ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 11 * * All Arts News On the Web * * February 15, 2007


      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.

      Find links to these events and more in our Spotlight!


      Tuesday is Mardi Gras.

ST ALBANS--Chow!Bella and The Fabulous Spiders have teamed up with a delicious meal and great entertainment to benefit Franklin County Court Diversion on Tuesday. Appetizers and cocktails (cash bar) will begin at 5 p.m. with dinner and entertainment ongoing until 9 p.m. Seating is limited to 200. The Spiders are Marcia Brewster, Pat Austin, and Debbie Patton, with accompaniment by Will Patton, Joe Moore, Dono Schabner, Charlie MacFayden, Caleb Bronz and Anna Patton.
      The benefit includes Franklin County Court Diversion, the Teen Alcohol Safety Program, and the Substance Use Reduction Education program.
      Admission is $37.50 per person or $75 per couple. There are also a very limited quantity of "Appetizers only" tickets available for $20 each. Tickets are available at Chow!Bella, Rail City Market, As the Crow Flies, Better Planet Books, or at Franklin County Court Diversion. Call Pat LeBoeuf (802.527.1112) or email for more info.

MONTPELIER--The Black Door presents the Nobby Reed Project tomorrow from 7-10 p.m. The Project plays the best original music in the soul-shakin'-electric Texas and Chicago blues styles with a Vermont touch. The band includes Eric Belrose, percussion, Ray Bushey, bass, and Mr. Reed on lead guitar and vocals. He has recorded and performed in a host of bands and has built an international audience.
      Click here or here for more info.

ESSEX JUNCTION--The Lincoln Inn presents the Croppies on Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. With Paddy Smith on bouzouki, button accordion, banjo, cittern, and vocals, Chris Gauthier on bodhran, congas, drums, guitar, and vocals, and Cheryl Kerr on fiddle, guitar, bodhran, and vocals, the group performs Irish, English, North American and contemporary songs. Their instrumental choices range from the jigs and reels of Gaelic dance to Breton melodies and the baroque flavored compositions of O'Carolan.
      Email for more info.


     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.
      Vermont Studio Center is not an art center in the traditional sense, but the Franklin County plan shares some of the same goals. The Studio Center trains artists, has gallery exhibits, and runs school programs.
      "We're an artist's residency," Executive Director George Pearlman said. "Artists from around the world--we have a lot of internationals--come here for a month, two-month stay. We give them studio space and have a visiting artist programs where they can have individual studio visits by well known artists, writers, and sculptors." Vermont Studio Center offers twelve residency "blocks" in four-week increments each year for their three programs, painting, sculpture, and writing.
      VSC was founded in 1984 and is now the country's largest artists' community. It serves 600 national and international artists and writers in the open environment of a 30-building campus. Each month, 75 artists and writers participate in 412 week independent studio Residencies.
      People who take the residencies are "all post-grad. They are all practicing artists. We have some people getting back in, all different levels. We strive for that mix," Mr. Pearlman said. "There is a jury process to get in and we give away fellowships. Most everyone who comes comes on some sort of a grant." The selection represents a mix of mediums, cultures, experience, and ages. The Studio Center also provides seven distinguished Visiting Artists or Writers per month. Each spends a working week at VSC; they present their own work and are hold individual studio visits and writing conferences. In 2005, VSC hosted Residents from 44 different countries and awarded $1,400,000 in 200 Full Fellowships and 300 Partial Fellowships.
      "We also do a Vermont Artists week, just for Vermont artists," Mr. Pearlman said. This heavily discounted one-week program usually takes place in May. "We give them room, board, studio, and bring in visiting artists, the whole works."
      VSC gives the artist time to work an undistracted time away from home and job and life's demands. "That's what makes this place what it is," Mr. Pearlman said. "People come here and can't believe the amount of work they get done. It's life-changing. Everything is taken care of so they can focus on their work. And we try to build community. We average 50 artists per month, from Asia, Africa, Europe, and here."
      "We are committed to the community," he said. All VSC lectures and events are open to the public and they pay full state and local taxes.
      Program applications are online at (the 2007 Vermont Artists' week is closed).

     Next week we will examine the VSC gallery and school programs and community presence. Upcoming in the column will be 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.


     Jean Cannon is a painter and art teacher whose work is exhibited in galleries around New England. That work ranges from miniatures to murals in a style is based on surreal draftsmanship. She has illustrated books, painted theater sets, and designed and executed murals. Her site includes a gallery, artist's statement, a schedule of classes and showings, and contact information.


      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 © 2007 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.