ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 23 * * All Arts News On the Web * * January 3, 2019


      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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      Happy New Year!


ST. ALBANS--The Artist In Residence Gallery features different artists each month. This month, the spotlight is on visual artist and potter Barbara Colgrove, photographer Jonathan Hart, the watercolor landscapes and flowers of Linda Wirts, and painter Marianne Marshall.
      The A.I.R. gallery hosts a free meet-the-artists reception with refreshments and a raffle today 4:30 - 7 p.m. The exhibit continues through the end of January.
      The Artist in Residence art cooperative features paintings, fiber arts, stained glass, sculpture, lamps, pottery, folk art boxes, scarves, hats and more by 40 Franklin County and surrounding area artists. It is owned and operated by the artists and sponsors who have undertaken a Capital Campaign to purchase the building from St. Albans City. The gallery on South Main Street is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Click here for more info.


MONTGOMERY--The Montgomery Center for the Arts begins a Figure Drawing Workshop in the LAB at MCAKeltonHall every Thursday starting today through December 26 at 5 p.m. Each week a very groovy group of artists gather to work and socialize.

MILTON--Start the new year Cartooning with Mr. Brunelle at the Milton Artists' Guild Art Center on Saturday at 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. (with a lunch break).
      In this class Robert Waldo Brunelle Jr. will teach the basics of creating cartoons including designing characters, caricaturing famous people, how to set up panels, writing speech balloons, inking and pencils, adding color, and creating cartoons using digital technologies. The cost is $30 for MAG members or $35 for non-members. Click here for more info.

ST. ALBANS--Twiggs hosts Design a Sign with Paint Nite on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
      Diane Kingston shows participants how make wood wall art that showcases your personal style. Choose from hundreds of unique stencils, then build and paint a one-of-a-kind sign. Whether rustic or modern or a little bit of both, the finished wood wall art can add a pop of color to a room, make a perfect housewarming gift, or jazz up an otherwise ho-hum office space.
      Click here for tickets. Use the code PNfbVT for 40% off.


SWANTON--The Swanton Arts Council will host a Board Meeting and Updates somewhere in Swanton (they "hop around a lot") on Monday at 6 p.m. Click here for the location, agenda, and minutes of the previous meetings.

SWANTON--SAC hosts the Art Journaling Group at a new date and new location at Bees on Broadway on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
      Art journals, junk journals, art pages, and more are fun for artists, writers, scrap bookers, and anyone else. The group meets on the meeting on the second Tuesday of every month to share ideas and to take time to create. Email for more info.


     Twiggs has a particularly busy week to start the New Year with four nights of music and a night of paint planned.

ST. ALBANS--14th Star Brewing Company presents Alex Jones live on the Taproom Stage on Friday at 6 p.m.
      Mr. Jones brings a mix of acoustic jams of sing-along standards from the 60s to the present day combined with his wide variety of original material.

ST. ALBANS--Twiggs presents Jeff & Gina with vocals, guitar, viola, flute, tenor guitar, mandolin and bass on Friday, then singer/songwriter Justin LaPoint on Saturday. Shows begin at 7 p.m.
      Call 802.524.1405 or click here for more info.

WESTFORD--The Westford Music Series in collaboration with Young Tradition Vermont presents Pete's Posse in the UCW white church on Sunday at 4 p.m.
      Vermont's own trad-roots power trio of Pete Sutherland, Oliver Scanlon, and Tristan Henderson bring twin fiddles in tight harmony over high-powered guitar and pounding foot percussion with mandolin, clawhammer banjo, jaw harp, rocking keyboards, and soaring vocal harmonies. Refreshments will follow.
      Admission is by donation. Call 802-879-4028 or click here for more info.

ST. ALBANS--Twiggs hosts Open Mic with Chris Parker at 7 p.m. Come get your song on the first Monday of every month.
      Call 802.524.1405 or click here for more info.

ST. ALBANS--Twiggs begins a new Monthly Blues Jam on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
      On the second Wednesday of each month, the gastropub will host an explosive evening of electric blues. All musicians are welcome to come and play the blues with the house band of Tom Caswell, guitar and vocals; Tom Buckley, bass; and Michael Bishop, drums.
      Call 802.524.1405 or click here for more info.


      2019 will be another busy year in the arts with closer to 300 concerts, exhibits, recitals, and shows from more than 40 organizations. This week, we have info about upcoming Arts Council and Opera House events plus the Four Franklin County Festivals and our Town Band plans. We will cover Other Major Presenter plans next week.
      Happy New Year!

      Summer Sounds, Franklin County's premiere outdoor concert series, enters its 29th season with a lineup of bluegrass, classical, country, folk, jazz, pop, opera, and classic rock-n-roll, all supported by the best public-private partnership in the state. The concerts are always on a Sunday night, always in a Town Park, always at 7 p.m. and always free.
      The All Arts Council's three primary goals haven't changed: continuing our popular programs, continuing our support of artists and other presenters, and continuing our partnerships. The AAC may also host several one-time shows. Email the All Arts Council if you would like to suggest or host a show.
      AAC will hold exhibits for artists in all media and pays actual cash money for bands and solo performers. If you are one or know one, email the All Arts Council .

