ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 9 * * All Arts News On the Web * * October 27, 2005


      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 or at the Overtime Saloon in St Albans 8-10 p.m. most Wednesday 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.


      People interested creative economy have held several "happenings" around Vermont during September and October.
      The Franklin County L.E.A.D. group has renamed itself to become Advancing the Creative Economy or A.C.E. The All Arts Council and St. Albans for the Future provide assistance to and work in partnership with A.C.E.
      A.C.E. is now working to create its mission and to avoid duplicating the efforts already underway by other organizations and presenters around Franklin County.
      S.A.F.F. held a public meeting to present the St. Albans Downtown Market Analysis, on Monday evening. The presentation included the market data, recommendations, consumer survey results, and a strategy to implement the findings.
      "This study will play a crucial role in the future of Downtown," S.A.F.F. Executive Director Karen Bresnahan said. The Market Study included data gathering and a review of earlier plans and an examination of local and regional marketing information, zoning ordinances, and more. The study team paid special attention development sites and redevelopment plans. They also met over fifty community members, held focus group discussions and a public input session. Retail merchants participated in a zip code survey to determine where Downtown St. Albans customers come from.
      A key piece of any marketing plan is to integrate the arts into not only the attractions that draw residents and visitors to Franklin County but also as a significant part of what sells.
      St. Albans For the Future and A.C.E. arranged a road trip and tour of creative economy projects in Middlebury, Brandon, North Bennington, Brattleboro and Bellows Falls last month. Paul Bruhn of the Preservation Trust of Vermont led the tour. Area residents, business owners, industrial development personnel, and S.A.F.F. and A.C.E. members participated.
      "The tour examples we saw showed ways to advance the Arts," Ms. Bresnahan said. "We traveled to learn from other communities what may work [and equally important, what may not work] in St. Albans."
      S.A.F.F. has several other projects underway including the upcoming tree lighting in November, the current scarecrow display sponsored by St. Albans businesses, and the successful Celebrate St. Albans Festival held last month in Taylor Park. S.A.F.F. needs volunteers to string lights on the trees in Taylor Park starting this weekend. The tree lighting ceremony will be held November 19. Scarecrows designed by BFA art students have been on display at participating businesses all month long. Thirty-five organizations, over 200 residents, and musicians including Keeghan Nolan and Fiddleheads participated in Celebrate St Albans.
      "The committee intends to make the Festival an annual event," Ms. Bresnahan said.
      Former National Endowment for the Arts chair Bill Ivey opened the Acting Locally symposium in Brattleboro. Other speakers including VCRD Executive Director Paul Costello considered how the Brattleboro region might apply creative economy ideas, and the findings of the Advancing Vermont's Creative Economy report to their own economic development. The event was presented by the Alliance for the Arts and Marlboro College.
      The Montpelier Downtown Community Association hosted a public meeting with Marlboro College president and keynote speaker Ellen McCulloch-Lovell plus a panel of seven community members, moderated by Paul Costello. The audience had a chance to interact with the panel, and each other, as Montpelier area residents considered how their city might build on creative economy trends.
      Paul Costello also moderated the annual Vermont Downtown Conference in Burlington. Representatives from Brandon, Brattleboro, Hardwick, Rutland, and St. Albans, and St. Johnsbury discussed their successes, challenges, and personal goals.
      The conference included a presentation on the recent St. Johnsbury branding study, a tutorial on how to create appealing window displays, and a tour of a new Main Street Landing Company building project on the waterfront that combines business offices, two theaters, and public spaces while also following environmental design principles.


ST ALBANS--St. Albans for the Future, St. Albans City Recreation Department, and the Franklin County Regional Chamber of Commerce will present the annual Pumpkin Lighting in Taylor Park on Saturday from 1 - 6:30 p.m.
      "It is fun for the whole family!" said Chip Sawyer.
      Community members should bring pumpkins they have already carved to Taylor Park. The contest has three categories, St. Albans theme, traditional Halloween, and Most Creative.
      The afternoon will also include a pumpkin carving demonstration, face painting, and trick or treating at participating merchants. The pumpkins will be lit and judged by a panel of esteemed judges at dark. There are prizes for the best carved pumpkins. Click here for the schedule.


MILTON--The Leland and Gray School Journey East Program presents an Ethnic Mongolian Music and Dance by students from the Performing Arts College in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, China, at 1 p.m. Tuesday, November 1, and again at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Milton High School. The program has support from the Freeman Foundation and the Asian Studies Outreach Program at the University of Vermont.

JEFFERSONVILLE--The Cambridge Arts Council presents Dave Keller at the Cambridge Coffeehouse next Wednesday from 7 to 9 p.m. at the 158 Main Restaurant and Bakery. Call Ron Carter (802.644.6632) for info.


     Artist Charlie Hunter of Bellows Falls paints rusting American infrastructure, farm animals and "Travel Posters That Never Were."


      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 © 2005 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.