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ArtsMinded column: The artsy rites of Spring continue

There is no place like River Falls in the summer! Make no mistake about it, in the South where I grew up, we loved the endless summer — as long as we could escape it some. Remember, we didn't have air conditioning in our house—or any other houses when I was growing up. We had only three choices to escape the searing heat: The movie theatre where we couldn't talk and shriek and have a community blast (and needed money for admission); the swimming pool (still the need for money); or the possibility of a sprayer on a hose! Our parents had to make sure we didn't use (waste!) too much water; it was expensive you know. And that was before sunscreen. There was the "lotion" that made our skin greasy and there was the hot indoors.

Here, in this beautiful green town in which we live, we have five to seven months during which we can play outdoors unafraid. And we have the glorious leaves and the obliging flowers to help. And the brand new baby birds that sing to us all summer.

Because summer here is so generous, we have many summer activities! Those we invent ourselves: the hose, hide and seek as darkness descends, sitting under the streetlights with our neighbor friends talking about who's dating whom and who caught the biggest fish or swung "furtherest" over the lake clinging to the rope.

If it rains (as it did Sunday evening!), there's art indoors at Art's House. This month we have wonderful local art (open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays) by Jill Fritz. We also have the activities our community makes for us: River Falls Days, Music in the Park, the free concerts at UWRF amphitheatre, outdoor dance music at the local bars. See below for some of the wonderful ways we can enjoy the summer in River Falls and surrounding regions:

BLUEGRASS, BLUES & BBQ, featuring Chris & Ari Silver with Collin Cosgrove and Heath Loy, 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, July 11 on the front lawn at First Congregational, 110 N. Third St. Bring a lawn chair or blanket. A BBQ lunch will be served for a minimal fee. In case of rain, the event will be held indoors. Free will offering only.

CHILL ON THE HILL at Melvin Wall Amphitheatre at UWRF, outdoors, with an emergency rain facility and yummy snacks to buy:

• June 26: Kids From Wisconsin, 50 years of singing and dancing! Rainsite: River Falls High School

• July 3: Chris Koza, live band

• July 10: Tommy Bentz Band, bluesy rock and roll

• July 17: Roe Family Singers, a legacy of live action folk

• July 24: St. Croix Valley Community Band, classic Big Band

• July 31: Chris Silver and the Good Intentions, the best bluegrass around

• Aug. 7: Gaelynn Lea, melodic storytelling

Music in the Park (sponsored by CAB, of course!) brings us talented professional musicians at Veterans' Park; from 7-9 p.m. every Friday and Saturday:

• June 22, Danger Rangers

• June 23, Chris Silver with Good Intentions

• July 29, Practical Goods

• June 30, Patchouli

• July 6, Greenwood Tree

Alternative Music in the Park during River Falls Days will be every day from 4-6 p.m—alternate schedule, but same high standard. Artists TBA as the time grows closer.

ART'S HOUSE GALLERY: open as usual on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays with the following fine artists available for your browsing and purchase. Artists include:Jill Fritz, jewelry; Susan Carmody, paintings; Jeanne Freidell, wearable fiber art; John Timmers, wood art; Catherine Skoula, photography; and Linda Snouffer, botanical prints. (through July 7)

Kinni Clayworks: In addition to its usual effort to see that adults can learn to throw pots or continue to develop their skill, Kinni Clayworks has the shop open for youth classes June 25-27, July 16-19, and Aug. 13-15. Classes for ages 7-16 meet from 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m.; classes for adults meet from 6-8 p.m. All classes meet at the new riverside studio and showroom. More information is available at