ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 3 * * All Arts News On the Web * * OCTOBER 28, 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 follows the tracks of the past to the future of St Albans, the Railroad City of Vermont. A visit by Artrain USA is the Festival centerpiece.
      In the ultimate Field trip, several Franklin County schools are preparing to send about 1,200 students in grades four through eight to St Albans to view and participate in the Artrain USA and NASA exhibits.
      Every 10 minutes throughout the school day, small groups of children will converge by bus, car, van, and foot on the Artistry of Space and MAEL exhibits. Please do not offer them leftover Halloween candy.
      The Artistry of Space exhibit on the Artrain includes paintings, drawings, prints and sketches by 78 nationally renowned artists including Jim Alford, James Dean, Peter Max, and Deborah Deschner Iazzo of Middlesex. Their work focuses on the astronauts, engineers, and scientists who lifted man to outer space. Admission to Artrain is free, but you will need a free ticket to get it. Free tickets are available at the St Albans Chamber office, Jukebox CDs and Tapes, and at the All Arts Council exhibit.
      The NASA Mobile Aeronautics Education Laboratory (MAEL) will be stationed next to the Artrain platform at Market and Stebbins Streets in St Albans.
      NASA designed the MAEL to simulate a cross-country flight. Participants engage in aircraft design, calculate weather conditions, access the Internet, and experience virtual reality during the design process.
      The NASA MAEL activities and curriculum support the national math and science standards and process skills, with applications to real-world careers. Students work with aeronautics-related manipulatives at 12 computer workstations. The "World's Greatest Paper Airplanes" program provides step-by-step instructions for constructing very complex models. In a design exercise, students change design parameters (the engines, wings, and fuselage) to craft an aircraft suitable for their cross-country flight. They then calculate the effects changing these parameters have on the flight.
      NASA will host student tours of the MAEL Monday through Friday and afternoon public tours on Thursday November 4. The Artistry of Space will host students on Wednesday and Thursday and be open to the public November 6-7.
      The first St Albans land grant occurred in 1763. European immigrants flooded the region after the Revolutionary War to join French homesteaders from the North. By 1800, Vermont was the fastest growing state in the Union; Franklin County is currently one of the fastest growing Counties in Vermont. Around 1860, St Albans began to grow as a railroad hub. At the turn of this century, 23 parallel rail lines crossed Lake Street in the largest rail freight center East of Chicago. The railroad kindled manufacturing, farming, and tourism throughout northwestern Vermont. Franklin County is now a leading Vermont producer of dairy and maple products.
      This international border region also has a history of smuggling, armed conflict, and intrigue. An Irish invasion of Canada was launched from St Albans. It failed. Confederate soldiers staged a daring raid on St Albans from Canada. It succeeded.
      The Franklin Lamoille Bank is celebrating its centennial anniversary in St Albans during the Railroad Days Festival.
      The brick and granite home of the Franklin Lamoille Bank was originally occupied by the Old Franklin County Bank, followed by the First National Bank, and then the Peoples Trust Company. The Franklin County Savings Bank and Trust Company opened its doors on November 1, 1899, when St Albans merchant Carroll Morton opened the first checking account with a deposit almost $750.
      In 1865, the Franklin Bank was the site of the northernmost raid of the Civil War when 22 Confederate soldiers robbed three St Albans banks and fled to Canada. The bank robbery will be reenacted on Saturday, November 6, at noon.
      The Railroad Days Festival opens with the Gate Players production, Curse of the Werewolf, at BFA Theater, this Saturday at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $5.
      The St Albans Free Library will present Twin Falls Idaho at the Welden Theater, on Monday at 7 p.m. Tickets are $6 or $4 with a library card.
      An opening reception and fundraiser will debut the major Railroad Days exhibits at the St Albans Historical Museum, 6-9 p.m. on Tuesday. The reception features Artistry of Space and NASA previews plus discussions with NASA artist Deborah Deschner Iazzo and Vermont Teacher in Space Gail Breslauer. Call Heather (524-2444) for reservations.
      Gate Players will present Campfire Skits in the BFA Theater, November 4-5. Tickets are $5 and are available at Tanya's Boutique, Video King, and at the door.
      DaimlerChrysler sponsors Artrain USA's Artistry of Space national three-year tour. The New England Central Railroad is transporting Artrain to St Albans.
      Thanks to generous grants from the Vermont Department of Marketing and Tourism and the City of St Albans, and the support of Northwestern Medical Center; Comfort Inn and Suites; Franklin Lamoille Bank; New England Central Railroad; Drummac, Inc; S. B. Collins, Clarence Brown, and Ultramar, admission to most Railroad Days events is free. Admission to Artrain is free, but you will need a free ticket to get it. Free tickets are available at the St Albans Chamber office, Jukebox CDs and Tapes, and at the All Arts Council exhibit. Check the complete schedule of the Artrain USA visit here.


ST ALBANS--The Gate Players production Curse of the Werewolf, a comedy for Halloween, begins tonight at BFA St Albans.
      The Tim Kelley Production is a mystery-farce featuring John Streker, Steve White, Michael Cronin, Becky White, and Sue Nadeau as a lawyer. Brian Fredette directed. Show dates are tonight, tomorrow, and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with an added 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday to kick off Railroad Days. Tickets are available at Tanya's Boutique and Video King. Admission is only $5.

JEFFERSONVILLE--Local blues legend Seth Yacavone--Unplugged! appears Wednesday evening at the Cambridge CoffeeHouse, sponsored by the Cambridge Arts Council. CoffeeHouse is held at the Smugglers Notch Inn from 7 to 9 p.m.
      The CoffeeHouse offers performances on the first Wednesday of each month and Open Mike on the third Wednesday. There is no admission but donations appreciated. For more information, call Pete Langdell (after 5) at 644-2233.


      Artistry of Space, the current Artrain USA exhibit, features works from the NASA art program. This series is a continuing look at web sites for the artists in the Artrain collection. This week, we look at a single site with several of the artists: the motherlode itself, the NASA Art Gallery.
      A mixed media work of acrylic paint and marble dust on artist board by Tina York, Fluid Dynamics, shows studies at the Ames Research Center that learn more about what happens to a solid body such as a plane or Shuttle encountering resistance as it speeds through the gases of the atmosphere or the clouds of deep space.
      The Light Ship, an oil by Attila Hejja, depicts the first night launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1983.
      Lonny Schiff's Satellite in Space monoprint chine colle is an abstract rendition of the future Space Station.
      Most images in the collection cannot be downloaded or reproduced without permission from NASA.


      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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