ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 3 * * All Arts News On the Web * * NOVEMBER 25, 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.


SPECIAL NOTE: The monthly AAC Coffee House in December will be held in the Recreation Room at Verdelle Village, December 2 at 7 p.m. Bring some art for show and tell or come to visit. Note that the "homeless" arts council has moved to another borrowed space.


      Thanksgiving, the quintessential American holiday, is a time to reflect on good health, family ties, and other blessings. Each year, I ask some artists, musicians, and friends of the arts to tell us what in the arts made them thankful.
      Alice Astleford is "thankful to my AAC family for the opportunity to 'come out of the closet' with my artwork." Alice was a demonstrating artist aboard Artrain and has sold several paintings at AAC shows this year.
      Eric Bataille said, "The more I paint the more I appreciate what I see. To me, painting as an artist is the best way to appreciate life."
      Corliss Blakely said, "I'm thankful for being an artist." Corliss just moved into her new studio (a space she keeps very well hidden somewhere in Franklin County), which doubled her space.
      Diana Herder Bennet is "thankful that I have my family and that I have a job." She works at IBM and, like so many other Franklin County artists, has a "day job" in addition to her whimsical sculpture and hand building in pottery.
      Natalie LaRocque-Bouchard was working on a family portrait when she said, "My family's health and happiness and my family and life." Natalie and Chris have seven kids ranging from 8 to 16.
      Dr. Fred Campbell, 75, is "just thankful to be alive at my age and that I can still see to paint." He is also ready to "put the brakes on growth in Vermont."
      Josh Derner works in colored pencil, acrylic, and watercolor. He is thankful "that my step father is still with us." Keith Dawson was diagnosed with cancer last year. "He's doing pretty well," Josh said.
      "Clearly we're all thankful for our family and friends," said April Henderson. "I was talking to my dad the other day. We were complaining about taxes and health care, but this is still the best place to live; it's good to be in America."
      "As always, I'm grateful to be alive," Donna LaRochelle said. "Mostly I'm in love with the Green Mountains. I don't really like snow, but that's what I have to take to have my mountains."
      David Juaire is happy for his good health.
      Sculptor Ania Modzelewski is thankful for the "opportunity to develop my talents in Vermont because if I hadn't move here I would never had a chance to grow and do what I was dreaming about."
      Gail Salzman is a founder of St Albans Area Community Arts Network and a leader of the Locomotion II project. "I'm thankful that there are so many creative and enthusiastic arts-involved people in Franklin County and that they are coming out of the woodwork!" she said.
      "Every day that I survive doing a job that I love is a real blessing," said Mark Tougias. "There's a real emotion in your work, a real feeling. I never know if people see that." Mark sometimes gets calls and letters from people who have seen or bought his work. "That feedback tells me they see where my heart is. "
      There you have it. Gather round with family and friends tomorrow for a feast of thanks and fellowship and joy.


      Holiday shopping? Wanna buy some art?
      The Christmas shopping season begins officially on Friday, despite store decorations that have been up for months. AAC artists have the perfect gift: the All Arts Council and the McDonald Museum at the Sugar Mill Gallery present the AAC Christmas Fine Art Sale and Show at the Sugar Mill Gallery, Main & Kingman Streets, this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday only.
      The AAC Christmas Fine Art Sale features exceptional local artists and sculptors and exquisite photography with works by Alice Astleford, Diana Herder Bennett, Corliss Blakely, Bob Brodeur, Fred Campbell, Josh Derner, Mary Harper, April Henderson, David Juaire, Donna LaRochelle, Natalie LaRocque-Bouchard, Ania Modzelewski, Gail Salzman, Mark Tougias, and more. The exhibit is open Friday and Saturday, 9-5, and Sunday, 11-4


