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Arts Minded column: Shopping should not be focus of the season

It's the holiday season 2017. And guess what folks? Shopping is not all we can do! Like most of you, we have a wonderful family — and we are planning fine events with them. We know of people in need and we do what we can to help ameliorate those needs. But for a holiday that should emphasize family, friends, and our blessings, to be inundated with "implorations" to shop --- to suggest that the whole retail system depends on our getting out the day after Thanksgiving, a family day if there ever was one — and "shop 'til we drop" just to keep the retail industry going just gets me in the craw!

In the holiday season, we give our children, friends and relatives remembrances that we care for them. We share events — and we even give gifts. But I don't accept that it's my responsibility to keep the retail industry "going" — and I certainly don't think that's the most important part of the season.

River Falls — and the nearby Twin Cities --- offers us much to do together as families and friends. So, in fact do our homes. My family is celebrating the holidays in our new home (the Beckhams have downsized) and in the homes of our children and grandchildren. We will all cook for these events and yes, we will exchange gifts within reason. But the goal is to share blessings, to share the wealth of love and camaraderie.

Below, are some events in River Falls and nearby that we can share with our families and our friends. We need not troop to a mall to find the holiday spirit.


• At Art's House (108 E. Maple St.,) the current exhibit features the work of UWRF student artists. The work is professional, wonderful and perfect for Christmas gifts. Art's House is open 1-5 p.m. Thursdays, 1-7 p.m. Fridays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.

• The UW-RF Art Department Annual Scholarship sale is Nov. 30 to Dec. 13 in Gallery 101, Fine Arts Building.

• Frances Cohler Coffee Concert Series: UWRF hosts this series which features performances by UWRF music faculty as well as guest artists from around the world. Concerts, free and open to the public, are held at noon on Fridays throughout the academic year. A grant makes the concert series possible. Additional donations are accepted through the UWRF Foundation to support this series of quality concerts. Each concert is followed by coffee and treats for audience members. The first three 2018 concerts are:

• Jan. 27 - Jeremy Johnson, percussion in "Snapshots of Modern Percussion" featuring Casey Cangelosi, Alejandro Viñao, and more.

• Feb. 3 - 4té Trombone Quartet with Rick Gaynor, Joel Kilgore, Dave Stevens, Larry Zimmerman featuring music of Ludwig van Beethoven, Daniel Speer, Eric Ewazen, Saskia Apon and Hans DeJong

• Feb. 24 - Minnesota Clarinet Quartet with Sarah Porwoll-Lee, Katrina Mundrng, Nina Olsen and Paul Schimming.

• Sinatra and Company: That Holiday Feeling — with Debbie O'Keefe, Colleen Raye, Tim Patrick and the 10-piece Blue Eyes Band; Dec. 3, River Falls High School High School Auditorium; social hour, 2 p.m., concert at 3 p.m.

Phipps events

• "A Charlie Brown Christmas," by Charles M. Schulz. Classic television special depicts the Peanuts Gang discovering the meaning of Christmas; Tickets: adults $21; children $16. Reserved seats in main theater. Dates: 7 p.m. Dec. 8, 9, 14, 15; 1 and 4 p.m. Dec. 9 and 16; 2 p.m. Dec. 10 and 17.

• Phipps Gallery exhibits, Dec. 8 — Jan. 14

• Opening Reception: 6:30-8:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8.

• Gallery talk by featured artists at 6 p.m.: Casey Beck, Emily Romens, and Lisa Vang.

• Gallery One: Nadia Alenov, St. Paul; Gallery Two: James Smead, Pat Barnick, St. Paul; Sarah Filipi, Blaine, Minn.; Gallery Three: Wendy Lacska, Overlook Gallery; Bri Larson, Hastings, Minn.

• In the Riverview Gallery: Western Wisconsin Photography Club

• Atrium Gallery: Earth and Water: Ceramic Art in the St. Croix Valley. The Phipps partnering with Northern Clay Center presents Casey Beck, Emily Romens, and Lisa Vang, recent from UW-River Falls; work represents diverse takes on the use of clay.