ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 26 * * All Arts News On the Web * * December 6, 2022


      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 Artist In Residence Gallery features different artists each month. This month, the spotlight is on hardwood sculptor Toby Fulwiler, muralist, painter, and photographer Natalie LaRocque, and artist, illustrator, cartoonist and recovering software engineer Sarah Rosedahl. A.I.R. will continue celebrating the monthly Featured Artists online and on Facebook.
      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 Tuesday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Click here or find them on Facebook for more info.


     10,000 rapid LAMP tests and 60,000 at-home rapid antigen test kits were distributed through community organizations and the sixteen state testing sites last week. Vermont distributed 87,000 more tests--two for every student in the state-- at the 51 Agency of Transportation centers across the state last Thursday and Friday. Tests conducted by families will be the state's key strategy to keep COVID out of schools. "Schools will become a distribution point of antigen test for students and their families, not administrators of a testing program," Vermont Education Secretary Dan French said. The tests are recommended, but not required, for students who returned to school this week.
      Current data shows that about 14% of Vermonters age 5 and over--roughly 85,000 people--have received no vaccine at all and only 57%--some 247,100--have been fully vaccinated and boosted to date. 56 Vermonters were hospitalized as of Sunday, with 19 of those in ICU. Unvaccinated people account for 72% of hospitalizations and 85% of statewide intensive care unit patients. Data collected over the past six weeks shows that unvaccinated people were 30 times more likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19 and 34 times more likely to die than people who had been vaccinated and boosted.
      Vermont reported 2,101 new COVID-19 cases last week. Franklin County reported 587 cases in the 14 days ending last Thursday.
      Here's my own advice for dealing with COVID-19. Whether you have contracted and recovered from this coronavirus or haven't yet received a booster or both, immunity has waned for many of us. That lowered resistance leads to infections and increased transmission of the virus. Get the COVID and Flu shot(s), get the booster, and take precautions. No vaccine is 100% foolproof. Wash your hands. Wear a mask where you can't control the airflow around you until we reach the same herd immunity we have for smallpox and once had but lost for measles. Bonus: it will also help protect you from pollen, summer colds, and the winter flu.
      Vaccination clinics for booster shots and for the first or second dose of vaccine are open across Vermont for anyone age 12 or older. Call 855.722.7878 or click here to make an appointment or for more info. You can also walk-in at Costco, CVS, Hannaford, Price Chopper/Market 32, Rite Aid, Shaw's, Walgreens, or Walmart, or get an appointment with CVS, Kinney Drugs, Walgreens, or UVMMC Outpatient Pharmacies.


MORRISVILLE--River Arts hosts Create Your Life in Watercolor and Drawing: Creative Visions Intentions and Practices with licensed psychotherapist Megan Bisbee this evening at 5:30 p.m. It will be an evening of relaxation with a guided meditation followed by a contemplative art project, tea, and discussion. No experience necessary. All materials are provided. The cost is $35. Click here to enroll and for more info.
      Pre-register or drop in for the River Arts Open Studio Figure Drawing Session on Tuesday at 3 - 5:30 p.m. This clothed session will have quick two minute poses, five minute poses, 20 minute poses, and a long pose at the end. Drop-ins welcome. The cost is $15. Click here to enroll and for more info.
      The Tuesday Intro to Wheel with Barbara Flathers starting this Tuesday is sold out.


SWANTON--The Swanton Arts Council Art Journaling Group meets at the Swanton Free Public Library on Wednesday at 6 p.m.
      Art journals, junk journals, art pages and more are on the table and make for fun for artists, writers, scrap bookers, and more. The group meets to share ideas and to take time to create. Gatherings are held at the library on the second Wednesday of every month. If you need supplies to get started, check out the library's Makerspace or email for more info.


     Here's my own advice for dealing with COVID-19. Whether you have contracted and recovered from this coronavirus or haven't yet received a booster or both, immunity has waned for many of us. That lowered resistance leads to infections and increased transmission of the virus. Get the COVID and Flu shot(s), get the booster, and take precautions. No vaccine is 100% foolproof. Wash your hands. Wear a mask where you can't control the airflow around you until we reach the same herd immunity we have for smallpox and once had but lost for measles. Bonus: it will also help protect you from pollen, summer colds, and the winter flu.

Friday, January 7
WILLIAMSTOWN--Eleven kicks off 2022 at The Pub on Friday at 7 p.m. Find them on Facebook for more info.

