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Arts Minded: Fall inspires the desire to live an artful life

Welcome to Fall, the most colorful season each year here in the upper Midwest. Fall foliage is Mother Nature's greatest art show, turning our rolling hills and forest glens into a kaleidoscope of beautiful colors. The leaves of fall are filling my yard, decorating the ground in shades of pumpkin, rust, red, and maple syrup. After traipsing through the piles of freshly raked leaves, I love to enter my kitchen and be engulfed by the fall smells of warm applesauce, pumpkin and cinnamon flavored coffee.

Autumn is a time for much more than apple picking, tomato canning, bonfires, and hayrides, although each and every one of those things sound like a perfect way to spend time, am I right? Our desire to live an artful life takes us beyond those activities, however, and thrusts us out into the world of vivid colors, sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and appreciation of the world and people around us.

Living an artful life is a mindset, a philosophy, if you will, and I ask each of you, dear readers, to take a few minutes to close your eyes and focus on your favorite color. Then spend the day looking for that color as you go through your day, observing the world around you. Trust me, it is an exercise well worth it.

As you work on expanding the artfulness of your existence, there are some exciting and diverse activities for you to consider over the next several weeks. Please put some color in your calendar with these upcoming events:

• Don't miss the Fall Finds and Barn Tours. I've done this nearly every year and it's one of the best ways to spend a leisurely day driving around the countryside taking in the fall beauty, rain, snow, or shine, mixed in with a little light shopping of arts and crafts and antiques, sipping hot apple cider, cocoa, or coffee, and eating a nibble of whatever sweet treats your hosts have out for guests. Go to their website at

• The River Falls Community Arts Base (CAB) hosts ARTful Friday on the second Friday of each month. This Friday, Oct. 13 from 4-7 p.m., their doors are open for us to mill around the gallery and relax in their welcoming arts space.

• Friday the 1 th at Junior's Taphouse, dance, tap your toes, or sing along to the live music of the Scottie Miller Band. Their range of contemporary, southern tinged piano blues, Americana, rock, funk and soul has something for everyone. Get out and shake what your momma gave you to shake.

• If tickling your scary bone (is that a thing?) is more your style, then be creeped out with "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," the 1920 classic silent film, accompanied on the Mighty Wurlitzer by Clark Wilson at The Phipps Center for the Arts in Hudson. Film critic Leonard Maltin describes the organ master Wilson as "a master of silent film and showman of the first order."

• Fall tours are open at the Octagon House Museum at 1004 Third St. in Hudson each weekend day through Oct. 22. A small fee is charged, with discounts for seniors and students. I encourage you to take in one of our local treasures.

• While you are in Hudson, to in a little theatre at the St. Croix Off Broadway Dinner Theatre. They are performing Neil Simon's "Come Blow Your Horn", Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 28. Call their box office at 715-386- 2394 ext. 333.

• Speaking of the theatre, our UW-RF Stage and Screen Arts Department presents another smash season of plays, creative shorts, films, and comedies. The 48-Hour Film Festival runs Oct. 13-15. Their first major production of the academic year is "The Skin of Our Teeth", Thornton Wilder's 1942 play. As described on their website, the play is allegory about the history of mankind told through the story of one family's precariousness of survival — people repeatedly pulling through catastrophes by "the skin of our teeth." Tickets for these and all Stage and Screen Arts Events, call the Box Office at 715-425- 3114.

• For something a little different, head out to the Have A Heart Fall Fund Fest, an event for the family, and support one of our region's great non-profit organizations. The event will feature food, drinks, a silent auction, games, crafts such as pumpkin painting, trick or treating, live music and more. Tickets are available online or by phone at 715-425- 7754.

• The 2017 Main street Art Crawl will be held Oct. 21. Many businesses on Main Street in downtown River Falls will host local artists from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This is a great way to spend your day mingling, early holiday shopping, and enjoying the beauty of our city.