ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 10 * * All Arts News On the Web * * March 16, 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.


      Palettes of Vermont will be the largest statewide arts exhibit ever. It can be the largest Franklin County arts exhibit ever, too, as long as hundreds of local artists pick up and decorate their plain maple palettes this Saturday from 1-4 p.m. in St. Albans City Hall. This kick off event will be fun for the whole family.
       "We have planned a perfect Palette Pickup Party," said event organizer Alisha Sawyer, Executive Director of the Franklin County Regional Chamber of Commerce. She also said, "I'm sick of these alliterations."
      The art projects and displays include potato block printing, face painting, mask and hat making, Linoleum block printing, and Information on Palettes of Vermont. There will be food, prizes, and a raffle. Event organizer Dee Christie is looking for other artsy, hands-on demonstrations for adults or children. Call 802.527.6584 or email to volunteer.
      I have long been interested in relief printing, so I may monopolize that table. In this technique the artist draws the image on the linoleum then carves away part of the block. What remains is then inked and printed on paper or on a palette. It is the oldest form of printing. Artist Roy Newton practices this art. He "carves away the part I don't want. It is a process of whittling down to the essence of what you feel is the theme," he said in this column in 2003.
      Did you reserve a Palette? Stop by this event to pick up your blank maple palette, then let the creativity begin. Even non-artists can enjoy and participate in the largest art show in history.
      Artists are wanted for the design of the giant palette project. "We'll have a suggestion box as well," said organizer Karen Bresnahan, Executive Director of SAFF. "We also hope volunteers for the upcoming events will join us Saturday." The monthly Palettes of Vermont events in Franklin County still need a number of hands-on helpers at each. Keeping the supplies and citizen artists coordinated for the World's Largest Palette record attempt at the Maple Festival will need at least a dozen more people.
      Did someone mention food? Hannaford has donated cheese and crackers and Subway is bringing a 6-foot party sub and dozens of cookies. There will be punch, pretzels, nacho chips, baked goods and more. The raffle prizes include a paint your own T-shirt, a box Watercolor, a set oil paints from Better Planet; a $20.00 gift certificate and a large square candle from the Garden Patch; a gift certificate for large cheese pizza at Mimmo's; a $20.00 gift certificate from Rail City Market; two hard cover books and a collectable toy from Rixons Pharmacy; artists colored pencils from Staples; a six foot sub at Subway; a $10.00 gift certificate and two one-pound Salt Water Taffyfrom Sweet Nothings; and much more. Tickets are just $1 each or 6 for $5. The proceeds go toward the Palette Project.
      Spearheaded by the Vermont Arts Council, Palettes of Vermont is a statewide community arts project designed to unite people and communities through the arts. The yearlong project provides 7000 maple palettes and over 7000 paper palettes to artists and communities and encourages exhibition of finished palette art from Memorial Day through Halloween. The collective exhibition of palettes during this time period promises to be the largest art show in history with venues in more than 300 cities, towns, villages and communities across Vermont including nine major events in Franklin County. The area exhibit schedule begins next month at the Vermont Maple Festival.
      The project makes art fun and accessible to all, and expands the definition of community to include a range of participants from schools, businesses and trade associations to civic and service organizations. The statewide project is sponsored by Chittenden Bank, Vermont Wood Manufacturers Association, Casella Waste Systems, and NRG Systems with promotional support from the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing. The local project is sponsored by the All Arts Council and St Albans for the Future with considerable assistance from community partners including BFA-St. Albans, Franklin County Regional Chamber of Commerce, New England Central Railroad, People's Trust Company, the St. Albans Historical Museum, and Union Bank.
      In case it isn't clear enough, "the Palette Party is open to everyone and we hope the entire community will 'drop in,'" Ms. Bresnahan said.


BURLINGTON--Firefly Productions, Cambridge's own (and only) theatre troupe, presents The Weir by Irish Playwright Connor McPhearson starting last night and running through March 19. Performances are in Contois Auditorium, City Hall, at 8 p.m. as part of The Burlington Irish Heritage Festival.
      Admission is $12/adult or $10/student/senior. Call Firefly Productions (802.644.2542), email, or click here for info and tickets.

FLETCHER--The Fletcher Meeting House presents a Family Contra Dance with callers Mark Sustic and Ben Bergstein with live music by members of Fiddleheads and FolKids of Vermont and other youth musicians on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Meeting House. Admission is $5 for adults or $10 for the whole family. Email for more info.

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. The evening will feature contras, squares, circles, play parties and singing games 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.

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 with the title/artist of song you wish to perform. Click here for more info.

BURLINGTON--The Friends of Big Joe Burrell feature Will Patton, Rob Guerrina, Mick Aloi and Clyde Stats next Tursday at Halvorson’s Restaurant. Click here for more info.


     If you have ever asked "who on Earth is that actor?" the Internet Movie Database is the site for you. The site has a searchable database of about a gazillion movies, TV shows, actor biographies, and credit listings. It also has trailers, showtimes, box office info and a customizable interface.


      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).
      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.