ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 16 * * All Arts News On the Web * * March 29, 2012


      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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      March has been Women's History Month. The national celebration began in 1981. Since 1995, Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama have issued a series of annual proclamations designating the month of March as "Women's History Month." This year's theme, shown all month in art and cultural exhibits, has been Women's Education - Women's Empowerment.
      The Smithsonian American Art Museum features Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage, 64 photographs taken between 2009 and 2011 of landscapes and architecture and objects that have shaped Ms. Leibovitz's American view. The Museum is acquiring the works for its permanent collection. click here for more info.
      National Gallery of Art programming also continues through Saturday with lectures, gallery talks, guided tours, films and a concert. Click here for more info.
      There is much more on display. Click here for more info.


     The Library of Congress, National Endowment for the Arts, National Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution, and the archivists of 38 states have joined to pay tribute to the thousands of prodigies in every state whose commitment to the arts have proved invaluable to American society.
      April will be the nation's first Prodigy's History Month.
      "Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart began playing the piano at age 3. At age 4, he had picked up the violin. By 8, he had already written his first symphony. By 12, his first opera," Lacey Rose reported in "Whiz Kids" in Forbes Magazine.
      "Mozart is perhaps history's best known example of a child prodigy. But despite our collective fascination with pint-sized geniuses, there is limited research into prodigies--and almost no consensus on what causes them, or even an exact definition."
      The national designation began here in Vermont in 2009 when then-Governor Jim Douglas and State Archivist Gregory Sanford petitioned the U.S. Congress to authorize and request the President to proclaim the month beginning April 1, 2010, as "Prodigy's History Month." The request took two extra years to go through Congress but 2012 is indeed the first of many future annual celebrations in most states.
      Vermont will fete three Franklin County prodigies in the opening ceremonies on the Statehouse lawn in Montpelier on Sunday afternoon. Those ceremonies will be streamed live to the new Taylor Park 18' stadium television screen thanks to Northwest Access TV. Beau Vine and the Buckamoos, all four of whom were themselves under age four when they began their music career on these pages in 2006, will perform at the bandshell after the statewide ceremonies.
      The atmospheric landscape paintings of then-emerging artist Mandana Bertrand caused a stir from Montpelier, Vermont, to Montpellier, France. Born in Montgomery in 1900, Ms. Bertrand was just four (and her works painted when she was even younger) at the time of her first international exhibit. She lived and painted in Montgomery all of her life.
      At the age of five, Poet Laureate, pianist, and composer Ethel Coffin of Fairfield was already reading English, French, Spanish, and Latin. She translated Latin verse at age nine and wrote her first epic poem at 10, the same year she performed her first piano concerto at the White House for then-President Lyndon Johnson. She now lives, writes, and teaches from her home in Bakersfield.
      Franklin O'Daigh was born in 1924 in Sheldon. He not only determined in 1934 that 10 is a solitary number but also solved the Happy Ending problem. Dr. O'Daigh has retired from teaching and now lives in Burlington.
      Prodigy's History Month continues after April 1 with activities throughout the state. There will be two free concerts of Ms. Coffin's works, one at Higher Ground and one in the MVU Theater, a solo exhibit of Ms. Bertrand's paintings at the Opera House at Enosburg Falls, and a lecture by Dr. O'Daigh at the St. Albans Historical Museum. Area teachers can also put ready-to-use lesson plans, student activities, collection guides, and research aids to work in the classroom. Tickets, schedules, and downloadable curriculum materials are available at


ENOSBURG FALLS--The Artist In Residence Gallery features different artists each month. This month, the spotlight is on landscape watercolorist Jeanne Backhaus, woodturner Toby Fulwiler, and painter Henry Trask Reilly. The A.I.R. gallery hosts a free meet-the-artists reception with refreshments this Sunday. the first Sunday of the month, from 1 - 4 p.m. The exhibit continues through the end of April.
      April 1 begins a new year at the A.I.R. with eight new artists joining the gallery. Their works range from fine furniture making to paintings on silk to hand tinted photographs.
      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 gallery, located at 321 Main Street, is open Wednesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. plus the first Sunday of each month, noon to 5 p.m.


ST. ALBANS--Carol Ann Jones and Shila Boomhower will sing a few duets at the Chow Bella Open Mic on Wednesday evening, starting at 7 p.m. The regular Open Mic Night happens the first Wednesday of each month and Comedy Night on the third Tuesday.
      Call 802.524.1405, email, or click here for more info or booking requests.

BURLINGTON--Young Tradition Vermont presents Peggy Seeger in the FlynnSpace on Sunday at 7 p.m.
      The niece of Pete and Mike Seeger and daughter of Ruth Crawford Seeger, Ms. Seeger is a member of the first family of folk music. This concert celebrates her 75th birthday and her final tour of North America. She has released 23 solo recordings, including a new CD on Appleseed Recordings and contributed to hundreds with other performers.
      Admission is $20 for Adults, $16 for students. Call 802.86.FLYNN or click here for ticket info. Click here for info about Young Tradition Vermont.

COLCHESTER--The Vermont Youth Orchestra will host an Orchestral Petting Zoo for Young Children at the Elley Long Music Center on Sunday at 3 p.m. The event offers an up-close look at the instruments in the orchestras and an opportunity to touch, listen to, and play a variety of orchestral instruments.
      Click here for more info.


     A Canvas A Day is the brainstorm of Dartmouth artist Joanne Arbuthnott who painted a canvas each day for the year 2011 with the profits going to the Children's Wish Foundation.
      The site also has compilations of the paintings from each week in March and April.


      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 © 2012 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.