ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 11 * * All Arts News On the Web * * November 29, 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!


      Even as the summer program committee thinks about a local winter/spring schedule, the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey brings art and people together as we continue to research the arts centers in other areas.
      "Our goal was to create a welcoming environment for a diverse range of art lovers - from young children to seniors, from creators to appreciators - through a variety of programs, both in and out of the Art Center," President Eric Pryor said.
      Programming is important there. This week alone they offer an Abstraction Workshop with Jamie Powell on Saturday, the Get Loose with Aqua Media Workshop on Sunday, and a New Kids Workshop -- Holiday Gingerbread Houses -- on Tuesday.
      "Our name change is just one aspect of the evolution of what will become one of New Jersey's most dynamic cultural destinations." Mr. Pryor said. Originally known as the New Jersey Center for Visual Arts, the Center connects art and people with exhibitions, a studio art school, educational outreach, and professional development programming.
      The Art Center was renovated and expanded in 2004-5; the new and renovated 22,768 square foot facility is nearly double its previous size. The Art Center has grown from five studio art classrooms to nine that now include a new digital media lab. The two story main gallery and the strolling galleries offer a museum quality visit. The Art Center also partners with other community organizations and has grown its outreach programming from three to eleven programs.
      The Studio School curriculum offers hands-on art courses from drawing and painting, sculpting and ceramics to leading edge digital art forms, including photography and animation.
      The exhibition space houses work by internationally and nationally known artists plus a number of regional and local artists. They offer art tour programs with hands-on workshops, for children and adults.
      The expanded Outreach Program is designed to reach - schools, nursing homes, senior centers and hospitals, all the community groups without access to art.
      A Professional Development Program sounds very much like a classic Arts Council. The Art Center works with non-profit arts groups as well as for-profit corporations to create sponsorships, scholarships and internships, they provide exhibition and meeting space; they arrange off-site shows; they support other art-related projects and programs with expertise and technical assistance.
      Mr. Pryor expects the Art Center to be a destination that showcases excellence in the creation and presentation of contemporary visual art.

     In the coming weeks, this column will also look for other arts centers and galleries in Vermont and around the country. 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.


AROUND THE STATE--The Events for Tom series presents Hadestown: A Folk Opera with Anais Mitchell in a new "national" Vermont tour. This an original play and musical by Ms. Mitchell is based on the Greek tragedy of Orpheus and Eurydice but set in a postapocalyptic America. The love story explores the human condition under tragic and trying circumstances.
      Performances begin tonight at the Barre Opera House. The tour continues tomorrow at the Paramount Theater in Rutland, and Saturday in Bellows Falls. Next week, the tour moves to Johnson, Middlebury, and culminates December 8 and 9 at Higher Ground. All shows begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at and at the individual venues.
      Proceeds from the concerts benefit the Tom Sustic Fund, which supports families with children with cancer. Additional contributions to the fund can be sent to: Tom Sustic Fund, PO Box 163, Fairfax, VT 05454. Call Mark Sustic (802.849.6968) or email for info about the Events for Tom Series or the Tom Sustic Fund.

FERRISBURGH--Caller Mark Sustic and Fiddleheads will bring a Family Contra Dance to the Ferrisburgh Central School tomorrow evening. Email for more info.

SOUTH BURLINGTON and ST. ALBANS--Franny O's presents Fractured on Friday at 9:45 p.m. for the final friends and family Fractured hooorah there this year. Then they come back to town for their last 2007 night at Shooter's Saloon in St. Albans on Saturday.

ESSEX JUNCTION--The Vermont Performing Arts League presents the 15th Annual Vermont International Festival beginning tomorrow and running through Sunday at the Champlain Valley Exposition. The "Celebration of Crafts and Cultures" offers food, dance, crafts, and music from around the world.
      Handcrafts include clothing and accessories, home decor and gift items, pottery, holiday decorations, sculptures, and carvings. The multi-cultural music and dance will be non-stop. The Festival will be open tomorrow, 5-8 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
      Admission is $6 at the door, $3 for children 6-12 years old and seniors (65+) and is good for the entire weekend. A family pass is available for $15. Children under 6 are free.
      Call 802.863.6713 or click here for more info.


      Two weeks ago this column reported that fiddler Jon Glik had been hospitalized three times with liver failure.
      "Our friend Jon Glik has received a much-needed transplant and is out of immediate danger," Banjo Dan Lindner reported. "He still faces a long recovery and enormous medical expenses." All profits from the sale of the Lindner Brothers' (Banjo Dan and Willy) CD, With Friends Like These, go directly to Mr. Glik's medical fund. Email Willy with "Jon Glik" on the subject linefor more info.


     I received an email this week that invited me to "Check out Scott Guptill's Facebook profile." I'm always looking for ways to market artists in any field, so I thought this interesting.
      Facebook, the popular social networking site, requires registration, a technique that seems set a high bar to visiting what is after all only a high tech advertisement. On the other hand, a new ABC News-Facebook partnership allows Facebook members to follow ABC reporters, view reports and video and participate in polls, all with a click of the mouse. ABC News expects their content to spread virally through all the "friend" networks.
      Perhaps registration works.
      Or not.
      Mr. Guptill of St. Albans Town leads the high energy rock 'n' roll band Fractured. His profile would have his pictures, videos and events. For the record, Mr. Guptill's MySpace page is easier to find and use.
      Last word: "The facebook e-mail went out after I deleted the account," Mr. Guptill said. "I find the site way too hard to use. MYspace is much easier."


      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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