ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 13 * * All Arts News On the Web * * March 26, 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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ENOSBURG FALLS--The Artist In Residence Gallery features different artists each month. The April exhibit, beginning on Wednesday, places the spotlight on paintings by Jim Foote, turned bowls by Toby Fulwiler, and paintings and photographs by Rebecca Bennett and Natalie LaRocque-Bouchard.
      Painter and photographer Rebecca Bennett grew up in Belvedere and now lives in San Francisco where she teaches drawing at the Academy of Art University. Her paintings begin with adventures of monsters, aliens, spaceships, magical horses, and the isolation of faraway lands. She creates art "about fear, loss, isolation, and hope."
      Painter Jim Foote of Richford uses color, sunlight, and shadows to create detailed, elegant scenes of the landscape around us. He works primarily from photographs. He also "sketches" first with software tools before turning to his brushes for the final acrylic paintings.
      Wood turner Toby Fulwiler of Fairfield retired about six years ago after teaching writing for 35. He turns bowls from the sugar maple, black cherry, yellow birch, and butternut culled on his own 90-acre property. His bowls are, he says, his raison d’etre, his useful craft, his sustenance, his art. He sell at four galleries, online, and in craft shows.
      Painter and photographer Natalie LaRocque-Bouchard improves local wildlife, landscapes, skyscapes, trees, ferns, and flowers, people, and the occasional jet aircraft in the sky.
      Many of her works show Franklin County. She paints life-sized and oversized canvases plus trompe l'oeil murals on canvas and now often works from her own digital images. "While I'm painting," she wrote, "I'm praying to God, and while I'm taking photographs, I'm thanking God."
      The A.I.R. gallery hosts a free meet-the-artists reception with refreshments next Thursday evening, April 2, from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. The Bennett, Foote, Fulwiler, and LaRocque-Bouchard exhibit begins Wednesday and continues until the end of April. The textiles of Vermont Bag Lady Nan Adriance and paintings by both Tess Beemer and Sharon Fiske will be featured until March 31.
      The Artist in Residence art cooperative features paintings, fiber arts, stained glass, sculpture, lamps, pottery, folk art boxes, scarves, hats and more by about 45 Franklin County and surrounding area artists. It is owned and operated by the artists and sponsors. The Village Frame Shoppe is located within the coop as a resident framer. The Blue Crayon, a small private studio, is available there for individual or small group lessons. The gallery, located at 349 Main Street, is open Wednesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.


     The Vermont Youth Orchestra, the Vermont Symphony Orchestra and two hundred and sixteen other orchestras will join flutes for the first national food drive, Orchestras Feeding America. Proceeds collected locally will benefit the Vermont Foodbank.
      Food banks need things that are easy to store and package including boxed dry goods such as pastas or boxed meals, canned meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, soups or chili, as well as cereal, pasta, rice, peanut butter, spaghetti sauce, pet foods and diapers. Bring donations of these and other non-perishable food items to the Elley-Long Music Center at Saint Michael's College on Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., and Sunday noon - 6 p.m. Glass containers of any kind will break. Don't bring those.
      The food drive coincides with the opening of The Soloist, the true story of Juilliard-trained cellist Nathaniel Ayers now living with madness on the streets of Los Angeles and his friendship with columnist Steve Lopez. VYO alumna Leah Schwartz (2000-02, clarinet) now a student at the University of Southern California appears as a member of the Juilliard Orchestra depicted in the movie.
      The film underscores both the power of music and the ability of orchestras nationwide to feed hungry neighbors in their local communities.


     The Downtown Initiative for the Visual Arts Center is a non-profit, membership supported art center in Eugene, Oregon. DIVA has a six gallery exhibit space and 60 seat screening room. It is a collaboration of local volunteer artists, business people and community leaders and is a member-based organization open to artists and art lovers alike.
      The city of Eugene is right on the water at the southern end of the Willamette Valley and the county seat of Lane County, Oregon. The metropolitan population is about six times that of Franklin County -- Eugene has about 150,000 people but draws on probably 90,000 more from the surrounding area.
      In six years, DIVA has exhibited over 900 artists, screened hundreds of films, and offered classes from screen writing to figure drawing. They bring over 1,200 visitors through the doors monthly.
      I like the idea of averaging 12.5 new artists per month. 1,200 visitors seemed low, though, because it means only half of one percent of the population base is visiting that art center, especially since those visitors include a fair quantity of "repeat business." The numbers for Franklin County turn out to be encouraging. Half a percent of the population base here would put more than 200 visitors through the doors in a given month and that's a pretty good start.


     The Naples Art Association and the von Liebig Art Center is a large and busy art enclave in the heart of "South St. Albans." Their site includes links for and about their artists, current and upcoming exhibitions and events, classes and programs, and membership 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 © 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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