ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 25 * * All Arts News On the Web * * January 21, 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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      Vermont Gov. Phil Scott and Health Commissioner Mark Levine are quarantining after a possible COVID exposure. A contractor who provided services at the governor's coronavirus briefings last week has tested positive. The governor tested negative yesterday and will be tested again on Tuesday. He will continue to fulfill all of his duties, including leading Vermont’s pandemic response, while working remotely.
      Franklin County readers will be able to register online for a vaccination appointment. Registration for COVID-19 vaccine distribution for those 75 and older starts Monday. State health officials said that the current limited supply of doses means the state does not have enough vaccine for the 65-75 age group yet. The first shots will be given to 75 and older residents on Wednesday. During the appointment, people will also make another appointment for the second dose. Vermont had received 74,000 doses as of last Friday and had delivered 32,470 or about 44% to the first people to be immunized. The state is now setting up clinics across Vermont.
      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 most dangerous time of the pandemic. With the vaccine "here," many want to resume normal social activities. Please don't let down your guard.
     Gov. Scott extended the Vermont State of Emergency through February 15. 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 9,915 cases, up from a reported 8,790 last week. There have been 156 deaths (1.8% of cases). Last week, North Dakota and Hawaii had lower per capita infection rates than Vermont. The seven-day average test positivity rate was 2.6% (after hitting a high of 2.9%) but remains the lowest in the nation. CDC reported 1,115 new cases this past week although HealthVermont reported only 180 new cases. The state's arithmetic still does not add up; it is an interesting, and ongoing, disparity. Franklin County had ten new cases this week, 102 in the last two weeks.
      286,000 people (up to 45.8% of the Vermont population) have been tested a total of 796,904 times, although that data comes with a crucial caveat:

• A negative test result yesterday says nothing about an individual's health today.

We still need a daily test that costs ten cents and gives results in ten minutes (and a way to collate those results).

      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--Michael Baker has opened Saint Albans Art Supply on North Main Street on January 1. The new shop serves novice and professional artists.
      The new art store carries acrylics, oil paints, and watercolors, sketch pads and canvas, Artograph lightpads, brush sets, and brush cleaners, and even Picasso posters. Materials for kids include coloring books and the store has a small table for children to sit and color or draw.
      "I am trying to find what most artists are looking for in the area based on the people walking into my store and I am open to any suggestions to get the right product needed," Mr. Baker said. Right now he is focused Zem, a company known for their sable brushes.
      Part of Saint Albans Art Supply is an area for artists to work (available when pandemic restrictions relax). The workspace currently exhibits the works of Shawna Beattie from Jeffersonville.
      The store, located at 118 North Main Street, directly across from Ace Hardware, is open Monday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Find them on Facebook for more info.


ST. JOHNSBURY--Catamount Arts and Green Mountain Mall plan to convert unoccupied mall space into the "ArtPort," an indoor art, entertainment and performance space for live shows, exhibitions and more.
      The 24,000 square foot space once held three retail tenants. The walls that separated the spaces are gone, creating the wide-open area for Catamount.
      The open space can hang gallery shows, hold the mobile stage for performances, cabaret acts, and theater, accommodate food trucks, screen movies, and more.
      The mall plan comes will a recognition that the shows must go on even as the pandemic lingers. As quarantine guidelines have loosened, Catamount has returned to live performances with #GetDownTown, the Drive-In-to-Stay-Safe movie and music series, and the country's first vertical concert featuring Kat Wright at Burke Mountain. Catamount finished 2020 by broadcasting First Night North free via KATV.


MILTON--The Milton Artists' Guild new Virtual Social Sunday Program has free art kits and online instruction available for reservation each week, free to all families, for pick up at the gallery. Videos will be added each week for instruction. Click here for more info.
      The MAG online shop is open 24/7 and the gallery itself is open today, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed tomorrow.

MILTON--The Milton Artists' Guild hosts Strike a Pose! in their Portrait Drawing Online Series on Wednesday at 1 - 3 p.m. This workshop will practice drawing the human body in different stances by blocking it out in simple shapes.
      The individual portrait drawing lessons are for anyone who would like to learn, or to refine, how to draw the human face and body. No prior experience is needed. The class fee is $30 for Guild members or $35 for non-members. Find them on Facebook for the class link and more info.

MORRISVILLE--River Arts hosts an In-Person Musical Sculptures Micro-Class on Saturday at 10 a.m. Use simple woodworking skills to learn how to make a sculptural musical instrument, then create a resonant sculpture and transform it into a pentatonic scale stringed instrument.
      Admission is $65. Space is very limited to accommodate social distancing. This class is included in River Art's Winter CSArt subscription. Click here for more info.


Saturday, January 23
ST. ALBANS--Twiggs presented Tim Comings last Saturday and may have a new act this Saturday at about 7 p.m. Reservations are necessary.
      These are free events without tickets. Beware. A scammer on Twiggs Facebook event page posted an offer to sell his  "tickets" to the Dave Miller evening.
      Call 802.524.1405 or click here for more info.


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

Thursday, January 21
      The Frost Jazz Hour UM presents Jay Rees and the UM Marching Band on guitar on Facebook today at 11 a.m.
      The University of Miami Jazz Department broadcasts live from WDNA 88.9 FM studios every Thursday at 11 a.m.
      Admission is free. Anyone on or off Facebook is invited.

      The Virtual Open Mic goes live on Facebook every Thursday from 7 - 10 p.m. It's a central location in Waitsfield for streaming and invites artists to post performances freely.
      Artist and musician Jim Branca of St. Albans was live last Thursday on Facebook.

Friday, January 22
      Young Tradition interviews Touring Group multi-instrumentalist Matthew Brouard on 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 44, Live from the Florida Keys, thanks to Facebook Live at about 7:30 p.m. Find him on Facebook for the watch party.
      Mr. Bartus played a Social Distancing House Concert 43 live from "parts unknown" 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.

Tuesday, January 26
      Great Music in a Great Space--Cathedral of St. John the Divine--presents David Briggs in Tuesdays at 6 live on Facebook on Tuesday. The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine is the Cathedral of the Episcopal Diocese of New York. The 2021 concerts are streamed on Facebook every Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Wednesday, January 27
      Big Heavy World presents Rocket Shop, the original local music radio hour hosted by Tom Proctor, every Wednesday night from 8 - 9 p.m. Vermont artists from across the state perform live in every genre on 105.9FM The Radiator in Burlington and as a podcast on

      Summer Sounds favorite Mark Shelton with Lisa Shelton posted a special video of the Sonny and Cher song, I Got You, Babe as part of the classic music of Flower Power television special on YouTube. He sang gospel from the (enclosed) porch on a wintery Sunday morning on Facebook.
      Follow him on Facebook for a link to this week's offerings.


     Poet Amanda Gorman, 22 of Los Angeles, read her new poem, The Hill We Climb at President Biden's inaugural yesterday.
      In 2014, she was named the first Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles, and became the country's first National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017. Ms. Gorman has a two-book deal with Viking Children's Books; her first work, a picture book Change Sings, will be published this year. She has appeared on MTV, wrote a tribute to Black athletes, and wrote on hope+healing for Harpers Bazaar.
      Ms. Gorman continued a tradition for Democratic presidents that has included Robert Frost and Maya Angelou. Elizabeth Alexander read at Barack Obama's first inauguration and Richard Blanco at his second. Find her on Facebook for more info.


      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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