Arts advocate Ric Kasini Kadour is calling all Vermont small presses and ’zine makers. Also graphic novelists, comic illustrators, book artists and other content creators for indie and handmade publications. The occasion: the inaugural Vermont Small Press & Comic Fair, a one-day event scheduled for March 24 in Winooski that’s intended to give everyone, participants and the public alike, a sense of how large the state’s alt-publishing scene is.
“It’s really just this explosion of small, organic culture,” Kadour enthuses. His perspective has the virtue of distance: He splits his time between Montréal, where he owns an art gallery, and Vermont, where he runs Kasini House — a self-described “dynamic creative enterprise” with its own small press, Kasini House Books, that publishes both the Vermont Art Guide and Art Map Burlington.
Vermont has “20 or so” small publishers, according to Kadour. Meanwhile, he and the fair’s cohost, longtime comics-world insider Gregory C Giordano of Burlington, “know all these folks who are just squirreled away in the hills,” from sci-fi comics creators to “über-serious poets.” Some of their work can be seen on dedicated shelves in independent bookstores, such as Bear Pond Books in Montpelier and Crow Bookshop in Burlington, but many aren’t yet connected to small presses. In all, Kadour hopes the fair brings together 40 interested parties, both to network with each other and to sell “some really interesting things” to the public.
Kadour got the idea for the fair from Montréal’s now 10-year-old Expozine, a similar annual event of which Kasini House became a sponsor five years ago. The Vermont Small Press & Comic Fair, he says, “comes from seeing how successful Expozine was in supporting and organizing the culture that was already there.”
One note on the fair’s venue, the Winooski Welcome Center and Gallery: It doesn’t yet exist. Another project of Kadour’s, the welcome center — to be located in the same first-level space on the roundabout where Kasini House hosted the Winooski Holiday Pop-Up Art Market — is in its final stages, he promises, and will include a shop and an art gallery. By fair time, he says, the gallery will exhibit a large installation by Grand Isle artist Riki Moss called, fittingly, “The Paper Forest.”