ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 8 * * All Arts News On the Web * * October 28, 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 "Bachelor Girl" returns to St. Albans as the All Arts Council presents Vermont singer-songwriter Karen McFeeters in a concert of original contemporary folk/pop music at St. Paul's United Methodist Church in St. Albans on Saturday, November 6, at 8 p.m. The concert celebrates the release of her second CD, Maybe Day.
      Ms. McFeeters will also appear on Neighbor to Neighbor on Adelphia Channel 15 next Thursday.


      In "real life" I am an engineer, so I like the idea and the process of manufacturing widgets. The more widget makers we can attract to Franklin County, the better my own personal economy will become. That said, no one interviewed for this series believes we will attract a widget maker with thousands of jobs to this area.
      Advancing Vermont's Creative Economy, a year-long study released this month by the Vermont Council on Rural Development, puts the issue bluntly. Manufacturing ideas rather than widgets could drive Franklin County's economic future.
      Earlier, we saw that the arts could be the "anchor store" for downtown projects. In the Rockingham example, RAMP (the Rockingham Arts and Museum Project) drove meals tax revenues up 120% and sales tax collections up 36%. Bringing the arts to town did that.
      "For us, the community development aspect is the springboard for economic development for so many parts of Vermont for so many communities. It's not just a big factory moving in next door that's going to bring in all sorts of jobs," said Paul Costello, VCRD executive director and primary author of the report. "It's encouraging entrepreneurs and helping to incubate the businesses that will build the jobs of the future."
      The recommendations in the report have local interest as a way to make Franklin County more able to cash in on businesses that rely on creativity, ingenuity, and intelligence.
      Mr. Costello said people around the state recognize this region as the "place with great activity and great potential."
      On the community development front, St. Albans City Manager Brian Searles said, "There's the general goal of the City to make sure that upper floor development and development of open space like the Federal Street parking lot be mixed use with an eye toward enough office space."
      Appropriate businesses for Franklin County downtown spaces include businesses that are creative in nature. "We clearly aren't going to attract a manufacturing operation into the upper floor space we have there," Mr. Searles said.
      St. Albans City is participating in the Historical Museum project. "One of the objectives there is to make sure that space on the top floor with the stage gets a lot of public use and is used for staging of plays, concerts and so on," he said.
      The Vermont Council on Rural Development wants to support this region. "We would love to bring the resources we could to support the local people in the St. Albans region who want to boost the town's project by looking specifically at the connection between culture and economic development," Mr. Costello said.
      Brian Searles is also excited about the L.E.A.D. program for promotion of the arts. Over then next year, "seven of our area leaders will be working on ways to promote the arts [and researching] possible new venues for the arts," he said.
      Next time, I will look at several efforts to find and use venues for art shows, concerts, plays, and more.
      Advancing Vermont's Creative Economy, VCCI's Final Report and Recommendations is available online at . It is a one megabyte .PDF file; you will need the (free) Adobe Reader. For a printed copy, e-mail your name and mailing address.


AMERICAS 2000 (November 1)--The 34th annual Paper Works juried competition at Minot State University seeks works in any medium, traditional or experimental, on or of paper, including photographs. Work must be completed within the last two years. Click here for a prospectus.

17TH ANNUAL RALPH NADING HILL JR LITERARY PRIZE (November 15)--The focus of the work must be "Vermont-It's People, The Place, Its History or Its Values." The winning work receives a $1,500 cash prize and will publication in Vermont Life. The contest is open to all residents of Vermont, including students enrolled in Vermont colleges and seasonal residents. Entrants may be amateur or professional writers. The contest is sponsored by Green Mountain Power and Vermont Life Magazine. Send two copies of each entry to Corporate Relations Department, Green Mountain Power, 163 Acorn Lane, Colchester, VT 05446. Place the entrant's name, address and phone on a separate sheet of paper. Do not mention the entrant's name on the entry itself. Call 802.655.8788 for more info.

MEDIEVAL FAIRE (November 22)--Hear ye! Hear ye! Seeking in period-style medieval artisans for 19th Annual Hoggetowne Medieval Faire. Booth fees. Click here or e-mail for info.

VERMONT ART POETRYFUSION PRIZE 2004 (November 30)--The Grace Cares Foundation invites artists from any medium to choose one poem from T. Namaya's book God Sex Politics and represent it in paint, fabric, multimedia, or sculpture. Cash prizes include $500 for first place. Exhibition will be at the Weathervane Art Gallery in Brattleboro, Vermont. All of the art will be auctioned off with proceeds split between Grace Cares and the artists. Click here for info about the prize or here for VermontPoet.


      "This first decade [of the 20th Century] with its silly dramas and entertaining musicals and spectacle can be summed up in one word, Entertainment," wrote Robert Rusie in The History of the Great White Way on Talkin' Broadway. The site also has reviews, interviews, chat, on the Rialto, on the West End, cabaret, a cast database, and more.


      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.