ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 5 * * All Arts News On the Web * * September 20, 2001


      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 19th annual Banned Books Week begins this Saturday and continues through September 29.
      Although most of the St Albans collection was banished to Barlow Street by the construction project, "We are buying books all the time. There are plenty of new books coming in and there are about 1,000 books on the shelves," said librarian Mary Pat Larrabee. "Ideas flourish only if people can choose what they read. That's an important goal of our public libraries."
      The American Library Association reports that people made 5,718 attempts to remove or restrict books between 1990 and 1999. Although some were obviously contiguous, that still averages over 15 tries every day to keep us from reading something worthwhile. The most challenged books include I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, perennial favorite The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, and The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. To the best of my knowledge, this column has never been banned but the popular Harry Potter books topped a list of 472 challenges in 1999. I guess people were afraid of the fictional wizardry and magic. Or the flying owls.
      About one-third of the Modern Library's 100 Best Novels of the 20th Century have been banned or challenged in libraries, bookstores, and schools, including The Grapes of Wrath, The Great Gatsby, and Fahrenheit 451 which deals, of course, with burning controversial books.
      "These books opened my eyes to a period of American history" said Richford librarian Annette Goyne. The A.A. Brown Library in Richford will have a special display of popular banned books for patrons.


      The Opera House at Enosburg Falls presents the Vermont Symphony Orchestra Brass Quintet on Saturday at 8 p.m. The program includes contemporary compositions of Jack Gallagher and John Williams, plus a medley of Stephen Foster songs, a suite by Bryan Kelly evoking scenes of Paris, music from the Roaring Twenties, and a fugue by J.S. Bach.
      One of Vermont's best known chamber music ensemble, the Brass Quintet has delighted and entertained audiences for over 15 years.
      Tickets at the door are $9/adults, $7.50/students and seniors and $5/children. Advance sales are a $1 less at Merchant s Bank, Spears Pharmacy in Enosburg, and Swanton Rexall. Call 933-6171 for more info.


      Last week, we looked at the hopes of sculptor Peter Hawksworth of Enosburg and Senator George Costes to create an outdoor tribute to agriculture through the art of Franklin County. This week, we will tour the public murals in St Albans and Swanton and a sculpture at the Border Station at Highgate Springs.
      Directed by former AAC co-chair Natalie LaRocque-Bouchard, area kids designed and painted a series of outdoor murals in Franklin County. Three well known paintings are at the St Albans City Pool, Houghton Street Park, and at the Marble Mill in Swanton. Projects like these are an investment in our kids. The arts give kids the problem solving skills necessary for a Century when the multiplication tables aren't enough. Painting fish at the City Pool built perception, imagination, creation, and self-discipline and it left St Albans a visible legacy.
      Saturday is the Vernal Equinox, a day when the Sun is exactly over the equator and day and night are of equal length.
      U.S. Customs and the INS commissioned Burlington sculptor Kate Pond to create Sunfix for Judy, an outdoor sculpture that celebrates the changing of the seasons as it greets visitors crossing the U.S.-Canadian border. Sunfix sits at 45 degrees north latitude, the midpoint between the north pole and the equator, and marks the passing of the vernal and autumnal equinox. In daylight, the sun's rays pass through a round interior tunnel in the sculpture and cause an elliptical sunspot to move across the ground, growing and shrinking in size with the changing angle of the sun. At noon (standard time) on Saturday, the will sunspot focus perfectly on a black Vermont marble target.
      Each of the works in this tour has a story. Peter Hawksworth's Agri-Art blends pieces of discarded farm implements into modern day parables. Kate Pond dedicated Sunfix to sculptor Judith Brown who died of cancer in 1992. The young artists of St Albans dedicated the Houghton Park mural to the late Nate Bushey.
      An outdoor art and sculpture park "could be an exciting new thing for Franklin County," George Costes said last week. Cultural heritage tourism draws visitors who want to see not only our agricultural heritage but also our artistic prowess.
      The project needs more volunteers. If you are interested e-mail the All Arts Council .


      The Retro Dress Shop has a new show by AAC board member Joy Crane this month. Joy sold the first painting from her Psychology of Dreams series there last week.
      The Retro Dress Shop is on Pine Street in Burlington. The show runs through the end of October.

      The Ferrisburg Artisans Guild Gallery presents Second Shift, Recent Paintings by Northern Vermont Arts Association president Robert Waldo Brunelle Jr. on Friday. "You can nosh on tasty tidbits whilst you hob nob with cultural sophisticates," Robert said, slightly tongue in cheek. "Some of these pieces are so new, I haven't even finished painting them yet."
      The show runs through November 12. Call the Guild (802-877-3668) for more info.


      Johnson State College offers undergraduate programs in the fine and performing arts, writing and literature, and a wide range of business, behavioral sciences, and the liberal arts majors. The graduate programs include counseling, education, and an MFA in Studio Arts. The AAC and Johnson are collaborating on programming and audience building projects. AAC board member Bill Macleay is Director of External Degree Programs at the College.
      The Dibden Center at Johnson has an eclectic fall program planned including Ricky Skaggs tomorrow evening at 8 p.m. in the Dibden Center. The "Ambassador of Bluegrass" and four time Grammy winner brings his Kentucky Thunder Band for an evening that brings country music back to its roots. Tickets are $25/person.
      These performances are open to the public. Call the JSC Box Office (635-1476) or click here for info.


15TH PARKSIDE NATIONAL SMALL PRINT EXHIBITION (September 30)--Juried exhibit of all original print media including monoprints up to 18" maximum height, width, or depth. e-mail for prospectus
ABSTRACT ART COLLECTIVE (September 30)--New gallery in Brooklyn, NY, offers artists space to exhibit and sell during one week, two-week and three month salons. e-mail for info
FEAST YOUR EYES (October 1)--This juried art exhibition about food and cuisine is open to all artists in all media. $500 Best in Show award. Submission fee. e-mail for info.
PAINTING COMPETITION (October 1)--Juried show for representational works only at Miami University School of Fine Arts. Open to US painters age 25-35. Entry fee. $10,000 Best of
Show. Click here for info. PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES (October 15)--Juried show at Massachusetts College of Art is open to all artists and all media. $1200 in cash prizes. Click here for info


      The complete schedule of events at the Johnson State College Dibden Center.
      The JSC Fine and Performing Arts baccalaureate program offers painting, ceramics, printmaking, photography, sculpture, theater, music, and dance.


      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).
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