ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 25 * * All Arts News On the Web * * April 1, 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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      It's Spring! Time to get hoppy! Today is Anne's and my 43rd anniversary. We celebrated by getting our second shot (Moderna) on Tuesday.
      Although I usually write an "April Fool's" column for this week, there is just so much other news that we took a hiatus this year. It will be back when you least expect it!


     Vermont daily coronavirus case counts spiked last Thursday. That broke the state's one-day record and pushed the average test positivity rate back up to 1.8%. The majority of infections are in Vermonters under 30.
      All Vermonters 50 and up can now get vaccination appointments. 33.8% of residents over 15 and 77% of teachers and school staff have received at least one dose of the vaccine. The state has COVID-19 appointment times in St. Albans. Call the state's COVID-19 vaccine call center (855.722.7878) for info and appointments or Click here to get started and find more info.
      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.
      The 251 new cases last Thursday are the highest one-day case total yet; only four were reported in individuals aged 65 or older, likely thanks to the high vaccination rates in that age group. As of last Sunday, the Vermont Dashboard showed a total of 18,623 cases, up from a reported 17,740 last week. There have been 224 deaths (1.2% of cases). The seven-day average test positivity rate jumped to 1.8 %. The CDC COVID Tracker shows that Vermont's seven-day per capita infection rate has risen to 177.7 per 100,000 residents; even California has dropped to 43.3/100K while next door New York rose to 229.1/100K, and Florida is at 154.5/100K. CDC reported 1,105 new cases (up from 857 last week) in Vermont this past week although HealthVermont reported only 121 new cases including the 251 from Thursday. The state's arithmetic still does not add up; it is an interesting, and ongoing, disparity.
      Franklin County has experienced a spike in coronavirus cases. Swanton in particular is affected, with 213 active cases in the first two weeks of March. Highgate had 40. The County reported 18 new cases this week, but 202 in the last two weeks--another statistical anomaly since there were "ten" last week which by regular arithmetic adds up to 28 new cases in two weeks, not 202.
      351,940 people (up to 56.4% of the Vermont population) have been tested a total of 1,301,488 times, although that data comes with a crucial caveat:

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

According to a New York Times study, most providers charge between $50 and $200 for COVID tests although 87% of the tests were billed for $100 or less so those 1.3 million tests appear to have cost over $100 million already. We still need a daily test that costs ten cents and gives results in ten minutes (and a way to collate those results).

      Summer Sounds is scheduling the 30th season. Arrowhead Golf Course will resume the Friday Night Live Music and Buffet in June. Celebration of Expressive Arts begins the season on May 30. Cold Hollow Sculpture Park will reopen on June 12. The 18th annual Farewell Reunion happens online this year. The Meeting House on the Green has ten 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 Dairy Festival has changed format and Vermont Maple Festival will host only virtual events for 2021.

      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 Artist In Residence Gallery features different artists each month. This month, the spotlight is on fiber artist Janice Decooman, painter Patrick Murphy, and quilter Claire Graham-Smith.
      The art and fine craft cooperative has new works every week and an online gallery at The gallery 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. - 4 p.m.

CAMBRIDGE--Cambridge Arts Council's Featured Artist is Zach Cohen of El Buho Flutes.
      Mr. Cohen heard the call of the Andean quena in Peru and apprenticed with a master flutemaker there. His bamboo flutes are handcrafted for their warm tone. Click here or find him Facebook for more info.

ENOSBURG--Cold Hollow Sculpture Park has begun getting the Park in shape to open to the public on June 12.
      The pandemic closed the Park for the entire 2020 season. They offer the public an admission-free, immersive art experience in a northern Vermont setting. To keep updated on everything happening, Click here to sign up for their newsletter. The Park is located at 4280 Boston Post Road near the village of Enosburg Falls. It showcases five decades of David Stromeyer's work.


MILTON--The Milton Artists' Guild 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 is open Wednesday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

ST. ALBANS--Saint Albans Art Supply has the best selection of watercolors in Franklin County with over 77 Daniel Smith colors to choose from and a new supply of Zem Kolinski Sable Watercolor brushes.
      The art store also carries acrylics and oil paints, watercolor papers, 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.


MILTON--The Milton Artists' Guild new workshop, Online Exquisite Landscapes: Writing Place in Poetry, Fiction, and Creative Nonfiction, continues today at 5:30 p.m. It will be held on six Thursdays through April 15.
      Instructor Ellen Parent will explore that important backstop of creative writing. The guided workshop will revise and strengthen writing with strategies for building evocative and purposeful settings. Ms. Parent has a degree in poetry writing from Wheaton College and a forthcoming degree in fiction writing from the Solstice MFA Program. Her writing has been featured in Vermont Magazine, Bloodroot Magazine, Blueline Literary Magazine, Birchsong, and elsewhere.
      The workshop fee is $65. Click here to register and for more info.


SWANTON--The Swanton Arts Council will hold its regular board meeting and update via Zoom on Monday at 6 p.m. SAC meetings are held on the first Monday of each month. Email or message via Facebook an hour before the meeting for the link. Click here for the current agenda and minutes for earlier meetings.

SWANTON--The SAC will host a free Barn Quilt painting class on Zoom on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
      Instructor Marie Speer will show how to create a spring-inspired, pastel colored, 8" by 8" canvas barn quilt. Find the event on Facebook to see the pinwheel pattern. Email Ms. Speer to reserve your spot.
      This is free to the community thanks to an anonymous grant; each spot is worth $25 per person which includes all supplies needed.


Saturday, April 3
ST. ALBANS--14th Star presents Bare Bones live in The Room on Saturday at 6 p.m. Troy Millette and Dan Rahilly were back in the Main Dining Room last Friday.
      Seating is limited to one household per table and reservations are required. Reservations can be made online up to six days in advance. Click here and select "The Room Indoor Seating" to reserve your table.

ST. ALBANS--Twiggs may have someone live on stage on Saturday evening. Dave Miller played 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, April 1
      The Frost Jazz Hour UM presents the Connor Rohrer 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.

      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.

Friday, April 2
      Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival's special, free, online concert, Intermezzo TWO, the "spring Schubertiade," premieres on YouTube and Facebook on Friday at 7:30 p.m. and will be available through Thursday, April 8.
      Jennifer Frautschi, violin; Paul Neubauer, viola; Edward Arron, cello; Thomas Van Dyck, double bass; and Glora Chien, piano; will present a program of Schubert String Trio in B-flat Major and Schubert Piano Quintet in A Major the Trout. After the concert LCCMF will host a Zoom conversation with the artists. The concert is free but you must have a ticket for the links. Click here for free tickets and more info.

      Summer Sounds favorite John Bartus' Perpetual Island Tour will perform Social Distancing Concert 54, 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 the Social Distancing Concert #53 featuring Gordon Lightfoot and the rockin' lava lamp, live from his studio on Facebook on Friday evening.

      Andrew Lloyd Webber streams 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, April 3
      River Arts' Music and Movement broadcasts Live on Facebook with Brett Gillen 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.

Wednesday, April 7
      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

      Heliand@Home with Reflections was the Heliand Consort live on Facebook.
      The virtuoso woodwind and piano ensemble performs "music for contemplation and healing, one year in." The group has a classical music repertoire from the baroque through the 20th century contemporary.

      Summer Sounds favorite Mark Shelton sang the ABCs of Elvis, "starting with the letter K" on Facebook on Friday and Palm Sunday gospel music on Sunday 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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