ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 11 * * All Arts News On the Web * * March 22, 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!


       The Vermont Legislature Farmer's Night series presents Michele Choiniere with Sabin Jacques (accordion) and Rachel Aucoin (piano) next Wednesday, March 28, at 7:30 p.m. in the House Chamber at the Vermont Statehouse in Montpelier.
      Michele Choiniere was born into a musical St. Albans family. Her lyrics and music focus on nature, romance and social issues connected to being Franco-American. Ms. Choiniere began writing and composing her own music in 1995 and has performed to audiences throughout New England, Quebec and France. She has appeared at First Night Burlington, the American Folk Festival, the Champlain Valley Folk Festival, and more. She has been featured on TV5 International's Visions d'Amerique, on Vermont Public Television's Rural Delivery, and has recorded an archival family collection of Franco-American music with her father. She is featured on the Smithsonian Folkways CD Mademoiselle Voulez-Vous Danser: Franco-American music from the New England Borderlands. Her debut album, Coeur Fragile, was recognized as one of the top ten Vermont albums of the year.
      Accordionist Sabin Jacques has played since the age of 14 and has developed a unique, left-handed style. He plays internationally at festivals as a member of Domino and other groups and is featured on recordings of Montmarquette, Les pieds qui parlent, Domino, and pop-folk singers including Edith Butler. A classically trained, Acadian pianist, Rachel Aucoin is known for her percussive, colorful style as one of the best quebecois-style accompanists. She has recorded with Domino, Francine Desjardins and Jean Duval, and American fiddler Laura Risk.
      The series is sponsored by the Vermont Commission on Women as is part of their ongoing celebration of Women's History Month. Admission is free. Call 802.828.2228 or click here for more info.


     The Art Center board and about 30 people from Franklin and Grand Isle Counties "went public" for the first time as the board introduced a project to gather data in the community and to ask for new people to help plan future events.
      There was a slight kerfuffle among the attendees about the Mission statement with a division between those wanting language changes, others wanting simplicity, and some thinking no mission at all is necessary.
Our mission is to establish artistic expression as the focal point of our community. To create and sustain a demand for art and culture, by encouraging and educating artists and the community so that it may enhance and enrich the lives of all.
     A mission statement reminds members of the basic, overriding purpose of the organization. It focuses the area in which the group operates. It helps distinguish the organization from others. This statement grew out of the functions the committee determined an Arts and Cultural Center should perform for this region. Part of the discussion hinged on whether the arts would be the only focal point of the region.
      My favorite suggestion (partly because it is my own) is: "Have Art, Will Travel."
      The Art Center group will meet again at Northwestern Medical Center Conference Center on April 12 to plan a summer program and rethink the mission statement.


WRITING CLASS (March 31)--Art Writing For Artists and Art Lovers will be held on four Wednesdays beginning April 11 at Kasini House in Burlington. This column, for example, is available to any good art writer who can pay attention to the artist, maintain a high level of curiosity, and care about what the artist can tell us. The class will be taught by Ric Kasini Kadour, the Vermont Editor of Art New England and co-author of the Vermont Art Guide. Registration is $95. Space is limited. Click here for more info.

PHOTO REVIEW PHOTOGRAPHY COMPETITION (March 31)--The magazine will reproduce all accepted entries for the 23rd annual contest in its 2007 competition issue. Prize-winning photographers will also be chosen for an exhibition at the photography gallery of The University of the Arts, Philadelphia, and will be exhibited on The Photo Review. Entry Fee. Click here for a prospectus.

AMATEUR SCI-FI and FANTASY ILLUSTRATION COMPETITION (March 31)--L. Ron Hubbard Illustrators of the Future seeks entries in science fiction or fantasy art by amateur illustrators. Three quarterly $500 prizes. Grand Prize yearly is $5,000. No entry fee. Click here for rules.

PUBLIC ART (April 7)--Texas seeks large, colossal, and heroic sculptures for Highway 281 from the airport to downtown San Antonio. The Sculptors Dominion Invitational show will highlight all Gateway candidate sculptures and proposals. Up to 10 works or sculptors will be selected to do new works. Email for more info

BALLROOM DANCE COMPETITION (April 10)--MIT Ballroom Dance Team wants competitive dancers for beginning through championship levels. Cash awards. Entry fee. Click here or email for complete guidelines.

HALPERT BIENNIAL '07 (April 13)--The national, juried 2D visual art competition and exhibition offers awards totaling $5,000 and is a part of An Appalachian Summer Festival-a multi-arts festival featuring music, dance, theatre and visual arts. Call 828.262.3017 or click here for a prospectus.


     Burlington City Arts and UVM present Earth Minded Art, a lecture by Sculptor Kate Pond at the Firehouse Center for the Visual Arts today 3/22 at 7 p.m. The artist wis show images and talk about her community sculptures around the world.
      The Vermont artist has a Franklin County connection through Sunfix, a steel sculpture at the United States Port of Entry in Highgate Springs. Sunfix's 45 degree angled structure allows the sunlight to pass through to align with a 45 degree elliptical slab of black marble at noon on the days of equinox twice a year. This phenomenon occurs specifically at this international borderline at the 45 degrees north latitude site.
      Ms. Pond's World Sculpture Project is public sculpture that marks place and time: Solekko at the Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology; Zig Zag at the Colby Curtis Museum in Stanstead, Quebec; All One at the University of Hawaii; Himeguri in the Mitsubishi Sports Park in Japan; and the final site in New Zealand in the planning process for June.
      Admission is free.


     The All Arts Council is hosting information about the entire Arts and Cultural Center of Franklin County (gotta find a new name) process. The community survey can be downloaded at


      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.