ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 8 * * All Arts News On the Web * * February 12, 2004


      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 mostly once each month, 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.


      Theater companies often host "casting calls," a roundup of actors and other people working in theater who want to audition for roles or apply for jobs in a play or movie or program. On the other hand, artists seem tied to the solo visit model that is akin to a cold sales call. A sales call without any corporate backup.
      "Hi, Mr. or Ms. Gallery Owner," says our intrepid seller. "I am a struggling artist, hawking scrumptious paintings out of the back seat of my car. Would you like to look at this portfolio?"
      That's not the way I ever planned to make a living but it is getting harder and harder to convince buyers to come to you.
      Perhaps there is a middle ground.
      Here's the concept: we invite four or five store owners, a few Vermont gallery directors, and a smattering of businesspeople whose firms might buy art for new construction or renovation of their public spaces. We will reserve a large conference room or a small auditorium. It would be good to have food (any project is made better with good food) so we need to involve some area restauranteurs, too. Finally, we will need to strong arm most of the Franklin County artists to bring their portfolios or work samples to the show.
      Some of our Franklin County store owners are already interested and I have reserved a space. Now it is time to round up a few more willing folks. It will take a couple of volunteers a few hours of phone calls to make this happen. Are you one of them? If so, Email the All Arts Council .
      Oh, yeah. It would help if you came up with a catchy title for this extravaganza. Operators are standing by.


      The All Arts Council has a number of Member Benefits beyond simply supporting the arts in Franklin County. Members can network with other artists and other members, attend parties and "member night" celebrations, receive regular news of local cultural happenings, get discounts on art/music/performance/photography supplies, participate in workshops and more.
      That's a nice list but we need more. The AAC needs a Membership Director to whip our benefits into shape, get some new ones, and to remind folks tactfully when it is time to renew.
      St. Valentine's most famous Day is a great time to show an artist whose work you love that you care. Join the AAC. Who knows? You could become our Membership Director! Email the All Arts Council .


      "Expenses of Sale."
      That's an accounting euphemism for the money that doesn't flow to the artist. It can include packaging and postage to send a painting by Priority Mail to South Puffin. It could be the cost of a table or wall space at a show. Or it could be the commission paid to a gallery.
      Fairfax photographer Janet Bonneau has a way to send the expense of sale to a good cause. She exhibits photographs in a local bank. A bank customer wanted to buy one.
      "You're more than welcome to sell it," Ms. Bonneau said she told the bank, "and I will donate a portion of the profits toward our Rec Path."
      This is a win-win situation for every artist. Galleries charge a commission to sell a work but banks usually don't. Selling art through an institution like a bank or restaurant can bring the artist the same net, and the "commission" gives a boost to the seller and to a community group.
      Thanks, Ms. Bonneau. This is a good idea whose time has come.


      A security warning. I searched the net for "Valentine art projects" and discovered that the number one and number four sites in Google redirected me to an address with a user name before the server name, all on an anonymous server. While that could be a valid address, the technique is often used to mislead visitors to sites they do not intend to visit. "," for example, delivered me to another search engine.
      The Imagination Factory in Columbus, Indiana, is a learning and creativity site. Their Project Matcher presents free activities to "help students with projects for county fairs, social studies, science fairs" and even to make Valentines.
      Let's Do Art was written for adults who love family art projects. "Valentines Day is a chance for each of us to give a little something from the heart, and when we make our valentine instead of buying one ready-made, we are not only saying we really care, but we get the fun and satisfaction of doing it as well."


      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 © 2004 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.