ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 6 * * All Arts News On the Web * * January 24, 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 All Arts Council Gallery at the Swanton Free Public Library introduces new artists to Franklin County with a featured artist each month.
      "Most of my paintings aren't flat," said AAC Featured Artist Jane Bower. "I like varied textures so I add things to my paintings, sometimes wire, sometimes sand, and sometimes pieces of wood or fabric." Her work is featured this month in her first public showing.
      Elementary school teacher Jane Bower retired two years ago; she spent 13 years of her career in Swanton.
      "I took art classes as a child," she said, "but as an adult the only thing I painted was walls and woodwork and furniture." A friend who was repairing a creche in Swanton taught her how to mix paints and how to repair the figures. It brought back her enjoyment of painting and working with paints so she took her first course at CCV with Meta Strick.
      She has learned through experimentation. "Acrylic paint is very forgiving," she said. "My favorite experiences are when an event or concept triggers a need for expression. A color or two comes to mind and then the paint suggests the kind of tools and textures I'll need."
      Ms. Bower does not paint "things." Her works are abstracts, primarily colors modified by shape or texture. She shies away from real subjects, she says, "because I don't know how to draw. My picture of real is almost photographic perfection and I can't do that. I could get away with expressing what I needed to express without choosing real subjects." Meta Strick helped her learn about color and symbolism and to find an interesting language that does not involve language or depictive subjects.
      "My dad is a professional photographer and I like to take pictures as well," she said. "What I am doing now is not that and I think that's why it interests me, because it is so different. I have two miniatures that I painted with toothpicks. One is a tree and one is a beach scene. That's the closest I've gotten to reality."
      Some CCV students take art classes for art's sake, "and some need to satisfy the degree requirements," Meta Strick said. "One of the joys of CCV is that I always have an interesting mix of students--from kids just out of high school to people who have worked all their lives. The one thing that makes them all alike is that they are all very interested in doing this."
      "Meta knows how to bring things out of people and encourage them to explore and to try new and different things," Ms. Bower said. She shows "how to criticize our own work but to find good things in it. Se's very good at that. I'm thanking her not only for sharing her expertise as an artist and also for her wisdom.
      "And as a teacher, she's hard! I had to research, do papers and presentations. She made me work for my grade. I didn't just learn about acrylic paint. I learned about art."
      There are a baker's dozen paintings in the show which continues through February 11.


      The All Arts Council Concert for Grumpy Grownups series continues next Friday, February 1, as the Vermont Youth Orchestra Winter Concert returns to the MVU stage.
      The VYO concert will feature the world premiere of A Momentary Opening by Brookfield, Vermont, composer Erik Nielsen. Also on the program are Charles Ives' Variations on America, Max Bruch's First Concerto, Francois Borne's Carmen Fantasy, and Johannes Brahms' Variations on a Theme by Haydn.
      The Vermont Youth Orchestra draws the best young musicians from all of Vermont plus selected areas of New York and New Hampshire. Six of the 88 VYO musicians are from Franklin County: Calvin Crosby, Georgia, Bass; Jon Hutchinson, St Albans, trumpet; Chris McCarthy, Swanton, percussion; Nicole Mungeon, Fairfax, tuba; Seyer Palmer, St Albans, viola; and Eva Shell, St Albans, flute.
      The Vermont Youth Orchestra creates opportunities for young people to appreciate and pursue excellence in music. They serve over 450 students annually through five orchestras, a flute choir, chamber music programs, and three summer camps. Students in all the programs are becoming exceptional musicians while they learn teamwork and cooperation, responsibility and dedication, teaching and performing. They are learning music.
      Like the All Arts Council, the VYOA has been homeless. Until this year.
      With support from the Preservation Trust of Vermont, the VYOA has created the Elley-Long Music Center at Saint Michael's College from the historic Riding Hall at Fort Ethan Allen. The hall includes two orchestra rehearsal spaces, classrooms, practice rooms, instrument storage, a music library, kitchen, and office space.
      Volunteer manager Carolyn Long has served the Vermont Youth Orchestra for more than thirty-five years. The new home of the VYOA is named for Carolyn Long and her father, Dr. Harold W. Elley.
      The VYO Winter Concert will be presented Friday, February 1, in the Trahan Theater at MVU. Tickets are $5/adults, $2/senior citizens and students, children under 12 free and are available now at Better Planet Books Toys and Hobbies, the Kept Writer, Spears Pharmacy in Enosburg, and Swanton Rexall.
      The Concert for Grumpy Grownups series is presented by the All Arts Council of Franklin County and the St Albans Messenger. The VYO season sponsor is Langrock, Sperry & Wool, Attorneys at Law with media sponsorship provided by the St Albans Messenger and WCAX Channel 3. Call 655-5030 for info.


      The All Arts Council maintains three permanent gallery exhibits around Franklin County: the AAC/Opera House Gallery in Enosburg Falls, the Swanton Library Gallery, and the Highgate Springs Welcome Center Gallery. We will also have several one-time shows, including the Vermont Maple Festival and an upcoming exhibit of black and white photography. We need exhibitors for one-man shows starting in April at the Swanton Library and at the Welcome Center.
      The Northwest Medical Center also needs artists or photographers to exhibit at the hospital in the coming months. The NMC gallery wall has room for about ten pieces of normal size.
      "Everyone seems to enjoy our 'Art Wall' so much," NMC volunteer coordinator Dolly MacNeil said. It's a good deed that also gives good exposure to qualified buyers. e-mail the All Arts Council for more info.


ST ALBANS--Chow!Bella presents bassman Anthony Santor and virtuoso classical pianist Michael Arnowitt playing jazz tonight from 6:30 on. Jerry Levine plays Chow!Bella regularly on Monday evenings. There is no cover.

ST ALBANS--The Shrinking Violets, the singer/songwriter duo of Daryl and Julia Murdock, play the Kept Writer on Friday at 7 pm. Oil paintings by Joshua Givens, a young St. Albans resident will be on walls through the month. The first public show of Mr. Givens' striking work.

ST ALBANS--The Kept Writer Writing Group (should that be just the "Kept Writing Group"?) now meets on Wednesday evenings from 6-8 pm. The group offers free-writes, reading and feedback in a relaxed setting.


      There are other youth orchestras around North America, including the Columbus Symphony Youth Orchestras Association, Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra, Newfoundland Symphony Youth Orchestra, and Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras.
      Closer to home, the Greater Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras celebrate their forty-fourth anniversary this season. GBYSO was founded by Boston University and continues in residence at the College of Fine Arts at BU. The include over 340 members in six orchestras.


      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.


AAC dancing logo

All Arts Council of Franklin County

Support Free Speech on the Internet
Dick Harper, Chair
P.O. Box 1
Highgate Springs, VT 05460
email us

Go to [ Dick Harper | All Arts Index | ArtBits Archive ]

      This article was originally published in the St Albans Messenger and other traditional print media. It is Copyright © 2002 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.