ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 10 * * All Arts News On the Web * * April 6, 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.


      The Opera House at Enosburg Falls presents the Wood's Tea Company tomorrow evening at 8 p.m. in the Opera House.
      Rusty Jacobs, Mike Lussen, Chip Chase, and Howard Wooden deploy banjos, bezoulis, bodhrans, fiddles, guitars, tin whistles, bass, concertinas and mandolins in every concert. Founded in 1980, they have seven nationally released albums; their latest CD, This Side of the Sea, is available locally at Rail City Market, on, and on
      They will play "their usual" mix of traditional lively variety of bluegrass, sea chanties, Celtic music, and dry New England humor side by each with original folk songs, Rusty Jacobs said. Bring this newspaper to sit on during their well known question and answer period. This busy touring band is known for their easy going and often two-way rapport with their audiences and for their powerful musicianship.
      Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and students, and $5 for those under 12. Tickets are available at Enosburg Pharmacy, Merchants Bank in Enosburg, Better Planet and at the door. Call 802.933.6171 or email for reservations and info.


     "We want to get creative!" S.A.F.F. Executive Director Karen Bresnahan said.
      St Albans for the Future needs to generate even more ideas to fuel St. Albans’ creative economy; the group has pancakes and maple syrup to get those ideas flowing. S.A.F.F. will host Let's Get Creative About Our Future as a potentially sticky working discussion at the Franklin County Senior Center next Tuesday, April 11, from 4:00 to 8:15 p.m.
      The plan is two-fold: to bring out the cultural and artistic characteristics already present in and around St. Albans and to integrate that idea generator into the business community.
      "We'll have six different topics to discuss," S.A.F.F. director and Creative Economy chair Mike Curtis said, "as well as having that wonderful pancake dinner." The afternoon sessions include Creative Skill Development, Downtown Vitality, and Heritage and Sense of Place. The evening sessions include Supporting Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Gathering Places, and Creative Lifestyle and Community Life.
      S.A.F.F. has some questions that this first meeting may answer: How can the area apply technology to encourage entrepreneurial activity, strengthen existing business, and expand individuals’ opportunities? What makes St. Albans a welcoming community to both visitors and residents? What new ways are local businesses finding to stay competitive into the future? What connects arts, culture, and commerce in our region?
      "Come to those sessions of most interest to you," Mr. Curtis said, "we need to hear the voice of members of the community [from] business, cultural, arts programs, non-profits, education." The event will have federal, state, and non-profit leaders from around Vermont including congressional staffers, VCA Director Alex Aldrich, Deputy Secretary of Agricultural Dave Lane, and Marlboro College President Ellen McCullough Lovell as a visiting resource team, but the ideas will come from home.
      "The Creative Communities program talks about the importance of three things," Helen Jordan said. "First is the importance of place. Why is St. Albans a place where you want to work, where you want to live, where you want to locate your business. We talk about creative partnerships. And how people have the ability to have good ideas and to make those ideas into reality." Ms. Jordan is Director of the Creative Communities Program for the Vermont Council on Rural Development.
      Although the Tuesday event begins St. Albans City, it is intended to have a positive impact across the region -- anyone interested in the city and surrounding areas should attend.
      In earlier columns, we have seen that the arts could be the "anchor store" for downtown projects. A vibrant community needs more than one anchor store.
      The brainstorming session is the next step in an ongoing series of new projects. The workgroups will get specific about what St. Albans already has in place and what yet needs to be done to enhance downtown vitality, improve leisure and recreation opportunities (including making the downtown an arts destination), and encouraging more entrepreneurism.
      About 150 people took part in a similar forum last week in Rutland. A public meeting in each city in May will offer an opportunity to reflect on these discussions and choose four final projects to implement. "It's important to realize that these are economic outcomes," Mr. Curtis said.
      The event is part of the Creative Communities Program sponsored by the Vermont Council on Rural Development. The Creative Communities Program provides a framework for St. Albans to develop projects that jumpstart the local creative economy.
      The creative pancake dinner will be held at the Franklin County Senior Center on Messenger Street in St. Albans. Admission is free. A donation of several ideas is welcome.

     Call Karen Bresnahan (802.524.1500) for more info or watch Mike Curtis and Helen Jordan with me on Neighbor to Neighbor tonight at 9 p.m. on Adelphia Channel 15.


MORRISVILLE--The Bees Knees presents Will Patton and Dono Schabner tonight, 7-10 p.m. Mr. Patton calls it, "Great food and an intimate setting in which to hear some fiery Gypsy jazz and Brasilian Choros."
      Click here for more info.

8084 TOUR--The ever popular 8084, Vermont's own power pop band, has a mini Vermont tour this weekend with stops at Hyde Park VFW tomorrow evening at 7:30 p.m. and at Ashley's in Randolph on Saturday at 8 p/m. Their play list will includes cuts from their new CD The Last Great Train. Click here for more info.

ESSEX JUNCTION--The Lincoln Inn Pub and Grill presents Jenni Johnson and Friends tonight, 7-10 p.m. Email for more info.

MONTPELIER--Arts Achievement Day is a full day of information sharing, arts advocacy, and networking with other members of the Vermont Arts Community, all next Wednesday, April 12, at the State House. It is a day to make the case for public support of the arts in Vermont.
      The day includes a host of regional and national arts experts as well as the Board and Staff of the Vermont Arts Council. All Arts Achievement Day events are FREE, open to the public and fully accessible. Call Andrea Stander (802.828.5422), email, or click here for details, a schedule of the day’s events, and info about registration.


     The Vermont Council on Rural Development has a unique public role to help rural Vermonters and their communities confront the challenges of the 21st century. Their Council on Culture and Innovation is one of the drivers behind the Creative Economy projects.


      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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