." This piece is indeed close up — the featured falls is Moss Glenn Falls at Glenville, Vermont. Sue is young but already she is making her name.

AOK is one of the most successful art fairs in the country drawing thousands of viewers (and a few hundred pets) to the Kinnickinnic Pathway every autumn. Again, Sue's youth is evident in her presentation of the nature she photographs. In this "Wavy Mural", each portion of the waterfall speaks for itself, cascades through the work.

Sue is a creature of our region. Thus her art work is local and she has shown work in many prominent local venues: among them Dancing Bird Gallery in Cumberland and the River Town ART Festival in Lanesboro. While most of her photography features this area and her travels, she confesses that much of her favorite work was photographed in her own backyard. (Thoreau would have loved that revelation!)

Just so everybody knows, the winning raffle bidders get to take the pieces they win home. More importantly, the artists who donate pieces for the raffle are winners before they get to the gala. CAB is, after all, pledged to support artists in the area. Thus CAB pays the selected raffle artists something for supporting CAB (certainly not what the art is worth—CAB could not afford that — but something to assure them that their contribution is worthwhile). They win; you win by seeing

their fine work and getting a chance to win it, we all get the fun of a raffle, and the raffle winners win those works. Nobody loses.

The gala is not the only arts happening in our region. Below are a few others:

Upcoming arts events

• Kinni Clayworks has moved to 109 W Cedar St., River Falls! The new "digs" feature the same pottery lessons, selection of hand thrown pots by local artists and friendly service. Visit the new pottery in downtown River Falls for a great selection of distinctive handmade pottery! Adult Pottery with Jennifer and Doug will begin April 5 at the new location.

• Music at noon on Fridays at Abbott Concert Hall, Kleinpell, UWRF (all followed by refreshments): April 14, Minneapolis Guitar Quartet; April 21 Ivan Konev, Piano; May 4 James Dutton, flute, Natalia Moiseeva, violin, Ivan Konev, piano, Bohuslav Piano trio

• Spring Choral concert: Abbott Concert Hall; Sunday, April 22, 7:30 p.m. Adults $8; Seniors $5; Students $2.

• Annual Area High School Art Exhibition, April 13 — May 6, 2018, The Phipps Center for the Arts

• May 4: Juniors Taphouse in River Falls. The Doq of Roq with Mike "King of the Blues" Cooper.

• Sunday, May 20, 2 p.m. New Martell Town Hall: 16th annual showcase of musicians in the Spring Valley—River Falls area. Live music and pot luck food.

• Notable at CAB Spring Gala: April 21, 6—11 p.m. at the River Falls Golf Club. The Roqonteurs live music starting at 6 p.m. Songs will be selected mainly from those performed at the Woodstock Festival in August 1969. Load up the old VW bus, grab your hippie friends, wear minimal clothing, and rock out. People who haven't showered in several days are especially welcome. Mud pit provided!

• Roqonteurs at Juniors, May 4, 8-11 p.m., with Mike "King of the Blues" Cooper.

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