ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 24 * * All Arts News On the Web * * November 26, 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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      Henry David Thoreau in an 1853 letter to Harrison Blake wrote, "I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual. It is surprising how contented one can be with nothing definite - only a sense of existence. Well, anything for variety. I am ready to try this for the next ten thousand years, and exhaust it. How sweet to think of! my extremities well charred, and my intellectual part too, so that there is no danger of worm or rot for a long while. My breath is sweet to me. O how I laugh when I think of my vague indefinite riches. No run on my bank can drain it, for my wealth is not possession but enjoyment."


      Four people have died in the last two weeks after months without a single coronavirus-related death in Vermont, Gov. Phil Scott said last Friday. He implemented strict new guidelines last week to curb the spread of COVID-19 including the ban on multi-household gatherings and an order to close bars and social clubs. He clarified that people in a dangerous or unhealthy situation can leave and take shelter with another household. Individuals who live alone may gather with one other household in order to stay connected with immediate family, but they must limit contacts.
      The bans include
Indoor or outdoor multi-household gatherings in public or private spaces (that includes deer camp);
Recreational sports, other than school sports sanctioned by the Vermont Principals Association; and
In-person service at bars and social clubs.
Restaurants can remain open to in-person service, but must cease in-person service at 10 p.m. nightly. Takeout can continue.
Restaurants, museums, gyms and other establishments must keep logs for contact tracing.
Vermonters must comply with health department contact tracers.
     The Vermont State of Emergency continues. All non-essential travel to and from Vermont requires quarantine. The Vermont statewide mask mandate remains in effect.
      Vermont has reimposed rigorous restrictions on hospitals and will set up new testing centers with plans to have 14 sites operating by the end of the month, so that every Vermonter will be within a 30-minute drive of getting a COVID test.
      As of Sunday, Vermont had a total of 3,546 cases, up from a reported 2,843 last week. There have been 63 deaths (2.5% of cases). The seven-day average test positivity rate rose again to 1.8% on Sunday and is continuing to rise. CDC reported 715 new cases this past week although HealthVermont reported just 88 new cases. The state's arithmetic does not add up; it is an interesting, and ongoing, disparity. Franklin County had five new cases this week, 47 in the last two weeks.
      210,293 people (up to 33.7% of the Vermont population) have been tested a total of 506,543 times, although that data comes with a crucial caveat:
A negative test result yesterday says nothing about an individual's health today.
We need a daily test that costs ten cents and gives results in ten minutes.
      A HealthVermont video, How Contact Tracing Slows the Spread of COVID-19, explains what contact tracers do. Click here for the YouTube video.

      More artists and venues are doing more online. The Vermont Humanities Council has ongoing arts and literary digital events and programs including First Wednesdays and Vermont Reads. Although the activities may take place at a distance from Franklin County, they are available safely and locally online at
      Most events this week have been canceled or postponed in response to new state restrictions. The 2020 Holiday Extravaganza planned for Friday at the Saint Albans Town Bay Park has been canceled. The Church Street Sounds of the Season fall season is postponed until further notice. The entire 2020 season at the Opera House at Enosburg Falls has been canceled. ArtBasel Miami has cancelled. The Enosburg Holiday Lighted Parade will be "postponed" to December 4, 2021. 80-90% of Young Tradition events have gone online or been postponed when they couldn't be done live and in-person or the artists and youth couldn't travel into or out of state.

      Because I write this weekly column largely on Sundays, the infection rates reported may lag "live media" reports. Since it appears on Thursday and covers an entire week in the future, that also means events and happenings are likely to change with changing State mandates. Be sure to check with the organizers of any event for up-to-the-minute info.
      Although so many of our favorite activities won't happen this year, all the volunteers will stay as active as possible and this weekly column about the arts and entertainment around the region will continue to serve up live and almost live events and artists from around the region. Read all about it here every Thursday.


     The Vermont Crafts Council has about 80 remaining $30 gift certificates to use with Vermont arts businesses. Simply choose an artist or gallery from Vermont Crafts Council , then Click here for the gift certificate. Use it before November 30.

SHELDON--Fine artist Patrick Murphy has begun a series of framed 5" x 7" pen drawings of popular dogs. He has finished the English Bulldog, the German Shepherd and the Siberian Husky. Next up, the Labrador Retriever, Pug, and Golden Retriever. Original drawings are available at the Artist in Residence Gallery and from Mr. Murphy directly for $40. Email or find him on Facebook for more info.

MILTON--The Milton Artists' Guild raffle and silent auction on a Birch Deer Family continues through Saturday, December 12. Find them on Facebook for more info.


