Heart of the River exhibit features wide range of art inspired by the St. Croix

Phipps includes local and regional artists, a new video game, and much more in month-long celebration of Wild & Scenic Rivers Act anniversary.




6 minute read

From The Phipps Center for the Arts:

Winter Bluff, by Tom Niedenfuer, 24 x 24, Plaster, acrylic on plywood

Heart of the River: Celebrating The First 50 Years Of The St. Croix National Scenic Riverway

The Phipps Center for the Arts
109 Locust St., Hudson

Exhibits and special programs:
September 14 – October 21, 2018

Please join us as we celebrate the 50th birthday of the St. Croix River as a National Scenic Riverway.

Heart of the River is a multi-part exhibit inspired by the St. Croix River featuring photographs by Craig Blacklock, the premiere of a video game by Dave Beck, ceramic work by 14 local artists presented in partnership with Northern Clay Center, and a juried show with work by 50 local and regional artists.

Opening Celebration

Friday, September 14, 6 – 9 p.m.
Co-hosted by St. Croix River Association with support from Xcel Energy, featuring:

Screenings of the film: The Wild and Scenic St. Croix

Introduced by Deb Ryun, Executive Director, St. Croix River Association; filmmaker John Kaul will be present for meet and greet.

The St. Croix River Association worked with filmmakers John Kaul and Tom Reiter to create this 27 minute film, along with Twin Cities PBS.

This beautiful documentary is a tribute to the St. Croix and Namekagon Rivers. It is part of the celebration of the 1968 landmark legislation which preserved rivers with outstanding natural, cultural, and recreational values in a free-flowing condition for the enjoyment of present and future generations.

Talking Waters Bar
The UWRF Sustainability Fellows is a faculty group dedicated to promoting Sustainability Justice and the Sustainability Justice Minor program. At the Talking Waters Bar, we serve flights of water from different regions in the St. Croix watershed to inspire conversation and reflection about the interdependence of community and sustainability. Water — it’s all we have.

Bluegrass Music by the Gritpickers
The Gritpickers Old Time String Band weaves hot fiddle-and-banjo tunes with songs that feature terrific two- and three-part harmonies. Sets are peppered with stories and humor that adds a grin to the toes already tapping in the room. They play for weddings, dances, block parties, restaurant shows, community events, garage door openers, and other hallmark cultural events.

Hands-on activities for all ages

  • National Park Service rangers
  • Summer Art Camp projects inspired by the St. Croix River
  • 50th anniversary cake and champagne

Tropical Wings logoTropical Wings Annual Meeting
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
We will begin at YMCA Camp St. Croix, meeting at the River Center building at 10 AM for a guided Bird Walk. A free lunch will then be provided at the Phipps Center for the Arts in the River Room, where guests can learn about the many conservation projects Tropical Wings supported in 2018. A brief meeting will follow. More information.


Juried Exhibit – Riverview Gallery and Galleries Two and Three

Barb Casey

Features work from 50 local and regional artists. Artists were encouraged to submit work that expresses the significance of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway in their lives, and communicates that connection through unique depictions, interpretations, impressions, memories, and hopes for the future.

TOMBEAUX, an interactive historical experience by Dave Beck – Overlook Gallery

Tombeaux is a first-person exploration game set in a historically accurate 3D environment. Currently being developed as a solo art, design, and research project by Dave Beck, this interactive historical experience investigates the convergence between cultures and the environment across a few hundred years of midwestern American history. The game takes place on a small section of the St. Croix River (which acts as a border river between Minnesota and Wisconsin). Through exploration, the player discovers various unique objects, environments, and narratives, all of which cause reflection upon our history and our future.

TOMBEAUX will be debuted and exhibited in the Overlook Gallery. The artist’s game will be playable, and the exhibit will also feature research imagery and 3D-modeled objects from the game. Beck created this project about the history of the St. Croix River while an artist-in-residence at the St. Croix Watershed Research Station, Homestead National Monument of America, and Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts.

Craig Blacklock Photo exhibit – Lobby and Gallery One

The exhibit, “Looking Downstream” is from the book: St. Croix and Namekagon Rivers — The Enduring Gift

Blacklock writes: “Today we celebrate the efforts to ‘Save the St. Croix,’ championed by Wendell Anderson, Gaylord Nelson, and Walter Mondale over fifty years ago. It is a natural inclination to also look downstream towards what our collective future could become. I hope my daughter will be able to look back fifty years from now and see that this was the turning point where people returned to learning about and trusting the natural sciences.”

Northern Clay Center Exhibit – Atrium Gallery

Casey Beck

For the past six years The Phipps and Northern Clay Center have partnered on a series of exhibits and demonstration workshops titled “Earth and Water: Ceramic Art in the St. Croix Valley” aimed at increasing the profile of ceramic artists living and working throughout the lower St. Croix River Valley watershed. This exhibit features nearly all of the ceramic artists who have participated in this exciting program.

Special events and programs

Craig Blacklock Photography Presentation
Saturday, Sept. 15, 1:00 p.m.
The Phipps Black Box Theater, free
Co-hosted by the Western Wisconsin Photo Club

Drawing the Scenic St. Croix’s Prairie Flora with Laura Tiede
Wednesday, Sept. 19, 8 – 11 a.m.
Belwin Conservancy, Afton, Minn.
$46 class fee registration required

“Once Upon a River” with Dan Chouinard
Saturday, September 29, 7:30 p.m.
The Phipps Main Stage
$25 tickets for adults and $18 for students

Coffee Talk with local author Marybeth Lorbiecki
Sunday, October 14, 9:30 a.m.
St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Hudson

During this informal gathering, explore the connections between concern for our common world and spirituality, and how ecological restoration can lead the way to less suffering for the poor, stronger and more sustainable economies, better health, and meaningful relationships.

Different Voices: Shared Visions
With panelists Daniel Bruch, Ozcan Kilic, Dean Simpson, and Rob Wertheimer
Thursday, October 18, 7:00 p.m.
The Phipps Black Box Theater, free

The God of Abraham, shared by Jews, Christians, and Muslims, declared that humans are given use of the earth as a trust or as caretakers. The Hebrew, Christian, and Islamic Scriptures strongly support respect for nature, for the creatures of nature, and for the care, protection, and preservation of everything in the natural world. These Scriptures also speak boldly about our responsibility for the environment and our continuing caretaker relationship with nature. Our conversation together will reflect this environmental ethic we share.

This event will be recorded for broadcast by The River Channel.

Poetry Reading with Lee Kisling
Friday, October 19, 7:00 p.m.
Black Box Theater, free

Mni Sota Makoce: “Land where the waters reflect the skies”
Presented by James Knutson-Kolodzne, director of the American Indian Center, St. Cloud State University
Saturday, October 20, 2:00 p.m., Black Box Theater, free

The Dakota homeland covered all of Minnesota and half of Wisconsin before contact. In this program, you will learn about Dakota values for caring for the land and water. Consider your individual, family, and community connections by examining Minnesota and Wisconsin as a Dakota place.

Docent-led Public Exhibition Tours, Free

  • Saturday, September 29, 6:00 and 6:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, October 18, 6:00 p.m.
  • Friday, October 19, 6:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, October 20, 1:00 and 3:00 p.m.

Or call 715-386-2305 to schedule a private group tour.

More information:

Heart of the River – The Phipps Center for the Arts