ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 11 * * All Arts News On the Web * * March 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!


      It is a busy week in the Arts with the potential growing for an art center right here tonight, local fine art and free food on display in Burlington tomorrow, and the wearin' of the green on Saturday. So much for the historic worries about today's date.


      Raindrops may be fallin' on our heads
      We're not the guy whose feet are too big for his bed...
      Art may not be free
      But nothin's worryin' me.
      With some apology to Hal David and Burt Bacharach, neither the weather outside nor the size of our dreams can keep the arts bottled up.
      The St. Albans Area Arts and Cultural Center board will host a free public forum this evening to meet Preservation Trust of Vermont Executive Director Paul Bruhn and Vermont Arts Council representative John Zwick, to hear about Art Center progress, and to discuss community needs with the initial Board.
      Mr. Bruhn, Mr. Zwick, and Art Center board member Mike Curtis will discuss art centers in other communities and the steps to establish one locally. They will lead a discussion about community needs for performances, galleries, and other artsy spaces, as well as examine the Mission. There will also be an opportunity to talk about specific community interests, respond to a call for volunteers, and look for suggestions for an Art Center name. I promise not to sing.
      Paul Bruhn has been instrumental in the Creative Economy projects in St. Albans and arranged last year's bus tour of creative centers around the state. He will moderate.
      John Zwick is AiSB and Danville Project Manager for the Vermont Arts Council. His most recent project in Franklin County was as Project Manager of the statewide Palettes of Vermont.
      Mike Curtis co-chaired the Palettes of Franklin County, Vermont and World's Largest Palette projects and has just finished chairing the successful St. Albans Rotary Home and Recreation Expo.
      Most people, when asked, believe an arts center must be a single, probably very large, building. Perhaps with big feet. While that may be true, the committee found it is equally true that Community College began its successful growth with small rented or borrowed 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. The study group answered the question, What Does an Arts and Cultural Center Really Do? The committee focused on listing the most important functions such an establishment can fulfill: provide inspiration, make the arts accessible and sustainable, create demand, nurture art and artists, and educate.
      The idea to build an arts and cultural center in Franklin County emerged during the three creative economy forums led by the Vermont Council on Rural Development last year. Several groups have lent volunteers to a steering committee. Creative Economy and SAFF member Mike Curtis, Art Guild president Jay Fleury, AAC Chair Dick Harper, Art Guild director Natalie LaRocque-Bouchard, Ann Levy, Historical Museum director Charles Moore, Sheri Moore, Joan Ostiguy, and Bridget Zurn formed the initial board of directors. The community-based committee also includes members of the Bishop Street Artists and other interested groups, a newspaper reporter, and other individuals.
      The Arts Center forum will be held in Northwestern Medical Center Conference Room A this evening at 7 p.m. Admission is free. B. J. Thomas will not attend but refreshments will be served.


      The All Arts Council will host a "Meet the Artists" reception tomorrow evening as part of the ongoing Spring Fine Art Exhibit at Union Station in Burlington. The free evening is a chance to mingle with arts lovers from around the Champlain Valley.
      The AAC and Art's Alive have joined forces to host this debut Franklin County outreach exhibit and sale. The event has its spotlight on the paintings of Franklin artist Natalie LaRocque-Bouchard. The exceptional oil and watercolor paintings, fine art photographs, digital art, mixed media, and prints including fine artists Eric Bataille, Jane Bower, Mary Harper, Joy Perrino, and Valerie Ugro, and photographers Janet Bonneau, Dick Harper, April Henderson, Gustav Verderber, and Lauren Young.
      There are at least two green works on exhibit but the cheese will not be green.
      The reception will take place tomorrow evening from 7-9 p.m. in the Art's Alive Gallery at Union Station on the Waterfront. The gallery is also open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Union Station is located at One Main Street at the western edge of Burlington.
      Admission is free.


SOUTH BURLINGTON--The Events for Tom Series presents the Boys of the Lough in concert on Monday at 7:30 p.m. at Higher Ground. Renowned local Irish fiddler Sarah Blair will open to celebrate the release of her first solo CD.
      With over thirty years experience in the world of traditional music, over 60 North American tours, 20 recordings and two Grammy nominations, the Boys of the Lough is a legendary Celtic supergroup. Their music ranges widely through traditional melodies of Ireland with the fiddle music of Shetland, Scotland and North America.
      The concert is a co-presentation of the Burlington Irish Heritage Festival and the Events for Tom Series with support from Vermont Tent Company, the Comfort Inn and others. It is the 60th presentation in the Events for Tom Series. Proceeds from the concert benefit the Tom Sustic Fund, which supports families with children with cancer.
      Doors open at 7 p.m. Admission is $25 in advance or $27 at the door. Tickets are available at Higher Ground (888.512.SHOW) or click here for more info.

BURLINGTON--The 12th Burlington Irish Heritage Festival presents an Irish Music Showcase featuring the Irish Fiddleheads, the McNeish School of Irish Dance, James McGinnis and the Redeemers (Jim McGinnis, Clare Doyle, John Murray and Andy Vota), the Fainting Goats (Anthony Santoro, Scott Wilson, Brian Perkins and Geordie Lynd), and O’hAnleigh (Tom Hanley, Cindy Hill, and Becca Hanley) at FlynnSpace tonight at 7 p.m.
      Call 802.863.5966 or click here for more info

FAIRFAX--The regular Music Session continues Saturday with acoustic instrumentalists playing traditional songs at the Foothills Bakery, 1-4:30 p.m. Admission is free by donation.

WATERVILLE--Cambridge Arts Council presents community dances on Saturdays at 7 p.m. in the Waterville Town Hall. The evening will feature contras, squares, circles, play parties and singing games and all dances will be taught. Bring a partner, the entire family, or come alone. Caller Mark Sustic offers dance instruction. Frank Heyburn and Michele Lajoie play. Guest musicians with acoustic instruments are welcome. Admission is $5 per person and $10 for families at the door.

ST. ALBANS--Chow Bella offers jazz and improv with guitarist Jerry Levine on Monday evenings, 6-9 p.m., and virtuoso guitar with Tom Leshinsky on Wednesday evenings, 6-8:30 p.m. Click here for more info.

ST. ALBANS--The Overtime Saloon offers Open Mic with Abby Jenne and Friends every Wednesday at 8 p.m. Abby encourages performers of all kinds to attend. If you need instrumental accompaniment, email with the title/artist of song you wish to perform. click here for more info.


     Children's Voices Theater co-founders Marv Klassen-Landis and Michael Zerphy celebrate the authentic voices of children and inspire their audiences to express themselves through writing. Their site includes performance and workshop/residency info, artists' bios, news, and contact links.


      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.