ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 25 * * All Arts News On the Web * * January 7, 2021


      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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      Gov. Phil Scott held his 100th COVID-19 press conference on New Year's Eve. The latest daily case count was higher than the previous week average and the Department of Education will transition to more in-person instruction. "While there are school-based cases and situations, they are the exception and not the rule, and they are not driving outbreaks," Gov. Scott said. The positivity rate in Vermont's schools was 0.04% as of December 13.
      The state's weekly allotment of doses of the Pfizer vaccine will decrease from 5,850 to 3,900, while Moderna vaccine doses would decrease from 4,000 also to 3,900 this week. Vermont had received 37,825 doses of both vaccines by New Year's Eve. As of last week, about 14,000 Vermonters have been vaccinated, or some 2% of the state's eligible population. Phase 1B of the vaccine rollout will be based on age groups, but people with underlying health conditions will be a priority no matter what age.
      It is crucial to stick with the plan as the number of new COVID-19 cases in Vermont continues to rise.
The next few weeks will be the hardest as we face the most dangerous time of the pandemic. With the vaccine "here," many want to resume normal social activities. Please don't let down your guard.
     The Vermont State of Emergency continues. All non-essential travel to and from the state requires quarantine. The Vermont statewide mask mandate remains in effect along with the ban on multi-household gatherings and the order to close bars and social clubs.
      As of last Sunday, the Vermont Dashboard showed a total of 7,793 cases, up from a reported 6,966 last week. There are currently 539 active cases in long term care facilities. There have been 140 deaths (1.8% of cases). The seven-day average test positivity rate has trended back up to 2.6% but remains the lowest in the nation. CDC reported 723 new cases this past week although HealthVermont reported only 96 new cases. The state's arithmetic still does not add up; it is an interesting, and ongoing, disparity. Franklin County had five new cases this week, 114 in the last two weeks.
      HealthVermont writes, If you did gather with people from other households, you can still lower the risk of spreading COVID-19 in case you have been exposed or are sick and don’t have symptoms. Postpone seeing anyone who’s high risk, and get tested on day 7 or later. If you hosted with out-of-state visitors or traveled outside of Vermont, quarantine and stay away from others for 14 days, or 7 days with no symptoms and a negative test. Find free testing near you at
      266,897 people (up to 42.8% of the Vermont population) have been tested a total of 711,104 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.

      Twiggs and other restaurants are offering some live music while other 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

      Because I write this weekly column largely on Sundays, the infection rates reported here will 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 going into the new 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.


ST. ALBANS--The Artist In Residence Gallery features different artists each month. This month, the spotlight is on potter Gillian Ireland, watercolor painter Lori Niederer, and fine art photographer Wayne Tarr, online and on the AIR Facebook page.
      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. The gallery on South Main Street is open Thursday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Click here or find them on Facebook for more info.

WESTFORD--Milton Artists' Guild member Anne Cummings Outdoor EcoArt Exhibition has been installed outdoors on the limbs of trees in front of the Westford Common Hall. The exhibit runs through April 1. There will be Full Moon Artist Talks on January 28 and February 27 at 7 p.m. and a Vernal Equinox Artist Talk on March 20 at sunrise, 5:37 a.m.


     In this installment of BCA's artist studio tours, Clay Mohrman invites viewers to see his process and studio at Generator makerspace in Burlington, on YouTube.
      Click here and Instagram @claymohrlighting for more info.


     The Vermont Humanities Council presents Thomas Denenberg with Winslow Homer and the Poetics of Place on the Vermont Humanities Digital Channels on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
      The painter Winslow Homer occupies an unusual and pivotal place in the history of American art. Mr. Denenberg, director of the Shelburne Museum, will sketch Homer's long and productive career, focusing on how he bridged the sentimental culture of the nineteenth century with the visual culture of the modern era. Click here for more info.
      The VHC's First Wednesdays talks will be offered online only, at VHC Digital, on Facebook or on their YouTube channel. Advance registration is required for these events; registration is free.


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

Thursday, January 7
      The Hudson Valley Philharmonic, New Paltz Ballet Theater, and the Bardavon present the Nutcracker, beginning this evening at 7 p.m. This marks the 22nd season the New Paltz Ballet Theater has presented dancers from the New York City Ballet with regional artists to Marie's dreams of the fierce battle between giant mice and toy soldiers and the magical journey through the Land of Snow to the Kingdom of Sweets.
      The Bardavon 1869 Opera House, a 944-seat historic theater in Poughkeepsie, is currently closed due to COVID. It is the oldest continuously operating theater in NY State, one of the oldest in the country, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. HVP is the region's premiere orchestra. Find the event on Facebook for more details and the links and YouTube for the show.

Friday, January 8
      Hadley Stockwell takes part on Young Tradition's Facebook page on Friday at 7 p.m. as part of the series of online concerts and interviews by current and alumni members of the Touring Group.
      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.

      Summer Sounds favorite John Bartus' Perpetual Island Tour will perform Social Distancing Concert 42, Live from the Florida Keys, thanks to Facebook Live at about 7:30 p.m. Find him on Facebook for the watch party.
      Social Distancing Concert 41 was live on Facebook on New Year's Day with the first concert of 2021.

