ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 6 * * All Arts News On the Web * * June 13, 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.


      Mark your calendars. The Vermont Maple Festival presents the 12th anniversary season of Summer Sounds concerts, starting with the country music of national touring star Amy Gallatin on June 23 in Taylor Park. Be there or be square.
      Sponsored by five area Towns, the business community, and the All arts Council, the Vermont Maple Festival Summer Sounds concerts are always on a Sunday night, always in a town park, always at 7 p.m. and always free. The series will include nationally known singer/songwriters, Broadway, country, jazz, folk, and pop rock music, ethnic dance, and a gospel choir. Look for Anderson Gram, Atlantic Crossing, Rachel Bissex' Town Hall Tour, Burlington Ecumenical Gospel Choir, Green Mountain Cloggers, Nashville singer/songwriter Roy Hurd, Robert Ross Band, Through the Opera Glass, the Upstate New Yorkers, and the Woods Tea Company.


      "I'm writing to ask you to include more dance in your arts activities," Denise St Hilaire wrote to the AAC recently.
      She's right.
      Liz Lerman took Franklin County by storm. Back in 1997. Area festivals often do have some dance in their programs. And we presented Ketch, Vermont's only avant garde dance troupe, in one of the All Arts Council's earliest major performances of the 1980s. The AAC logo above includes a stylized dancer.
      So what happened to the dance?
      "I have known so many other artists who have gone elsewhere to find their art," Ms. St Hilaire's letter continued. "Many of these artists are dancers."
      Denise St Hilaire was graduated this spring from one of the top modern dance programs in the U.S. at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. She studied in St Albans with Cheryl Kelly and with Manon Pellman.
      "I've been dancing my entire life," she said. She has run a summer dance camp at Georgia Elementary for the past three years. It is open to all the schools. The camps are one intensive week each, starting with grades 3-6 on June 24-28. The second is held July 8-12 for grades 7-10. Call Ms. St Hilaire (527-3764) for info.
      This fall she will open a new dance studio with her husband-as-of-tomorrow.
      Ms. St Hilaire asked us to include more dance varieties in next year's programming, but we turned the tables on her. Since the AAC is all-volunteer, she volunteered to lead a dance program in the AAC Saturday Arts Fests, coming to St Albans Bay Park this summer.


      The Opera House at Enosburg Falls has reorganized its committees and recruited a group of new volunteers for the new finance, long range planning, programs, publicity/marketing, and volunteer/staffing committees.
      "This is a group that is going to make the community grow," said Tonya Pearson of the Opera House committees. Ms. Pearson brings an interest in marketing. Andrew and Sally Bobkowicz plan to "play a helpful role on the publicity committee." Debbie Moskevitz "always wanted to encourage and promote the arts and music." All the new volunteers have found tasks that they like.
      "Our objective is to fill the house," Mr. Bobkowicz said. "I would like to see the house filled for John Whiting's show about the Second World War." The committee plans to canvass the Historical Societies, Legion Halls, senior centers, and the "young people from high school to come and listen."
      "The Opera House is a nice place to center people's interests," Ms. Pearson said. These volunteers see it as the focal point of the community and a place for people to gather regularly.
      "I'm working full time, so I'm not free as much as I would like to be," Mr. Bobkowicz said, repeating a simple truth about volunteering in every community and every organization.
      Finding new volunteers brings in ideas, helps with detail work, and staves off the frustrations the existing committee can develop. The Opera House volunteers are changing roles from the group that made it pretty to the group that is "making it grow into something that everyone in the community is committed to having," Ms. Pearson said.
      Debbie Moskevitz is fairly new in the community, she said, "we've been here three years." The home school mom does a lot of volunteering at the school and at the Opera House "helping with selling tickets, running the snack bar, moving chairs." Her entire family is going to help there and she plans to entice others to participate, too.
      "I encourage people to go and to learn about the things that are there," she said.
      Ms. Pearson owns Sweet Pear Construction, recently became a Mentor with the Missisquoi Mentoring, and also organizes the Haunted Spavin Cure at Halloween to raise funds for training and equipment programs at the Enosburgh emergency squads. That has become a community event with 75 volunteers last year. Most of them are kids. "They're more creative and have more energy than the rest of us." And she judged the Dairy Pageant.
      "This new group of people. We aren't being asked to be on the Board of Directors. We aren't being asked to make a huge commitment." Ms. Pearson said. "We're being asked for whatever we can offer. And a lot of people like that." Most volunteers can't make a 20 hour per week commitment but nearly everyone can offer one hour each week or one event in a year. "People think, 'Oh I just have this one idea,' but that might be exactly the one we need and the combination of everybody's one ideas makes magic.
      "If somebody has something to offer, send us an email. Drop by. Get on a mailing list," Ms. Pearson said. "This is a group that is going to make the community grow."
      There are many volunteer opportunities at the Opera House, but the small corps of volunteers means the Volunteer/Staffing Committee will build up to coordinate volunteer activity. The Opera House needs volunteers right now to handle the membership and playbill campaign and to prepare the premises before and after an event.


PASTEL COMPETITION (July 29)--Juried event for soft pastels only. Entry fee. Click here for more info.

FUNDAWEAR (July 31)--goes international. This show takes an artistic look at undergarments at the Center for Contemporary Art in Sacramento. Entry fee. E-mail for more info.

SHIKISHI: GIFTS OF ART FOR THE NEW YEAR (July 31)--Juried international exhibition of art on gallery-supplied shikishi board. Ancient Japanese shikishi are artworks in a traditional format that honor a friend on a special occasion. Entry Fee. Click here for more info.


FRANKLIN-Josh Brooks plays his popular mix of story-based originals and folk songs at the Boonys Saturday night starting at 7 p.m.

ENOSBURG--The Enosburg Town Band will play its first concert of the summer season on Tuesday, June 18, at 7:30 p.m. and is actively recruiting new members. Call 933-2062 for info.


      Modern music is more mathematical than ever and ancient art helps scientists interpret the past.
      A black basalt tablet dating from 196 BC, the Rosetta Stone has identical messages written in two languages (Egyptian and Greek) using three different scripts (hieroglyphic, demotic, and Greek). The 1799 discovery of this tablet near Rosetta in the Nile river delta of northern Egypt made it possible io interpret ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. The stone is housed in the British Museum.


      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 © 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).
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