ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 26 * * All Arts News On the Web * * December 29, 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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AROUND THE AREA--The Artist in Residence 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 Tuesday - Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Click here or find them on Facebook for more info.
      Bryan Memorial Gallery is closed for winter break but appointments are available. Call ahead (802.644.5100) to schedule or Click here for more info.
      The Milton Artists Guild art center and gallery showcases the work of over 145+ artist members in Milton Square behind the Milton Post Office. They have exhibits "around town," workshops, and special events. They are open Monday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Click here or Find them on Facebook for more info.
      And there are public art displays in libraries, offices, restaurants, and some surprise locations around the area.

MONTPELIER--Charles R. Guyette's painting, Freedom and Unity, a portrait of Vermont, hangs in the Vermont Statehouse! "It is 6'x5' and took three years," he wrote.


     The "perfect storm tripledemic" continues growing around the country, exacerbated by holiday gatherings.
      Take an at-home test if you begin having symptoms like fever, sore throat, runny nose, or loss of taste or smell, or at least five days after you come into close contact with someone with COVID-19, or if you plan a get together with people who are at risk of severe disease or may not be up to date on their vaccines. Every home in the U.S. is again eligible to order a new round of free at-home tests from Need other tests? also has for links for at-home tests at retailers and pharmacies, insurance reimbursement for at-home tests, and the 20,000 no-cost antigen and PCR COVID-19 test sites nationwide. Most major chains including Walgreens and Price Chopper locally should have free N95 masks.
      People keep getting sick, mostly because they aren't taking precautions. Original COVID-19 vaccinations remain below the level of herd immunity, and even fewer have gotten boosters. Only about 60% of adults and eligible children have even received a flu vaccine.


     Here's my own plan with over one million U.S. deaths and as our precautions wane. I got the COVID and Flu shots, and the booster, and I take precautions because no vaccine is 100% foolproof. I wash my hands. I double mask with a genuine N95 mask (not a bandana and not a "chin strap") and a surgical mask where ever I can't control the airflow. It isn't much of a burden and it mostly protects me from all the people without masks I see in stores and concerts and from all the people who promote dropping their drawers (or at least their masks) in public.

Thursday, December 29
SOUTH HERO--Cooie Sings at the Blue Paddle Bistro this evening at 5:30 - 8 p.m.

Friday, December 30
ST. ALBANS--14th Star presents Troy Millette & Friends for a pre-NYE celebration of live music in The Room on Friday at 6 p.m. 14th Star will be closed on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day making this the last show of 2022. Find them on Facebook for more info.

COLCHESTER--The WD40's from St. Albans bring their acoustic shenanigans and tomfoolery to the live and free Friday Music Nights at the Spanked Puppy on Friday at 6 p.m. Find them on Facebook for more info.

SOUTH HERO--Carol Ann Jones plays Wine Down Friday at Snow Farm Vineyard on Friday at 6:30 p.m. Food will be catered, call Kristen (802.922.8074) for all pre-order food requests. No cover charge, no dress code.

Friday-Saturday, December 30-31
ST. ALBANS--Twiggs often has shows on Friday and Saturday nights. Music starts about 6:30 p.m. Call 802.524.1405 or find them on Facebook for more info. Click here to book a reservation or to visit the art on the walls.

Saturday, December 31
ST. ALBANS--Last Night events include Fireworks in Taylor Park on Saturday starting at 7 p.m.

ENOSBURG--Silver & Gold at the Opera House at Enosburg Falls is cancelled for New Years Eve this year.

SHELDON--New Year's Eve at the Abbey features SuperSounds DJ on Saturday with dinner service at 5 - 8 p.m. and music right into 2023. This is a free event. Find them on Facebook for more info.

COLCHESTER--Enjoy New Years Eve with Kyle Stevens and Friends "and then some DJing" at the Spanked Puppy on Friday at 7 p.m. Find them on Facebook for more info.

ST. ALBANS--Ring in the New Year with Cozy O'Donnell at the Depot on Saturday night at 9 p.m. Admission is $12 in advance or $15 at the door. Food for purchase and cash bar will be available. Find them on Facebook for more info.

ESSEX JUNCTION--Celebrate New Year with Sticks and Stones at On Tap on Saturday starting at 9 p.m. Call 802.878.3309 or email for more info. Click here to reserve a table.


