ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 12 * * All Arts News On the Web * * December 18, 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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      ArtBasel-Miami Beach calls itself the most important art show in the United States. It ended a week ago Sunday; the exhibits were impressive as are its accomplishments. After all, the event combines established (million-dollar) artists with bleeding-edge newbies in more than 250 galleries and special exhibitions.
      Florida Keys artist and sculptor Georgina Hosek is concerned about how the economy affects buyers. "I made smaller pieces," she said of a Miami show a week earlier that lead into ArtBasel, "and they sold quite well."
      Sales and attendance were both down at the main event.
      I'm not sure that's important in the grand scheme of things. Auto sales are down more. Despite the economic difficulties, ArtBasel has been an economic engine for south Florida for seven years. Collectors, commoners, connoisseurs, and the cream of the rich and glamorous all connected at the Convention Center where the show featured more than 20th and 21st Century artworks by 2,000 artists, and more than 200 art galleries from 33 countries in North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. There were performance art, public art projects, and video and sound installations, many open to the public for free. And, despite the economy, there were more exhibitors and more shows than ever before.
      The event has spawned satellite fairs that brought life to neighborhoods around Miami including Art Miami, Art Now Fair, Aqua Art Miami, Bridge Art Fair, Design Miami, GEISAI , INK Miami Fair, NADA Art Fair, Photo Miami, the Pool Art Fair, Pulse, and the Red Dot Fair.
      Local artists opened the doors of their studios in the Design District. Home to about 125 art galleries, showrooms, creative services providers, stores, eateries and drinkeries, the District is a neighborhood north of midtown Miami.
      ArtPositions positioned 27 cargo containers and special styrofoam settings at 21st and Collins.
      The Miami Art Museum downtown had tours and parties. There were art brunches and tours at Lowe Art Museum, Fairchild Tropical Gardens, and Florida International University.
      There was a public art garden on Ocean Drive. Tents held free exhibits for the public.
      Hotels opened rooms as mini-galleries.
      The Wynwood Art District had over 40 art spaces including the Goldman Warehouse/MOCA opening reception, the World Class Boxing Gallery, Locust Projects, CasaLin, and more including SCOPE, Miami. That emerging contemporary art fair hosted 89 exhibitors from 22 countries in a new 60,000 square foot pavilion.
      Even private homes have opened their collections for parties and viewings.
      Art Basel Miami Beach incorporated three "Art Loves" crossover events. Art Loves Music offered free admission to a concert by French singer Yelle. Art Loves Film honored art collectors Herb and Dorothy Vogel with a showing of the documentary Herb and Dorothy. Art Loves Architecture feted David Adjaye, with artists Matthew Ritchie and Teresita Fernandez.
      Northwestern Vermont could create its own version of this extravaganza. Imagine a major show split between the Collins Perley and the Museum. Satellite shows could spring up in the Opera House and the Artist in Residence. Champlain Connection would host events. The Foothills Bakery and . There could be containers in Davis Park and Swanton Park and Taylor Park. Every church could open its parish hall. Northwestern Medical Center could have a multimedia event in Conference Room A.
      It would be nice to double the population of Franklin County for a long weekend, eh?
      For the record, Art Basel Miami will take place December 3 - 6, 2009.


     It is odd that the busiest time of the year for most personal and family pursuits is also loaded with artist calls but so it goes.
      A word about these calls. The All Arts Council is on a lot of lists and many of the calls we see are commercial galleries raising revenue through the entry fees or outright Ponzi-like scams. I try to weed all of those out. I do publish shows and contests that look interesting, particularly if they originate from Vermont exhibitors, colleges, galleries I know, or warm places that are nice to visit this time of year.

PRESTO (Now)--The Vermont Youth Orchestra Association wants registrations for this ensemble program for beginning string players. Presto sessions take place on Saturday mornings from January 17 through February 14 at the Elley-Long Music Center at Saint Michaelís College. Led by conductor Asiat Ali, the program offers introductory coaching in all areas of ensemble string playing. The winter session costs $70. Financial aid is available. Click here for printer friendly registration forms.

CRAFTY CALL (Now)--A Fancy Free Market opened recently in Randolph. They seek consignment crafts and some art to compliment the primarily co-op-style local foods store. They will accept artwork, crafts, and pottery from Vermont Artisans. No fee. The consignment charge is 20%. Call Cathy Bacon (802.728.0070), email, or click here for more info.

NEFA GRANTS (Now)--New England Foundation for the Arts has launched an "eco-friendly" online grant application system. Click here for details.

N*DE ART CALENDAR CONTEST (December 22)--All visual artists in all media and all styles. Entry fee. Call 917-806-7992, email or click here for more info.

BLOG TO REEL FILM (December 27)--Win a cash prize and have a favorite blog turned into a film. No entry fee. Email or click here for more info.

THE SKETCHBOOK PROJECT (December 31)--Art House is distributing sketchbooks to artists around the country, then will take the results on a 6 city tour to galleries and museums. Entry Fee. Click here for more info

WOODLAND RETREAT RESIDENCY (January 5)--Artists' self-directed/project oriented residencies, mostly four weeks in length, will be held in Connecticut from May through November, 2009. Residencies will be offered to visual (including digital) artists, music composers, environmental artists, landscape and garden designers, creative writers and architects. I-Park is a 450-acre natural woodland retreat in rural East Haddam. Entry fee. Artists are responsible for their own transportation to and from the area and for their own food and work materials. Call 860-873-2468, email or click here for more info.

KREFT NATIONAL EXHIBITION (January 7)--This year's theme is Reconciliation: a sense of connection or re-connection between people and communities. The juried exhibit at Concordia University is open to all interpretations on the theme in all media. Cash awards and a solo exhibition. Entry fee. Email or click here for more info, a prospectus, and entry form

NATIONAL JURIED EXHIBIT OF ARTISTS' BOOKS (January 31)--The Olde Towne Arts Center in Louisiana seeks entries for Topophilia (love of place). Open to artists living or working within the USA, this exhibit is about places that are near to your heart - rural or urban, public or private, internal or external, microscopic or macroscopic, singular or plural, real or imaginary, past or present. Submissions must be one-of-a-kind or a limited edition based on the exhibition theme on CD or slides. Call 985.649.0555 or email for a prospectus and entry form.

20"x20"x20" (January 15)--The juried National Compact Competition and Exhibit at LSU Union Art Gallery offers cash awards. Open to all artists in U.S. All media. Entry Fee for 3 entries. Email or click here for more info and a prospectus.


     Bougainvillea House Gallery is an artists co-op at the geographical center of the Florida Keys. It features paintings; acrylic, collage, mixed media, oil, pastel, watercolor, as well as pottery, ceramics, hand blown glass, fused glass, stained glass, photography and jewelry by (mostly) local artists. The understated site includes store hours, contact info, and links to some of the artist members.


      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.