ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 10 * * All Arts News On the Web * * March 2, 2006


      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.


      Expo 2006 will feature art when the Rotary Club of St. Albans opens the Collins Perley Sports Complex doors tomorrow.
      Champlain Collection will display the work of four premier artists in the racquetball courts this year. "We will have a brand new Fred Swan Original, two originals by Corliss Blakely, as well as work by Harald Aksdal and our own D.J. Pattullo," owner Norm Choiniere said. Harald Aksdal is a retired architect who does pen-and-ink and blends in watercolor. "He loves to do the forest and Vermont farm scenes.
      "We have a new [Fred Swan] print that will be released at the show called 'Blossoms and Bees'," Mr. Choiniere said. "It's a 16x20 image on a poster that will sell for $20." The proceeds go toward Rotary programs.
      In addition to the two Corliss Blakely oils, there will be several limited edition prints and framed giclees. The Fred Swan original is the fourth and final piece in his series, Friends.
      Home Expo 2006 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 2006 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. tomorrow and continues through Sunday. The hours are 2 - 8 p.m. Friday, 9:30 a.m. - 6 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Sunday.


     Town Meeting Day is Tuesday. Many Franklin County Towns have the arts in mind this year.
      A vibrant arts community is one part of the Cultural Economy that improves our quality of life, helps kids learn, and brings tourism dollars. Tourist spending on arts and culture in exceeds local spending year after year. Several Franklin County Towns have arts issues on local budgets and many schools have programs in arts, dance, drama, and music.
      Summer Sounds, Franklin County's free outdoor concert series, receives partial funding from the sponsoring towns. With concerts planned for every summer Sunday evening in Town parks, this popular series is in the budget in Highgate and in St Albans City and Town.
      The East Fairfield Community Center offers arts programs, the Jig in the Valley, and more. The Town owns that building.
      Fairfax has the Recreational Park Path on the warning this year and is talking about erecting a building for cultural uses.
      Highgate is the original home base for the Summer Sounds concerts and hosts library and Caring Community concerts as well. A personal note. I live in Highgate; most days the "homeless" All Arts Council can be found inhabiting my business office. The people, the Selectboard, and the employees of Highgate have worked overtime to support the Arts Council and to help it succeed.
      Montgomery holds an annual art auction in the Grange (the town hall) to benefit the Historical Society. Montgomery also hosts the summer Concerts By the Common series in the Town park.
      Richford always has "a small amount of money each year for a summer band concert in the park," Town Clerk Gary Snider said.
      St Albans Recreation partners with the library, with S.A.F.F. and other groups for concerts, shows, and cultural events. They hope to "get involved with the historical museum" this year, Rec Director Mike Boulerice said. Bay Days has continuous entertainment and the Town and City will host a series of art exhibits and shows throughout the year.
      In Swanton, the Chamber of Commerce, the Historical Society, the library, and other community groups present most of the arts and cultural programs.
      Many municipalities also support the arts with donations of space or services rather than cash. Enosburg hosts the Vermont Dairy Festival, St Albans City hosts the Vermont Maple Festival. Every town park is a gathering place for concerts, shows, exhibits and even jam sessions. Although events like these are "ex-budget," the municipalities provide maintenance and turn on electricity and lug tables and provide the infrastructure that makes arts and cultural programs possible. It may not look like a lot, but it adds up to making Franklin County a better place to live.
      Town Meeting is Tuesday. I'll be there.


     They are here!
      The All Arts Council and St Albans for the Future each ordered a pallet of palettes for area artists to decorate. We have reservations in hand for about half of them so there is still time to request yours. Palettes will be reserved on a first come-first served basis.
      The March Palette Pickup Party for the AAC and S.A.F.F. will be held in St. Albans City Hall on March 18. The party will include face (as well as palette) painting, contests, prizes, free food, and more. Call Alisha Sawyer at the Franklin County Regional Chamber (802.524.2444) for info.
      Please note that if you ordered yours directly from the Vermont Arts Council, they will call or email you. The Champlain Collection also has their shipment; call Norm Choiniere (802.524.3485) if you reserved yours there.
      Palettes of Vermont will be the largest Franklin County arts exhibit ever with hundreds of maple palettes painted or adorned or decorated by area artists, photographers, writers, and others in all media.


ESSEX JUNCTION--The Lincoln Inn Pub and Grill hosts a weekly Blues Night on Thursdays. Tonight Jenni Johnson and Friends play from 7-10 p.m. tonight; the Nobby Reed project will be there next Thursday. They also host Bluegrass Night on Tuesdays.
      Fresh from GospelFest and the Musical Journey of Black History, Jenni Johnson will jazz up the blues with Rob Guerrina, keyboard, Glendon Ingalls, bass, and Doug Pomeroy, drums. She is jazzy, bluesy, funky, and nearly perfect. This active Vermont Council on the Arts Touring Artist is a regular performer in the AAC Summer Sounds, Discover Jazz, First Night, and at ChowBella!
      Recent nights at the Lincoln have included Banjo Dan and Willy Lindner, Paul Asbell, the Hitmen, and High Rollers. Coming up will be even more people well known from Summer Sounds: the Phil Abair Band on Saturday, Dave Grippo, Big Spike Bluegrass, Mr. French, and more. E-mail for more info.


     Art in the Public Interest is a nonprofit that supports the arts as an integral part of a healthy culture. Their programs include the Community Arts Network (CAN) project with an information exchange, research, and critical dialogue within the field of community-based arts, the monthly newsletter APInews, 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 © 2006 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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