ST. ALBANS--The Eloquent Page hosts a New Year's Eve Storytime with Ernie the Traveling Storyteller as a St Albans Last Night event on Saturday at 1 p.m.

      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.


      Is pandemic finally over? Public health officials agree that the end of the pandemic may be in sight but is not here yet. We reported on COVID flare-ups, spent our days in hybrid workplaces, lost time in schools, and worried.
      Last winter's Omicron variant should have reminded us to stay attentive. Though not as dangerous on a case-by-case basis as other variants, Omicron's 300+ mutations (so far) have made it much more deadly. Omicron has proven frighteningly prolific, and subvariants continue to emerge and the "perfect storm tripledemic" continues growing around the country.
      The Pfizer and Moderna bivalent boosters provide protection against both the original COVID strain and the Omicron BA. 4/BA. 5 variants. They are available for individuals 5 years of age and older at least two months after completion of either primary vaccination or the most recent booster dose. People keep getting sick, though, mostly because they aren't taking precautions. Original COVID-19 vaccinations remain below the level of herd immunity, and even fewer have gotten boosters. Only about 60% of adults and eligible children have even received a flu vaccine.
      Franklin County artists and presenters managed again under the "new normal," starting the year with all virtual events and ending the year mostly live but with some online components. Restaurants in the region continued offering some live music. 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.
      We'll start with the Arts Councils, check in on the Franklin County Festivals and Libraries, then wrap up with the Other Major Presenters.

      The All Arts Council serves northwestern Vermont as a presenter, an event producer, and as a technical resource for artists and other groups. Other Franklin County organizations continue to grow, which means we support more events.
      The 31st year of Summer Sounds, Franklin County's popular, long running, outdoor series free concerts at home in Highgate continued live on summer Sunday evenings, sponsored by the Town of Highgate and the All Arts Council. Highgate Recreation Program Coordinator Jes Bombard changed up the format a little to great success as the Tenderbellies, Mark Shelton, the Thunderballs, Troy Millette and the Fire Below, the Tyler Mast Band, Neon Spoon, and Chad Hollister took over the stage on the Highgate Arena lawn.
      We had calls for local artists and musicians for gigs here and around the country.
      The community based All Arts Council brings the performing and visual arts to northwestern Vermont.

      Island Arts had a busy summer with book sales, country line dancing, folk dancing, group singing lessons, workshops, and more. Their summer shows on North Hero included Claire Black, A Cappella Lollapalooza, the Andric Severance Trio, Full Circle Theater Collaborative, Citizens Concert Band, Sohyun Ahn, Modern Pop, the Twangtown Paramours, the Green Mountain Brass Band, Vermont Jazz Ensemble, Flores Argentinas, Jorge Garcia Herranz, a Bella Voca Band and Dance Party, and the Dixie Six.

      The Morrisville community art center, presenter, and gallery kept making art safely. In person events including Wednesday Night Live at Oxbow Park plus the Tapestry, Musical Sculptures, and Slurry workshops. Click here to explore these art experiences for the community.

      St. Albans Community Arts is a City presenter and promoter of arts events in St. Albans. Their Art Walk, Make Music Day, Downtown Art and Sidewalk Sales, and the Festival of Trees continued.

      Swanton Arts Council works to build an artistic presence and develop the artistic community in Swanton. This year, they hosted the Art Journaling Group, Writers' Group, Artist Nook, a Painting Social, take and make (art) kits, Youth Art Shows, Art Walls at Swanton Beach, the monthly book club, But I Progress, and more. SAC held an Art Social and a Holiday Craft Show in person. They painted barn quilts. The Emerging Artist Award did select one local senior. And they continue to work at a safe social distance.

