ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 12 * * All Arts News On the Web * * November 27, 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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      At Thanksgiving time, I like to round up some area artists to share what they are grateful for at this time of year.
      Fine artist Corliss Blakely is "Thankful that Obama was elected."
      Lyle Glidden is "Thankful for the deep love Mom and I share for one another and the joy we are now experiencing in our lives and home."
      Photographer April Henderson reports that "'Things' are dandy and I'm in hibernation. She wants to know when the ice goes out on the lake." There is no ice here, April.
      Ronni Lopez, director of the Catalyst Theater Company, is going through a perplexing and frustrating illness that began last spring and "zapped her energy and focus. I am thankful for those theater friends who assisted me with day-to-day activities," she wrote. "I am blessed -- and even back to directing Catalyst Theater Company's annual 'Best Christmas Pageant Ever' -- tethered to oxygen 24/7 for the time being. My head is clear, my energy is back (plus!) my mind is sharp, and my life is blessed."
      She looks forward to giving back to the community this season by asking patrons to donate non-perishable food items for the Food Shelf.
      This year's run of Pageant will be a tribute to the late Kathy Ford who was in the show for half a decade where she played two very different comic characters. For Kathy in my life, I am thankful.
      Shelly Pottala organized and runs the Art in Bloom Festival and much more. "I am thankful to know so many talented people," she said. "I am not an artist but I do appreciate talent and beauty. Happy snow day!"
      Nelly Bonfigli of the Essex Art League writes, "It has been a hard year for us. We lost our dear son Daniel, an avid photographer and outstanding human being. But even in the middle of our sorrow, we'll be giving thanks for all the blessings we enjoy today and the fact that God took our dear son soon enough to stop his suffering so he could see the light of peace. My paintings gave refuge to my pain. The art I was able to produce in these ten months have a very special meaning. Thanks to Art! So with sweet memories of yesterday and the blessings of today I wish all of you a Joyful and Peaceful Thanksgiving!"
      My personal note: It has been a tough year for most of us but regular readers may know that I have continued traveling this year. I usually write this column from the Keys where it has never snowed on Thanksgiving. For that I am profoundly thankful.
      Despite the economy, the vibrant art scene here on the southernmost islands of the United States continues with galleries, concerts, performances, and organizations everywhere you look. The Bougainvillea House co-operative has moved into new digs. Marathon Community Theater held its first farce of the season with the Amorous Ambassador last week. A northern visitor saw a good Ohio bluegrass band, Brittany Reilly, at a local pub on Saturday. I may book them for Summer Sounds. And the sun still sets every evening out beyond Mallory Square in Key West.


OPERATION HAPPINESS: CRAM THE COMPLEX--Mark your calendars. The mission is to cram the Collins-Perley Sports Complex with healthy, non-perishable food to distribute free to families in need in Franklin and Grand Isle Counties during the Holiday season. The needs are endless but a good starting point is for breakfast bars, canned foods, cereals and pancake mix, macaroni and cheese, mayonnaise, peanut butter, rice, pasta and pasta sauces, tuna fish (to go with the mayo), and more. Please check expiration date of donations to ensure freshness
      Donations can be dropped off at the Collins-Perley Sports Complex next Friday, December 5, 3 - 7 p.m. or next Saturday, December 6, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. There will be cookies, music, and lots of friendly faces.
      Email Kelley Patterson at the Chamber for more info.

CURTAIN GOING UP--Actress Kathy Ford, late of St. Albans, passed away in January. In her honor, Catalyst Theater Company has established the Curtain Going Up Fund to assist families with children to see live theater in their community or take part in theater camps, and more.
      Email Ronni Lopez for more info.


     The New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) will hold an open house on Wednesday to introduce their funding programs and services. The event runs 1 - 4 p.m. at 145 Tremont Street in Boston.
      The programs include American Masterpieces--Dance, CultureCount, Expeditions,, Meet the Composer, the National Dance Project, Native Arts @ NEFA, New England States Touring Grants, the Presenter Travel Fund, and Public Art.
      RSVP by December 1 to Adrienne Petrillo (617.951.0010 ext. 527) or email your reservation.


     Find Thanksgiving activities for the elementary classroom at There are Thanksgiving story starters, art and craft ideas and more.
      perpetualpreschool has a series of suggested art projects from pinecone turkey centerpieces to hand turkeys.
      Saskatchewan Schools has history, activities, crafts, and graphics from Northwest of the Border.


      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.