      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.

Saturday, January 9
      River Arts' Music and Movement broadcasts Live on Facebook with Isaac Eddy of the Blue Man Group on Saturday beginning at 12 noon.
      Tune in the first Saturday of every month to sing songs and move to music. Each month will be hosted by musicians and performers from the Blue Man Group. click here for more info.

      Summer Sounds favorite Mark Shelton postponed Christmas Sunday's gospel concert but he sang love and romantic songs on Facebook on Tuesday night, sang "Happy New Year" in real time and with live fireworks to England on Facebook on New Year's Eve, and Captain Radical sang Elvis songs by a pirate in front of an electric city on Facebook on New Year's Day.
      Follow him on Facebook for a link to this week's offerings.


     Armand Messier's Northern Vermont Aerial Photography Tonight's beautiful sunset in St. Albans Bay after the recent snow storm.


      What a long, strange [year] it's been, Here's where I get to write up the arts and books and dance and music and theatrical hopes and guesses for 2021. We all know how hard it is to plan these days but I had hopes that there would be a socially distanced modern art project involving balloon drops or a concert in a corn maze are on our horizon. In past years, we've had concerts, exhibits, recitals, and shows from more than 40 organizations.
      In past years, we have had so many plans that the "round up columns" required two weeks. This year has so many uncertainties that many of the plans we list may change.
      Happy New Year!


      Summer Sounds, Franklin County's premiere outdoor concert series, enters its 30th season (again). We hope to come back this summer with the fullest lineup of bluegrass, classical, country, folk, jazz, pop, opera, and classic rock-n-roll allowable, all supported by the best public-private partnership in the state, and all with the new normal safety requirements as they evolve over the next months. 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 hopes for a rebuilding 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.
      This is my final year in Summer Sounds so we're actively searching for someone to be me. If you want to lead Summer Sounds, write this column, or do anything else in the arts, 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 right away. If you want to run an arts program, email the All Arts Council faster.

      Burlington is outside of our normal catchment area but several Franklin County artists are BCA members and their programming is of interest to us.
      BCA will offer exhibitions, events, classes, home studio, and artist resources throughout the year. Fairfax artist Gail Salzman offers two new online painting classes, Portrait Painting and Still Life. The four-week Zoom classes begin this month as part of BCA's Home Studio program. Click here for more info

      Island Arts has brought arts activities to Grand Isle County for over 30 years. This year, they will have wide ranging concerts, theater performances, and craft fairs for children and adults including classes, Paint and Sip events, and more for all ages. The group needs Island Arts Academy Instructors with a "particular passion ... to share with others." Any activity/hobby from visual arts, music, dance, photography, to theater is fair game. Click here for more info.

      St. Albans Community Arts is looking forward to a vibrant arts scene in the city and continues "working alongside the city to do behind-the-scenes stuff." There may be art walks, music, the Festival of Trees, the Mayor's Photo Contest, and more.

      The Swanton Arts Council has been rethinking its programs. They will continue Virtual Art Journaling on the second Wednesday of each month and Writers' Group on the third Thursday. At the Board Meeting Monday, they discussed Swanton Recreation opportunities for promotion and for teaching artists, the Hate U Give artist and writer opportunities, and proposed events for 2021. Click here for more info.


      The A.I.R. has a winter holiday store, in-person gallery, and online celebrations of the artists. The gallery on South Main Street is open Thursday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Click here or find them on Facebook for more info.

      MAG has an online shop, in-person gallery, and online workshops for every artist. MAG's artist pop-ups will feature artists every Saturday with appropriate social distancing. The MAG online shop is open 24/7 and the gallery itself is open Wednesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Find them on Facebook for more info.

      Janet Bonneau will finish her term as president of Northern Vermont Artists Association; board member Jonathan Brigham will take over the reins.
      The NVAA board meets January 10 to vote in officers and board members and to discuss the 2021 calendar. They plan to do only one show this year, the June Juried show at Visions of Vermont Gallery in Jeffersonville.

      The Northwestern Medical Center Gallery implemented COVID precautions last year and put all exhibits on hold. They have no immediate plans to restart the monthly solo shows.

