ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 8 * * All Arts News On the Web * * March 4, 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.


      The Fairfax Festival of Talent on Saturday is a community benefit with big talent and small admission. The afternoon will include workshops and demonstrations by artists from the Fairfax community. The topics include dancing in many guises; henna art; journalism and storytelling; juggling; fiber arts such as quilting, rug hooking, and spinning; and wallpapering, painting, and photography.
      "There will be two blocks of demonstrations or workshops," organizer Adam Benay said, Each visitor can take two different subjects such as a lesson in dance and a lesson in wallpapering, although there are no wallflowers after a tango lesson. The presenters include ballroom dancer Ormond Mongeon, hand spinner Joanne Littler, henna artist, Cynthia Pease, Irish Step dancer Cameron Caruso-Randal, journalist Chris Santee, jugglers Megan Benay and Chris Wells, line dancer Polly Flanders, quilter Carol Stanley, rug hooker Michele Philips, pastel painter Marie Keefe, photographer Janet Bonneau, sculptor/welder/storyteller Chris LeBaron, and wallpaper expert Andre St. Hilaire
      The event will also feature free child care for children under age 6, a bake sale, and a silent auction of items donated by local artists including pieces by Chris LeBaron and Rachel Schattman. The day will close with a community contra dance led by Mark Sustic.
      Seventh grader Adam Benay organized the Festival as a community service for his bar mitzvah.
      "I wanted to do something important," Adam said.
      The best projects often come out of a simple question. Adam's mom, Julie Benay, asked him, "What do you really care about? What do think is a problem today."
      "Kids don't have enough to do," he said. "They could learn these talents and from there it expanded that adults could learn, too." The workshops can satisfy either a quick flirtation with the arts or form the basis for a lifetime interest other than watching TV or hanging out.
      Adam called on the mothers of his friends and the project mushroomed into life.
      The Fairfax Festival of Talent will be held Saturday from 1 - 4 p.m. at BFA-Fairfax. Admission is $4 for students and $7 for adults. All proceeds will benefit the Tom Sustic fund and the Fairfax Recreation Path.


      Expo 2004 will feature Art when the Rotary Club of St. Albans opens the Collins Perley Sports Complex doors tomorrow.
      "The racquetball courts are full," Ed Christopher said. Champlain Collection will feature the work of three artists there this year.
      "Fred Swan will return," Norm Choiniere said, plus "photographer Gustav W. Verderber and we'll have art by my framer, Daniel Pattullo." They publish prints by Mr. Verderber, and will have his posters as well as limited edition paper and canvas giclees, as well as giclees and prints by Mr. Pattullo and a full line of Fred Swan material from fine art prints to calendars.
      Champlain Collection has a contract to supply Mr. Verderber's images to the new Jay Peak condos. They will premiere the prints at the Home Show.
      The Verderbers recently moved when they found "ten beautiful acres off of Route 100 in Troy. It's far beyond anything we could have hoped for. We've been very snug," he said. "Our water hasn't frozen (they did a lot of work on their new home) and it's a good life."
      The picture of the full Moon over Jay Peak is a Vermont Life calendar image he took just outside their picture window. "We have a wetland. I have a bait site down and I've photographed a Fisher coming to the bait. I've always wanted a piece of land that I could actually do work on."
      The Home Show will also feature six presentations of Sojourns in The Wild--Yellowstone Edition.
      Sojourns is a photographic fantasia that sweeps and swirls through Yellowstone, "down the Atlantic coast, and has the mixed bag at the end of the Galapagos, Alaska, the new Costa Rica work," the Amazon rainforest and more.
      "I can't do the same show all the time," he said. Although Sojourns always has new works, "now I've ripped it apart and the first chapter is all Yellowstone." The new Yellowstone Edition features the score he commissioned from Yellowstone composer-in-residence, Jett Hitt as well as the familiar sounds of Nature, and the original music of Celtic harpist, William Jackson.
      Born in Bentonville, Arkansas, composer Jett Hitt often refers to himself as an "Ozark Mountain Hillbilly." He holds a doctorate in music composition; his works include Yellowstone for Violin and Orchestra, Doe-eyed, and Prelude to Good-bye. He gives guided horseback tours in Yellowstone National Park and has photographed the Park extensively.
      Barre artist Fred Swan creates meticulously detailed, photo-realistic paintings filled with nostalgia. They hang in public and private collections including CVPS, Johnson & Johnson, and the Vermont Arts Council. He is a winner of the Saturday Evening Post Cover Contest.
      A graduate of the U. S. Naval Academy, he retired from a career teaching math. "Many math teachers don't teach geometry," he said of a field that fits the precision he brings to his paintings as well as his education as an engineer.
      Photographer and environmental interpreter Gustav W. Verderber has shot a wide range of subjects, from starfish to fighter jets. He was appointed the Kodak Ambassador in Yellowstone National Park last year. Mr. Verderber had never been to Yellowstone, so he produced a portfolio of images that cover the major subjects in the park; he is now working on a guide to photographing Yellowstone. His portfolio includes the wildlife and landscapes of Alaska, the Atlantic Coast, the Canadian Maritimes, Central America, the Northern Forest, and Yellowstone National Park.
      Home Expo 2004 also features cooking, crafts, and comfy computers for the home; construction and home improvement exhibits to remake your castle or build a new one, and almost every form of recreation, from stuff to watch to stuff to do.
      The Rotary Club of St. Albans is an organization of Franklin County business and professional leaders. They participate in and administer community service, educational, and sports programs and activities. The 2004 Home and Recreation Exposition is the Rotary's principle fund raiser.
      The art exhibit (and all the others) at the Rotary Home Expo opens at 2 p.m. Friday, March 6 and continues through Sunday, March 8. Sojourns In The Wild will be presented tomorrow at 3:30 and 5:30 p.m., Saturday at 10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. and again on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. only.


      Ready for one more Town Meeting?
      Vermont's professional and community theater companies invite Vermont theater artists, production staff, educators, patrons, and the general public to an open discussion on The State of Theater in Our Green Mountain State on Saturday at The Royall Tyler Theater.
      The Theater Town Meeting will take Vermont's "dramatic pulse." Organizers want creative brainstorming around projects to strengthen theater as a key component to the quality of life in Vermont.
      The Theater Town Meeting will be held on Saturday at The Royall Tyler Theater on the University of Vermont campus. Refreshments provided. Call VATTA Coordinator Veronica Lopez (802-862-2287) or e-mail for info.


      The Gunk Foundation was established in 1994 to balance the downward trend in "funding for intellectual endeavors." The foundation concentrates its resources on non-traditional public art projects. Their grants help "move art out of the market and into the public realm."


      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).
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