ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 17 * * All Arts News On the Web * * March 7, 2013


      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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      Last week, we looked at a website belonging to Franklin County artist and photographer Natalie LaRocque. She has begun using Artistwebsites/Fine Art America to host her gallery of images and to fulfill orders. Now let's look at "print on demand" (POD) itself as well as how and why an artist or photographer might use it.
      It's easy to buy a print in a gallery or at a show. But maybe not so much for the artist.
      Ms. LaRocque has more than 200 images available online in sizes from 6x8" to 18x24". By contrast, Britain's National Portrait Gallery, London, has over 75,000 different portraits in a variety of sizes and finishes to choose from.
      It's hard to keep all those prints in stock for sale in a gallery or at a show.
      Cost and access are barriers for any artist or musician or gallery. After all, who wants to invest many thousands or even just a few hundred dollars in inventory that may not turn for months, or in the case of some obscure portraits even years? I'm not sure the National Gallery sold any copies of an albumen print of Sir Frederick Abbott by Camille Silvy last year or this.
      We often associate POD with books but amateur shutterbugs have been able to walk into almost any drug store with a memory card -- and walk out minutes later with finished prints -- for almost as long as there have been digital cameras. Kodak introduced the first Kiosk (the Kodak Picture Maker) in the 1990s. That's print on demand at its most basic.
      Printing has gotten a lot better.
      Digital technology lets artists, galleries, musicians, and writers publish print runs as small as one copy of works right when they are ordered. The current generation of photo "mini-labs," large format printers, and UV-curable inks drives print on demand. The National Gallery installed its first system in 2003. That system increased the number of images available as prints from just 60.
      Today publishing or printing companies offers services directly to artists. These services often include printing, matting, framing, packaging, and shipping a work each time one is ordered, handling credit card or PayPal payments, and perhaps even some minor marketing. Buyers can choose from prints that look like "real" photographs on glossy, matte, or metallic photo papers, on art papers or watercolor papers, as well as other materials such as aluminum plate, calendars, canvas prints, giclee prints, greeting cards, panoramics, photo books, prints on Plexiglas™ plate, stationery cards, tote bags, t-shirts, and wall peels.
      Fine art reproduction on canvas or artistic papers is often the quality expected of gallery prints.
      I have found no one site that offers all those materials.
      Ms. LaRocque's site maintains no inventory other than her electronic files and, of course, a framing and shipping shop. They stock over 250 different frames. All framed prints are assembled, packaged, and shipped by their staff within 2 - 3 business days of ordering.
      These sites make the production end of art far more productive but buyers have excellent options as well.
      Order a print sent to a local framing shop where you can see the mat and frame in real life and receive a similar "ready to hang" piece of art with hanging wire, mounting hooks, and nails. That's the best of both worlds.
      In the coming weeks, I'll talk with other artists and review FAA and its competitors.


ST ALBANS--The Northwestern Medical Center Gallery hosts watercolor students (adults) from Kathleen Berry Bergeron's art classes in St. Albans and Jericho as a Field of Sunflowers on the NMC Art Walls. Plural.
      The group came together to share their Sunflowers on the two art wall displays at NMC, one in the Lobby by the elevator/switchboard and the other on the Medical Surgical floor. These sunflowers bring a sign of hope and cheer during the month of March.
      Call Katherine Winchester, Volunteer Services Supervisor (802.524.1055) to buy from one of the featured artists or for more info.
      The show continues through the end of March.


ESSEX JUNCTION--On Tap offers Blues Night with the Nobby Reed Project tonight at 7 p.m. Simply the best in the land, Vermont's premiere blues trio includes Eric Belrose, percussion, Ray Bushey, bass, and Mr. Reed on lead guitar and vocals.
      Call 802.878.3309 or email for more info.

ST. ALBANS--The Franklin County Humane Society presents the seventh Annual Chocolate by the Pound (and Jewelry Silent Auction) extravaganza and fundraiser at the St. Albans Historical Museum on Saturday from 2 - 5 p.m.
      Martha Seyler of the Vermont Ukelele Society and Robert Resnik who plays most stringed and wind instruments and claims to be chronically addicted to the button accordion will perform throughout the afternoon.
      Admission is $15 in advance or $20 at the door all the chocolate you can eat. Call the Humane Society (802.524.9650), click here, or visit the shelter itself for advance tickets and more info.

PLATTSBURGH--Olive Ridley's presents Justice to keep the party rolling with Scott Belisle on bass and backup vocals; Todd Dunn, lead and rhythm guitar; Gary Greeno, lead vocals; Mike Stella, drums; and Scott Guptill, rhythm guitar and backup vocals Saturday evening at 10 p.m.
      Click here for more info.

COLCHESTER--The Young Tradition Vermont Concert for St. Patrick will feature Tommy Sands with Fionan Sands in the McCarthy Arts Center at St. Michael's College on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The evening will begin with an opening set by the McFadden Academy of Irish Dance.
      Songwriter and peace activist Tommy Sands tours with the Sands Family, playing Carnegie Hall, Moscow's Olympic Stadium, and around the world.
      Admission is a suggested $20 donation. There are no advance tickets, but reservations can be made by email.


     Public art comes in many shapes. The University of Sheffield in the UK has created the world's first database of baseball statues. The site includes every baseball related statue in the USA and Canada, representing more than 200 players, managers, execs, broadcasters and even fans. Included are subject, when the statue was unveiled, the sculptor, the location, and the current status.


      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).
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