ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 4 * * All Arts News On the Web * * October 12, 2000


      ArtBits always features a calendar of the goings on of Franklin County artists. Check out these events around Franklin County. Each issue includes the entire text of our weekly newspaper column.

      Stop in for the AAC CoffeeHouses at 7 p.m. on the first and third Thursday of every month. These gatherings bring new opportunities, gossip, "show-and-tell" and workshops. We come together on the first Thursday for a booked musical performance and an art exhibit at Simple Pleasures in St Albans. On the third Thursday at the Kept Writer in St Albans with acoustic Open Mike Night featuring music, readings, and more from the best new artists in Vermont.


      Larry Dugan has an excellent idea.
      He and I were worrying that we didn't fill every seat for the VYO concert last weekend and that many organizations around the county have trouble attracting an audience.
      Collaborations build stronger ventures so we want to form a loose partnership with every volunteer group, every service club, every school, and library. If you think the arts are important to Franklin County, don't just come to a concert. Come to the concert as a delegation. Don't just come to an art show. Come to the art show as a tour group. Don't just come to a dance. Come to the dance in a flock. We will have special, reserved seating, discount prices, and recognition.
      If your team wants to join the team, call me (868-3351). We will try it out at the Crafts and Fine Arts Tour in November and at the Messiah in December.


      I met recently with Alexander Aldrich, executive director of the Vermont Arts Council to introduce the All Arts Council, look at our new projects, discuss of our concerns, and consider what new projects we would like to see from the VAC.

      The AAC is a small, all-volunteer agency that serves as a technical resource for other presenters and other artists in northwestern Vermont. The VAC has always included us in the Local Arts Agency consortium and in the current Local Arts Service Organization team. With no paid staff and a budget of a third or less than the other agencies, we don't quite fit that category so it has been a wonderful network and an excellent resource for us.
      Mr. Aldrich was pleased that the VAC is able to think "outside the box" that way. "It is," he said, "very important for this organization to recognize that many of the lockstep grants and technical manuals that we see don't quite fit the small presenters and organizations [like the AAC] here in Vermont."

      We discussed the Artists' Co-op, the Regional Art Center, and our impending feasibility study of County-wide arts needs. Earlier in the day, Sue Nadeau had taken Mr. Aldrich on a short tour of the Doolins Building, the original home of the Waugh Opera House in downtown St Albans. That was a good introduction for our discussion on the need for a regional art center and the analysis we have begun for its possible location in Enosburg, Swanton, St Albans, or in another Franklin County town.

      I strongly recommended a return to the Touring Artist grants. Simple, easy to access $500 "mini-grants" could return programming to small presenters such as schools, community groups, or even arts councils like the AAC. As before, we should pick artists solely from the VAC Touring Artist Register. We return to a one-page, simple application with a two-week turnaround and use a postcard sized final report to reduce the paperwork burden on volunteers.
      Mr. Aldrich underscored a philosophical point that I have been making for several years: artists are small businesses. I have observed Franklin County artists who worry about spending $10 on supplies or $50 on advertising in order to further their own business; probably no more than three or four artists in this County have even a rudimentary business plan.
      "Artists need to act like small businesses," he said, "if they want to be successful."


ENOSBURG--A Pumpkin Patch Party and Auction on Saturday evening will benefit programs and events at the Opera House at Enosburg Falls.
      The evening will start with cocktails and a silent auction at 6 p.m. in the Stonebrook Restaurant and Lounge in the Dairy Center complex. The auction includes a hall table made by Richford's Rene Bouregard, a clock from Heritage Clocks in Sheldon, a framed photograph of Jay Peak by AAC member Janice Geraw, a fall foliage airplane ride with pilot Gary Wetherbee, a handmade, queen-size maple bed from Precision Woodworking in Morrisville, an autographed John LeClair hockey trading card, pus a miniature hutch, a hand painted sap bucket, children's toys, gift certificates, and much more.
      A stuffed chicken and beef bourguignonne dinner will follow at 7 PM. Tickets are $15 per person. Call 933-6171.

ST ALBANS--The Cardiac Capers Millennium Show brings 100 Years of Music to the BFA-St Albans stage starting Wednesday, October 18, at 7:30 p.m. The Cardiac Capers run will continue only through Saturday, October 21.
      "It has familiar songs to sing along with," said Helen Biggie of a show that features music by decades from 1900-2000.
      Tickets for the early bird Wednesday performance are only $8 at the door and $6 in advance; the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday shows cost $10 and $8. Tickets are available at Blouins IGA, Jukebox CDs and Tapes, NMC, Spears Pharmacy, Swanton Rexall, and Video King.

ENOSBURG FALLS--Artists, musicians, jugglers, dancers, and generally funny people are needed for the Eighth Annual Opera House Talent Search. The October 21 event showcases and rewards talent of all ages from all across northern Vermont. Call 933-6171 for info.


      Art in the Supreme Court features paintings by Elizabeth Nelson at the Courthouse, 111 State Street in Montpelier. This exhibition continues through October 20.


      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.


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Dick Harper, Chair

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      This article was originally published in the St Albans Messenger and other traditional print media. It is Copyright © 2000 by Richard B. Harper. All rights reserved. Archival material is provided as-is. Links are not necessarily maintained (if a link in this article fails, try or your favorite search engine).
      Thanks to recent misuse of copyright material on the Internet by individuals and archival firms alike, we emphasize that your rights to this article are limited to viewing it and printing it for personal use only. You must receive explicit permission from the All Arts Council and the author before reprinting or redistributing this article in any medium.