      The 55th Vermont Maple Festival had a new schedule and a bucketful of outdoor events for the first (and sweetest) outdoor festival of the year. Little Fox Entertainment, Joshua Glass and Andriana Chobot, Jason Tardy, Pipsqueak the Clown, the Phil Abair Band featuring Keeghan Nolan, the Electric Youth Dance Company, Dragon Man, Aim High Canines, Young Tradition-Vermont Fiddleheads and Touring Group, Shake, Morgan Myles, and Rockin' Ron the Friendly Pirate spent the long weekend with us.
      The 65th Vermont Dairy Festival came back strong with more entertainment and magical family activities than ever before. The Vermont Dairy Festival Scholarship Pageant highlighted the inddor entertainment. The free entertainment on two stages included Jerborn, Smokin' Gun, the Parade, Pirate Man Dan, Farmer Tom Walsh, Chris & Erica, MC Mac Blues Band, Bad Horsey, Summer Sounds favorites Troy Millette & the Fire Below, Robert Clark, and Root 7.
      The 46th annual Franklin County Field Days restarted with a lineup of the best music, arts and crafts (and weeds, of course) that Franklin County has to offer with woodworking, knitting, chair weaving, felting, arts and crafts, train and mechanical bull rides, rides, the horse and pony and ATV and tractor pulls, poker tournaments, and the demolition derby plus exhibits galore, and more. Julia Parent, Jamie Lee Thurston, the Old Man Garage Band, Chris & Erica, Friction, Express Train, the Jolly Roger Band, Darcy Cahill, and the George Richard/Johnny Cash Tribute Show all lit up the stage.

      The generous appropriations for our Town Libraries do not cover all expenses. A donation will help your community library continue offering not only popular reading but also a wide range of the arts. Visit your library virtually or stop by to pick up a donation form or just hand them moolah. Click here for more info.
      Franklin County Libraries opened their doors for public and virtual activities. Collectively, the libraries hold and have lent tens of thousands of physical and electronic books this year. There's some good news. Patrons were able to check out books and movies all year, thanks to phone and email requests for materials. The libraries also have a wide selection of electronic books and audiobooks available online. Click here for more info about all the libraries.
      The Eloquent Page introduced a number of local writers (and their books) at readings and signings and events including a Snowy Story Time. The traditional, bricks-and-mortar bookstore in downtown St. Albans carries 35,000 new and used books plus book-themed merchandise and can find out-of-print titles. The Traveling Storyteller brought Storytime to the store every month or so.
      The Sheldon Public Library hosted a monthly series of Painting Classes with Patrick Murphy.
      The Weekly Writer's Club at 14th Star went on hiatus.

      The Artist In Residence Gallery in St. Albans featured dozens of northern Vermont fine artists with a virtual focus on up to four different artists each month. The art cooperative features paintings, fiber arts, stained glass, sculpture, lamps, pottery, folk art boxes, scarves, hats, and more, and is owned and operated by the artists and sponsors. Their popular monthly featured artist live socials are back and they have kept up their increased online presence.
      Bryan Memorial Galleryfeatured local artists and published "Techniques and Mediums" on Facebook to look at specific approaches. The gallery of New England landscapes hosted workshops and exhibited Gems & Giants, Legacy 2022, Land & Light & Water & Air, and more.
      Cold Hollow Sculpture Park was open in June through October for an admission-free, immersive opportunity in five rolling meadows with about sixty large-scale sculptures by David Stromeyer. They offered the five-part series How We Make Things and other concerts, poetry readings, and special events.
      The Free Little Art Gallery directory of nearby FLAGs is growing and growing.
      The Milton Artists Guild online shop complemented the "bricks and mortar" gallery and began artist pop-ups. They hosted online classes, seminars, and workshops in snowflakes, bubble bracelets, face and figure drawing, painting, cartooning, and more. Even making tortillas and learning ukelele.
      The Montgomery Center for the Arts held regular workshops, Adult Beginner Ballet Barre, yoga and t'ai chi chih. Their shows included Soul Work, the MES Art Show, pop up art shows, a Collection of Art from Carolyn and Harold Babcock, A Stitch in Time, Ecstatic Dance, Irene Klein, An Evening with the Goddesses, Avery Ellis and Chris Young, and more.
      The Northwestern Medical Center Gallery implemented COVID precautions and put all exhibits on hold.
      The Saint Albans Museum held a SAM Open House to celebrate 50 years in operation. They offered the Suffragist Reenactment Society as a community event. Their online programming included An Evening of Bird Tales, the Clueless Virtual Murder Mystery Fundraiser, Bearing Witness and the Endurance of Voice, and A History of Beekeeping on Zoom. A series of "pop-up" museum exhibitions were outdoor and socially-distanced. SAM is "hanging by a thread." The reduction in programming and visibility driven by the pandemic means the museum needs your help.

