ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 13 * * All Arts News On the Web * * November 12, 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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      This series surveys 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 continue today with Art in Bloom in Fairfax.
      Franklin County now has a number of complementary arts organizations including the All Arts Council, the Bishop Street artists, 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, and the Vermont Maple Festival. St. Albans City is working on the creation of the St. Albans Society for the Performing Arts as an arts council.
      Held each July, Art in Bloom is an annual Festival, not an arts council, but it offers interesting programming and services and raises money each year for Fairfax emergency services..
      A.I.B. Organizer Shelly Pottala moved to Vermont in 2006 when a friend's house burned to the ground. "I could not even begin to imagine what it would do to my kids if they lost everything," she said. She has always admired art and has organized other successful fund raisers.
      Ms. Pottala collected business cards at art shows and craft shows. She solicited local talent. The first show charged exhibitors $25 for booth space and advertising with an incentive to return for the second year at the same price. The fee has increased to $35 but the show (and the donation) has grown significantly.
      Fiddleheads did the free music the first year and fire department volunteers cooked hamburgers and hotdogs. "It has grown quite a bit from the first year," she said. It now includes food vendors, donated ice cream, and live music all day long. There are several popular raffles from "a huge raffle basket" to painted chairs to commercial donations to donated art. Advertising is donated by area newspapers, radio stations, and web sites.
      "We have also had massage therapists which adds to the flair I am looking for," Ms. Pottala said. A yearly family function where you can come, relax, enjoy and stay all day.
      The Festival offered 31 artists, artisans, and artistic businesses plus music all day by 5 different groups. Artist Barbara Hamel Derner handles all the advertising. Musician Jeff Chapman coordinates all the bands for live music.
      The artists and artisans this year included Amanda Bates, Russ and Jan DeCooman, Joanne Delaney, Barbara and Josh Derner, Marje Ellsworth and Beth Tole, Lena Meunier, Mary Rooney, Pat and Andrew Reed, Sandi Rexford, Tia Rooney, Trevor Russell, Bruce Gilbert Smith, Christine Soycheck, and Ally Volz, plus Granny Lynnís Country Greetings, Green Mountain Pottery, Hearts Ease Bears, In the Ferns Stained Glass and Hand Etching, Itís Arthur's Fault, Sallyís Sweet and Savory, Sheddís Spread Painting and Decorating, the Tie Dye Sisters, Vermont Animal Whisperer, Weavers Shed Art Studio, and the Wildflower Farm and Studio. The Festival offered music all day with Backside Grind, Hillbillies from Outer Space, the Hubcats, Alzona Watson, and Wilbur's Dog. Artist Barbara Hamel Derner handles all the advertising. Musician Jeff Chapman coordinates all the bands for live music.
      "I am very pleased from year to year to see the growth," Ms. Pottala said. She now has a great resume of artists that come back every year and lots more space for new ones.
      Art in Bloom is a local event with a broad draw. "It brings neighbors together and helps our town stay strong. Fire and Rescue Departments are vital as well as the Food Shelf," Ms. Pottala said. "It only works if we all contribute and take pride in the town in which we live. "
      Art in Bloom is self-funded. The people involved volunteer or donate.


ST. ALBANS--B.F.A.-St. Albans will hold its first choral concert of the season this evening in the BFA gymnasium at 7 p.m. The concert will feature the BFA Chamber Singers, vocal soloists and the 100-plus member Academy Chorus performing a selection of classical to popular music under the direction of Armand Messier.
      The concert is open to the public. Admission is free.

MORRISVILLE--Allen Church presents The Return of Crazy Chase, the life, times and music of the eccentric fiddler Crazy Alfred Chase of Middlesex and Morrisville. There will be two shows in Foley Hall (upstairs at the River Arts building), an evening performance on Friday at 7 p.m. and a matinee on Sunday at 3 p.m.
      Admission is by suggested donation of $5-$10. The event is co-sponsored by River Arts and the Morristown Historical Society. Call 802.888.1261 or email for more info.
      River Arts brings the arts to the Lamoille Valley from Hardwick to Cambridge and from Eden to Stowe.

MONTPELIER--Band Aid for Band Aids offers Jon Gailmor, the Radio Rangers, Mark LeGrand and Sarah Munro, Spencer Lewis and Cold Country Bluegrass as a benefit for the Peopleís Health and Wellness Clinic in the Montpelier High School auditorium on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
      Email for more info.

CHARLOTTE--The Give Thanks Benefit Concert brings Carol Ann Jones and the Superchargers plus the Hubcats to the Old Lantern stage to raise funds for family services of Chittenden County on Saturday at 7 p.m.
      Georgia's Carol Ann Jones wants her music to bring peace or at least a smile. She sang in church choirs and sang to the cows. She has also sung with the Champlain Echoes, the Hallmark Jazz Quartet, and Pine Street Jazz. Ms. Jones will tell the story of Out of the Blue.
      The Hubcats, Stewart Foster and Fred Brauer, are the premier acoustic duo of northwestern Vermont.
      Bring your homemade pies (sweet and savory) to auction for the benefit. There will be a cash bar and "best turkey sandwich spread" available.
      Admission is $15 or $40 for a Group of Four. Children 12 and Under are free. Tickets are available at

GREENSBORO--Greensboro United Church presents a Musical Feast featuring the Re-Bops, Tony Acheson, Jessamine Levine, Cody Michaels, Laslo Cameo, John Weaver and Donald The Junkman Knaack on Sunday at 4 p.m. The concert benefits Greensboro Wonder and Wisdom.
      Call 802.533.2478 or email for more info.

ST. ALBANS--Chow Bella offers Music to Dine By with John Cassel on the piano on Wednesdays at 6:30 and the jazz and improv of Vern Colburn on the Piano on Fridays at 5:30. Call 802.524.1405 or click here for more info.


     Dancer and choreographer Alia Thabit of West Burke brings traditional and contemporary influences, colorful costumes, and dynamic music to Middle Eastern dance styles. She produces solo, duet, and full company performances suitable for theaters, schools, festivals, weddings, and more. Her site includes classes, workshops, an events calendar, biographical info, booking info, a gallery, and contacts.


      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.