ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 6 * * All Arts News On the Web * * April12, 2002


      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 second and fourth Wednesday of every month. These gatherings bring new opportunities, gossip, "show-and-tell" and workshops. We come together on the second Wednesday for a booked musical performance and an art exhibit at Simple Pleasures in St Albans. On the fourth Wednesday 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.

      The Vermont Maple Festival is just two weeks away and you heard it here first. In the coming columns we will meet some of the folks involved in the arts and entertainment part of the Festival


      Originally from Westchester County, New York, artist Kate Ritz came to Vermont to work on an organic vegetable farm. The farm satisfies both sides of her brain.
      Kate started to draw and draw and draw at age 12. By the time she was 16, she had mastered watercolors and inks and moved into acrylics, and now oils. She attended the Maryland Institute of Art for a year and a half before finding a job painting in a craft studio in New York City.
      "My paintings are mostly landscapes," Kate said. Bright and full bodied, "they're my attempts at correctly documenting perspective using color and harmony. I guess they're more toward realism but not quite all the way there." Her work will be on exhibit in the AAC Fine Art Gallery in City Hall. One painting in the exhibit is a swooping view of the earth. "It's like a world of color," she said. She also paints still lifes in oil.
      Kate expects to marry Richford farmer Dean Stockman "in a couple of years." (He knows.) "I really like working outside, being outside all day, doing old time peasant work. It's rewarding and I think it's a good balance for doing things like painting which use a totally different part of your brain."
      Recent research on the workings of the human brain suggests a need to crank up both sides of the brain.
      Every human has what researchers call "right brainedness" and "left brainedness," a sort of benign schizophrenia that helps us keep the peace between the day-to-day brain that lets us balance the checkbook and the emotional or artistic brain that helps us be creative. The human brain is bisected into halves that have exclusive functions. The left side is logical, analytical, verbal, lineal and sequential while the right side is emotional, spatial, visual and given to hunches. To strike a good balance requires a workout at the mental gym. Painting the Richford hills, organizing, dreaming, growing, and selling vegetables help Kate maintain a symmetry.
      Kate and Dean live outside of the village Richford on a dead end roadwhere they grow the main staples including lettuce, cabbage, summer squash, and kale. Their coop truck arrives three times each week and sales are made through the coop's sales manager. Most of the market is downstate and into the Boston area. "People in Boston and Washington are eating our vegetables," she said. "The farm is not quite [commercially] successful yet but it's getting there.
      "I'm happy about the way my life is. We don't have money for a lot of things, but the life is its own reward."
      She also likes to read "as big a variety as I can find, mostly stories and poetry and I keep up with art through books." That means Kate has gotten to know Annette Goyne at the AA Brown Library in Richford fairly well.


      The All Arts Council will exhibit two and three-dimensional work by Franklin County artists at Maple Festival this year. We will also host the best of Vermont's specialty food producers in an exciting exhibit for all the senses.
      Space is limited; E-mail the All Arts Council for info..

      The Soapflakes, an improve theater group, is holding open auditions for aspiring actors on Saturday, April 14, 2001 from 12 noon to 2 p.m. at Club Metronome in Burlington. Would you please help us out? Tell friends and family, neighbors and knuckleheads, we hope they all will attend, Bill Joyce said.e-mail Bill for more info.


ST ALBANS--The Second Annual Franklin Central Supervisory Union Art Show concludes today. The show includes two and three dimensional pieces with mobiles, sculpture, paintings, collages, and more from students at BFA-St Albans, Fairfield School, St Albans Town Education Center, and St Albans City School. Open from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. and 3-5:30 p.m. today, in St Albans City Hall. Admission is free.

FAIRFAX MUSIC SESSION--Mark Sustic leads acoustic instruments, and (mostly) traditional music at 1:30pm-4pm on Saturday at the Foothills Bakery. There will be musicians and singers playing fiddle, banjo, guitar, harmonica, and other non-amplified instruments. The program will continue on Saturdays through the Spring.


NORTHERN NATIONAL ART COMPETITION (May 15)--Open to all 2-D art. Three $1000.00 Awards of Excellence, over $8500.00 in prizes. SASE to Nicolet College Art Dept, Box 518, Rhinelander WI 54501 for a prospectus.

SCULPTURAL FOUNTAIN COMPETITION (April 30)--To select an artistic design for a local park in the City of Colorado Springs. The design should be thoughtful of the local setting and the relationship between the site and a nearby creek. Steve Gess, Director of Purchasing and Contracts. Click here or e-mail for info.

UNIVERSITY GALLERY SEEKING ARTISTS (April 30)--The Gallery at Stevenson Union on the campus of Southern Oregon University wants artists for one or two person shows for the 2001/2002 academic year. Click here for a prospectus.

SIXTEENTH ANNUAL ART COMPETITION (May 31)--Bosque Conservatory Art Council offers the $5,000 Jones Award with total awards of over $12,000 for representational artists. Click here or e-mail for info.


      This year, we are wandering around the virtual state of Vermont to look at the online homes of arts organizations, galleries and artists, film and theater sites, and musicians. The Arts Council of Windham County is the final Local Arts Service Organization in the state. Their site offers art events, classes and workshops, concerts, dance, film and video projects, readings, area museums, and theater.


      Karen and Daniel Fortin operate the Carman Brook Maple and Dairy Farm in Highgate Springs. They have a working sugarhouse with a maple gift shop, tours, maple samples, and an online maple catalog, and will host the Sugarhouse Tour for the Vermont Maple Festival.
      They have many books in their "maple library." The Maple Bible they keep in the sugarhouse is the North American Maple Syrup Producers Manual. Produced by the Ohio State University Extension, the manual keeps up with changes in technology and research. Maple experts, including many Vermonters, are contributors.

CURRENTLY READING: Karen just finished reading Moo by Jane Smiley. "It seemed I kept waiting for the story to begin," she said. Karen had enjoyed Smiley's The Greenlanders as a "can't put this book down read." She recently read The Bluest Eyes by Toni Morrison; "a quick read but not as great as Oprah claims."
      Daniel likes historical adventure books. He is currently reading Saratoga by Richard Ketchum and recently finished Ethan Allen-A life of Adventure by Michael Hahn and Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose. Next up (as soon as sugaring is done) is Bluebeard by Kirk Vonnegut.

FAVORITE KIDS' BOOK: Nathaniel (10) is their most avid reader. He prefers magical adventure stories. Although the Harry Potter series was a big hit, he read The Hobbit by J.R. Tolkein last summer. He has now discovered the Redwall Series by English author Brian Jacques. "I've been reading these along with him," Karen said, "and find my attention is held and the creatures are unique characters no matter how small the part."


      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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      This article was originally published in the St Albans Messenger and other traditional print media. It is Copyright © 2001 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.