ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 25 * * All Arts News On the Web * * February 18, 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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ST. ALBANS--The Saint Albans Museum hosts the Clueless Murder Mystery Fundraiser on Saturday at 7 - 9 p.m.
      The (fictional)(we think) evening begins with a reading of the will of Mr. Boddy, a recently deceased and quite eccentric Franklin County millionaire, to be held at Mystery Manor. They mystery is to follow the clues and solve the case to walk away with an enormous inheritance...or simply not walk away at all. In this live interactive performance, participants will "play detective" and take on the formal role of a family member/close confidant, or observe as an invited guest or staff member.
      Admission depends on the role desired. Staff/guests receive an invitation to attend plus a custom menu and drink recipe. Characters join the cast with a unique interactive role, part of which is a fundraising commitment, and receive a detailed script, digital props, and a personalized invitation to attend, plus the custom menu and drink recipe. All attendees will be entered into a raffle for a chance to win museum memberships, apparel, and other door prizes. Character-players are exclusively eligible for premium prizes, including gift certificates to area restaurants and businesses. Costumes & creativity are welcomed and encouraged (but not required). Tickets may be purchased by phone, mailed check, and via the museum online gift shop or Facebook page (@stamuseum). Call 802.527.7933 or click here for more info.


     People age 70 and older can now make an appointment to be vaccinated. About 33,000 people make up this new group. Registrations for the previous age category will also continue. 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 13,677 cases, up from a reported 12,766 last week. There have been 189 deaths (1.4% of cases). The seven-day average test positivity rate eased to 1.5 %. Vermont's seven-day per capita infection rate is about at the middle of the pack at 18.2 per 100,000 residents; North Dakota reports 8.5/100K and next door New York reports 37.8/100K. CDC reported 795 new cases (down from 954 last week) this past week although HealthVermont reported only 118 new cases. The state's arithmetic still does not add up; it is an interesting, and ongoing, disparity. Franklin County had 16 new cases this week, 241 in the last two weeks.
      317,470 people (up to 50.9% of the Vermont population) have been tested a total of 966,693 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).

      The Meeting House on the Green has eight live summer concerts scheduled. 14th Star, 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
      The Vermont Maple Festival has been cancelled.

      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 morphing 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 Rotary Club of St. Albans has heart(s). Their new community-driven fundraiser to honor the frontline workers who continue to serve this region during the pandemic offers 6 x 6 hearts that will include the name of the person or group being honored as well as the person nominating them.
      Each heart is a public acknowledgement of a frontline worker. The Heart cards will be displayed at participating retail locations plus, all on-line donation heart cards will be displayed in the ACE Hardware window. At the end of the event all of the heart cards will be moved to the ACE Hardware window to be captured in a photograph and then archived at the Saint Albans Museum.
      All proceeds will benefit the local community through the Rotary Club of St. Albans.
      The paper hearts will be available for a donation of $10 for one heart card or $25 for three heart cards from the Catalyst Cafe, Creamery Store, Eloquent Page, Hampton Inn, Traveled Cup, the Main Squeeze, Rail City Market, and online for the entire month of February.
      Click here or find them on Facebook for more info.


MILTON--The Milton Artists' Guild continues Fabulous Fabric! with Lydia Littwin in their Portrait Drawing Online Series on Wednesday at 10 a.m.- 12 noon. This beginner-level online workshop will explore tips and techniques for creating wrinkles, folds, and texture in your drawings.
      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. Click here for more info.

MORRISVILLE--River Arts hosts the free monthly Clay Studio Chat broadcasted live on the RA Facebook page on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.
      Ceramic artists Heidi Bielenberg and Lisa Wolfgang and perhaps a mittened guest will share some favorite potters, talk about a new technique, and try to complete a ceramics challenge. Click here for more info.

ST. ALBANS--Saint Albans Art Supply Break the Winter Blues Sale offers 15% off everything in the store through the end of February.
      The new art store carries acrylics, oil paints, and watercolors, sketch pads and canvas, Artograph lightpads, brush sets, brush cleaners, and more plus materials for kids. 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.


     The Vermont International Film Foundation presents Split/Screen: African American Women Filmmakers beginning tomorrow and streaming through the end of the month.
      Split/Screen is an eight-month collaboration between VTIFF and the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival. Each monthly program goes live for 10 days. This month, VTIFF focuses on films made by African American women directors with screenings and filmmaker conversations.
      Split/Screen Monthly Passes are $40 to watch all the films for that month and individual tickets cost $12.50 with special perks for VTIFF members. Click here for more info.


SWANTON--The Swanton Arts Council will commission a work of art valued at $50 that reflects Ice Fishing and Clean Water to be used as a prize for the second annual Clean Water Ice Fishing Derby. The artist will be selected by lottery. Artwork must be delivered or available for pickup in the Swanton area today.
      Email or message via Facebook for more info.

SWANTON--The SAC seeks leaders for creative art projects in the Swanton community. The program is wide open but requires that it be free to Swanton residents and be completed my May 31. The arts council has funding for these projects.
      Email or find them on Facebook for more info.


Saturday, February 13
ST. ALBANS--Twiggs presents Cooper, Bob Recupero, on guitar and vocals on Saturday evening at 6:30 p.m. They had Bob Young last Saturday.
      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, February 18
      The Frost Jazz Hour UM presents the Josh Platt Trio 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. (Programming note: the Eric Stern Trio, scheduled for last week, was cancelled.)

      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.
      Donna Thunder and the Cellar Dwellers were live on Facebook this week.

Friday, February 19
      Young Tradition interviews Touring Group members Giulia Haible and Caroline Dressler 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 48, 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 Social Distancing Concert 47 live from his studio on Facebook on Friday evening.

      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 23
      Great Music in a Great Space at Cathedral of St. John the Divine presents David Briggs with a special pre-concert lecture and then the ticketed concert 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 24
      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

      I'm a sucker for a clarinet. Doreen Ketchens is a talented jazz clarinetist from New Orleans. She performs mostly Dixieland, the hot jazz based on the music that developed in New Orleans at the start of the 20th century. In House of the Rising Sun live from WWOZ you'll ask how does she hold that note on YouTube?
      Just a Closer Walk With Thee with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra is also on YouTube.

      The Soubrette Choir performs There Aren't Enough Love Songs by Ben Patton and arranged by Anna Patton on YouTube.

      Summer Sounds favorite Mark Shelton sang "The King of Hearts," a tuxedo performance of romantic Valentines songs, on Facebook on Saturday night and gospel in a big room on Valentine's 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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