ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 10 * * All Arts News On the Web * * October 26, 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.


      We saw last week that "everybody wants an Art Center" in Franklin County, perhaps in St. Albans City. Arts and Cultural Center planning for St. Albans City began at the Creative Economy forums last Spring. Several groups have lent volunteers to a steering committee that is right now examining all the roles such an establishment can fill. The steering committee includes board members from the All Arts Council, the St Albans Artists' Guild, and St. Albans for the Future, as well as members of the Bishop Street Artists and other interested groups, a newspaper reporter, and other individuals.
      The Arts and Cultural Center planning is not a project of any one organization but rather is a community effort.
      How we got here: The Vermont Council on Rural Development led three creative economy forums earlier this year. The idea to build an arts center emerged during brainstorming sessions from each of those meetings and survived a winnowing process that reduced the number of "great projects" to a manageable four.
      Initial thinking: The steering committee agreed it first needed to define an Arts and Cultural Center.
      Assistant City Manager Liz Gamache of St. Albans asked, "Does 'build an arts center' indicate actual construction, or using existing space to create one?" That question sparked a change in thinking as "build" changed to "create an arts center" to leave options more open.
      The committee initially discussed visions for an Arts and Cultural Center. Most people, when asked, believe a Center must be a single, probably very large, building. While that may be true, we need to remember that Community College succeeds without such a single, very large, building; CCV has small spaces in many towns and rents or borrows classroom spaces as needed. Likewise many successful businesses today allow some employees to work from home while others have desks in small clusters around the world.
      What Does an Arts and Cultural Center Really Do? Mike Curtis asked the group to find the common themes in everyone's visions. This look at common needs led the group to consider what actual functions the Art and Cultural Center would perform. Our Functional Analysis allowed the committee to focus on what the Center will do, rather than how the Center will do it.
      The initial functions:      Next week, this column will report on how the steering committee "fleshed out" the function list. In the coming weeks I will go on a road trip to some southern arts centers and galleries.


     The Tenth Annual Women's Economic Opportunity Conference will be held Saturday at Vermont Technical College in Randolph. Advancing Vermont's Creative Economy and the opportunities that offers women, their businesses, their families and their communities will be a major focus of this year's conference.
      The keynote speaker will be the artist Sabra Field who demonstrates how Vermont women can combine a creative talent with a practical business successfully. Ms. Field was born in Oklahoma, grew up in the metropolitan New York area, earned a B.A. in The Arts from Middlebury College which also awarded her an Honorary Doctor of Arts in 1991. She taught high school art for seven years in public and private schools. She opened her studio in Vermont in 1969 to publish her hand-pulled wood block prints.
      Ms. Field has won awards and built an international reputation for her woodcut prints which have been the heart of over 50 one-person exhibitions since 1960.
      Click here to register for the conference or learn more about this year's workshops.


ST. ALBANS--The St Albans Messenger presents the United States Army Field Band and Soldiers Chorus in a free concert in the Collins Perley Sports and Fitness Center on Monday at 7 p.m. The "Musical Ambassadors of the Army" are a 65 member concert band and 29 member chorus. The Field Band is celebrating its sixtieth anniversary. Since its formation in 1946, the Band has appeared in all fifty states and in more than thirty countries on four continents.
      The St. Albans program includes Solid Men to the Front and The Stars and Stripes Forever, both by John Philip Sousa, Harrisonís Dream by Peter Graham, Jesu, Joy of Manís Desiring by Johann Sebastian Bach, Copland's Selections from Old American Songs and The Promise of Living featuring the Soldiersí Chorus, and much more.
      Admission is free but you must have a ticket. Tickets are available from the St. Albans Messenger.

ST. ALBANS--St. Paulís Methodist Church presents a Harvest Dance with caller Mark Sustic and music by the Fiddleheads tomorrow evening from 7 to 9 p.m.
      Call Joyce Jenkins (524.5290) for info.

SOUTH BURLINGTON--The Point and Magic Hat Brewing present the 8th annual Advance Music Singer/Songwriter Contest in the Showcase Lounge at Higher Ground on Sunday. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; the show begins at 7.
      This show draws seasoned musicians as well as newcomers who have never performed in public as it showcases many musical and lyrical styles, textures, and tastes. The top three from each of the semi finals will compete for a winner takes all prize package, including a Washburn guitar and 6 hours of recording time at EMP studio.
      Admission is free. Call 888.512.SHOW, 802.652.0777 or click here for more info.

ESSEX JUNCTION--It's a busy week at the Lincoln Inn as they present In the Round with Rebecca Padula and Patrick Fitzsimmons on Monday at 7 p.m. and Bluegrass Night with Blue Norther on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
      Email for more info.

JEFFERSONVILLE--Cambridge Arts Council presents Will Patton and Dono Schabner Wednesday at 7 p.m. at 158 Main Street. Mr. Patton, of Bakersfield, will play some fiery Gypsy jazz and Brasilian Choros.
      Call 802.644.1118 or click here for more info.


     Printmaker Sabra Field has maintained an online store for several years. Her site includes her newest prints plus a Gallery, a listing of hard-to-find prints, book calendars and notecards, a mini biography, contact info, and more. Visitors can choose between countrysides, townscapes, nighttime, snow season, interiors, suites of prints, and even tropical and Italian landscapes. The featured image on her front page changes with each visit.


      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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