ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 13 * * All Arts News On the Web * * January 22, 2009


      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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      Take an art class this winter and discover the possibilities.


      President Barack Obama entered office on Tuesday with the first-ever presidential arts platform. His priorities include his proposals to create an Artists Corps and to expand public/private partnerships between schools and arts organizations, both to revitalize the arts in education. He also wants to return National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) funding to earlier levels.
      Immediately before Mr. Obama took the oath, Itzhak Perlman, violin, Anthony McGill, clarinet, Gabriella Montero, piano, and a positively giddy Yo-Yo Ma, cello, serenaded him with Air and Simple Gifts, written by John Williams.
      The President seems more than willing to spend future tax money to cure current problems. On the other hand, the cultural economy typically suffers the first cuts in a recession yet it is art that sustains us in bad times and innovation that leads the way out of them.
      "Mr. Obama has an opportunity to revitalize our national spirit by strengthening our cultural programs at every level. It's hard to imagine what could be a more important -- and enduring -- legacy." Former National Endowment for the Humanities chair William R. Ferris wrote in the New York Times.
      The Artists Corps, a national service organization similar to AmeriCorps, would place young artists in schools and arts organizations across this country.
      An Artists Corps is not a solution for shrinking local school budgets, though. It would better enhance existing programs by growing how our students learn and the contributions corps members can make to the cultural economy.


     The Flynn Center for the Performing Arts presents the Vermont Youth Orchestra and the VYO Chorus in Video Games Live on Saturday at 8 p.m.
      Imagine going to a rock concert and finding the largest symphony orchestra in New England. Video Games Live embeds video games into a spectacular multimedia show in this partnership between the Flynn, the VYO, and the VYOC. Led by conductor Jack Wall, the orchestra and chorus will perform scores from classic and current video games including Mario, Zelda, Fantasy, Myst, Pac-Man, Civilization IV, Tetris, Frogger, Space Invaders and more. The concert will feature video footage, synchronized lighting, electronic elements and interactive audience segments.
      Our Vermont youth orchestra is the first to perform a program which has sold out concert halls across the country.
      Admission is $45, $35 and $25. Call 802.86.FLYNN or click here for tickets and info.


PRESTO--Register now for the winter and spring sessions of the Vermont Youth Orchestra Presto program for beginning string players. Led by conductor Asiat Ali, the Presto Sessions are open to string players who can read C, D, A and G major scales and are learning the F major scale. Two levels of Presto accommodate students according to their skill level. The program will cover orchestra etiquette, learning how to work with a conductor, and playing/listening in a group.
      Presto sessions will take place on Saturday mornings starting on Saturday and continuing through February 14, with the spring session from March 7 through April 4. All sessions are held at the Elley-Long Music Center at Saint Michael's College.
      The winter session culminates in a concert for parents and families, held on Valentine's Day.
      The cost for each session of Presto is $70. Financial Aid is available. Call the VYOA (802.655.5030) or click here to download the registration form.

WINTER ART CLASSES--South Shore Art Center begins classes and workshops Tuesday. They will offer two sections of Drawing II with Valerie Vitali or Patricia Gray plus Originals in Watermedia with Lilly Cleveland, and Brushwork for the Oil Painter with Patricia Gray. New workshops include Mold Making & Plaster Casting with Maine artist Kim Bernard and Technology for Artists with Regina Gardner Milan.       Click here to register.


MONTPELIER--Vermont Opera Theater presents Opera Insights with Tim Tavcar on Saturday, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 5 p.m. in the Unitarian Church. Mr. Tavcar's illustrated talk includes Macbeth (Verdi), The Nose (Shostakovich), and Rusalka (Dvorak), with a mini-concert of related selections performed by singers Celina Moore, Ann Fitch, and Steven Falbel, with pianist Eliza Thomas.
      Admission is $10 or $5 for those under 18 Call 802.223.8610 or click here for more info.


2009 KELLICUTT INTERNATIONAL (January 31)--The Coastal Arts League Juried Photo Show is Through A Lens, Contrasting Elements. $3,500 in Cash Prizes. Email or click here for more info or for an entry form and complete rules.

23rd ROSEN OUTDOOR SCULPTURE COMPETITION (February 14)--Exhibit places ten new sculptures on the campus of Appalachian State University. The competition is open to all U.S. resident sculptors over the age of 18. Awards and Honoraria total $16,000 along with installation assistance, full color catalog, corporate sales, and a residency program. The Rosen is a part of An Appalachian Summer Festival which features music, dance, theater, and visual arts. Call 828.262.7520 or click here for a prospectus or more info.

HALPERT BIENNIAL (February 21)--This national, juried, visual art competition and exhibition is open to all U.S. resident two-dimensional visual artists over the age of 18. A full color brochure will be developed to document the exhibition. Awards total $5,000. Also part of An Appalachian Summer Festival. Call 828.262.7520 or click here for a prospectus or more info.


     The Toucans Steel Drum Band has played the Pacific Northwest for 20 years and has been on the Web since 1995. The site has a beakload of information about steel drums, the actual toucan bird, and the band itself, plus an interactive photo gallery, booking links, calendar info, their trademark battle with cereal giant Kellogg's™, and the ubiquitous MySpace page.


      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 © 2009 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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