ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 4 * * All Arts News On the Web * * November 30, 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 come to the Kept Writer in St Albans for acoustic Open Mike Night featuring music, readings, and more from the best new artists in Vermont.


      "I really want to emphasize people getting into the arts and supporting the arts," watercolor artist, poet, and AAC board member Joy Mashtare said. "Art is an expression of the heart. To me art is not just what I do but who I am."
      Joy grew up partly in Swanton and spent the rest of her childhood in Manchester, NH, in an environment that encouraged artistic expression. "My parents were regular, working class people who put in a lot of hours on the job. In the evenings they would nourish their spirits by performing music, reciting poetry, drawing, or painting.
      "As children, we were allowed and expected to develop our own individual talents," she said. Not only did her parents encourage this personal growth, she also found art appreciation in the neighborhood. "We were fortunate in that we lived in a section of town populated by artisans, writers, and people from all cultures who understood the need to feed the soul through art."
      She was influenced by Henri Matisse. A leader of Les Fauves (the Wild Beasts), Matisse used strokes of bright, clashing color in his imagery. Although he does depict recognizable subjects, his portraits, still lifes, and interiors moved away from realism, sometimes all the way to a blissful abstraction of color.
      "To me watercolors represent the natural world which is composed of 90 percent water." Some of her paintings are completely non-representational but some include very realistic landscapes and still lifes.
      "They are all abstract," Joy said. "Some are figurative, some are non-figurative. I try to have the individual [viewer] focus his awareness into the painting and draw from them. I want to express love and have people feel it when they look at my paintings. I don't paint people or animals because I want people to put themselves in the painting."
      Joy received a Bachelor of Education from Maharishi International University in Iowa Her background, college studies, and the practice of transcendental meditation have also taught her to express her personal philosophy in the poetry she writes as Joy Crane. "Love is the most powerful creative force. True love exists. I always try to include that message in my poetry and in my artwork." Her poems range from short stanzas to an 80 page epic which balance the negatives of living with a positive message.
      Joy's two daughters, Jayne, 17, and Allyssen, 14, attend MVU. That spelling of Jayne is from the Hebrew, Gift from God, and Allyssen came from Allah Sent, Joy said. "God has sent her to me." Her sisters, Colleen and Kim, also live in this area.
      Joy is the featured artist at the Highgate Springs Welcome Center this month. Her work will move to Simple Pleasures in December. She has enrolled in Spirituality in Art at CCV for next semester and is pursuing an individual poetry grant from the Vermont Arts Council. The process includes compiling a sample of work and submitting it for peer review. These VAC grants help support Vermont artists as they develop new work.
      "If God gives you a special talent it would be wrong not to cultivate it," Joy said. "If people neglect to use their special talent then they may never realize the contribution they could have made to our world. On the other hand, by developing the direction they are meant to go, they may have the opportunity to enjoy to themselves and others.
      "We all need to look inside ourselves in order to discover our own unique gift and to chart a course of our own lives in the arts. Explore the possibilities by taking a course, joining the All Arts Council, or by dusting off some of your earlier works and reviving your interests. Exposure to other artists will help you take the next step in your own creative development and revitalize the inner spirit that draws you."


      Northwestern Counseling & Support Services presents Holiday Jazz on Friday, December 8. The evening includes a holiday cocktail buffet by Jeff's Maine Seafood, the music of Rob Guerrina and Just Jazz, and an All Arts Council art exhibit. The display will feature the fine paintings, photography, and sculpture of AAC artists Alice Astleford, Eric Bataille, Corliss Blakely, Connie Clay-Bickel, Alan DeMont, Mary Harper, Natalie Larocque-Bouchard, Joy Mashtare, Wayne Tarr, Lauren Young, and many more. A silent auction will include an AAC membership, a work by popular artist Alice Astleford, and donations from area businesses.
      This annual event welcomes the holiday season and helps support the NCSS Adult Behavioral Health Services. a good cause at the same time! Tickets are $20 per person. At the NCSS building, 107 Fisher Pond Road. Call 802-524-6555, extension 274, or e-mailfor info.


      This weekend, the Arts and Crafts tour of Franklin County takes us to Enosburg Falls, Fairfield, Richford, and Swanton. Look for handmade gifts, greens, candies, and white elephants. Many of the shows and bazaars serve lunch.
ENOSBURG FALLS--Country Christmas at the United Methodist Church, Saturday, 9:30-1:30
FAIRFIELD--Santa arrives at 11:00 sharp at St Patrick's, but the show is open Saturday from 9:30-3
RICHFORD--Dorion Hall, Saturday, 10-3
SWANTON--Arts & Crafts at Nativity Parish Center, Saturday 10-5 and Sunday, 10-3


ST ALBANS--Political humorists (and theorists) Frank Bryan and Bill Mares have a new book, The Vermont Owners Manual. They will be at Better Planet Friday 5-7 p.m. for a discussion and book signing.
JEFFERSONVILLE--Cambridge CoffeeHouse presents Two Chord Jones in an evening of acoustic bluegrass music at the Cambridge CoffeeHouse at Dinner's Dunn at the Windridge Bakery on Wednesday, December 6, 7-9 p.m. The Cambridge Arts Council sponsors the CoffeeHouse on the first and third Wednesday of each month. Admission is free but donations are appreciated. e-mail for info.


      Shadows and Dreams is the International Mail Art Exhibit at the Rosenthal Gallery of Fayetteville State University. All art is postcard size and was sent through the mail to qualify for the exhibit. The exhibit opens today and will remain open through January 11, 2001 at the Rosenthal Gallery of Fayetteville State University.


      Jeff Moreau is Executive Director of the Franklin-Grand Isle United Way and a lifelong resident of Franklin County. He met his wife, earned degrees, and worked in Development at Champlain College.
      From 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. today, WWSR-1420 AM will host a group of extraordinary individuals who will give of themselves, their time, and talents to raise money and help auction off a bevy of beautiful items to benefit the local United Way member agencies. The list of available items is online at the United Way. Call 802-524-4425 to place a bid.
CURRENTLY READING: "I'm wrapping up 'The Perfect Storm' [by Sebastian Junger]," Jeff said. "I just started boating two years ago and needed a good scare."
VERMONT AUTHOR: "Larisa Vigue is a good friend who hasn't published any 'big' books yet. She writes for St Michael's College, Business Digest, and other free lance work. I'm looking forward to her first book."
RE-READ: Shadow by Bob Woodward.
FAVORITE KIDS' BOOK: Jeff and Heather have a daughter Katelynn, 8. Jeff helps coach her hockey team through the long Vermont winter. "She's big into 'Harry Potter.'"
      Heather and Jeff received the President's Alumni Award from Champlain College this summer.


      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).
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