      Celebration of Expressive Arts operated through the summer at The Inn. Dan & Faith Senie and the Milk House Heaters, Jenn Domina-Cox and Pat Daddona, Cooie DeFrancesco, Amanda Starr and Not Quite Dead all performed and Myra Flynn returned for a special holiday dinner concert.
      The fifth year of the Church Street Sounds of the Season concert series continued with Music-COMP featuring the young composers of Franklin County and the Champlain Trio; an Organ Recital by John Riddle on the Hook & Hosting organ; the Royal Towne Brass, and Va-et-Vient.
      The Opera House at Enosburg Falls opened its doors after two years of pandemic shut down with Prydein with Cadillac Jack live stage. Root 7 and Boom City Improv, Jimmy Branca's Blooz and Beyond Review, Summer Theater Camp, the Johnny Cash Tribute Show, Rusty Dewees, a (Musical) Hint of the Holidays, a Holiday Song and Celebration, and Ernie Hemingway's production of A Christmas Carol all took over the stage. And they held the annual Holiday Craft Fair.
      The Enosburg Town Band played live Summer Concerts on the Lincoln Park Bandstand on Tuesday nights. The Citizens Concert Band performed two shows in Taylor Park, plus the Town Green in Franklin, the Homer Knight Barn in North Hero, the Little White Church in Highgate Springs, and the Town Green in Bakersfield.
      The first Fairfax Art Festival and Silent Auction took over the Fairfax Community Center in May with local art, crafts for kids, painting classes, concessions and more, all to benefit the restoration of the Fairfax Community Center Building.
      The popular Jig in the Valley returned for the 30th year. Eight hours of music included Carol Ann Jones and the Superchargers, the Dale and Darcy Band, Vermont sax man Joe Moore Band, the Missisquoi River Band, the Nobby Reed Project, and Shake. Special guests include musician friends from near and far and the Big Ass Revue with Tyrone, George, Phil, Brian and Will, all to support the Fairfield Community Center programs
      The Kingman Fest offered the Music of Queen live in a block party on Kingman Street.
      The Meeting House on the Green Music Series brought eight high-caliber groups to the Meeting House with Beg, Steal or Borrow, the Atlas Tango Project, Galen Cassidy Peria, Young Tradition-Vermont fiddlers, the WDEV Radio Rangers, Summer Sounds favorites Atlantic Crossing, Annie & the Hedonists, and David Mallett. All but one of the concerts were held outside on the terrace with lite fare and desserts on the village green. Proceeds from the series help fund the restoration of the building. The Meeting House is now working with Stephan Conrady to preserve the 135-year-old Tracker pipe organ there.
      The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute hosted monthly talks on culture, humanities, and science.
      Summer Music at Grace began their season with the 20th annual Farewell Reunion featuring Corner House, and the Young Tradition Vermont Youth Commission. They presented Village Harmony, Frevo, and David Feurzeig with Sheldon vocalists Jennifer McConnell and Erin Grainger, and more.
      The Vermont Abenaki Artists Association offered the Abenaki Storytelling Project, Indigenous Peoples Days, Water Is Life, Abenaki Heritage Weekend and Arts Marketplace, Storytellng and Fiber Arts, the Snow Snake, workshops, and featured artists,
      The Vermont Humanities Council hosted talks on arts, culture, humanities, and science both in person in local libraries and other venues and through their digital platform. VHC also chose The Most Costly Journey as the Vermont Reads title this year. Much of the work on Vermont dairy farms is done by over a thousand migrant laborers from Latin America. The book tells the stories of 19 of these workers in their own words, illustrated by New England cartoonists.
      The Vermont International Film Festival hosted the 2022 Global Roots Film Festival.
      On July 1, Young Tradition-Vermont joined the Vermont Folklife Center after decades of collaborations. The YTV Festival offered live and live-streamed programs in Burlington City Hall and other locations. Their programs include Trad Camp, Fiddleheads, Touring Group, Youth Commission, Instrument Petting Zoo, and Instrument Loan Program.
      Restaurants and bars in Franklin County returned to live music schedules. We enjoyed several Abbey Music Series, Friday Night Live Music and Buffet at Arrowhead Golf Course, the Blue Paddle Bistro, Country Boy Classics in Enosburg Falls, music in The Room at 14th Star, a variety of shows at the Depot, North Hero House evenings, the Snow Farm Summer Concert Series, and pop-up performances at Twiggs and more.
      There were several other pop-up shows but most happened too quickly to catch our deadline. Check with your favorite places every day or so to find out if anything is going on.


     May 2023 be filled with friends and family and joy and the arts. And, as Duke Ellington reminds us, "I've found the best way to keep a band together is to pay them."

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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