ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 8 * * All Arts News On the Web * * October 14, 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 Northern Forest Canoe Trail will unveil a new series of sculptures in Swanton's Marble Mill Park on Saturday morning. The Stone Canoe Sculptures and Dam Warnings use art to celebrate the heritage of the Missisquoi River and the Franklin County river towns along its banks.
      Artists Evan Haynes, Stephen Dignazio and Ron Smith have created art you can use, an installation of 15 individual stone seats carved from "Swanton Red" marble. Viewed together, the seats form the outline of a canoe. This new amenity in the park will create a permanent seating and gathering area along the Missisquoi River and more besides.
      The Stone Canoe concept developed from the park history as a portage site, fishing hole, and home of the Barney Marble Mill. The Stone Canoe gives an artistic and useful reminder of the Missisquoi as a transportation corridor and of the nearby resources that have provided life for the Swanton area. The Swanton Dam Warnings, bright orange floating barrels with paddles that spin in the river's current, display lines from a poem that change as the paddles rotate. Passers by can read the poetry from the Route 78 bridge.
      Public art makes economic sense.
      This project combines the arts, fishing, a heritage trail, historic sites, museums, and Native American culture into an attraction for the Cultural-Heritage tourism market. That tourism will keep bringing dollars to Swanton, Richford, and the Towns in between long after this column is fishwrap.
      The Northern Forest Canoe Trail and the AAC collaborated with the Towns of Swanton and Richford to begin this project for public art in the Missisquoi River Basin in 2002. Art and Community Landscapes is an artist residency program of the New England Foundation for the Arts. Artists Dignazio, Haynes, and Smith teamed with the National Park Service, community partners, and local citizens to create the Stone Canoe Sculptures. ACL is made possible with generous support from the Rivers and Trails Conservation Assistance Program of the National Park Service, National Endowment for the Arts, LEF Foundation, and the Vermont Arts Council. Click here for more info.
      The public celebration and ribbon cutting ceremony for the Stone Canoe Sculptures will begin in Marble Mill Park beside the Missisquoi River Bridge on Saturday at 10 a.m. The companion Richford Project, a continuing exhibit of photographs taken by Richford residents, will also be exhibited at the Swanton Historical Society all day Saturday. Coffee and refreshments will be served at the park.


PRINCETON, MA--G.G. Griggs of Hinesburg won the Colgate Country Showdown in at the Vermont Dairy Festival in June. He travels to Massachusetts tomorrow for the next stage of competition, the New England Finals during AppleFest Weekend at Wachusett Mountain Ski Area.
      Mr. Griggs has written Uncrossed Ts and Open As, a letter from a soldier to his wife, for the Showdown in Massachusetts. "I was inspired because my son-in-law just got activated and sent to Iraq," he said, "What happened to my son-in-law became personal, something easy to put on paper. And people seem to like it."

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

WATERVILLE--Cambridge Arts Council presents community dances on Saturdays at 7 p.m. in the Waterville Town Hall. Contras, squares, circles, play parties and singing games will be featured, and all dances will be taught. Bring a partner, the entire family, or come alone. Caller Mark Sustic offers dance instruction. Frank Heyburn and Michele Lajoie play. Guest musicians with acoustic instruments are welcome. Admission is $5 per person and $10 for families at the door.

ON THE AIR--The Vermont Youth Orchestra debuted at Carnegie Hall in September. Now WCVT Radio presents the Vermont Youth Orchestra, recorded live at Carnegie Hall, on Sunday evening at 8:00 p.m. on 101.7-FM. The VYO and its other orchestras feature several Franklin County musicians.
      The broadcast will include works by Trey Anastasio, David Gunn, Thomas Read, David Ludwig, Troy Peters, and Ernest Stires as well as the encore piece Flock of Words sung by Mr. Anastasio and VYO alumna Hannah Gephart.

ST. ALBANS--The Overtime Saloon offers Open Mic with Abby Jenne and Friends every Wednesday at 8 p.m. Abby encourages performers of all kinds to attend. If you need instrumental accompaniment, email Abby with title/artist of song you wish to perform. Click here for more info.


      The Friends of the Opera House at Enosburg Falls have issued a call for entries for the Twelfth Annual Talent Search. One of the premiere talent events in Vermont, this show is an evening of entertainment, celebration, and the arts with the most talented performers in the area.
      "Because we had so many contestants last year, we're doing it in two nights this year," director Harry Beloit said. The Junior Division will perform Friday, October 22, at 7:30. The Adult Division w will perform Saturday, October 23.
      The Talent Search provides a performance venue for aspiring talented area amateur performers. The 2004 show will feature vocalists, dancers and instrumentalists. The Opera House awards cash prizes in two performance divisions, Junior (youth up to 14) and Adult (15 and up) in the amount of $150/First Place, $100/Second Place $75/Third Place and $25/Honorable Mention in both divisions.
      The postmark deadline to enter is tomorrow, Friday, October 15. Applications are available at area schools and music departments.
      "We will hold a mandatory rehearsal on Wednesday evening, October 20, for Juniors and Thursday, October 21 for the senior division," Mr. Benoit said.
      Tickets are available at the All Arts ticket centers, the Enosburg Pharmacy and Merchants Bank in Enosburg Falls, Better Planet in St. Albans, and Swanton Rexall. Call 802-933-6171 or click here for more info.


      Last week, we saw that the arts could be the "anchor store" for downtown projects. This week, I planned to write about community development but all the arts pushed that segment into the future. Look for that piece on October 28 and more the second week of the coming months.


      The Vermont Youth Orchestra site offers info about the orchestras, the students, the history and mission, the season schedule, and a variety of resources for music teachers.


      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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