ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 7 * * All Arts News On the Web * * August 28, 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 1 p.m., at ChowBella in St Albans 8-10 p.m. most Wednesday evenings, 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.


      This week I will begin a discussion at how the cultural economy works in Franklin County with a wrap up of a significant performance series and a "Thank You" to its sponsors.
      The Vermont Maple Festival Summer Sounds is one of Vermont's longest running free outdoor concert series. In 2003 we held a dozen concerts in Franklin, Highgate, Richford, St. Albans City, and St. Albans Town. We started and ended the season with the baddest, brassiest female vocalists in Vermont: the Sandra Wright Band jump started the summer and Tammy Fletcher and the Disciples brought us home last Sunday. In between we presented an All Arts Square Dance, Atlantic Crossing, the Burlington Ecumenical Gospel Choir, the Dixie Six, the Grippo Funk Band, Jenni Johnson and the Jazz Junketeers, Mark LeGrand ant the Lovesick Band, the Milton Community Band, Tin Pan Alley, and the Upstate New Yorkers.
      Each concert is hosted by a community group. The AAC, the BPW, the Foster Grandparents, Franklin County Humane Society, Highgate Cares, Highgate Historical Society, Highgate Library, the Modern Woodmen, MVU Class of '05, Northwest Public Transit Network, Richford Historical Society, and St. Albans Recreation all showed the flag for their organizations, sold some delicious foodstuffs, and raised a few bucks for a good cause.
      With a dozen concerts to choose from, I saw a few thousand faces over the course of the summer (many of them more than once) and we made over 1.7 million advertising and editorial impressions.
      That's all pretty cool, but somehow we have to fund it. After all, a free concert is very much like a free lunch: sooner or later you have to pay the band.
      The Summer Sounds budget averages about $13,500 per year.
      Here's how we pay the bills.
      Taxpayers in the sponsoring Towns of in Franklin, Highgate, Richford, St. Albans City, and St. Albans Town appropriated about $6,000. The Vermont Maple Festival and the businesses in each Town--As the Crow Flies, BankNorth-Vermont, Ben & Jerry's Homemade, Better Planet Books Toys and Hobbies, Betty's Flower Basket, Chevalier Drilling, The Crossing, The Dressing Room, Drinkwaters Jewelry Store, Franklin Telephone, Handy Chevrolet-Olds, Handy Dodge-Toyota, Handy Pontiac-Buick-Cadillac-GMC, the Highgate Manor, Kaytek, Lorraine's, Merchants Bank, Northwestern Medical Center, O. C. McCuin & Sons, Ray's Extrusion Dies & Tubing, The Tyler Place, Wright Excavating, and Dick Wright Ford--paid the rest.
      That money flows into the community in several direct and indirect ways. It directly creates jobs thanks to performer salaries, and it purchases other goods and services such as production and advertising. It generates other spending, too, including the money spent by visitors. This small part of the Creative Economy gives Franklin County an advantage in the intense competition for new businesses and for employees (and employee stability). We will examine that local boon in the coming weeks.
      The Franklin County Towns and the AAC alike reach out to families and to people of all ages. The AAC's ongoing mission brings the arts to Franklin County.


      Susie Chagnon chairs the 16th annual Radiothon for the Franklin-Grand Isle United Way. The Radiothon is just one way to raise funds (and awareness) for their community projects.
      The United Way and the All Arts Council need support from Franklin and Grand Isle artists for the Radiothon this year. They plan to include the work of local artists who can donate their work for the auction or their talent to entertain during the event.
      Here are the rest of Ms. Chagnon's comments:
      "...The auction is a wild and fun day that generates much needed dollars to local agencies that support the welfare of the communities that we live in.
      "This would be a wonderful time to show off and celebrate the marvelous talent we have here in this area while raising funds and awareness for the United Way. We will be able to showcase any Biggie Items on Channel 15 and will be displaying items in the window of BankNorth as well as the newspaper ads that we run listing contributors and their gifts."
      I plan to donate an autumn landscape photo to the cause. I hope you will consider a similar gift.


ST. ALBANS--ChowBella presents the Live Jazz duo of Stacy Starkweather and Justin Bedell, next Wednesday, September 3, at 8-10 p.m. Call 524-1405 or visit for more info.


      The New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) has released a study of the financial status of New England's non-profit cultural organizations. Their study dramatically demonstrates the cultural industry's potential for building economic competitiveness in our region. The NEFA publications page has the complete study as well as a brochure with highlights of the study's major findings.


      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 © 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.