MILTON--The Milton Artists' Guild artist pop-up features Corliss Pratt with HandWoven Vermont and Cathy Hartley with paintings and drawings at the Guild on Saturday from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. They will display new work, demonstrate, and explain their process.
      MAG's artist pop-ups will feature artists every Saturday with appropriate social distancing. "This way, we can support our artists, and create a special and fun weekend destination." Come and meet the artists on Saturdays, while the Guild is open. Cathy Laclair and Brittany Marquette were on tap last Saturday. Find them on Facebook for more info.

ST. ALBANS--The Artist In Residence Gallery has posted a virtual walkthrough on Facebook .
      The 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. The gallery on South Main Street is open Thursday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Click here for more info.


SWANTON--The Swanton Arts Council has discontinued Adult Virtual Art Journaling. They hope to re-start it soon but on a less regular basis.
      Email for more info. Click here for the Spring youth art show, a class instructor application, the Year of the Salmon, Swanton writers' group blog, the newsletter & updates, and much more.


CALL FOR INSTRUCTORS--The Fairfax Arts Council and Fairfax Parks and Recreation is looking for instructors in any medium for youth art programs for Spring programming. Courses will be divided into age groups. Instructors need not live in Fairfax; residents from other towns are encouraged to respond.
      Private message Fairfax Arts on Facebook with name, email, and phone for more info.


Friday, November 27
ESSEX JUNCTION--On Tap still has Half Stash on the calendar for Friday at 6 p.m. The band plays a wide mix of rock, funk, reggae, hip hop and blues.
      Check with On Tap before going. Call 802.878.3309 or email for more info. And to confirm. Click here to reserve a table.

Saturday, November 28
SHELDON--The Abbey Live Music Saturdays continues (so far) with Sibling Reverie in the Pub on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. Find the Abbey on Facebook for more info, reservations, and to confirm the show.


     Here's the roundup of virtual music and events for this week.

      Summer Sounds favorite John Bartus' Perpetual Island Tour will perform Social Distancing Concert 36, Live from the Florida Keys, thanks to Facebook Live on Friday at 7:30 p.m. Find him on Facebook for the watch party.
      Social Distancing Concert 35 last Friday, from his own studio, is on Facebook.

      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.

      The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's free virtual season of works runs starts Wednesday and runs through December 31.
      The company will showcase Testament, a modern-day approach to Revelations. There will also be an Ailey and Ellington program of 14 ballets choreographed by Ailey including a remake of Pas de Duke filmed on top of NYC's Woolworth Building. Jamal Roberts will present A Jam Session For Troubling Times, in honor of the centennial celebration of Charlie Bird Parker. The works pay homage to six decades of Ailey's Revelations.
      Click here to stream and for more info.

      Here's something I think has never before appeared in this column: Gunhild Carling's bagpipe swing in Central Park on YouTube.

      Jerry Douglas gets together with Tommy Emmanuel for Flux Friday on Facebook.
      Grammy winner Jerry Douglas is an American resonator guitar and lap steel guitar player. Australian guitarist and singer-songwriter Tommy Emmanuel is known for his complex fingerstyle technique and percussive effects on the guitar. Thanks to Fred Brauer for finding this.

      Romy Munkres performed on Young Tradition Vermont's Facebook page as part of the series of online concerts and interviews by current and alumni members of the Touring Group. Find his interview on Facebook and three videos of Romy with his brother Ben on YouTube: Lust/Dot the Dragon's Eyes, Bighorn River Sunset, and Molskaer
      Watching is free but YTV requests a $5 donation. Proceeds are split between participating group members and Young Tradition Vermont, all to support this year's Touring Group project, which started rehearsals in September and will continue through a final project in late April. Donations can be made through PayPal. Email for more info.

      In response to the COVID shutdowns, fine artist and popular local musician Patrick Murphy has created a virtual band at the West Street Digital recording studio in St Albans to record four new original songs. Mr. Murphy sings and plays rhythm guitar with 8084's Andre Maquera, guitars, bass, and harmonies; Caleb Bronz, drums; Josh Glass, piano; and his niece, Erin Murphy Snedecor, cello. He also painted the cover art.
      Find If My Girlfriend Was a Tractor and other songs on his Soundcloud page.

      Summer Sounds favorite Mark Shelton went sang in the ETA Live Feed on Facebook with a few audio issues on Saturday afternoon. He sang gospel music on Facebook from the living room on Sunday.
      Follow him on Facebook for a link to this week's offerings.


      ArtBits features a quick weekly peek at library events in and around Franklin County. That popular feature has a page of its own at the Franklin County Bookshelf here on the AAC site at We also take an occasional peek at the bookshelf or night stand of the folks you know in and around Franklin County. Those reviews can be found on the ArtBits Bookshelf.

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


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All Arts Council of Franklin County

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