ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 10 * * All Arts News On the Web * * December 21, 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.


      Solstice is either of the two astronomical events when the tilt of the earth puts the sun at its greatest distance from the equatorial plane. That's cool, but what it really means today is that our days start getting longer. More light means more art.


      A steering committee of volunteers from four major groups (the All Arts Council, the Bishop Street Artists, the St Albans Artists' Guild, and St. Albans for the Future) as well as other interested groups, and other individuals has been planning a local Arts and Cultural Center. We are now researching established arts centers in other areas.

      The idea of a music hall in Randolph may have started with a conversation between summer residents Albert B. Chandler and R.J. Kimball. Mr. Kimball undertook building a library and Mr. Chandler funded the music hall.
      Chandler Center for the Arts provides opportunities to the Central Vermont community for art and education by sponsoring and producing programs in the performing and visual arts. Their mission also specifies that the music hall be preserved as a cultural center for the community.
      The building came when two churches on Main Street merged to become the Bethany United Church of Christ. Mr. Chandler tore down the other church, built the music hall, and donated it to the combined congregation. The Art Gallery lives in the former Parish House for Bethany Church.
      Chandler Music Hall opened, complete with private boxes labeled "C" and "K," in 1907. Architect Ernest Boyden, renowned for the design of posh Beacon Hill homes designed the building. The final cost of the music hall was $25,000 (Dr. B. J. Kendall built the Opera House at Enosburg Falls for $10,000 in 1892). Like the Opera House, Chandler Music Hall hosted plays, concerts, lectures, silent films, political meetings and school events.
      The Town of Randolph owns Chandler Music Hall and Cultural Center today.
      Chandler Music Hall has a regular annual schedule including the Mud Season Variety Show that celebrates the talent and the spirit of Randolph. The 4th of July Youth Musical spotlights an all-star cast of regional high school students in the culmination of an intensive theater camp experience. The Central Vermont Chamber Music Festival in August brings first class chamber music for a two-week festival bookended by two Saturday evening concerts of music for strings, piano, and winds. They hold a Sunday free Concert at the Inn, a children's concert with up-close-and-personal learning for the children. The New World Festival celebrates the musical heritage of northern New England and Quebec, and the vitality and spirit of a present-day Vermont town.
      Chandler Gallery is a year-round art gallery run mostly by volunteers. The Gallery hosts about eight shows each year, exhibiting a range of artists, artisans, and crafters most media. The popular annual Local Artist Show in April coincides with the Mud Season Talent Show. The hold the "Winners Show" in the fall of the following year. Their varied exhibits range from solo artists to traveling shows such as the recent Art of Iraqi Children. They also schedule special talks, demonstrations, and workshops.
      Mimi Burstein of Bethel mentors students in technical theater and runs a "techie" apprentice program. The program can lead to college, internships, and, for some, a career in theater.
      Next time, I will talk with Executive Director Becky McMeeken about selling art, finding volunteers, member benefits, and what they do for money.

     In the coming weeks, this column will also look for other arts centers and galleries in Vermont, in New England, and in the Florida Keys. It is worth remembering that, while these other areas have different and often larger populations than the Franklin and Grand Isle County region, the art centers we visit have similar missions. Their boards have chosen remarkably similar functions--but different implementations--to meet their users' expectations.


AROUND VERMONT--The Events for Tom Series presents the latest edition of Petestock starting next Thursday evening, December 28, at Sanctuary: Hooker-Dunham Theater in Brattleboro. Pete Sutherland and Friends will make three "Last Night" appearances this year. The short tour features Patti Casey, Colin McCaffrey, Jeremiah McLane, Will Patton and Karen Sutherland, and will also stop at the Lost Nation Theater in Montpelier and at the Vergennes Opera House.
      Admission is $18 in advance and $20 the day of the show. click here or call 802.86FLYNN for tickets and show details. Email Mark Sustic for info about the Events for Tom series.


NATIONAL PAINTING, DRAWING & PRINTMAKING COMPETITION (January 9)--Palm Beach Community College seeks entries for the juried competition. $2,000 in awards. Subject and media are open although digital art is prohibited. Entry fee. Click here for a prospectus.

SMALL WORKS (January 12)--The 30th National Juried Exhibition at Harper College invites artwork no more than 22" in largest dimension, (including frame for 2-D work). All media except jewelry, film and video. Submit digital images only. Entry Fee. Download the prospectus here or email with questions.

2007 INTERNATIONAL JURIED PHOTO COMPETITION (January 20)--The Coastal Arts League of Half Moon Bay, CA, offers $2,200 in prizes for "Through A Lens - Life in Motion." Click here or call 650.430.3677 for an entry form and complete rules.

2007 HER SHORTS WOMEN'S INTERNATIONAL VIDEO FESTIVAL (January 30)--The festival showcases new video art created by emerging and established women artists. Send video entries of all lengths up to 10 minutes, and genres from experimental, narrative, documentary, animation, to collage. All video entries must be created by women videographers, directed/ co directed, or written by women. Click here for more info.

DOROTHEA LANGE-PAUL TAYLOR PRIZE (January 31)--The annual $20,000 award from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University promotes the collaboration between a writer and a photographer in the formative or fieldwork stages of a documentary project. Click here for more info.


     Many artists have explored the Sun's relationship to the Earth in their work., a new online museum of environmental art, invited Baile Oakes, artist and author of Sculpting with the Environment to share some thoughts on the Winter Solstice. Their site also has a Community section, an index of artists, a Global Solstice Photo exhibit, and a participation exercise to photograph the solstice today.


      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.