ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 11 * * All Arts News On the Web * * June 7, 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!


      Fairfield artist Gail Salzman has been called "one of New England's great colorists."
 ArtBits News Photo     The Furchgott-Sourdiffe Gallery in Shelburne has a new exhibit of abstract oil paintings by Ms. Salzman whose vibrant work celebrates the complexity of nature. "The theme is my feeling of connection to water scenes with a focus on the repetition and how everything seems to come around full circle in the natural world." she said. "The six new large pieces are the anchor of the show." There are also several medium size pieces and a few small ones.
      "I have no idea whether the figures are in the water or whether I'm working with images that have to do with the water itself. I'm a water person," Ms. Salzman said. She spends two summer weeks each year in Maine on the ocean. "And we just had our wonderful pond re-dug this year. When I go to Maine and take that first walk along the ocean, it takes me to a place that is a tremendous renewal for me." She plays with the giant, 10-foot long kelp streamers found awash and ashore along the beach. She has brought some of those back to the studio for decoration and connection. "I hang it on the wall and let it dry out. It shrinks a lot and changes color."
      The artist is known for her translucent layers and the looping lines that reflect her love of water. "I am starting to bring in more hard edges and a more geometrical to the organic shapes," she said. Her earlier works were more organic, more ovoid-based.
      She is not in or even on the water all the time. "Sometimes you paint what you are longing for more of. I feel balanced when I get into water so it's not an accident that that is one of my primary motifs."
      At the same time, her colors reflect the pale southwestern desert more than the green of our mountains. "People there said my colors came from there."
      Ms. Salzman has exhibited extensively throughout the East Coast for over twenty years. She has received a painting award from the NEA and grants from the Vermont Arts Council and the Vermont Arts Endowment Fund. Her work will also be part of the upcoming exhibit New Vistas at the Bryan Memorial Gallery in Jeffersonville this summer.
      The Furchgott-Sourdiffe Gallery, 86 Falls Road in Shelburne, is open 9:30-5:30 Tuesday through Friday, and 10-5 on Saturday. They specialize in a stylistically diverse selection of work with regularly changing solo or two-person shows. Call Joan Furchgott (802.985.3848) or Gail Salzman (524.5057) for more info.


     Middle school students in the Open Doors after-school programs in St. Albans have created a series of fancifully paint wooden chairs. Each student designed and painted one chair to take home and one to donate to a citywide silent auction. The auction ends today but there is still time to enter a bid.
      The colorful chairs will be available for final bids today at the Open Doors birthday celebration at the St. Albans Historical Society. Winners will be announced at the end of the evening. The chairs have been on display at Park Café, Classie Exchange, Chow Bella, Rail City Market and Mimmo's Pizzeria on Main Street, Peoples Trust Company Bank on Kingman Street, the St. Albans Free Library, U-Finish It Decor, and at Warner's Snack Bar.
      All proceeds benefit the Open Doors program.
      Students have studied the styles and painting techniques of great artists. Students then created a design on paper and transferred their images onto the unfinished wooden chairs via tracing paper. Using the painting techniques they had researched, they applied the colors that completed their final products. Instructors Kathi Brown at City School and Amanda Parker Bates at the St. Albans Town Educational Center led the project.
      The chair art project is a continuation of Open Doors’ successful Mural Project with public art at the People’s Trust Company, Northwestern Medical Center Hospital, and the Pizzarena's party room. The mural project will continue this summer with an Italian motif on the exterior wall at Mimmo’s Pizzeria. The Mural Project is funded in part by a grant from the Nellie Mae Foundation.
      Over 350 St. Albans Middle school students participate in Open Doors programs each year. Call Cathy Ainsworth (524.2600) for more info.


BURLINGTON--The Queen City Contras present a benefit Contra Dance with callers Mark Sustic and Lausanne Allen, plus musicians Pete Sutherland, Malcolm Sanders, Rick Ceballos, Owen and Elly Marshall and others, all tomorrow evening at 8 p.m. at St. Anthony’s Hall.
      The dance benefits the Champlain Valley Folk Festival. Bring clean, soft-soled shoes for dancing. Call 802.434.2446 for more info.

BELVIDERE--The Belvidere Community Club presents the 24th Annual Rattling Brook Bluegrass Festival right on Route 109 on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The Festival features Banjo Dan and the Mid-nite Plowboys, Big Spike Bluegrass, Bob Degree and the Bluegrass Storm, the New England Bluegrass Band, the Radio Rangers, and Steel Rail. Call 802.644.2751 or 802.644.2498 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. and Piano Bar with Dawna Messier every Friday at 7:30 p.m.
      Abby encourages performers of all kinds to attend the Wednesday performances. If you need instrumental accompaniment, email with the title/artist of song you wish to perform. Armand Messier joins the Piano Bar every third Friday. click herefor more info.


     Middle Earth Music Hall in Bradford is a craftsman’s dream: a cozy listening room with hand-crafted wood carvings, raised panels, stone walls, tree trunks and a 3” thick pine slab bar. They frequetly book Franklin County musicians. The site has the current music schedule and news plus the dinner menu, video, booking guidelines, links, directions, merchandise. and contact info.


      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).
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