ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 13 * * All Arts News On the Web * * November 5, 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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      The Opera House at Enosburg Falls presents a John Phillips Sousa Concert by the 40th Army National Guard Band on Saturday at 7 p.m.
      Saturday marks the 97th anniversary of Sousa himself playing at the Opera House. "We do know how he programmed concerts so we are as close as we can be to that original concert," SFC Rahne Murner said. The concert will feature the Light Cavalry Overture by Franz von Suppe and the exotic Clarinet Candy by Leroy Anderson as well as several Sousa marches including Fairest of the Fair and, of course, Stars and Stripes Forever.
      Known as the "March King," Sousa was an American composer and conductor renowned for American military and patriotic marches, operettas. He led The President's Own band under five presidents from Rutherford B. Hayes to Benjamin Harrison. He also wrote three novels as well as his autobiography,
      About one-third of the "40th Army Shootiní Tootiní Band" members have attained a Bachelorís or a Masterís Degree in Music. All have civilian occupations including technology, law, insurance, government, and education. Chief Warrant Officer David Myers is Band Commander.
      Admission is free. Donations will be accepted to benefit the Friends of the Opera House.


     Franklin County now has a number of complementary arts organizations including the All Arts Council, the Bishop Street artists, Fairfax Community Theater Company, the Friends of the Opera House at Enosburg Falls, and the Vermont Maple Festival.
      St. Albans City is working on the creation of the St. Albans Society for the Performing Arts (SASPA) as an arts council. This series will survey Franklin County arts groups and presenters to see what they each offer, what gaps we have in programming and services, and what the county needs. We start today with the All Arts Council. Regular readers know that I chair the AAC
      The All Arts Council has helped grow Franklin County from a "rural underserved" locale with no significant exhibits and one or two professional concerts each year to a vibrant arts community with full time galleries, art shows, and actual competition between concerts and festivals.
      We have been active since 1984 with events such as the national ArTrain, the Franco Voyageurs, the Ketch dance troupe, permanent public art from Highgate Springs to St. Albans, the Rotary fine art exhibits, the Summer Sounds series, Vermont Symphony Orchestra performances, the World's Largest Palette, and more, across our part of Northwest Vermont.
      We are Vermont's only all-volunteer "Local Arts Service Organization." That's an important distinction. Nearly 400 volunteers turned out for Floodstock, the biggest non-commercial concert in Franklin County; it raised money for flood relief for Montgomery. Every event and service is run by community members.
      A Local Arts Service Organization (formerly called a "Local Arts Agency") assists arts and cultural organizations, individual artists, and the community. The NEA requires LASOs to promote arts and cultural events and arts opportunities. Each LASO collaborates with other groups, businesses, and municipalities to improve the quality of the arts and to provide greater access to programs and opportunities. Most LASOs run programs, projects, and initiatives such as arts education, lifelong learning, art in public places, marketing, and community outreach.
      Over the years, we've had monthly "networking" meetings, show and tell by local and national artists, impromptu musical gigs, art shows in parks, some business opportunities, film screenings, and sculpture debuts. The AAC also made no cost/low cost partnerships with schools and other organizations around the county. We present all forms of the arts here and we showcase and develop local artists.
      The Summer Sounds concert series with its free concerts every summer Sunday is probably our best known ongoing event. 2010 will be its 20th anniversary year. We have held hundreds of other concerts and shows, festivals, fine art exhibits, arts projects for kids, and provided networking and technical assistance to local artists. We collaborate with artists and other arts groups in northwest Vermont to present cultural activities and assist in publicizing events in the media and on the Internet.
      Last week, I wrote that the AAC has had some luck with grant programs over the years but not as much as I would like. Local artists and arts organizations and their partners need local grant sources for projects in all the genres. We need a volunteer to work on writing grants and regranting that revenue.
      Volunteers are the next big need for any area organization. The AAC, like the Art in Bloom Festival, Cambridge Arts Council, Fairfax Community Theater Company, the Friends of the Opera House, the Hospital art wall, Island Arts, the Jig, Summer Music at Grace, all need more people to undertake more programs.


     Kevin Laddison and First Step Dance present the Sixth Annual Camp TaKumTa Benefit Partner Dance Showcase in the Champlain College Alumni Auditorium on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The dance showcases local dancers, instructors, and groups to benefit Camp TaKumTa. The line-up includes a Group Foxtrot and a Cha Cha Medley with members of The University of Vermont Swing and Salsa Society, Bolero, and Argentine Tango by Queen City Tango, the Hustle, English Country Dancing, the Lindy Hop by Dutch Swing College Band, Bachata, and more.
      Admission is $20/person in advance or $25/person at the door. Tickets are available at Click hereFlynntix, or in person from most performers.
      The auditorium is at 375 Maple Street in Burlington. Doors open 7 p.m. Call 802.598.6757 or click here for more details.


ENOSBURG FALLS--The Artist In Residence Gallery features different artists each month. This month, the spotlight is on artists Tess Beemer, Helen Kyle, Lyna Lou Nordstrom and Becky Wright.
      The A.I.R. gallery hosts a free meet-the-artists reception tonight from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. with "appetizers, drinks, fine art, and good conversation guaranteed!" The exhibit continues through the end of November.
      The Artist in Residence art cooperative features paintings, fiber arts, stained glass, sculpture, lamps, pottery, folk art boxes, scarves, hats and more by 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.

ST ALBANS--The Northwestern Medical Center Gallery hosts Debbie Peate of the NMC Diagnostic Imaging Department this month. (Her sister, artist Carol Mueller, displayed her work at the hospital in October.) Ms. Peate is exhibiting watercolors including Moonlight Farm," "Sheep," "Mountains," "Winter Farm, and more. They "have a soft and dreamy quality," Dolly MacNeill said.
      The show continues through the end of November.


STARKSBORO--Art and Soul Presents the Seasonís Harvest will host a Roadside Hoedown featuring caller Lausanne Allen and Yankee Chank at Sentinel Farms tomorrow evening starting at 6 p.m.

BARRE--Gusto's presents Crashgirl tomorrow evening. Featuring former 8084 member Roy Brown on bass and vocals, the band includes Kelly Darling-Snow, lead vocals; Neil Moxham, guitar, vocals; Paul Bocchiaro, keys, sax, vocals; and Jeff Costello, drums, vocals. Crashgirl revamps older chart-toppers and makes over today's pop hits.

WATERVILLE--Cambridge Arts Council presents a Family Contra Dance featuring caller Mark Sustic with Frank Heyburn, members of Fiddleheads, and other young musicians, all at the Town Hall on Saturday at 7 p.m. There will be easy and fun dances... contras, squares and more, Mr. Sustic said. Bring a partner, a family or come alone. Everyone is welcome, including absolute beginners.
      The suggested donation is $5 or $10 for families at the door. Call 802.644.1118 or email for more info about this and other dances.


     Christopher Curtis of Stowe climbs rocks and works mostly in stone. He uses glacial boulders and stainless steel as the basis of water sculptures, fountains, and other public art. His site includes a portfolio, a look at his studio, commissions, biographical and contact 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).
      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.