ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 27 * * All Arts News On the Web * * February 23, 2023


      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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SWANTON--Local crafter Annette Roach leads Gnome Craft to "create the perfect St. Patrick's Day gnome" at the Swanton Free Public Library on Friday at 5 p.m. The class costs $25 which includes all materials and instruction. Pre-registration is required. Call 802.868.7656 or email the Swanton Library tto register or for more info.

ST. ALBANS--Awaken Yoga and Creative Arts Studio host a Black Light Paint & Pizza Party to create a "Neon Moon" on Friday at 6 p.m. The cost is $50 which includes all materials, pizza dinner from Mimmo's, and a black light bulb to take home to enjoy your painting. Click here or Find them on Facebook for more info for tickets and more info.

MORRISVILLE--River Arts hosts the in-person, February "Sip n' Slurry: Paint Your Story" with Jude Prashaw to create a tray in clay as the pottery twist on a Paint n' Sip on Friday at 6 p.m. The cost is $55. Click here to enroll and for more info.


     The UVM Medical Center COVID Testing Clinic in Williston shut down on February 15. Demand for testing has fallen in hospitals and in the community. UVM rolled back pre-procedure COVID testing at the Medical Center and people have antigen testing at pharmacies, grocery stories, and at home.
      COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations were again largely unchanged over the last week. The Vermont Department of Health reported on February 15 that 41 people remain hospitalized. Overall, Vermont's new COVID-19 cases rose to 491 statewide last week. Franklin County's case load stood at 83 cases in the 14 days ending Saturday. Nine more Vermonters died of COVID-19 last week, bringing the total fatalities to 910. Franklin County has lost 86 residents to the disease. As of this month, the CDC calculates county-by-county COVID-19 "community levels." Infections in Franklin County remain at a "Low" level.
      Because Vermont relies on self reporting, the number of actual cases is higher than the Department of Health finds. You can report self-test results by following instructions on your test kit to automatically provide your results to your local health department or with the Vermont COVID-19 Self-Test Result Reporting Form. If you test positive, stay home and isolate for five days or longer. You can leave your home on day six if your symptoms have improved and you have had no fever for at least 24 hours without the use of medicine that reduces fevers.
      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. All of Vermont's walk-in clinics closed Tuesday. Only about 60% of adults and eligible children have even received a flu vaccine. Most doctors and area pharmacies offer COVID-19 and flu vaccinations.
      Whether you have contracted and recovered from this coronavirus or haven't yet received a booster or even if you have done it all, immunity has waned again for many of us. That lowered resistance leads to infections and increased transmission of the virus. To date, only 28% of eligible Vermonters age 5 and over have gotten the bivalent COVID-19 booster vaccine. Here's my own advice. Get the COVID shot(s), get the booster(s), and take precautions, particularly if you are inside with other people--that still means wearing a mask indoors.
      No vaccine is 100% foolproof. Wash your hands. Keep wearing an N95 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 because so many parents refused to vaccinate their kids. Bonus: it will also help protect you from pollen, summer colds, and the winter flu.
      Call 855.722.7878 or visit for more info about the first or second dose and for booster shots of the vaccine. 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. Providers and pharmacies must give vaccines at no cost to the patient.


JEFFERSONVILLE--Bryan Memorial Gallery continues Around the World with Mary & Alden the island of Barbados and bouncing around the Caribbean. In Homeschool with the Bryan they continue examining figurative work and how to perceive or "read" art. Find it all on Facebook.
      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.


POEMS AROUND TOWN (March 20)--Calling all poets. Swanton Arts Council and the Swanton Writers Group will post poems in windows all around town for National Poetry Month in April. Submit poems of 28 lines to Becky Rupp or drop them off at the Swanton Free Public Library. All ages and genres welcome.


ST. ALBANS--Osher Lifelong Learning Institute continues the Spring weekly program series with Caroline Tassey's biography of Esther Sumner Damon: The last Revolutionary War Pensioner in the Greg Brown Lodge at Hard'ack on Wednesday at 11 a.m.
      OLLI no longer takes payments at the door. They "strongly recommend that all attendees/members pre-register prior to the start of the program." Click here for more info.

ONLINE--The Vermont Humanities Council offers several digital presentations this week. The Stono Rebellion with Damian Costello happens on Zoom on Monday at 6:30 p.m. First Wednesday brings Civic Participation in Paraguaywith Peace Corps trainer Cristhian Fretes Ojeda, Youth in Agriculture: Why It Matters with Greenager Sarah Monteiro, and The People's Tongue: Americans and the English Language with longtime First Wednesdays favorite Ilan Stavans, all on Zoom on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
      Click here for more info about these and other programs.


MILTON--Social Sundays continue at the Milton Artists' Guild Art Center with free weekly art classes for families at MAG on Sunday at 1 p.m.
      Each week offers a different project--last week was Making a Watercolor Resist Painting with Cathy Laclair. Stay for 30 minutes or the whole two hours. Click here for more info.

