ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 13 * * All Arts News On the Web * * October 29, 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!

E-Mail Delivery
Sign up to receive the free weekly ArtBits
newsletter by e-mail
or by RSS feed.


      The St. Albans City Council approved a proposal from city resident Jay Fleury earlier this month. He hopes to create a new Greater St. Albans City Arts Council called the St. Albans Society for the Performing Arts.
      Mr. Fleury told the Council that "he and other community residents would like to plant the seed for an arts council and see how it evolves." He said he will not ask the City for money now.
      The National Endowment for the Arts created its "Local Arts Agency" program for arts councils; the NEA had a specific local taxpayer support requirement for each organization. "Locals" still need municipal funds and support to qualify.
      The City Council supports the concept as long as it uses grant funds.
      Northwestern Vermont now has a number of complementary arts organizations including the All Arts Council, the Friends of the Opera House at Enosburg Falls, Island Arts, the Northern Vermont Artist Association, and the Vermont Maple Festival.
      Asked if the new group would compete with the All Arts Council, Mr. Fleury said that his group would produce other activities not currently offered. Regular readers know that I chair the AAC.
      The All Arts Council is Vermont's only all volunteer "Local Arts Service Organization." For the last quarter century, it has helped grow Franklin County from a "rural underserved" locale with few significant exhibits and one or two professional concerts each year to a vibrant arts community with full time galleries, art shows, and actual overlap between exhibits and concerts and festivals.
      A Local Arts Service Organization (formerly a "Local Arts Agency") is most important for the services it provides to arts and cultural organizations, individual artists, and to the community it represents. These groups must promote arts and cultural events and arts opportunities. They collaborate with other groups, businesses, and municipalities to provide higher quality and greater access to arts and cultural programs and opportunities. Most run programs, projects, and initiatives including arts education, lifelong learning, art in public places, marketing, and community outreach.
      Next week, I will look at the All Arts history and how it meets its mission as a Local Arts Service Organization; in the coming weeks, I will survey the other arts groups and presenters in the county. It has been a while since anyone in the arts community has thought about the gaps in programming and services.
      Grants will land at the top of the services list gap. The AAC, for example, has had a few very small successes with grant programs over the years but Franklin County needs much more. Many arts councils have Artreach Grants for audience (and artist) development. A grant program like that assists local artists and arts organizations and their partners for projects in any genre including performance, visual art, and writing. I strongly encourage the new organization to build the resources to make direct grants to local artists and arts activities.
      Mr. Fleury has started three other guilds in St. Albans.
      A St. Albans City Arts Council is not a new idea--the St. Albans Community Arts Network (St. Albans CAN!) almost succeeded; its time has come again. I hope this one works.


BURLINGTON--The UVM Old Time Music Club presents a Contra and Square Dance with the Mad Robin Collective as callers and the musicians, Streak O Lean in the Billings North Lounge at the University of Vermont on Friday at 7 p.m.
      Streak O Lean includes Jim Burns, Brianna Farver, Andrew Hathaway, Julia Wayne and Mark Sustic. Email Will Mentor, or Mark Sustic for more info.

SOUTH BURLINGTON--The Burlington Irish Heritage Festival presents a Celtic Hootenanny featuring Matt and Shannon Heaton, Prydein, Tim Cummings and Anthony Santoro, O'hAnleigh, Tom Banjo, the McFadden Academy of Irish Dance, Patrick Webb and others at Higher Ground on Sunday at 3 p.m. Proceeds benefit the Champlain Valley Folk Festival. Call 888.512.SHOW, 802.652.0777 or email for more info.


     The creative economy is more vulnerable than most to economic contractions.
      The Massachusetts Cultural Council reported that about half the arts groups in that state have each laid off one or more employees since the beginning of the current recession. Federal stimulus funds did help retain some staff but moneys from those funds were not available in Franklin County.
      The Massachusetts cultural economy employs 37,000 workers in that state. Our neighbor has a new program to help. The Pew Charitable Trusts developed the Massachusetts Cultural Data Project. The online system allows arts groups across that state to compare their financial situation to similar organizations. Pennsylvania, Maryland, California, and other states have also implemented the system.


     Hallowe'en art remains the dark side of the Internet.
      The Artist's Coalition of All Hallow's Eve. Their 11th annual exhibit is the national showcase of original, collectible Halloween art by today's top and upcoming talents in a ghastly gallery online. The family-focused online media company remains a favorite with free clip art, Hallowe'en trivia and Fall activities plus a Hallowe'en index of spooky costumes, creepy crafts, and haunted recipes.
      Halloween Art by Peterson/Wallace offers block prints and other fine art--witches, black cats, devils, owls, frogs, and more. The site has a gallery, bios, contact and purchase info and an artist statement.


      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.


AAC dancing logo

All Arts Council of Franklin County

Support Free Speech on the Internet
Dick Harper, Chair
P.O. Box 1
Highgate Springs, VT 05460
email us

Go to [ Dick Harper | All Arts Index | ArtBits Archive ]

      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).
      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.