      Life's Too Short is the new contemporary country album from Upper U.S. and Friends.
      Vocalists Peter, Lori, and Francis Mercaldi, plus cousin Bill Babbie, guitar and the unrelated Bob Jones, rhythm guitar, all of Rouses Point and Champlain in the Upper U.S. play live, original material around the North Country. They have a lot of Friends: John Kains, bass, Bill Jock, lead guitars and harmonica, John Geno, pedal steel, mandolin, and fiddle, Eric Elmore, drums, Bruce Patenaude, piano and synthesizer, and Dickie Toof and Jack Phipps, trumpets. I think everyone plus producer Lyle Glidden sings the background vocals.
      Look for Perry's Mills by Francis, The Time is Near, dedicated to Bill Babbie's grandparents, Stop the World in which Lori sings of a parent juggling a family, and Sometimes Things Happen, with Peter encouraging us to spend time with our loved ones.
      These are "positive, life changing lyrics," Lyle said.
      Matt Henry will talk with Upper U.S. and feature Life's Too Short on WLFE-FM 102.3, Monday [11/29] at 7:15 a.m.
      The CD was recorded at West Street Digital in Fairfield, engineered by Andre Maquera, and mastered by Lane Gibson at Chas Eller Productions. All Arts Music Productions is a new effort by the AAC to produce and promote area musicians.


      Run for Cover performs in a benefit dance concert for the Milton Family Community Center on Friday. The Family Community Center is purchasing the Ville Maire (the old Fletcher Allen building) right in the center of town and moving from the current, very cramped space on Main Street.
      "We have outgrown our space and hope to move by March," said Youth Activities Director Brenda Tourangeau. "We have been fundraising for the capital campaign for quite a while."
      The new space will be a full service Family Center, including affordable infant child-care, the resource room, a Food shelf and more. "We'll also have teen space, thanks to an active group of teens and a New Directions grant," Brenda said.
      Run for Cover includes Ed DeVarney of Milton, guitar and vocals, Brian Wiggins of St Albans, keys and vocals, Gary Miller-Wade of Orwell, drums and vocals, Robbie Volande of Starksboro, bass guitar and vocals.
      Ed DeVarney calls regular guest vocalist Miranda Jones the "15 year old girl wonder I found in a high school drama production." Miranda recently appeared in the Lyric production, Gypsy, at the Flynn.
      The concert is Friday evening, 8-11 p.m., in the Milton High School cafeteria. Tickets are $5 for adults (only $3 for students) and available through the Center and at the door. Call 802.893.1457 for information.


ST ALBANS--8084 will try to move a turkey around the dance floor with the sheer power of rock at ShaBooms, Saturday, 9 p.m.
ALBURG--The Nobby Reed Project plays at McDuff's Tavern, Saturday, 9 p.m.
ST ALBANS--Actor/storyteller John "Junebug Jabbo Jones" O'Neal returns to lead workshops in acting and storytelling for students, local actors, and community members. O'Neal uses "Junebug Jabbo Jones," to excite and inspire middle-school students and adults alike and to make history and the African-American experience come alive.
      Turning Stories into Theater is a St. Albans Area CAN! community workshop in the BFA-St Albans Auditorium on Tuesday, (November 30) 7-9 p.m. Join the for students and seniors who have been sharing their stories and exploring St. Albans history. Admission is $5 adults, $3 students. Call 802.652.4539 for info.
      The workshop is part of the ongoing Flynn Theater Community Partners Project, funded by the Lila Wallace Reader's Digest Fund Audiences for the Performing Arts Network.


      The season for buying exceptional crafts and fine arts continues Saturday with three more well known showcases. Each exhibit showcases a different group of fine artists and artisans from around the area. Take in all three for a nice "Western Franklin County tour."
      The Catholic Daughters annual Christmas Crafts Show at St Mary's Parish Center offers crafts, a jewelry table, and fine foods. The luncheon includes homemade soup, sandwiches, and apple crisp. The Ladies of St Anne offers "something for all ages" at the Arts and Crafts Fair in the Holy Angels Parish Center. The Ascension Parish Craft Show also features AAC artists in Georgia Elementary School. All three shows are open 10-4 on Saturday.


      Thanksgiving on the Net, a Celebration of America's First Thanksgiving, offers fun holiday activities for the entire family. The site has stories of the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving, a holiday puzzle to play, and holiday pictures for the kids to print and color.
      The High Street Central Thanksgiving Directory gives links to sites for Thanksgiving art and clipart, coloring books, crafts and decoration, poems, songs, screen savers and wallpaper, and even Thanksgiving 2000.
      Images for Thanksgiving Celebrations offers more Thanksgiving graphics such as turkeys, pilgrims, and pumpkins to decorate web pages.
      Mel Owens has his favorite Gospel music online for Thanksgiving.
      Thanksgiving inspirational music also offers MIDI and WAV files to play on your system.


      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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Dick Harper, Chair

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