ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 11 * * All Arts News On the Web * * September 20, 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 various restaurants around Franklin County throughout the week, 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!


      Island Arts presents Michele Choiniere and friends in concert at the Lake House in Grand Isle next Wednesday, September 26, at 7 p.m. The Quebecois evening of songs, dance (contra, quadrille) and Joie de Vivre is the final concert of the 2007 Island Arts season.
      Quebecois artist Michele Choiniere will be joined by Sabin Jacques on accordion, Rachel Aucoin on piano, and step-dancer/accordionist Benoit Bourque. "I'll be doing some a few songs that Edith Piaf from France sang, new traditionals from Quebec, and my compositions," M. Choiniere said.
      Dance is a vital part of French-Canadian music. Its defining trait is the rapid-fire foot percussion that drives the beat.
      "Benoit will call dances and will add some on the music," M. Choiniere said. "It will be a concert and a dance."
      A St. Albans native, Ms. Choiniere was born into a musical Franco-American 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. She has appeared at the American Folk Festival, the Champlain Valley Folk Festival, First Night Burlington, and to audiences throughout New England, Quebec, and France. 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 CD Coeur Fragile is available at She also performs regularly with Vermont musicians Will Patton, David Gusakov, Dono Schabner.
      Montreal-based 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 also recorded with Domino, as well as Francine Desjardins and Jean Duval, and American fiddler Laura Risk. Benoit Bourque bursts with energy. He rose to fame 30 years ago as a member of the ensemble Eritage. He has grown as a dancer, choreographer, and teacher in festivals and music camps in Canada and abroad including the Champlain Valley Festival and the AAC Soiree Grand Menage here in Franklin County. He won the Public's Prize at the Moscow International Folk Dance.
      Seating is limited to 100, so an advance purchase is smart. Admission is $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Call the Chamber (802.372.8400 or Linda (372.5186) for reservations or information. The evening is sponsored in part by the Preservation Trust of Vermont and benefits the Island Arts scholarships programs. Click here for more info.


ENOSBURG FALLS--The Artist In Residence Gallery features different artists each month. This month, the spotlight is on two Artists in Residence directors, painter Rebecca Bennett, and potter Barbara Colgrove, and two members, Alison Dubilier with hand-sewn multi-media dolls and puppets and Frank Tiralla, Jr., with new wildlife paintings and charcoals.
      Ms. Bennett runs Blue Crayon Studio "in the back of the gallery," Nancy Patch said. "Most of the people who are featured tend to work more days during their featured month so they can be part of it more often," Ms. Patch said.
      The Artist in Residence art cooperative features paintings, fiber arts, stained glass, sculpture, lamps, pottery, folk art boxes, scarves, hats and more by 45 Franklin County and surrounding area artists. It is owned and operated by the artists and sponsors. The Village Frame Shoppe is located within the coop as a resident framer. The Blue Crayon studio is available within the gallery for individual or small group lessons. The gallery, located at 349 Main Street, is open Wednesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

SHELBURNE--The 20th Anniversary Art Exhibition and Sale at Shelburne Farms begins Friday and continues through Sunday, October 21, 10 a.m. 5 p.m. daily in the Coach Barn. The invitation only exhibit features the work of 40 artists in watercolor, oil, wood, stone, pastel and other mediums.
      Admission is $5 or free to Shelburne Farms members. Proceeds support Shelburne Farmsí education and public programs. Tickets are available at the Welcome Center.


ESSEX JUNCTION--The WCAX BluesFest at the Lincoln Inn offers Paul Asbell, the Eames Brothers, Blue Fox and the Rockiní Daddies, and the Kip Meaker Trio all starting at 6 p.m. tonight. The BluesFest continues tomorrow evening with the Nobby Reed Project, Skyla Burrell and Tab Benoit.
      Call 802.878.3309 or click here for more info.


STAART[ING] CALL (September 23)--The new Staart Gallery on Main Street in St. Albans is signing up artists for its first rental period; exhibits begin at the grand opening September 29. Artists will need info and photos for the bios. The first rental period offers a 20% discount. The gallery brochure is online at or available in the gallery. Call Stina Plant (524.5700) for more info.

SIXTY SQUARE INCHES (Today)--The juried 16th Biennial North American Small Print Exhibition is open to original fine art prints in any media except straight photography. Image size may not exceed 60 square inches. Selections will be made from 35 mm slides or .JPEG files. Call Craig Martin (765.494.3061) or email for more info.

THIS URGENT MOMENT (September 21) is a new non-profit arts group hosting a cattle call for works in all mediums. The group was created by artists, for artists. One artist will receive a $2,007 cash grant, a solo show in a Manhattan, and a full feature in The Annual. Entry fee. Click here for more info.

WHITE LIGHT SCHOLARSHIPS (October 1)--Two scholarships to the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance are available for Vermont singer/songwriters. The Rachel Bissex 'White Light Fund' offers this opportunity for those striving to develop careers as recording artists and performers. The fund is supported through the efforts of Occasional Concerts, the series of performances featuring national artists. Call 802.244.5895 or email to receive a White Light Fund application.
      NERFA is scheduled for early November. The Folk Alliance offers a wealth of information and opportunity with networking contacts, workshops, performance showcases, and jam sessions that contribute to creative and professional growth.

MAGIC SILVER 2008 (October 1)--The juried photography exhibition of the Eagle Art Gallery at Murray State University offers cash prizes awarded by the juror. Open to artists over 18 years working in traditional photography, experimental or non-traditional light sensitive processes, digital media, or video. Entry fee. Call Becky Atkinson (270-809-6734), click here or email for more info.

46TH FOUNDERS JURIED AWARDS (October 5)--The exhibition is open to original artwork created after January 1, 2005, in ten categories: Mixed Media, Painting, Pastel, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, and Watercolor Painting. Artwork is to be hand delivered to The von Liebig Art Center in Naples, Florida. $10,000 in cash awards and a three-person exhibit. Entry fee. Call 239.262.6517 or click here for more info.


     The Junkman, percussionist/composer Donald Knaack of The Moo Group, composes and performs Junk Music exclusively on 100% recycled materials. Junk Music has gained audiences from rock and jazz to classical and world-fusion. His site has music to listen to, news, a performance schedule, a store, some proselytizing, and a catchy beat.


      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.