Friday-Saturday, January 7-8
ESSEX JUNCTION--On Tap has two shows Friday night, Shane's Apothecary at 5 p.m., and then Soulshine Revival for late night music starting at 9 p.m., plus the Rough Suspects live on Saturday night at 8 p.m. Call 802.878.3309 or email for more info. And to confirm. Click here to reserve a table.

Saturday, January 8
ST. ALBANS--Summer Sounds favorite Mark Shelton performs Elvis Presley's Birthday at the American Legion Post #1 on Saturday at 2 - 4 p.m.
      Mark Shelton's astounding voice and dynamic performances leave audiences mesmerized in amazement. The "Hillbilly Cat" has that Star quality, to move from the 50s to the 70s with the King of Rock n' Roll as the perfect way to start the season.
      Mr. Shelton is a member of the International ETA Hall of Fame. His The King Returns concert tours are also internationally acclaimed and internationally sold out. His shows have been featured on ABC News, CBS Inside Edition, Good Morning America, and more as well as globally in India, Fuji Television Network in Japan, and the Daily Mail in the U.K.
      "Come celebrate and have a piece of cake." Admission is $10 in advance or $15 at the door and includes a slice of cake. Find them on Facebook for more info.

Wednesday, January 12
ST. ALBANS--The monthly Blues Jam continues at Twiggs, hosted by Vermont's leading blues man, Nobby Reed and the House Band, on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The Blues Jam blows out the speakers at Twiggs on the second Wednesday of each month. Find them on Facebook for more info.


     Virtual music and events continue this week.

      Jeff Anderson was live with a real fireplace and a holiday show from Spencer Massachusetts on Facebook

      Will Patton "fell onto this track from a few years back." It is Billy Strayhorn's Daydream with Mr. Patton's mando mastery and Will Galison's chromatic harmonica on Soundcloud.

      Summer Sounds favorite Mark Shelton sang Gospel Music on Facebook on a very snowy first Sunday of 2022. Follow him on Facebook for a link to this week's offerings.


ST. ALBANS--The Weekly Writer's Club gathers at 14th Star every Wednesday at 6 p.m.
      "If you're interested in doing some writing and meeting new people," Josh Ellerbrock wrote, "it's a great avenue for all you creatives out there." Find them on Facebook for more info.

BOOKS FROM AWAY--It's a good year when writers I know have new books in print.
      My friend Alma Alexander lost her soulmate, my other friend Deck Deckert, last February. How does a girl from Yugoslavia who grew up Africa end up in the United States via England and New Zealand? She has always been a writer. Mr. Deckert was a newspaperman in Florida. And they met via the misc.writing newsgroup on the Internet. I almost talked them into moving to Richford, but they found joy in Bellingham, Washington
      This Kickstarter™ will underwrite publishing Ms. Alexander's memoir Forever Is Shorter Than It Used To Be of their last shared journey. She's a great writer and it's a wonderful story. Click here to pledge and for more info.
      Jacey Bedford is a "compulsive" science fiction and fantasy writer who been a children's librarian, a postmistress, a fisherman's smock maker, and a folk singer with the a capella trio, Artisan, performing to 20,000 people at the Philadelphia Folk Festival, 200 people on the gun deck of HMS Victory and 3 people and the landlord's dog at a pub in Kent. We've tried very hard to get her for Summer Sounds but never could make it work. Maybe this year?
      Ms. Bedford's new epic fantasy novel, The Amber Crown, will be out on Tuesday.
      "I'd love it if you could click here to join my writerly mailing list," she wrote. Mailing list members will get an exclusive free preview of Chapter One on Sunday, January 9. Click here for more info and to join.

      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.


      What a long, strange [year] it's been, Here's where I get to write up the arts and books and dance and music and theatrical hopes and guesses for 2022. We all know how hard it is to plan these days but I had hopes that there would be a socially distanced modern dance recital involving catamounts but maybe not that. (Catamounts are endangered and dangerous. Social distancing is strongly recommended. Don't try this at home!) In past years, we've had hundreds of concerts, exhibits, recitals, and shows.
      This year's "looking forward columns" are spread over two weeks. We can hope to return to 300 concerts, exhibits, recitals, and shows from more than 40 organizations but, again, there are so many uncertainties that many of the plans we list may change. This week, we have info about upcoming Arts Council and Opera House events. We will cover the Four Franklin County Festivals and our Town Bands plus Other Major Presenter plans next week.
      Happy New Year!


