ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 25 * * All Arts News On the Web * * April 22, 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 Vermont Maple Festival is the annual celebration of maple syrup, the state's first agricultural crop of the year. The Top-10, three-day event begins tomorrow and runs through Sunday.
      The pandemic restrictions changed the Maple Festival plans but they "have managed to bring back some of the events to enjoy." The Photo Contest and the Sappy Art Contest are on exhibit at the Village Frame Shoppe.
      Downtown St. Albans merchants have decorated store widows to celebrate Vermont maple. Take a stroll around Downtown to vote for your favorite photo, sappy artwork, and window display for the People's Choice Award. Children's sap collection coloring pages, maple leaf coloring pages, and sugar house coloring pages will be displayed at some stores on Main Street.
      The annual pancake breakfast--in person at 139 Lake Street on Saturday and Sunday--supports Martha's Kitchen. Call 802.343.5411 or Email for reservations and more info. The famed Nellie's Donuts, Maple Candy, and Maple Cotton Candy will be available to purchase. And the Maple Ambassador Contest chooses two Vermont students to represent the Green Mountain State's signature product for the next year.
      There is still much to see, hear, and do at the Maple Festival. Click here for more info.


     All Vermonters 16-and-over can now get vaccinated (the Pfizer vaccine is still the only option for people in the 16- and 17-year-old age group and they must have a parent's or guardian's permission). Appointments for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been canceled through at least tomorrow; the state should contact people who were registered for J&J in the coming days
      The Vermont Forward plan rolls back most pandemic-related restrictions entirely by July 4 as long as Vermonters follow five basic tenets of "universal guidance": Stay home if you are sick, wear a mask, maintain 6-foot spaces, practice good hygiene, and know travel restrictions. The full plan is outlined here. Click here for the details about which sectors are impacted and what Universal Guidance iincludes
      Vermont had received 564,100 doses of vaccine and had still administered 454,300 shots as of Saturday morning. About 52% of the Vermont population 16 and older has received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 34.8% have been fully vaccinated. 46.8% of Franklin County residents have received at least one shot. 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.

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.
      As of last Sunday, the Vermont Dashboard showed a total of 22,016 cases, up by 1,051 from a reported 20,965 last week. There have been 242 deaths (1.1% of cases). The seven-day average test positivity rate rose to 2.2% during the week but has eased back to 1.5%. The CDC COVID Tracker shows that Vermont's seven-day per capita infection rate dipped to 144.9 per 100,000 residents; even California is still at 47.8/100K while nearby Maine has 241.7/100K, and Florida rose to 198.4/100K. CDC reported 904 total new cases (down from 1,060 last week) in Vermont this past week. Franklin County had 114 new cases in the last two weeks.
      371,712 people (up to 59.6% of the Vermont population) have been tested a total of 1,489,356 times, although that data still 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).

      Summer Sounds will host the 30th season of outdoor concerts beginning Sunday, July 11. The Abbey Summer Music Series starts June 4. Arrowhead Golf Course will resume the Friday Night Live Music and Buffet in June. Blue Paddle begins live music June 10. Celebration of Expressive Arts begins the season on May 30. Cold Hollow Sculpture Park will reopen on June 12. The Double E begins Trucks, Taps and Tunes June 16. The 18th annual Farewell Reunion happens online this year. Franklin County Field Days goes live August 5 - 8. Ten live Meeting House on the Green summer concerts begin June 12. Music returns twice a week to North Hero House starting June 16. The Opera House at Enosburg Falls cannot host summer camp but will offer an arts-based virtual summer program for kids ages 11-14. River Arts returns to Music on Main, the Downtown Summer Music Series in Morrisville. 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.

      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.


MILTON--The Milton Artists' Guild has in-store and online activities. The MAG online shopis 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. Last week, Liz Reardon and Mark Ozenich were in the house.
      Find them on Facebook for more info.

