ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 3 * * All Arts News On the Web * * OCTOBER 14, 1999


      We have changed the ArtBits format from monthly to weekly. This issue includes the entire text of the weekly newspaper column
      ArtBits always features a calendar of the goings on of Franklin County artists. Check out these events around Franklin County.

      There is a free AAC Networking Meeting/Coffee House at 7 p.m. on the first Thursday of every month. These gatherings bring new opportunities, gossip, and workshops every month at the The Northwest Transportation Network office in St Albans.


      The Railroad Days Festival will follow the tracks of the past to the future of Vermont's Railroad City. Area schools are getting ready to send about 1,200 students to St Albans to view and participate in the exhibits.
      With the Artistry of Space as the Artrain theme, we have arranged a few extra "hands on" experiences for students. Railroad Days will have educational tours of both the Artrain and the NASA Mobile Aeronautics Education Laboratory. The NASA MAEL will be open November 1-5; the Artrain will be open November 4-5 for the scheduled tours and November 6-7 for public tours.
      The NASA Mobile Aeronautics Education Laboratory is a state-of-the-art classroom that brings new technologies to middle and high school students. Students explore the technologies of science and mathematics through "hands on/minds on" activities that model the real-world challenges of aviation. An aeronautic theme ties the stations together as participants gather essential data necessary to complete a cross country flight.
      The Artistry in Space exhibit is more than just paintings of space or even paintings of the equipment of space. NASA commissioned artist and psychologist Deborah Deschner Iazzo of Middlesex to capture the emotions of the Challenger Shuttle Launch. Deschner Iazzo is one of a dozen artists who will offer students a chance to learn about the art and about the creative process.
      "An Artrain tour lasts about 45 minutes, but the teaching units that lead up to it and the experience students have viewing the work of national artists lasts a lifetime," Deschner Iazzo said. "Railroad Days means students can combine the Artrain and the MAEL as a catalyst to integrate great art and science into their lives."
      If your group wants to participate, call Dottie Danforth (868-2441) or Heather Streeter (524-2444) today or come to our weekly meeting Thursday, October 14, or October 21, in the New England Central Railroad building at 4 p.m.
      The Artrain and other exhibits are free, thanks to a grant from the Vermont Department of Marketing and Tourism, and the generosity of local businesses such as the Northwestern Medical Center, Franklin Lamoille Bank, New England Central Railroad and S. B. Collins Fuels.


      While we follow the tracks of the past toward our future, I'm wondering about the future of art and of the Arts Council in Franklin County.
      Will the arts in Franklin County fail if we don't get more participants?
      Less than 200 people came to the recent VSO concert in St Albans
      Only a handful came to our last coffee house.
      The Railroad Days Festival will cost over $20,000. Counting inkind donations, we've raised less than $15,000. The Railroad Days Festival has about 15 volunteers working tirelessly. We need 50.
      Where does the money come from? Where do we get volunteers?
      The All Arts Council is an all-volunteer community group. We present popular programs such as Summer Sounds, the Crafts and Fine Arts Tour, and VYO concerts. We showcase and develop the artists who live next door. We have school programs. Artists can network and we give technical assistance to anyone interested in the arts. To survive we need more donations, more sponsors, more volunteers, and more members. And we need them now.
      Why should you join?
      The arts are an economic investment. Sales at Vermont's non-profit cultural industries are about equal to total sales at all the gift and souvenir shops around the state. A recent national survey shows about 330,000 adults attended museums, concerts, theaters, and other cultural events at least once in Vermont last year. And that was a year without a Grateful Dead concert. The interest -- and the -- admissions are there. Travel studies consistently show that tourists seek cultural attractions. Audiences spend about the same amount on food, drink, and tourism expenses as they do on admissions. And they spend it with local businesses.
      The arts are a community investment. Photographers, sculptors, and painters like Corliss Blakely capture the architecture and the design of our villages and towns in works that are world famous. Composers like Jorge Martin capture the spirit of our neighbors. Dancers like John Finn capture our history. Students like Rich Gonzales beautify public buildings with murals. We learn about the past, celebrate the present, and plan for the future with the arts.
      The arts are an investment in our kids. Kids need the arts for the problem solving skills necessary for a Century when the multiplication tables aren't enough. Painting fish at the City Pool and playing flute at a brick church build perception, imagination, creation, and self-discipline.
      The arts are an investment in our future. Husky built a plant in Milton. Northwestern Medical Center is actively recruiting new doctors. Cultural events, foliage, a good hospital, maple syrup, schools, shopping, and skiing all attract and keep people in Franklin County. Foliage, the hospital, maple syrup, schools, shopping, and skiing all have commercial support. Despite the boost the arts gives the County, we need volunteers and money in addition to commercial support to keep going.
      The Railroad Days Festival alone will cost over $20,000. Since you started reading this article, we've still raised less than $15,000 of that. We really, really need you. E-mail me to learn how to help. Bring your bushel basket.


ST ALBANS--Governor Howard Dean and Mayor Peter Deslaurier helped the St Albans Historical Museum debut the new St Albans diorama Thursday October 14. "To play all seven scenarios takes about 70 minutes," said Jim Murphy. Sneak up as soon as you read this for a quick visit.       Although the museum has now closed for the winter, it will be open for school groups and for the Railroad Days festival.

JEFFERSONVILLE--The Cambridge CoffeeHouse, sponsored by the Cambridge Arts Council, begins its forth season on Wednesday (October 20) evening with Open Mike Night. CoffeeHouse is held at the Smugglers Notch Inn from 7 to 9 p.m. The season runs from October through May, with a performance on the first Wednesday of the month, and Open Mike on the third Wednesday of the month.       There is no admission charge but Cambridge Arts appreciates donations. For more information, e-mail Pete Langdell.

WINOOSKI--Higher Ground presents Franklin County bluesman Nobby Reed. Friday at 9 p.m.


      Artrain USA is an art museum that will ride the rails to St Albans during the first week of November. Artistry of Space, the current Artrain exhibit, features works from the NASA art program. Here is a look at web sites for some of the artists in the collection.
      Paintings from the N ASA Art Program appeared in the in November, 1984, NASA publication Social Sciences and Space Exploration. The featured artists included James L. Cunningham, James Dean, Andreas Nottebohm, Jack Perlmutter, Robert Rauschenberg, Charles Schmidt, Arthur Shilstone, and Nicholas Solovioff.


      ArtBits features a quick weekly peek at the bookshelf or night stand of the folks you know in and around Franklin County. That popular feature has a page of its own at the Franklin County Bookshelf here on the AAC site.
      In honor of the Railroad Days Festival, Bookshelf has most of the volunteers from the steering committee online.


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