      Summer Sounds has grown up and now stands on its own. The All Arts Council's three primary goals haven't changed: continuing our popular programs, continuing our support of artists and other presenters, and continuing our partnerships. The AAC may also host several one-time shows. Email the All Arts Council if you would like to suggest or host a show.
      AAC will hold exhibits for artists in all media and pays actual cash money for bands and solo performers. If you are one or know one, email the All Arts Council .

      Every Franklin County presenter hopes for a rebuilding year so we all need money and volunteers. From All Arts to Young Tradition-Vermont, please remember that volunteers and a permanent base make up the "back room" that each of these groups needs to continue the programming you enjoy.
      If you want to write this column, plan an event, or do anything else in the arts, email the All Arts Council . The AAC also needs volunteers to provide the marketing and technical help, have resources, and to host meetings and exhibits, and concerts and workshops for artists, other groups, and local presenters.
      If you have an advertising budget to spend or space to lend for the year, Email the All Arts Council . If you want to run an arts program, email the All Arts Council faster.

      Burlington is outside of our normal catchment area but several Franklin County artists are BCA members and their programming is of interest to us.
      BCA will offer exhibitions, events, classes, home studio, and artist resources throughout the year including the multi-part, virtual Architecture + Design Film Series and Think Big - Build Small: Scale Model Workshop in-person with Kirsten Reynolds. Click here for more info

      The Fairfax Arts Council has a call for artists from the Fairfax Rec Department for an Art Show at the Community Center this spring as a fundraiser for the Community Center Redevelopment Project. They are also looking for active volunteers to recreate programming in Fairfax. Find them on Facebook for more info.

      Island Arts has brought arts activities to Grand Isle County for over 30 years. This year, they should again have concerts, theater performances, and craft fairs for children and adults including classes, Paint and Sip events, and more for all ages. Click here for more info.

      St. Albans Community Arts is looking for active volunteers to recreate a vibrant arts scene in the city. Without volunteers it will just drift apart. The Franklin County Quilters Guild 22nd annual quilt show opens in April. There may be art walks, music, the Festival of Trees, the Mayor's Photo Contest, and more.

      The Swanton Arts Council has been rethinking its programs. They will continue Virtual Art Journaling on the second Wednesday. At the Board Meeting Monday, they installed the 2022 Board Members and discussed the emerging Artist Award and Youth Art Show, Free Art Programming, Project LEAD, the Festival of Trees, Small Business Saturday, Artist Showcase, the Swanton Town Plan and more. Paint on Slate is coming up. Art Journaling, the Knitting Circle, a new Crochet Group, and the Writers' Group all continue to meet monthly. Click here for more info.


      The A.I.R. has a winter holiday store, in-person gallery, and online celebrations of the artists. 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.

      The Bryan Gallery is eager to start 2022. The Gallery is closed until March for winter break but appointments are available. Call (802.644.5100) to schedule or click here for more info.

      MAG has an online shop, in-person gallery, and online workshops for every artist. The MAG online shopis open 24/7 and the gallery itself is open Wednesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. MAG's Annual Letter of Appeal is online now. Find them on Facebook for more info.

      Jonathan Brigham is NVAA president. The NVAA board will vote in officers and board members and to discuss the 2022 calendar this month. They may host only one show this year, the June Juried show at Visions of Vermont Gallery in Jeffersonville.

      The Northwestern Medical Center Gallery implemented COVID precautions and put all exhibits on hold. They have no immediate plans to restart the monthly solo shows.

      The Morrisville Art Center has an ambitious schedule of Winter programs including Your Life in Watercolor and Drawing starting today plus Open Studio Figure Drawing, several Intro to Wheel classes, Mixed Media Drawing, Meditative Stitch Workshops, Relief Carving in Plaster, and much more. There will be Sip N' Slurry and Paint and Sip evenings all winter. Click here for more info.


      COVID-19 cancelled the 2020 and 2021 season at the Opera House at Enosburg Falls. Past years have offered a mix of major productions, touring, and community events from vocalists in concert, musicals, and theatricals, to talent shows and art shows. Productions are volunteer-based with small honorariums granted based on the proceeds of the show. The 300 seat historic center of the performing arts serves 14 local communities and more.
      Here's the good news: The House wants to know what you want to see in 2022. Click here to fill out their poll. Email Kim to volunteer or get involved and the Opera House for more info.

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
Music at the Meeting House
Citizens Concert Band
Enosburg Town Band


AAC dancing logo

All Arts Council of Franklin County

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