MORRISVILLE--River Arts hosts New Beginnings, the Vermont Watercolor Society annual juried spring show. Works will be on display in both the Folley Hall Gallery and the Copley Common Room from April 15 - July 13. An artists reception is planned for June 10 at 5:30 p.m. Capacity restrictions and details TBD.
      Member artists reflected on new beginnings with interpretations that show the transition from winter to spring, budding spring fauna and flora, a new year, a new life or a new outlook. Click here for more info.

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 Wednesday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Click here or find them on Facebook for more info.


     The Vermont International Performance Salon opens with a Sunday Soiree on Saturday and Sunday. Tune in anytime between 10 a.m. on Saturday and 7 p.m. on Sunday to view filmed performance pieces by artists from the United States, Canada, and beyond. VIPs will host a Zoom gathering of the artists this Sunday and on each Sunday of the festival at 7 p.m.
      VIPs is co-hosted by community-based arts organizations on both sides of the Vermont- Quebec border. The virtual presentation and viewing platform is gives performers and audiences a re-entry into the theater. The Montgomery Center for the Arts is a founding partner.
      The venues offer work over the four weekends to expand the accessibility of performers, audience, and ideas while their venues remain closed.
      The schedule continues with Sunday Soirees and open viewing on May 1-2, May 8-9, and May 15-16. All are welcome and encouraged to attend. Viewing is free, but they encourage donations. Click here for more info.


MORRISVILLE--River Arts pottery instructors host an in-person "Sip n' Slurry creative experience" as the pottery twist on a Paint n' Sip on Friday at 6 p.m. BYOB. Participants must wear a mask except while consuming beverages. The bar is not serving due to COVID restrictions.
      The cost is $35. Click here to enroll and for more info. Email to book a table.

MORRISVILLE--River Arts hosts the free monthly Clay Studio Chat broadcast live on the RA Facebook page on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.
      Ceramic artists Heidi Bielenberg and Lisa Wolfgang will share some favorite potters, talk about a new technique, and try to complete a ceramics challenge: inspired by the Great Pottery Throwdown, they will spin the wheel of chance to see if they can throw blindfolded, make a two-minute teapot, or put a handle on a mug with only one hand. click here for more info.

ST. ALBANS--Saint Albans Art Supply, the "small town Art Supply store," is growing by leaps and bounds. They need to empty the shelves for inventory so all watercolor supplies are on sale from 10% to 30% off.
      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.


MONTGOMERY--Montgomery Center for the Arts hosts painter and local art teacher Patrick Murphy to lead Take Me to the River: Exploring the Trout River Through the Arts, a live, in-person plein air painting workshop on Comstock Bridge Road on Saturday at 10 a.m.
      Plein air painting is about leaving the four walls of your studio behind and experiencing painting and drawing in the landscape. It's the way to paint from direct observation. This free workshop will focus on the natural beauty along the Trout River. All supplies, canvas, paint, brushes are included. This a free event, cosponsored by The Upper Missisquoi and Trout Rivers Wild and Scenic Committee Grants Program. Enrollment is limited to 10 participants. Click here to register and find them on Facebook for more info.

SWANTON--"Let's play in the mud!" Swanton Arts Council Concrete presents Hand Planters, another free art project using quick set concrete mix, via Facebook Live on Saturday. The project will create single or cupped hand planters from disposable gloves. Art kits are available but plants are not included. This is a free art class with a value of $25 sponsored by an anonymous donation to the SAC. Click here for more info and to register.

MILTON--The MAG 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.


SWANTON--The Swanton Public Art Network has started a GoFundMe page to support the replacement of three new art boards and other public art projects in Swanton.
      The open art boards were dismantled last summer after five successful years as a consequence of "socially intolerant behavior" and the public reaction to artwork that portrayed diversity. The arts council notes that "Many artists, community members and Village officials were hurt, angry, frustrated, discouraged, and felt misunderstood and not heard."
      SPAN was formed by a small group of volunteers to make a new effort to understand, allow, and appreciate art that is not only familiar and traditional, but also trending and thought provoking. Returning the art boards is one step on that mission.
      Their goal is to raise $5000. Donations are tax-deductible and will underwrite this collaborative effort to heal and artistically enrich the community. Click here to contribute and for more info.


