ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 17 * * All Arts News On the Web * * April 11, 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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GEORGIA--Vermont artist Corliss Blakely will return to Georgia Elementary next week (April 15-19) to give art workshops for seventh and eighth graders. The Vermont artist is one of the national experts in iPad-paintings.
      Each middle school student uses an iPad in core subjects and in unified arts. Ms. Blakely's two-day workshops brought students an understanding of the unique ability the tablet offers for painting and drawing as well as skills training in two art apps (applications or tablet-based computer programs). The school will hold one more series of workshops for seventh and eighth grade students next month.
      click here to see examples of the students' work from December.

ST ALBANS--The Northwestern Medical Center Gallery hosts local painter Millie Boyd this month. Ms. Boyd was an LPN at NMC until 1987. She began her interest in painting in 2008 under the guidance of Kathleen Berry Bergeron. Her watercolor paintings express the beauty in flowers, still life, animals, children, and other various local and Vermont images.
      If you would like to learn more about or buy these and other paintings in the NMC Gallery, call the Volunteer Office (802.524.1055). The show continues through the end of April.


     This series for area artists and photographers discusses using Print on Demand sites to host artists' galleries and to fulfill orders. We have visited some artists' websites, looked at POD itself, as well as considering how and why an artist or photographer might use it.
      I'm working with a Hinesburg gallery right now to rebuild their website and integrate e-commerce. Like most artists, the owner wants the lowest cost solution to handle ordering a print with options for size, framing, and shipping. The payment mechanism is no small task. The POD sites do all of that in the background which means you don't have to. Of course, the reason they have that system is to sell their product along with yours.
      SmugMug "Portfolio" is a good, basic photo sharing service with a simple-to-use platform and several options for editing your own photos. Most pros have no need for online editing but do want several options for selling their own prints.
      The sharing service offers unlimited photos (up to 50MB per file), unlimited storage, no ads, no spam, easy drag-and-drop uploads and easy sharing. The products include photobooks, posters, and framed prints. They also allow you to create a webpage where you can post photos to share and 50 preloaded themes to make the homepage more personal, along with Flash slideshows. You can choose to have prints handled through Bay Photo, EZ Prints, and WHCC. Merchandise such as mugs and stickers goes through EZ Prints. They will ship new customers a free set of print samples with one of each print finishes and a screen calibration print. The system integrates with Lightroom, Aperture, and others.
      You can create password protected galleries as well as unlisted galleries strictly for storage. They do not offer special sections such as "recently uploaded photos" or "most popular images."
      SmugMug Pro for $149.99/year adds multiple price lists for photos and galleries (a real boon), visitor favorites, Thank You prints, branded stickers and your own logo in the shopping cart, custom coupons for promotions, event marketing tools, and more. You can charge to download digital versions of your photos and set different prices for professional and personal use. And you can also sell merchandise.
      SmugMug does not have the millions of casual visitors that Fine Art America, Flickr, or Instagram/Facebook, has but most artists will need to drive their own buyers to whatever site they choose.
      The high annual fee and the pricing structure that means a lot of out-of-pocket cost for each sale turned me off initially, but Smugmug has a good visitor interface and quality products going out the door. It's worth a second look.
      In the coming weeks, I'll review other POD sites and talk with other artists about their choices. Email the All Arts Council if you use any of these services to produce the prints you sell.


ENOSBURG FALLS--The Opera House Comedy Club at Enosburg Falls brings a Standup Comedy Night to the Burg tomorrow evening at 8 p.m. The evening will feature Natalie Miller, Jason Piche, Higher Ground Comedy Battle winners Kyle Gagnon and Nathan Hartswick, and headliner Tony Bates.
      Admission is $8 at the door. The show is for ages 18 and over. There will be a cash bar.
      Call the Opera House box office (802.933.6171) or email for more info.

MARSHFIELD--The Nutshell presents a house concert by the Will Patton Trio with David Gusakov on violin and Dono Schabner on guitar tomorrow evening at 7 p.m.
      Concert-goers should car pool whenever possible because parking is limited at all house concerts. "A neighbor of ours complained to the zoning board a couple months ago about people parking on the road. So when parking please be mindful of through traffic and feel free to park on our lawn," Dan and Betsy Chodorkoff said. A family member will be available to direct parking.
      Admission is by suggested donation of $10-15. Call 802.426.3955 for directions and more info.

WILLISTON--The final event this season for the Old Brick Church Music Series will be the Bluegrass Gospel Project in an intimate concert at the Old Brick Church tomorrow evening at 7 p.m. D Davis from After The Rodeo, Red Hot Juba, and the Starline Rhythm Boys, opens.
      The BGP repertoire is an eclectic mix of songs and styles within the acoustic tradition. The band includes Gene White, Jr., fiddle, guitar, vocals; Dr. Steve Light, banjo, dobro, guitar, vocals; Colby Crehan, vocals; Paul Miller, guitar, vocals; Taylor Armerding, mandolin, vocals; and Kirk Lord, upright bass.
      Admission is $10 in advance or $12 at door, or $8/$10 for seniors and children. Click here for more info.

ST. ALBANS--Chow Bella presents Comedy for a Cause on Saturday at 7 p.m. The adult comedy show will benefit Relay for Life of the American Cancer Society.
      Call Trudy Cioffi (802.393.5430, email, or click here for more info.
      DVDs of past Comedy For A Cause events at Chow Bella are available from Northwest Access TV.


RICHFORD--The A. A. Brown Public Library begins Vermont Reads, a statewide, one-book community reading program, this evening with Pizza and Potluck at 6 p.m. The discussion will begin at 6:30 p.m.
      The 2013 Vermont Humanities Council "Vermont Reads" title, a poem-a-day anthology offers a selection of short, clear, contemporary poems which any listener could basically "get" on first hearing. The volume is available from the library.
      Montgomery resident Nick Vittum will facilitate. He holds an MFA in Writing from Goddard College and has studied poetry for over 45 years, and written it for almost as long. He has written two chapbooks, and has a third almost ready. He is an Adult Education teacher and does not view himself as an academic poet.


     iPhone photographer Paule Gingras of St. Albans is a painter with an iPhone. "Painting can be a metaphor for life and love -- you have to have faith, accept possible failure, sometimes it's ugly, sometimes it's beautiful, it's never perfect, and almost never turns out the way you thought it would."


      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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