ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 17 * * All Arts News On the Web * * July 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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      The Highgate summer begins as O. C. McCuin & Sons presents the Sky Blue Boys in a tradition as old as American music itself in the Summer Sounds opener in Highgate Municipal Park on Sunday evening.
      Two fellows with a mandolin and guitar, a musical teamwork built of habit, their voices fused in the special blend produced by kinship. The "brothers duets" of the 1930s and 40s were the predominant format in country music, practiced by now-legendary teams of brothers in Opera Houses and on radio stations throughout the country.
      Banjo Dan and Willy Lindner have revived the tradition here in Vermont. Following the footsteps of old-time duos such as The Blue Sky Boys, The Monroe Brothers and the Louvin Brothers they have a repertoire of old ballads, parlor songs, heart songs and sacred numbers. Their instrumentation includes a variety of acoustic instruments and they have added some newer songs including their own compositions.
      Willy and Banjo Dan have played together for decades. They formed the legendary bluegrass band Banjo Dan and the Mid-nite Plowboys in 1972 and have toured and recorded extensively, as well as sitting in on shows and recording sessions for many of the region's top acoustic musicians. The sounds they learned to love long ago -- the simple moving sounds of the early brothers duets -- are never far from their hearts.
      The Highgate Historical Society is starting the Highgate series off right with their exceptional social.
      "I've already bought the hot dogs," Charlie Nye said.
      The Summer Sounds concerts are sponsored by the Town of Highgate and the All Arts Council, and underwritten by Drummac Septic Service, O. C. McCuin & Sons, and Ray's Extrusion Dies & Tubing.
      The community based All Arts Council brings the performing arts to northwestern Vermont. The concerts are always on Sunday evenings at 7 p.m., always in a Town Park, and always free. There will be no Summer Sounds concerts in St. Albans City in 2013. Bring a blanket or a lawn chair as you settle in to enjoy outdoor family music and festivities. The rain site it the Highgate United Methodist Church.


ST. ALBANS--The One Federal Restaurant and Lounge Thursday Night Summer Concert Series presents Justice this evening at 7 p.m. The band includes Gary Greeno, lead vocals; Scott Belisle on bass and backup vocals; Todd Dunn, lead and rhythm guitar; Mike Stella, drums; and Scott Guptill, rhythm guitar and backup vocals.
      Admission is free.

MIDDLEBURY--The Festival on the Green presents the Will Patton Sextet in concert tomorrow evening at 8:30 p.m.
      The 35th annual festival took over Middlebury this week to bring top-quality, free, family-friendly entertainment. It continues through Saturday. They've had Brown Bag Specials at lunchtime and Evening Performances all week, and a capstone Street Dance on Saturday.

MONTGOMERY--The Eric Despard Trio will open the 25th season of Concerts by the Common at Pratt Hall on Saturday at 8 p.m. This will be first concert featuring classical guitar in the history of the Montgomery Historical Society series.
      The Latin American-flavored concert will feature works by Piazzolla, Albeniz, Terrega and Villa-Lobos.
      The Trio includes guitarists Eric Despard and Mark Cecchini and vocalist Kerry Ryer-Parke. Mr. Despard performs extensively throughout North America as a soloist and with various chamber ensembles. He is an Affiliate Artist of classical guitar at Middlebury College, Instructor at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, and the Music Director at Southern Vermont College. Ms. Ryer-Parke sings smooth bossa nova as well as classical music and rocks out in the local band The Prescription. She is an Artist Associate in voice at Williams College and director of the Bennington Children's Chorus.
      Admission is $18 ($15 for members of the Montgomery Historical Society). Advance tickets are available at Lutz Automotive (802-326-4528).

HIGHGATE FALLS--St. John Episcopal Church presents a Cantores Socii (Singing Friends) concert tomorrow evening at 7 p.m.
      The group of friends gathers to sing some of their favorites from Hildegard to more recent time.
      The 19th century brick St. John's Church was built by Joel Whitney of Enosburg and includes a three-stop organ built by Henry Erben. The building is conventional classic with gothic pointed windows. The historical church is now used for weddings, Evensong services, and concerts in the summer.
      Admission is by free will donation.
      Call 802.868.7185, email, or click here for more info.

HIGHGATE (MARK YOUR CALENDARS)--The Town of Highgate will host a special Summer Sounds concert on SATURDAY, July 27 as part of the Highgate 250th Anniversary Celebration that day. The Celebration will offer continuous entertainment all afternoon and evening from Untapped Vermont, the MVU Jazz band, singer Alanna Freeman, storyteller Virginia Holiman, Dark Horse, and more.
      The event will include a car show, dunking booth, the Franklin County Sheriff's Office rollover car, a Highgate Volunteer Fire Department fire, an historic sites bus tour, U-Ken-Do hot air balloon, a Zumba party, and an eerie bonfire. A free barbecue starts at 3 p.m.
      Admission is free.


     This series for area artists and photographers has discussed 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.
      More than 100,000 artists and photographers offer two million images for sale on Art America alone. Multiply that by just the 14 sites reviewed in this series to see the magnitude of an artist's problem. The sheer number makes putting prospective buyers together with your own work the biggest challenge. The successful artists on that site are happy there but they aggressively market their work; most sales have come through efforts elsewhere and not through the site.
      POD means that artists do not need to invest in print runs or storage, and aren't gambling that this particular image of Bob Hope's left ear will sell enough prints to make back the cost of the run. Still, the risk and expense are gone but marketing is more important than ever.
      Your marketing plan needs to answer these questions: Who is your target audience? How will users find your art on the site? Do your buyers want prints or originals? How will you inform your buyers that you have work available?
      FAA has several unique and automated services that help the marketing effort. The email service Constant Contact lets artists send customized emails to subscribers. Location services let them spotlight the work of local artists to online visitors. The Facebook "gallery" page and promos reach your friends at the very least (those announcements should be "public"). You can automatically Tweet each upload. Each gallery has a built-in search engine so visitors can find images by keywords. They generate a PDF catalog on the fly. They advertise prints on These features and all others are free.
      I can't tell you how to make your ads funny, or charming, or cool. I can tell you that without a plan to drive qualified buyers to your gallery, it will generate very few sales.
      Any artist can (and should) perform many if not all of the marketing tasks listed but the goal isn't just getting twice as many or ten times as many people to visit your site. The goal is to increase the number of sales from the people who do.
      Email the All Arts Council if you use any of these services to produce the prints you sell. Links to each of the reviewed sites as well as several we did not cover are online at


      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 © 2013 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.