ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 25 * * All Arts News On the Web * * January 28, 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, as well as Health Commissioner Mark Levine and Financial Regulation Commissioner Mike Pieciak tested negative for COVID-19 on Tuesday. That was their second test. They had quarantined last week after exposure to a contract worker.
      Registration for COVID-19 vaccination started Monday for those 75 and older and lives, works, or accesses primary care in Vermont. There are nearly 50,000 Vermonters in that group; it will take more than a month for them all to get their first shot. After the 75-plus group, the next age group will be 70 and older and then 65 and older, and then those with chronic medical conditions but 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. During their appointments, people will also make another appointment for the second dose. There are vaccination clinics in Enosburgh, Milton, St. Albans, and Swanton. The shot is given at no charge to everyone.
      It is crucial to maintain our precautions as the number of new COVID-19 cases in Vermont continues to rise.

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 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 10,908 cases, up from a reported 9,915 last week. There have been 170 deaths (1.6% of cases). The seven-day average test positivity rate was 2.3% but remains the lowest in the nation. CDC reported 1,025 new cases (down from 1,115 last week) this past week although HealthVermont reported only 148 new cases. The state's arithmetic still does not add up; it is an interesting, and ongoing, disparity. Franklin County had seven new cases this week, 76 in the last two weeks.
      294,280 people (up to 47.6% of the Vermont population) have been tested a total of 841,251 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).

      For the second year in a row, the Vermont Maple Festival has been cancelled. 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.


     I participated in the Vermont Rec and Parks Association Safe Outdoor Venues meeting last week.
      The AAC and the Town of Highgate plan to resume the 30th year of the Summer Sounds free outdoor concerts this summer. We may move from the municipal park to a larger location.
      Carol Ann Jones notes that, "Due to the COVID-19 pandemic we are only booking outdoor, socially distanced events, pending the governor's precautions lifting by summer." She has gigs planned this summer at Arrowhead and for the Superchargers to rock Snowfarm Vineyard.
      Several organizations around the state did host successful outdoor events last year.
      BarnArts hosted their outdoor music series at Feast and Field/Fable Farm and outdoor summer youth theater and monologue performances, all with reservations limited to limit numbers and collect contact tracing info.
      The Big E had some outdoor events last summer with ushers to seat people in specific pods but have since closed down.
      Lotus Lake Camp in Williamstown ran nine drive in concerts on the ball field with the stage up on top of the hill. People drove in, filled out their info for contract tracing and parked in a designated space that was 20 by 8 with 6 feet in between spaces. Masks were mandatory when outside of their designated space, i.e. walking to bathroom. They encouraged people to bring a picnic dinner.
      Mahaney Arts Center at Middlebury College campus is in "no visitors" mode but is hoping to open back up to all audiences in fall 2021.
      The Meeting House on the Green launched Live at 5 in 2020 with the Will Patton Quartet, Beg, Steal or Borrow, Christine Malcolm, and the "always tasteless" Oleo Romeos outdoors with social distancing.
      Montpelier Alive resumed the Brown Bag Summer Concert Series with 100 or so attendance for six concerts. They had signage and announcements, required masks, followed the 100 s.f. per person guideline, fenced off of the area, had a check-in point with contact tracing, health screening, temp checks, but no circles on the ground. Their attendance was up.
      The Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development's Work Safe Memo lays out the health and safety requirements for our municipal parks to return to operation:
     The Summer Sounds social will probably stay suspended this year because the Work Safe memo specifies that visitors have an "arrive, play and leave" mentality. Groups may not gather before or after activities (no tailgating, etc.). They require an acrylic shield between the vendor/server and the public and discourage all cash transactions. Food service guidance is stringent.


     Regular readers may recall that we sold to WNET in New York. That All Arts TV broadcast the piano sextet Grand Band's Peak Performance concert with music by Missy Mazzoli, Kate Moore, Julia Wolfe and Julius Eastman; and animation by Joshua Frankel; with pianists: Erika Dohi, David Friend, Paul Kerekes, Blair McMillen, Lisa Moore, and Isabelle "Izzy" O'Connell. It is streaming now on


ST. ALBANS--There is always something new at the Artist In Residence Gallery. The art and fine craft 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.


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 Mix It Up - Understanding Color on Friday at 4 - 6 p.m. This workshop will help end the frustration of ending up with brown instead of orange, or wondering why that green looks like limeade instead of Spring leaves. The final product will be a visual reference to keep at your art table.
      No prior experience is needed. The class is free. Find them on Facebook for the class link and info about the supplies needed.

MILTON--MAG continues 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--Back by popular demand, River Arts hosts Photoshop 101 on four Saturdays beginning this week and running through February 20 at 10 a.m. - 12 noon.
      Lisa Wolfgang covers basic photo manipulation. The class will teach about layers and selection tools using Adobe Photoshop or the free, open source, advanced image editor, Photopea. The software which can work with raster and vector graphics for simple tasks such as resizing images, as well as complex tasks such as creating illustrations and processing photographs. Click here for more info about that program.
      Tuition is $80. Click here to enroll and for more info.


SWANTON--Van Joe talks with Judy Paxman and Khristian Jackson about the Swanton Arts Council on NWA-TV on YouTube.


      The Vermont Humanities Council presents Anthony Grudin with Andy Warhol's Animal Advocacy on the Vermont Humanities Digital Channels on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
      Andy Warhol was a biocentric artist with a deep interest in non-human life. Mr. Grudin is the author of Warhol’s Working Class: Pop Art and Egalitarianism. 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. Click here for more info about the Digital First Wednesdays programs.


Saturday, January 23
ST. ALBANS--Twiggs presented Arthur James last Friday and may have a new act this week at about 7 p.m. Reservations are necessary.
      Call 802.524.1405 or click here for more info.


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

Thursday, January 28
      The Frost Jazz Hour UM presents Miami Sax Quartet 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.
      Zenbarn was live last week on Facebook.

Friday, January 29
      Young Tradition interviews Touring Group member Hilary Menegaz-Weitzner 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 45, 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 44 live from Boondocks 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, February 2
      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, February 3
      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

      The Celebration of Expressive Arts playlist has all musicians who have performed at CEA and have music on Spotify. Click here for the list.

      Country music performer Mark Leclair of St. Albans was live on Facebook on Saturday night. Mr. Leclair says this is his last stream before his audition.

      Summer Sounds favorite Mark Shelton sang an Elvis tribute from another "undisclosed location" on Friday on Facebook and gospel on Sunday morning on Facebook.
      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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