ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 10 * * All Arts News On the Web * * April 27, 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 first outdoor festival of the year weaves magic for about 50,000 visitors to St. Albans every Spring. The 40th annual Vermont Maple Festival begins tomorrow morning with an All Arts Council showcase of the best artists in northwestern Vermont.
       The All Arts Council Fine Art Exhibit moves to the Robert Bliss Memorial Auditorium in the St. Albans Historical Museum this year. The exhibit and sale is open all three Festival days with a spotlight on the Palettes of Franklin County, Vermont, and on the exceptional oil and watercolor paintings, fine art photographs, illustrations, digital art, mixed media, and prints by more than two dozen Franklin County artists and photographers including Corliss Blakely, Janet Bonneau, Jane Bower, Bob Brodeur, Robert Brunelle, Alan DeMont, Gene Garron, Melissa Haberman, Dick Harper, Mary Harper, April Henderson, Shawn Hennesey, David Juaire, Natalie LaRocque-Bouchard, John Newton, Meredith Roberts, David R. Southwick, Tim Stetson, Wayne Tarr, Valerie Ugro, Karen Vath, Gustav Verderber, Lauren Young, and more. The sale includes originals, fine art reproductions, and prints in all price ranges.
      All Arts Council members, the Bishop Street artists, S.A.F.F. friends, area schools, and individual artists, photographers, writers, and community members have created artwork for Palettes of Franklin County, Vermont. The AAC exhibit will include the earliest of the more traditional size palettes as the AAC kicks off a series of Palettes of Franklin County shows.
      "S.A.F.F., the New England Central, and Union Bank all wanted to be sure the costs of opening the Museum for the Festival were met," S.A.F.F. Executive Director Karen Bresnahan said. "We joined with the All Arts Council to could be open at no cost to our visitors."
      The Robert Bliss Memorial Auditorium caps the St. Albans Historical Museum. This newly restored space with views of Taylor Park and Lake Champlain is ideal for art shows, lectures, theatrical events, dances, and more.
      The show schedule is: Friday, 12 noon to 6 p.m.; Saturday, April 29th - 10 am to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, April 30th - 10 am. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.
      The All Arts Council exhibit is sponsored by St Albans for the Future, the New England Central Railroad, and Union Bank with considerable assistance from the St. Albans Historical Museum.

     The Maple Festival Craft Show and Sale also begins tomorrow, and continues Saturday and Sunday in the BFA gym.


     The Vermont Maple Festival has a world attraction this year as the All Arts Council and St Albans for the Future go for Franklin County's fifth record with the assembly and decoration of the World's Largest Artist's Palette. This Paul Bunyanesque sculpture is inspired by and a part of the statewide Palettes of Vermont project.
      The Sticks and Stuff crew and I prefabricated the 16 foot long by 12 foot tall palette this week. It replicates the standard size palettes in the Palettes of Vermont project except it is a wee bit bigger.
      Muralist Natalie LaRocque-Bouchard of Franklin created a design for each side of the giant palette. One side will be a pointillist image created from hand prints; the other is a scene of Franklin County attractions. The community side will be painted in Taylor Park during the Maple Festival. Every Maple Festival attendee is invited to apply their hand to the design.
      "We want as many Maple Festival visitors to make their mark as possible," Bonnie Pelkey said.
      The World's Largest Palette will be set up and decorated in the Edric Loomis Bandstand in Taylor Park on Friday and Saturday. The palette will be fully assembled and take part as a featured float in the Maple Festival Parade on Sunday.
      Other World Records first achieved in Franklin County include the world's largest Ice Cream Sundae, the world's largest Snowman, and the world's largest Sugar on Snow in St. Albans. Franklin County Field Days was the site for the world's largest pancake flipped by a helicopter.
      The giant palette will appear at every major outdoor event, starting with the Vermont Maple Festival and continuing through the 2006 Dairy Festival, Bay Day, and Franklin County Field Days. The artists' palettes will be exhibited by the All Arts Council, S.A.F.F., and other organizations at many events throughout the county.
      The World's Largest Palette record attempt is sponsored by the Peoples Trust Company, Sticks and Stuff, and R. L. Fournier. It is a project of the All Arts Council and St Albans for the Future.


