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Heart of the River exhibition celebrates 50 years of scenic riverway

“St. Croix River, Osceola, Wisconsin,” by Craig Blacklock.

"Heart of the River: Celebrating the First 50 Years of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway" will open on Friday, Sept. 14, from 6-9 p.m. at The Phipps Center for the Arts.

This event, which is free and open to the public, will include screenings of "The Wild and Scenic St. Croix," introduced by Deb Ryun, executive director, St. Croix River Association, with filmmaker Jim Kaul present; Talking Waters Bar by University of Wisconsin-River Falls Sustainability Fellows; bluegrass music by the Gritpickers; a hands-on art and nature activity for all ages; National Park Service rangers; Summer Art Camp projects inspired by the St. Croix River; and 50th anniversary cake and champagne. This celebration is co-hosted by the St. Croix River Association with support from Xcel Energy. "Heart of the River" is a multi-part art exhibition inspired by the St. Croix River featuring photographs by Craig Blacklock, the premiere of a first-person exploration video game by Dave Beck, ceramics by 14 local artists presented in partnership with Northern Clay Center, and a juried show with work by 50 local and regional artists. For more information, go to

A series of related programs begins with a free presentation by Blacklock on Saturday, Sept. 15, at 1 p.m. in the Black Box Theater of The Phipps, co-hosted by the Western Wisconsin Photo Club. Laura Tiede will offer an outdoor drawing class at Belwin Conservancy in Afton on Wednesday, Sept. 19, from 8-11 a.m.

"Drawing the Scenic St. Croix's Prairie Flora," has a $46 class fee and registration is required. To register for this class, go to, call 715.386.2305, or stop by the center.

Additional related programs include a performance with Dan Chouinard, "Once Upon a River;" a coffee talk with local author Marybeth Lorbiecki at St. Patrick Catholic Church; "Different Voices: Shared Visions," a community forum panel discussion presented with River Channel; a poetry reading with Lee Kisling; and "Mni Sota Makoce: Land Where the Waters Reflect the Skies," a presentation by James Knutson Kolodzne, director of the American Indian Center, St. Cloud State University.

For more information about these, go to Galleries hours are Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Sunday 12 noon to 4:30 p.m., as well as one hour before and through intermission of all performances in The Phipps theaters.

For further information, contact Anastasia Shartin, visual arts director, at 715-386-2305, ext. 103.