      The Morrisville Art Center has an ambitious schedule of Winter programs including an Art of Music Class with Kalimba Kit on Saturday, the in-person Musical Sculptures Micro-Class, the Youth Afterschool Clay Class, a photo editing class, the Exquisite Landscapes Online Writing Place in Poetry, Fiction, and Creative Nonfiction, an online Surface Design Class with a Tile Painting Kit, and much more. There are free Music & Movement classes and Clay Studio Chats all winter. Click here 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 54th Vermont Maple Festival is on the calendar for April 23-25; it 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 high energy shows at the BFA Performing Arts Center. The Sappy Art Show continues at the Village Frame Shoppe. Entertainment includes the popular talent show and the fiddler's variety show. The free Main Street stage will have the best of Vermont music. The Maple Fest offers a huge craft show with art. It embraces many other community events and offers the biggest parade in Vermont. There will even be some traditional fair food for those who do not want all maple. It is a Top 10 Summer Event. Click here for more info.
      The Vermont Dairy Festival spotlights Franklin County performers in a benefit weekend for the Lions Club traditionally held on the first weekend of June. The Lions cancelled the 2020 Dairy Days to avoid putting the public at risk. "A crowd the size that we draw could cause the virus to re spread. Also the majority of our club members are over the age of sixty, which makes them a high risk." The Lions are always looking for dedicated women and men to join because it is the people who serve who make the real difference. They will determine this year's plans within the next few weeks. Click here for more info.
      The Jig in the Valley benefits 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 NMC regional health center, pre-school, Head Start, Teen, and Senior Citizen programs. They will determine this year's plans for the 28th Jig within the next few weeks. click here for more info.
      Franklin County Field Days swells Highgate with crafts, exhibits, agricultural exhibits, cattle judging, antique tractor pulls, rides, and more at the Franklin County Airport. They will determine this year's plans for the 45th Field Days within the next few weeks with hopes of filling the tents, the grounds, the buildings, and the stage with popular bands and solo performers from near and far. Click here for more info.


      COVID-19 cancelled the 2020 season at the Opera House at Enosburg Falls and has 2021 on hold. Past years have offered a mix of major productions, touring, and community events from vocalists in concert, musicals, and theatricals, to talent shows and art shows. "We still have nothing at this point," so watch this space as the year unfolds.
      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.

      Bay Day, the BFA Performing Arts Center, Church Street Sounds of the Season, and the eclectic Music at Grace schedules are all still uncertain at press time.
      The Meeting House on the Green very carefully held four outdoor events last summer and expects to continue with monthly concerts in East Fairfield. The series was launched as a way to raise money for restoration projects. The Meeting House has become a coveted venue; players and audiences alike have discovered the magic of the small and intimate setting for some of the best music in northern Vermont.
      The Northwest Access TV Media Barn still offers room for classes, more studio shows, and new equipment for community use. They hope to return to courses, movies in the parks, as well as concerts and arts programming. And, of course, they have local shows and events such as Almost Live on Channel 15, and more.
      Paint-and-sip nights went into hiatus but Yaymaker and other presenters have continued to host long-distance "paint-and-sip-at-home" events virtually. As the pandemic eases, we can expect a return to in person events from Twiggs with its monthly "Paint Nites" to 14th Star, MCA, libraries, and more.
      Restaurants in and beyond Franklin County pulled back on our art on the walls and music in the halls as the struggled through 2020. We expect Twiggs and the Clothier, 14th Star, the Abbey, Arrowhead Country Club, Bayside, the Blue Paddle, the Double E, the INN, Mill River Brewing, Moog's, Nelly's, North Hero House, On Tap, and more to feature artists and exceptional music with a regular roster of Franklin County musicians several nights each week.
      The Saint Albans Museum will have a lineup of performances, exhibits, and educational programs. Their digital exhibit Signs of the Times responds to COVID-19 and History from Home is a free online portal with community history videos, articles, and activities for all ages. Click here for more info.
      School art shows should include FNESU's annual Art Gala and the annual Maple Run Art Show. The shows bring together hundreds of two and three dimensional pieces in schools and halls around the County.
      The Sunset Park Concerts in Key Colony Beach begin on Valentine's Day. Summer Sounds favorite John Bartus will kick off the new season.
      The Vermont Youth Orchestra season including the Winter Concert, the Da Capo Spring Concert, Presto Spring Concert and more, will be live streamed from the Elley-Long Music Center. There will be virtual master classes, lesson programs, and endangered instruments. This season, over 300 musicians in grades 1 - 12 from 60 elementary, middle, and high schools in 41 towns from across Vermont and neighboring states including several from Franklin County. Programs are based at the Elley-Long Music Center at St. Michael's College. Click here for more info.

      The 2020 Citizens Concert Band season of outdoor concerts on alternating summer Wednesdays was canceled. They "look forward to playing music in the park again when it is safe to do so." click here for more info.
      The 2020 Enosburg Town Band season of outdoor concerts was canceled. While they hope to begin rehearsals for the 2021 season this spring, no plans have been announced yet. Everyone above the beginner level is welcome to participate. 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.

      Young Tradition-Vermont is a statewide presenter with several hundred events each year including an international tour and several Events for Tom. By mid-2020, they had shifted much of their live programming to online shows. The organization has public school partnerships that include residencies, performances, workshops and fiddle clubs, and has hopes for a long list of projects and programming, much of which will take place online. "More Than Hope 2.0," a discussion with Afa Dworkin, Regina Carter, and Leyla McCalla, will take place on the Young Tradition Facebook page on January 12.


      The Vermont Humanities Council continues "A Reflection on Reading about Racism." The Vermont Reads book for 2021 is The Hate U Give, a powerful choice by Angie Thomas.
      County-wide, our public Libraries have a slew of plans including readings, lunchtime concerts, art shows, and kids' performers including the 17th year of Vermont Reads.
      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 .


     May 2021 be filled with friends and family and joy and the arts.


      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


AAC dancing logo

All Arts Council of Franklin County

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