MORE MAPLE MUSIC--The biggest event of the weekend is the 40th annual Maple Festival Parade featuring the World's Largest Palette. Starting from Houghton Street on Sunday at 1 p.m. sharp, the parade stretches out for miles with over 120 bands, unique floats, clowns, horses and tractors, and the ever-popular pooper scooper.
      The Youth Talent Show takes over BFA Auditorium on Friday evening. This annual favorite brings together some of the most talented children in the County competing for scholarship prizes. General admission is $6/person or $4 for students. Tickets are available at the information booth on Main Street and at the festival office.
      The Fiddler's Variety Show is an annual sellout in BFA Auditorium with hours of Canadian and American singers, dancers, pickers, comedy, and clogging. General admission is $7/person. Tickets are available at the information booth on Main Street and at the festival office.
      The famed Foothill Fogies will provide music for the Pancake Breakfasts on Saturday and Sunday in the St. Albans City Elementary School. The Foothill Fogies are the "group of people who play informally at the Foothills Bakery," said Mark Sustic, of the group that includes Mr. Sustic, Ed Paquin, Jerry Faulkenberg and several other fiddlers young and old. They will play traditional old country Vermont music in the dining room. Admission is $6 for adults, $3 for children 3-10, and free for the children 2 and under.

WESTFORD--The Fairfax Community Theater presents The Importance of Being Earnest opening tonight and continuing Friday and Saturday evening at 7:30 p.m. at the Westford Brick Meeting House.
      This classic comedy of manners by Oscar Wilde is set in Victorian England where Jack Worthing who lives in the country has an imaginary younger brother, Ernest, whose escapades call Jack to London. Jack is juxtaposed against Algernon Moncrieff and his imaginary invalid friend "Bunbury," whose call Algernon to the country in an activity known as "Bunburying."
      General admission is $8. Tickets are available at the door. Call producer Brenda Smith (802.849.2883) for more info or ticket sales.

ENOSBURG--The Opera House at Enosburg Falls presents the Miss Vermont's Outstanding Teen competition Saturday evening at 7 p.m. Nine girls will vie to become Vermont's Outstanding Teen 2006. Megan Plebani, Miss Vermont 2005, and Brittany Rhoads, Miss Vermont Outstanding Teen 2005, will co-host.
      "All the girls are really talented with a variety of dance, violin, vocals," producer Harry Benoit said.
      The pageant promotes scholastic achievement, creative accomplishment, healthy living, and community involvement; the competition is an evening of great entertainment.

COLCHESTER--The Vermont Youth Orchestra Association presents the annual Hermance Prize Recital on Sunday at 7 p.m. at the Elley-Long Music Center at Saint Michaelís College. The Hermance Prize is awarded annually to a Vermont Youth Orchestra senior who has performed as a soloist with one of the VYOA orchestras during the concert season.
      The Hermance Recital features solo performances by VYO student soloists from Champlain Valley Union High School, Essex High School, South Burlington High School, Union-32, and the Vermont Commons School. Tickets are $5 for adults and $2 for students and seniors. Call the VYO office (802.655.5030) or email for more info


      The second Let's Get Creative meeting to define and begin four new St. Albans area projects will be held on Tuesday, May 2, at 6:30 p.m. at the People's Trust on Kingman Street.
      The first public forum on the creative economy held April 11 posed the question, If you could make any change to the St. Albans community and economy, what would it be? Participants discussed the local economy, community life, and culture of St. Albans with a group of leaders from around the state who are interested in helping the city build on its opportunities.
      The ideas at that first meeting covered a range of possibilities, from arts in Taylor Park to a St. Albans promotional program targeted at visitors from Montreal to a local cooperative that helps individuals access technology services (including affordable high-speed Internet). In all, about 20 ambitious ideas were suggested.
      On May 2, the Vermont Council on Rural Development will present the full list of ideas from April 11 and will ask St. Albans to choose 4 priority projects. There will be an opportunity to adjust the ideas list before the vote, so if you missed the first forum you haven't missed the chance to put your ideas on the table. The public forum will take place from 6:30 pm 9:15 pm, Tuesday, May 2, at the People's Trust Company building on Kingman Street. Call Karen Bresnahan (802.524.1500) for more info.
      The final Let's Get Creative meeting later in May will build the plans and begin implementing the four downtown projects.

CLICK HERE: ART SITE OF THE WEEK has sections on the origins of theater, the theater of countries including the U.S. Britain, France, and Russia, as well as books, a script archive, and links. The current featured topic is the Rise of Romanticism. The site also has a synopsis of the play, The Importance of Being Earnest.


      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.