MORRISVILLE--River Arts begins a new, six-workshop series, Mixed Media, with Vermont artist Sheri Howe on Wednesday at 5:30 - 8 p.m. Classes will be held each Wednesday through April 12. Ms. Howe will explore the tools and techniques used for layers of different painting and drawing mediums, collage elements and more.
      Tuition is $160. Click here to enroll and for more info.


     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.

Thursday-Saturday, February 23-25
ESSEX JUNCTION--On Tap starts off another weekend of music with Third Shift tonight on second shift starting at 6 p.m. two shows Friday night, Chris & Erica at 5 p.m., and then Sticks and Stones for late night music starting at 9 p.m., plus two more shows live on Saturday night with WD-40 at 5 p.m., and Staircase 24 starting at 9 p.m. Call 802.878.3309 or email for more info. Click here to reserve a table.

Friday, February 24
COLCHESTER--The Chris Lyon Duo plays live in the free Friday Music Night at the Spanked Puppy on Friday at 6 p.m. Find them on Facebook for more info.

ST. ALBANS--14th Star presents the Duel with Summer Sounds favorites John Geno and Kevin Connelly for a night of live music in The Room on Friday at 6 p.m. Find them on Facebook for more info.

SHELDON--The Abbey Friday Night Music Series continues with XX in the Pub on Friday at 6:30 p.m. Find them on Facebook for more info.

SOUTH HERO--She Was Right plays the Winter 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. Click here for more info.

Friday-Saturday, February 24-25
ST. ALBANS--Twiggs often has shows on Friday or Saturday nights (last week was a special night with Bobby Cee). 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, February 25
ST. ALBANS--Off The Rails at One Federal, the city's new music venue, hosts Saturdays Are For Parents with Julia Parent in the lounge in a residency every Saturday in February at 6:30 p.m. Find them on Facebook for more info.

Wednesday, March 1
ST. ALBANS--Troy Millette's Sample Sets continue at 14th Star for a night of live music on the Taproom stage on Wednesday at 6 p.m. Mr. Millette introduces established solo acts, fresh new faces, special guest appearances, and more. Find them on Facebook for more info.

Plan Ahead: Friday, March 10
KEY COLONY BEACH and ONLINE--Inch Beach will host a very special live concert with Summer Sounds favorite Mark Shelton on Friday, March 10 at 7 p.m. We usually have no idea how many stars to expect when he shows up. "Fridays are mostly Elvis but we'll also sing some gospel plus who knows?" he said.
      Mark Shelton's astounding voice and dynamic performances leave audiences mesmerized. An International Elvis Hall of Fame artist, his The King Returns concert tours are 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. 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 appetizer for the Marathon Seafood Fest. Follow him on Facebook for more info on this show and a link to this week's offerings.


     I like regional writers.
      William Faulkner and Harper Lee and Eudora Welty are the usual representatives of Southern regional writers who were also national best sellers. They used location as a character and emphasized the dialect, customs, history, and landscape of the regions they knew best because they called it "home." Don Quixote with 500 million copies sold and A Tale of Two Cities with 200 million may be the best-selling regional books of all time.
      Mystery today is generally heavy on setting. On the beach I may read modern mysteries from Wyoming or Big Sky country (C.J. Box), New Iberia, Louisiana (James Lee Burke), Los Angeles (Jonathan Kellerman), Castle Rock, Maine (Stephen King), Brattleboro, Vermont (Archer Mayor), Chicago (Sara Paretsky), Boston (Robert Parker), or Three Pines, Quebec (Louise Penny). Location isn't everything to these writers but it does infuse the story and the other characters who populate the writer's mind.
      Chris Bohjalian, Robert Frost, Jamaica Kincaid, Archer Mayor, and Annie Proulx are best-selling Vermont writers but they are not the only Vermont writers you'll find in your Town library or the local bookstore. The Eloquent Page's Donna Howard also stocks and helps you meet local regional writers including Jason Barney, A.Y. Berthiaume, Carleigh Bodrug, "accidental author" Lynda Bouchard, Charlie Brooks, Trueman Bryer and Dawn Densmore-Parent, J.P. Choquette, Trish Esden, Tammy Hetrick, Jerry Johnson, Sandy Manning, James B Manning, Bill Mares and Don Hooper, Jillian Marshall, Walt McLaughlin, DonnaRae Menard, DonnaRae Menard, Laura Napoli, Stephen Russell Payne, Bob Pierce, Sara R Stewart, and Michael Freed-Thrall.
      Find out more about Regionalism in the Oxford Bibliographies and in writer Jim Nelson's discussion of the New American Regionalism .

      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
Music at the Meeting House
Citizens Concert Band
Enosburg Town Band


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All Arts Council of Franklin County

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