ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 24 * * All Arts News On the Web * * April 16, 2020


      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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      Artist Relief will distribute $5,000 grants to artists facing dire financial emergencies due to COVID-19; serve as an ongoing informational resource; and co-launch the COVID-19 Impact Survey for Artists and Creative Workers to better identify and address the needs of artists.
      They strongly recommend typing your application in a separate word processing program, then pasting it into the online application in case the system fails. It's always good to have a saved copy if you need to reapply.
      Click here for more info, the FAQ, and to apply.


EMOTION SPEAKS BLISS ART SHOW (April 28)--Swanton Arts Council wants artists and writers for the group show. It will be a creative response to the emotion in visual and/or written format, planned for the month of May. While the exhibit date will most likely be changed, SAC plans to hold this exhibit as soon as possible. Entry fee. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Swanton Public Library Programs. Email project lead Kris Daignault or click here for more info and the opening reception poster.


FAIRFAX--The Fairfax Arts Council asks that members and local artists share photos or videos of work on their Facebook page with the hashtag #KeepArtsAliveFairfax. Let us know about live-streamed performances so they can help promote them.
      They continue to conduct some virtual activities and do legwork on activities they plan to pursue when socializing and in-person engagement is encouraged again. Email or find them on Facebook to lead an online activity or help set plans in place for community programs after distancing.

MILTON--The MAGnificent Mask Force sewists ("sewers + artists") have crafted over 700 protective masks for healthcare workers in the last two weeks. Click here for more info.

ST. ALBANS--This is National Poetry Month in St. Albans. All month, people have followed the St. Albans Community Arts group page, posting poems, writing, having discussions, and watching documentaries. SACA will have an online Open Mic to celebrate the poetry that has resulted.
      Both spoken word and musical poetry are welcome to this standard open mic with a twist. SACA will do a large community Zoom call; sign up ahead of time if you want to perform. Find them on Facebook to register and to view.

SWANTON--The Swanton Arts Council has Art Opportunities Right Now.
      Judy Paxman says, "While you are staying safe, please consider working on your entry for the upcoming Emotions Speaks BLISS Art Show, the Missisquoi Migratory Bird Show which is still being planned for this summer, or paint on one of Swanton's Public Art Walls."
Find them on Facebook or email for more info on any of these.


     Christopher Walken, now 76, shows us how it's done in Spike Jonze's 2001 video for the Fatboy Slim song Weapon of Choice. Mr. Walken started his as a dancer. He took his first dance lessons at the age of three. He says he did it "because one day he'll be too old to cut a rug." Click here to be amazed.


     With all venues shut down, we have to rely on ourselves for entertainment so sing from a ladder truck. Record yourself in the grocery store. Read aloud from your favorite kids book. Paint your car black and chartreuse with white streaks. OK, maybe not that.
      You're housebound? Your show is cancelled or postponed? You're bored? How about putting on a show?
      Get the band together and video or live-stream a rehearsal every day. Or set up your easel and video a painting coming together. Read a few pages from your novel or a short story or a poem. Get in costume and video that play or the dance. Do some improv in your living room.
      We're locked down, too, and missing you. You'll get in a session and we'll like seeing you. Please share your efforts with your local arts council, too. And if the artist has a donation button, the audience can express appreciation through PayPal, Venmo, or other services.
      Here's a roundup for this week.

      Andrew Lloyd Webber will stream his musicals in the free YouTube series, The Shows Must Go On, every Friday at 7 p.m. for 48 hours. A new show begins tomorrow. Clips of famous performances and behind-the-scenes footage also appear on the channel beside the full shows.
      Click here for Mr. Webber's YouTube channel for all the details and to subscribe.

      Summer Sounds favorite John Bartus will perform a new Social Distancing Concert Live from the Florida Keys from his studio in Marathon, Florida, thanks to Facebook Live every Friday at 7:30 p.m.
      Find the link on his Facebook page.

      Summer Sounds favorite Carol Ann Jones was live on Sunday with help from the family and a disco ball on Facebook. Check her full Facebook feed for other events and for this Sunday's kitchen concert.

      Burlington's live-looping, singer-violinist Emma Back played as part of the live-streamed Home Sweet Home Music Festival. The festival is a benefit for working musicians whom social distancing measures have put out of work. Click here for the festival.

      Singer-songwriter Linda Bassick was live with a Friday Morning Sing Along at Home. Her weekly Friday Morning Sing-Along at Radio Bean have attracted scores of local kids and their parents. Find her on Facebook to sing along.

      The Miami Police Department hosted #InThisTogether, a virtual concert with Gloria Estefan, the Miami Police Band, and more, on Facebook Live.

      Bob Gagnon wrote, "If I were playing music with Will Patton tonight, I would play Bossa Sephora by Ninine Garcia." And he did on Facebook

      The Coronavirus Rhapsody by Queen, more or less has vocals by Adrian Grimes, lyrics by Dana Jay Bein, set to music by Queen. It's "something to sing in your room while you're in self isolation." Click here to view.


FAIRFAX--The Fairfax Community Library is closed. In the meantime, they are available to assist patrons by phone, email, Facebook messaging and through Click here .
      The library invites everyone to use the FCL WiFi connection at the library. They have two available networks, FCL_Public-2.4 or FCL_Public-5; either one is fine to use. The password is posted on the doors near the sidewalk.

SWANTON--The Swanton Free Public Library doors remain closed until it is safe to reopen but they contnue to function.
      "All of us here, though, are still working to provide as much content as we can to our friends and patrons, and so we'll be doing more virtual meetings and events in the coming weeks," director Caleb Rupp wrote. "Abbey is working on bedtime story times, Judy has a Trivia Night in the works (this Saturday), I want to work out a virtual book club, and we're always talking about ways that we an bring people together (figuratively) during these difficult times."

      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


Links to the Summer Music series in Franklin County
Summer Sounds
Summer Music at Grace
Downtown Summer Concert Series
Summer Evenings with
Vermont Treasures
Citizens Band
Wednesday Night Live
Enosburg Town Band


AAC dancing logo

All Arts Council of Franklin County

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Dick Harper, Chair
P.O. Box 1
Highgate Springs, VT 05460
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