GEORGIA--Come and see the show. Carol Ann Jones says she has "Lots of room left in the calendar for house concerts." Call Ms. Jones (802.524.5156), Email, Click here to book one or for other info.

Friday-Saturday, April 23-24
ESSEX JUNCTION--On Tap offers the Fabulous Wrecks tomorrow night and Trevor Ryan live for Saturday night. Music starts at 5:30 p.m. Check with On Tap before going. Call 802.878.3309 or email for more info. And to confirm. Click here to reserve a table.

ST. ALBANS--Twiggs presented George Murtie last Friday and Ryan Hanson on Saturday. They may have new acts this week at about 7 p.m. Reservations are necessary.
      Call 802.524.1405, find them on Facebook, or click here for more info.

Saturday, April 24
ST. ALBANS--14th Star has the Wickmoore Jazz Trio live in The Room on Saturday at 6 p.m. It will be an evening of jazz standards, funk favorites, and contemporary staples.
      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.

BURLINGTON--Nectar's presents the Al's Pals SpringTime Invitational in the Backyard at Nectar's on Saturday at 6 p.m.
      Budney and his "shapeshifting band" with members of the Seth Yacovone Band, Moon Hooch, Dave Keller Band, Strange Machines, Dead Set, and more bring a jazzy, funk n' blues extravaganza to the Backyard. Admission is $17.50. Click here for tickets.

Tuesday, April 27
MORRISVILLE--Moog's presented Wedlock and Bixby with a special appearance by Geoff Goodhue on drums last week and may have a new act this week. Reservations are necessary. Find them on Facebook for more info.


     The Young Tradition Vermont Touring Group launched its virtual world tour with social visits, shared music, and master classes on Sunday, starting in Sweden at 9 a.m. and finishing on early this evening in Quebec City, Joliette, and Montreal simultaneously. Previous in-person tours have included England, Ireland, Cape Breton, New Brunswick, Scotland, Japan and metro New York/New Jersey
      The 2021 group consists of 20 teen players, singers, and dancers who focus on learning and performing a variety of traditional music and dance repertoire over the course of nine months, starting in September and ending with a final performance at the Young Tradition Festival in early May. Members range in age from 11 to 19 and live throughout Vermont, as well as in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and Ontario.
      "Traveling together in person would have been wonderful, but this is going to be one of the most amazing things we’ve ever done," YTV manager Mark Sustic wrote. Email for more info.


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

Thursday, April 22
      The Frost Jazz Hour UM presents the Eric Stern 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 23
      Young Tradition interviews Touring Group member Anna Butcheron 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 57, 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 #56 featuring the Beatles complete with the Voices in My Head chorus, live from Havana Jack's 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.

Tuesday, April 27
      Great Music in a Great Space--Cathedral of St. John the Divine--presents Raymond Nagem 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, April 28
      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 Blue Paddle published their first try at remote recording on Facebook. Live music is coming to the Bay soon.

      Summer Sounds favorite Mark Shelton sang Elvis tribute song fun as a house concert (OK, a carport concert) on Facebook on Friday and gospel music on Sunday on Facebook . Follow him on Facebook for a link to this week's offerings.


ST. ALBANS--The Eloquent Page hosts Sara R Stewart for a book signing and discussion of her two erotic romances, Where Love Finds You and Falling Beyond Dreams, on Saturday at 11 a.m.
      "Portland Lovers" Zane is grief stricken young man who has it all but his grief prevents him from moving forward and Cassandra has put her nose in books and stopped living much of a life of her own. A local writer of adventures in love and erotica, Ms. Stewart works in the business travel industry by day and writes intelligent romance novels with that erotic twist at night. She is a full time mom with two daughters and three dogs. Find them all on Facebook for more info.

SWANTON--The Swanton Free Public Library is planning for summer and "wants to make sure everyone has as many ways to visit the library as possible." To that end, they have an online survey to help figure out what the post-COVID public hours should be. (The Library notes that their hours have always been difficult to remember.) Click here to take the survey.

      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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