After more than a year of talking and planning and dreaming, the River Valley Arts Council is going public Sunday, May 21, in the auditorium of Rumford’s Municipal Building.

We’re gonna have a good time.

At 1 p.m., the council is hosting a reception at which its executive committee will present the council’s purpose, its plans and its new board members. That’s the filling in the sandwich; music, munchies and a photography exhibit are the bread. Dessert is a performance at 2:30 p.m. by the Nordica Trio. The afternoon of treats is made possible by a generous grant from the Maine Community Foundation’s Oxford County Fund.

Artists reception

Betsy Bell coordinates the newly formed artists cooperative that has reopened the Pennacook Gallery on Congress Street that Lem Cissel established. The new management, crafts people and artists all gave the community a party at the gallery May 5. Betsy, also a member of the Arts Council Executive Committee, is artist and soft-spoken mistress of the understatement. “It was really, really nice,” she said.

Betsy & Co., it was terrific.

A different kind of artist

Director Ron McHugh, the board and staff of the Oxford County Mental Health Services welcomed Gov. John Baldacci, the proud deFrees family and a host of others to the dedication of the Jane deFrees Health Center last week. The dedication was a fitting tribute to Jane, who made her life a work of art. She left a legacy of compassion, caring and action; made her life “sublime” and “left her footprints on the sands of time.”

Too artful?

Last Tuesday, I opened Valley Voices column with a dream of mine, to wit, that the towns here in the River Valley would adopt the Golden Rule as a governing policy. I think it’s a good dream. But I should have written about what inspired the dream because, a friend told me, all kinds of conclusions could be drawn from what I didn’t say.

Here goes. Like many others in the Valley, I have been deeply distressed by the many uncivil, bullying, uncompromising exchanges in recent public meetings and in the press. I’m for this and you’re for that. OK. But it is possible to express opinions, advocate for issues, courteously, with mutual respect, and with consideration for the common good. The Golden Rule in government. Now that’s art!

Linda Farr Macgregor is a freelance writer and author of “Rumford Stories.”