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Last updated: Friday, 21-Feb-2003 19:45:53 CST

Aug. 15, 2003

"Barn Event" Explores St. Croix Culture, Community

Views of the changing landscape in the St. Croix River Valley will be presented and performed at "Views from the Barn Door." The free public event is sponsored by The University of Wisconsin-River Falls and will be held at the Phipps Center for the Arts in Hudson on Thursday evening, Sept. 18.

The program includes a gallery exhibit tour, a dramatic reading, a humorous commentary and lively music to entertain and fascinate residents of all ages.

For centuries, visual artists have been compelled to depict the rural landscape in which they live or from which they came. Our Heartland: Contemporary Images of Rural Life includes eight such artists living in or near the St. Croix River Valley whose subject matter consistently centers on rural people and places. Using a range of media – painting, printmaking, photography, and pottery – they present personal observations of the 21st century's rural landscape in flux.

The exhibiting artists are Richard Abnet, Nancy Ashenmacher, Tamara Brantmeier, Carl Corey, David Heberlein, Willis Hildebrandt, Dan Mackerman, Larry Welo and several will be available to conduct tours of the exhibit during the reception, which begins at 6 p.m.

A program of music, prose and storytelling will begin at 7 p.m. with a musical introduction featuring UW-RF students.

Environmental writer Laurie Allmann will present "One Road," a short performance of documentary theater that explores the natural and cultural communities that have gathered along a four-mile stretch of rural road in the St. Croix Valley. From dragonflies to prize dairy cows, to gardens reflecting distant Laotian traditions, One Road traces the lines that run between land and life. Allmann is a regularly featured essayist and commentator for Minnesota Public Radio and recently completed the script for a forthcoming Twin Cities Public Television documentary film series.

Al Batt, a writer, storyteller, and humorist who was born and raised on a farm in southeastern Minnesota, will share his "Views from the Barn Door," in a manner that is sure to create laughter, reflection and insight. Batt has been featured in the Smithsonian Magazine, the Star Tribune, St. Paul Pioneer Press, Agri News, and on several radio and television stations. He is a regular contributor to several nature and birding magazines, newspapers, and farm periodicals. He also writes several nationally syndicated cartoon strips ("Dennis the Menace," "Marmaduke," "Frank and Ernest," and many others).

Closing the event will be a community dialogue with featured artists, performers and the audience. Collectively, the group will explore and discuss the images of how our communities and environment are changing as portrayed through the arts, and the roles and responsibilities we have as citizens in maintaining and preserving our quality of life.

Views from the Barn Door is a collaborative venture of the UW-River Falls College of Arts and Sciences and The Phipps Center for the Arts in Hudson. Other co-sponsors include the St. Croix Valley Community Foundation and the National Park Service. The event is in support of the St. Croix Valley Barnstorm Wisconsin, 2003 Year of the Barn.

The Phipps Center for the Arts is located on the scenic St Croix River in historic downtown Hudson, just north of I-94 at 106 Locust Street. Parking is available on the street and in nearby public lots.

For more information, call the UW-River Falls Outreach and Graduate Studies office at 715/425-3256 or 800-228-5607, or visit the event’s web site at


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