ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 18 * * All Arts News On the Web * * March 20, 2014


      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.

     Franklin County's arts and music gatherings bring new opportunities, gossip, "show-and-tell" and occasional workshops. There are also booked and acoustic Open Mic Nights that feature music, readings, and more from the best new artists in Vermont.

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      "I'm seeing the old town with new eyes."
      Photographer David J. Griggs grew up in Middlebury and journeyed to the Southwest. He is back in Highgate Center. His contemplative images make up a solo show at the NMC Gallery this month.
      Mr. Griggs has been fascinated with photography since his dad gave him an Instamatic at age ten. His father was a "semi-serious photographer" in the early days; they shared their own darkroom. He refined his "artist's eye" by experimenting with painting, writing, and metal sculpture at Johnson State.
      "It's fun [to be here]," he said. "I'm focusing on the seasons and seeing the differences in the landscape. I keep going back to the same places and it's making me look more carefully."
      Today is the first day of Spring but two days ago Mr. Griggs "was standing out in the -10° weather with my camera waiting for the sun to rise. It was frigid!"
      His images have the eye drawing vibrancy, timelessness, and contrast of traditional black-and-white printed on silver halide but the punch of modern High Dynamic Range color.
      "I like taking photos of common things that people just walk by. I want to put a photo on the wall that makes you stop and look again."
      Solely a digital photographer today, he is thinking about returning to film. We talked about the improvement in camera technology (today's full frame cameras compete with and surpass film in both resolution and color depth). "I see it as similar to records versus CDs," he said. "The CD may be technically superior but there's something special about an old vinyl record."
      He has exhibited in a series of juried shows in the southwest including the Albuquerque Photographers Gallery, Arizona Artists Guild, Sedona Arts Center, and the northeast at River Arts Gallery in Maine, the Darkroom Gallery in Essex Junction and PhotoPlace Open in Middlebury. Island Arts has a scheduled a one man exhibition at the South Hero Merchants Bank this summer. Arizona Highways magazine selected one of his images for their September issue. He is a represented gallery artist at the Sedona Arts Center.
      "It's exciting to view the world through a camera lens and be able to share that vision with others."
      The Messenger and the All Arts Council will feature a new image from a Franklin County artist many weeks through the fall and winter. Email the All Arts Council or click here for more info. Click here to see all the featured artists in a single gallery and click here to see more of his work.


     The Florida Keys Council of the Arts has a 24-foot mosaic mural made of 6 x 6 canvases created by 400 local artists in the Keys at the Artists in Paradise Gallery, located in the main shopping mall on Big Pine Key. The Mosaic will remain on display through March 23.


SOUTH HERO--The Blue Paddle Bistro presents Carol Ann Jones in a solo show tonight at 6:30 p.m.
      Spring has sprung but the show will most likely still be inside; the Blue Paddle has limited seating and a small bar; call ahead (802.372.4814) for reservations and click here for more info.

FAIRFIELD--Put your dancin' shoes on. The 3rd annual Branon's Sugarhouse Sap Run Boogie with live music, a cash bar, sit down dinner, a raffle and door prizes all starts at 5:30 on Saturday.
      The lasagna dinner runs 5:30-7 p.m. Carol Ann Jones and the Superchargers will get you up to dance off that dinner beginning at 7.
      Admission is $15/person, $35/family for dinner the show or $10/person, $25/family for the music only. Advance tickets are available at Stone's, Menards, BNML and As The Crow Flies. Tickets will also be on sale at door. Call 802.827.3130 for more info.

ESSEX JUNCTION--Backstage presents Justice 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 in a Saturday night bash at 9:30 p.m.
      Click here for more info.

ST. ALBANS--Twiggs presents the Nobby Reed Project straight from radio stations in Highgate, Boston, New York, Atlanta, Dallas and Eastern Europe in a free show on the main stage Saturday evening at 7 p.m.
      Call 802.524.1405 or click here for more info.


MONTPELIER--The 17th annual film festival starts off Mud season a lineup of feature, documentary, short and animated films, plus conversations with film makers and a banjo superstar, all starting tomorrow and running through March 30.
      It is a busy week. GMFF will play a Luis Guzman retrospective showing several of his films. The versatile (and prolific) Vermont character actor will hold an informal discussion of his roles and experiences in the movie business. The Festival will show a film chronicling international banjo artist Bela Fleck's process as he wrote a commissioned banjo concerto last year for the Nashville Symphony. Mr. Fleck will talk about the film and play a passage from the concerto. They have a 48-Hour Film Slam Competition; feature films from Pandora's Box and Lootera to Night of the Living Dead; the Vermont Shorts Program; the Art of the Movie Trailer, a panel on Creativity in the Digital Age, a talk by director, animator, and cartoonist Dan Abdo; and more.
      Call 802.262.3423 or click here for more info.


INTERNATIONAL BISCUIT FESTIVAL (April 1)--How could I not? The Festival which draws over 20,000 to Knoxville, TN, has an eclectic juried show in all two- and three-D media, and all about the biscuit. Accepted works will be installed around downtown Knoxville. All work must be for sale. Entry Fee. Click here for more info.

SOMERVILLE TOY CAMERA FESTIVAL--Somerville celebrates the quirky and creative images that can happen almost accidentally. The juried show wants images on any subject made with a "toy" camera including the pinhole, Holga, Diana and other Lomo products, as well as Brownies and Anscos, and other low-tech, limited-control cameras. Images made from Polaroid film backs attached to Holgas are welcome. Images made from a DSLR or SLR with a pinhole or Holga lens will be accepted. Entry fee. Click here for more info.


      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 © 2014 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.