      Every Franklin County presenter has planned another blowout year so we all need money and volunteers. From All Arts to Young Tradition-Vermont, please remember that volunteers and a permanent base make up the "back room" that each of these groups needs to continue the programming you enjoy.
      We're actively searching for someone to be me. If you want to lead Summer Sounds, write this column, or anything else, email the All Arts Council . The AAC also needs volunteers to provide the marketing and technical help, have resources, and to host meetings and exhibits, and concerts and workshops for artists, other groups, and local presenters.
      If you have an advertising budget to spend or space to lend for the year, email the All Arts Council . If you want to run an arts program, email the All Arts Council faster.

      St. Albans Community Arts is looking forward to a vibrant arts scene in the city and is busy "working alongside the city to do behind-the-scenes stuff." There will be art walks, music, the Festival of Trees, and more.

      Swanton Arts Council is planning more film and has scheduled discussion groups, several Paint & Sips, the annual Youth Art Show, gallery and Pop-Up Gallery showings for local artists, artist gatherings, the barn quilt challenge, pinwheels, sidewalk chalk day, the SAC writers' group, and more.

      The Opera House at Enosburg Falls plans a mix of major productions, touring, and community events from vocalists in concert, musicals, and theatricals, to talent shows and art shows. The new season begins in March and continues through December.
      The Opera House already has some productions for this year but wants proposals for now and for upcoming theatrical seasons. Productions are volunteer-based with small honorariums granted based on the proceeds of the show. The 300 seat historic center of the performing arts serves 14 local communities and more.
      Email for more info.

      Taken together, the four major Franklin County area Festivals attract around 100,000 people to extravaganzas of outdoor arts and entertainment here.
      The 53rd annual Vermont Maple Festival in April is the first major outdoor festival of the year. St. Albans City and Town host three days of family education and entertainment. The Festival will have six shows at the BFA Performing Arts Center children on Saturday alone plus face painting, a Clown show, a Scavenger Hunt, Joepetto’s Magic Toy Shop at the library, and more. The Photo Contest continues at the Village Frame Shoppe. Entertainment includes the popular talent show and the fiddler's variety show. Saturday is going to be a big day on Main Street with two Nashville acts, former Voice contestant Jay Taylor returns and Morgan Myles will headline, plus there will be the best of Vermont music (and AudionX has "made quantum leaps in the quality of audio production on the Main Street stage," said Andre Maquera). The Maple Fest offers a huge craft show with art. It embraces many other community events and offers the biggest parade in Vermont. It is a Top 10 Summer Event this April 26-28. Click here for more info.
      The 63rd annual Vermont Dairy Festival will spotlight Franklin County performers in a benefit weekend for the Lions Club traditionally held on the first weekend of June, on May 30-June 2. Continuing this year will be the scholarship pageant, the parade on Saturday, a midway with rides and games, horse pulling, our wonderful vendors and "a complete selection of yummy fair food." The Lions are always looking for dedicated women and men to join because it is the people who serve who make the real difference. click here for more info.
      The 27th annual Jig in the Valley will benefit the East Fairfield Community Center with a family day of music and picnicking on the last weekend in July. This concert helps raise funds and awareness for the very vibrant Food Shelf, Senior Meals and programs, 10 weeks of vacation and summer camp for kids, community garden, and wood-fired pizza events. July 28 (always the last Sunday in July). Click here for more info.
      The 44th Franklin County Field Days swells Highgate with crafts, exhibits, agricultural exhibits, cattle judging, antique tractor pulls, rides, and more at the Franklin County Airport. This long running event fills a tent, the grounds, and the stage with popular bands and solo performers from near and far on August 2-5. Click here for more info.

      The Citizens Concert Band begins a new season of outdoor concerts starting in June and alternating on Wednesdays between St. Albans City, St. Albans Bay, Swanton, Highgate Springs, and Highgate Falls, all under the batons of director Jeremy Berger and assistant director Jennifer McConnell. Click here for more info.
      Enosburg Town Band will begin rehearsals for the upcoming 2019 summer concerts beginning in April. Everyone above the beginner level is welcome to participate. They will post exact times, dates and rehearsal space in March. Email with questions or to join the band or click here for more info.
      New members (high school age through adult) are always welcome at both bands.

      The Vermont Humanities Council has selected Rep. John Lewis' (D-GA) graphic novel March: Book One as the Vermont Reads book for 2019.
      Book One tells of Mr. Lewis's childhood in rural Alabama, his plans to become a preacher, his interactions with Martin Luther King, Jr., and the sit-ins he joined in Nashville. The trilogy is co-written by Andrew Aydin and graphic artist Nate Powell. Click here for more info.
      Vermont Reads 2019 kicks off with a special performance by the Vermont Youth Orchestra at the Flynn on Sunday, January 20, at 3 p.m.

      ArtBits features weekly links to library events in and around Franklin County. That popular feature has a page of its own at the Franklin County Bookshelf on the AAC site at

Good News!

There are so many events around the region that we miss some of them.
Be sure to check these calendars for what's happening near you ...
All Arts Council of Franklin County
Cambridge Arts Council
Franklin County Regional
Chamber of Commerce
Island Arts
St Albans Community Arts
Swanton Arts Council
Young Tradition Vermont


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