ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 12 * * All Arts News On the Web * * May 8, 2008


      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!

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      The Franklin County Regional Chamber of Commerce presents the Timothy J. Bovat Civic Involvement Person of the Year award this evening to Mike Curtis of St Albans.
      Mr. Curtis has broad interests in the community. In the arts, he has driven the Creative Economy programs in St. Albans; some of his most visible efforts included laying the groundwork for an Art Center, co-chairing the World's Largest Palette, and serving as a founder and director of the St. Albans Artists' Guild.
           This is me talking: Mike is a shining star. We are
           blessed to have him in this community.

      He has also touched nearly every other organization in the region. He has been a member of St. Albans Rotary since 1995. He is a director of Northwestern Counseling and Support Services and SAFF, and has completed his term with the St. Albans Free Library. He is also a member of the NWRP Brownfield Committee, the Northwestern Medical Center Board of Incorporators, the St. Albans Design Advisory Board, and the Franklin-Grand Isle United Way. In real life he is a Vice President of Union Bank.
      The Chamber of Commerce annual dinner will be held this evening at the St. Albans Museum with historian and writer Willard Sterne Randall as guest speaker.


     Champlain Collection and Chow Bella will host artist Sean Dye in a benefit art show and wine tasting at Chow Bella tomorrow evening at 7 p.m.
      "The show will feature several originals," Champlain Collection's Norm Choiniere said, "including a [brand] new one that encompasses Chow Bella and the Bulldog." The event has five works of downtown St. Albans plus a number of pieces showcasing Vermont.
      The work consists mainly of oil and pastel paintings. "There are a few acrylics," Mr. Dye said of this show. "Most are heavily textured. I use quite a bit of bright color and fairly loose brush strokes." He describes his brush work as tighter but when he paints with a palette knife, his work is more abstract. His pastel works use more arbitrary colors.
      "Most artists use one medium," Mr. Dye said. "I guess I have a short attention span.
      "When I'm working in a particular medium, if I get frustrated with oil I just go to the other side of my studio where I have a whole pastel setup. I can work on a pastel painting and just go back and forth. It is a way for me to keep fresh and keep working and not lose any studio time."
      He is fascinated with the composition and interaction of materials and consults with materials companies.
      Champlain Collection represents Sean Dye publishes his prints. "Working with Norm has been big," Mr. Dye said. Champlain Collection is "in the corner" in the Highgate Commons Shopping Center.
      Mr. Dye is a member of the Artist In Residence Gallery and the St. Albans Artists' Guild. The award winning multimedia artist teaches at the University of Vermont and conducts workshops throughout North America on pastel, oil painting and mixed-media. He earned his MFA at Pratt.
      Admission is free. "We will also accept donations to the Gwen Gallup Scholarship Foundation," Mr. Choiniere said. "We will not charge admission; we'll just have a nice big cookie jar."


ESSEX JUNCTION--Franklin County's own Nobby Reed Project wakes up the town at the Lincoln Inn tonight at 7 p.m. in the WCLX Blues night. Tomorrow, the Inn offers the Starline Rhythm Boys at 9 p.m. Sunday is Pine St. Jazz night with the Second Sunday Instrumental night at 7 p.m. Longford Row leads the Celtic Party on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
      Call 802.878.3309 or click here for more info.

ALBURGH--Jim Branca leads the Second Sunday Sing-a-long Suppers, an old fashioned pot-luck dinner, followed by an old fashioned sing-a-long featuring the old time tunes and classics on in the Alburgh Library at 5 p.m. on the second Sunday of each month. This Sunday is a special Mother's Day edition.
      "It's kinda like coming full circle for me," Mr. Branca said. He came from a "big loud family and my Dad's love of Barbershop tunes from the 1890's through the Tin-Pan Alley Era and a whole bunch of old folks croonin' 'round a piano are some of my first happy musical memories."
      Call 802.796.6077 or email for more info.

SOUTH BURLINGTON--Award winning contemporary Vermont Christian artist Mark Shelton presents the Tribal Nation Concert, a Teen Challenge benefit concert, at the Community Bible Church on Saturday evening at 7 p.m.
      "The men of Teen Challenge do all the roles in the show," Mr. Shelton said. And quite a show it is. The Gospel Rock Opera "has more lasers and more explosives and more crazy stuff."
      Members of Teen Challenge will conduct theatrical presentations during Mr. Shelton's performance along with testimony and song.
      This will be an evening of music, drama, evangelism, worship, and mission. "Teen Challenge is a program for men who have had difficult experiences in life," Mr. Shelton said. "They offer love and an opportunity to see things differently. We're traveling the Tribal Nation to help raise money for the program."
      Admission is $15. Tickets are available at the door or online here.

JEFFERSONVILLE--The Village Tavern hosts Open Mic at 8 p.m. on Thursdays.

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.

ST. ALBANS--Chow Bella offers Vern Colburn on the piano at 5:30 on Friday evenings, and the dynamite jazz duo of Ted Crosby and Fabian Rainville on Saturdays at 7 p.m. Click here for more info.


     The Pangea Day film festival is a four-hour marathon on May 10. The event "endeavors to bring the world together and promote understanding and tolerance through film." The committee 24 short movies from the 2,500 submitted by film makers in 102 countries.
      The film festival will be streamed live in seven languages online. It will also take place at over 1,500 sites across the globe. Live broadcasts are scheduled in major cities and at the Pyramids. There are limited TV broadcasts.
      Click here for more info.


     Blacksmith (and sculptor) Lucian Avery designs and forges one of a kind commissioned pieces that are meant to be touched and used. He has been a Master Artist at the Vermont Folklife Center. His site includes biographical info, a catalog, a gallery, a discussion of smithing, and ordering 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 © 2008 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.