ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 7 * * All Arts News On the Web * * April 2, 2003


      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 live music and more at the Fairfax Music Sessions at the Foothills Bakery in Fairfax most Saturday afternoons, at the Kept Writer in St Albans most Friday and Saturday evenings, at the Bayside in St Albans Town most Sunday afternoons, and the Cambridge CoffeeHouses at 7 p.m. on the first and third Wednesday of every month.
     These gatherings bring new opportunities, gossip, "show-and-tell" and occasional workshops. The booked performances and acoustic Open Mike Nights feature music, readings, and more from the best new artists in Vermont.


      The First Congregational Church in St Albans will present a Bicentennial Jubilee concert on Palm Sunday, April 13. The concert is part of an ongoing series of cultural and arts events to celebrate the Congregational Church bicentennial this year.
      "All singers are welcome to join us as we bring the community together for this Celebration of God and Country," said organizer Lin Smith.
      The Bicentennial Jubilee concert will include the 50-member Community Christian Singers, directed by Lin Smith, and the expanded Citizens Band, directed by Ed Loomis, with Doris Hughes at the organ, and Nan Arnstein at the Samick grand piano. The concert will include joint numbers as well as pieces by the chorus, band, and organ alone. Bi-Centennial Jubilee, a new composition for Town bands band written by Kevin Loomis in honor of the celebration year will make its debut at the concert.
      The Community Christian Singers will rehearse twice more at the First Congregational Church. Interested singers can join the Chorus this Sunday at 3 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall; the chorus will move to the Sanctuary to rehearse with the band. Next Saturday, April 12, the company will hold a dress rehearsal in the Sanctuary at 9 a.m.
      Admission is free. A reception will follow the concert. Call Lin Smith (527-2977) or Carol Klette (527-7264) for info.


      Public art adds to Vermont communities by enhancing the landscape we see every day and by combining arts events, festivals, historic sites, museums, and heritage trails into attractions for the Cultural-Heritage tourism market.
      The Northern Forest Canoe Trail will use art to celebrate the heritage of our river towns and the Missisquoi River. Artists Stephen Dignazio, Evan Haynes, and Ron Smith have been exploring potential sites along the Missisquoi River in Richford and Swanton since last summer. They have also met residents, organizations, and community leaders to learn of their interests and ideas for public art in both communities.
      The NFCT artists and the AAC will need sculptors, painters, photographers and writers to develop community art throughout the summer. The project team will meet tomorrow [Friday, April 4] at 3 p.m. in the Swanton Town Office to review specific proposals for Marble Mill Park. The team will also meet in Richford on Saturday at 4 p.m. in the Richford Town Hall.
      The Swanton group will look at progress on the dam warnings project. The prototype for the barrels is in production; the 10 barrels will be cast soon. There will be a discussion and "visioning session" of site improvments at Marble Mill Park for canoe access, the NFCT kiosk, a public art component, and other suggestions including a new path down the bank from the Teen Center.
      The Richford project to be discussed is called Richford: A Community Self-Portrait. This two-part community photography project could distribute camera kits to town residents, along with an invitation to imagine themselves as tourists in their own hometown to photograph the people and places that make Richford what it is. The collected images will be exhibited; a selection will be reprinted and distributed as postcards.
      These postcards will be the first in a series of community self-portraits from towns along the Northern Forest Canoe Trail called "Postcards from the Trail."
      The New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) and the National Park Service (NPS), working with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), administer this Art and Community Landscapes project. Click here for more info.


      With 40-50,000 annual visitors to the City of St. Albans, the Vermont Maple Festival hosts the biggest AAC Showcase of Franklin County visual artists and performers. A large AAC art exhibit fills St. Albans City Hall and more than 18 performers and groups will play on the AAC Main Street stage. We host other exhibits throughout the year and book for the Summer Sounds concert series and a number of other festivals and shows.
      This is a call for all Franklin County visual artists and performers. Artists and musicians should email the All Arts Council for info or send an up-to-date press kit to the All Arts Council at the address below.


FAIRFAX--The Fairfax Library presents Dorothy Canfield Fisher--A Vermonter for the World tonight in the Library. Helene Lang performs this living history portrait.
      Dorothy Canfield Fisher was a Vermonter with a cosmopolitan knowledge of humanity. She was a nationally popular novelist and the first woman to serve on the Vermont Board of Education. Her novel The Brimming Cup was the second most popular novel of 1921 (Sinclair Lewis' Main Street was that year's bestseller). The Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award, Vermont's children's choice book award for students in Grades 4-8, was first presented in 1957.
      Dr. Helene Lang is a Professor of Literacy and Literature at the University of Vermont. This presentation is sponsored by the Fairfax Library and the Vermont Council on the Humanities. VCH programs encourage every individual to read, participate in public affairs, and continue to learn throughout life. Admission is free. Call 849-2420 for info.

FAIRFAX--The regular Music Session returns Saturday with acoustic instrumentalists playing traditional songs at the Foothills Bakery, 1-4:30 p.m. Admission is free by donation.


      The Plumb Design Visual Thesaurus is an ongoing experiment in language and our interface with language tools that display word associations and meanings as spatial maps. The design makes it an artistic probe as well as a tool to explore, study, and analyze the structure of our language.


      Beth Crane of Montgomery is co-coordinator of Franklin County Caring Communities, a "coalition of the willing" to promote positive youth development and substance abuse prevention. "And I love to read," she said.
      This is Caring About Kids week and April is Alcohol Awareness Month.

CURRENTLY READING: The stack on her bedside table includes By Grace Transformed--Christianity for a New Millennium by N. Gordon Cosby, the founder of the Church of the Savior in Washington D.C. "It's a radically transformative, socially conscious church in D.C. that does amazing social programs."
      She is also reading The Points of My Compass, a book of E. B. White essays that he wrote in the 50s and reflected on in the 60s "The incredible thing is how timely they are," she said. "He talks about the issues of civil rights and abrogation of rights in the name of national security in the 50s."

VERMONT AUTHOR: Montgomery Vermont--the History of a Town by W. R. Branthoover and Sarah Taylor. It was written in 1976 and "it's amazing how much things have changed."

RE-READ: After 30 years, The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. "It's short and more memorable than you would think" in the current climate, she said.

FAVORITE KIDS' BOOK: Charlotte's Web by E. B. White. Her bedside table also has the original Winnie the Pooh.


      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 © 2003 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.