ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 27 * * All Arts News On the Web * * November 16, 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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WAITSFIELD--Mad River Valley Arts presents Beyond the Curve, an American Abenaki COVID experience. This month, Exhibit Curator and VAAA Director Vera Longtoe Sheehan will offer a comprehensive curatorial discussion about the exhibit and the Abenaki Storytelling Project. The exhibit continues through January 6.
      The exhibit explores the resilience, cultural practices, and community responses of the Abenaki people during the global pandemic. The stories and artwork were gathered by the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association through the Abenaki storytelling project to create an auto-history of the indigenous community in Vermont and the surrounding environments. Many of the storytellers, artists, and community members who contributed to this body of work found that sharing helped them process their grief. Call 802.496.6682 or click here for more info.

JEFFERSONVILLE--Deborah Paolantonio received the BLICK: Viewers Choice Award for Portal, her mystical oil painting at the Bryan Memorial Gallery and on Facebook. The Bryan Gallery is open Wednesday - Sunday from 11 - 5 or by appointment. Click here for more info.


ENOSBURG--The Opera House at Enosburg Falls annual Holiday Craft Fair takes over the House on Saturday at 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Artisans come together to offer unique crafts and gifts. There will be art, jewelry, chocolate, maple goods, ornaments, wooden bowls, and so much more. Lunch will be available and raffles will be drawn. Find them on Facebook for more info.

RICHFORD--The Renaissance Gift Shop is celebrating its fourth anniversary. The shop features local artwork, crafts, and specialty foods including paintings, cards, jewelry, knitted hats and mittens, quilts, stuffed animals, wooden cutting boards, much more. Started by the non-profit Richford Renaissance, the shop is run by volunteers. Richford Renaissance also partners with Housing Vermont to offer four affordable housing units upstairs. The shop is open Tuesday, and Wednesday 12noon-4pm, Thursday through Saturday 10am-4pm. Call 802.210.5188 or find them on Facebook for more info.

ST. ALBANS--14th Star Brewing Company holds the weekly Maker's Market in the Taproom on Sunday from 1 - 3 p.m. The pop-up booths host local crafters and makers every Sunday afternoon. Find them on Facebook for more info.


SOUTH HERO--Snow Farm Vineyard and Once Upon A Rock host a Pebble Art Workshop on Sunday at 2 p.m. Jean Ferguson picks up a rock or a stone or a pebble and "sees a thousand possibilities" on beaches and shorelines all over Vermont. This workshop will use pebbles, rocks, stones, driftwood, and lake glass to create artwork. From framed pieces to candle holders, each piece is unique. Sip on wine and nibble on a charcuterie while they provide guidance and inspiration; what you make will be completely your own creation.
      The cost is 35. Find them on Facebook for more info tickets and.


FRANKLIN--The Haston Library and the Franklin Historical Society present Vermont Women and the Civil War with Howard Coffin in the FELCO Room at Franklin Homestead on Saturday at 2 p.m. "Vermont women enlisted for the duration." The state's battlefield record is well documented, but this talk draws from letters and diaries to tell how women took on farming, worked in factories, served as nurses in the state's military hospitals, and more, in their own words. Call Josh Worman (802.285.6505) or click here for more info.


ST ALBANS--The BFA Theater Company presents Mamma Mia! In a three day run starting tonight: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 7 p.m. with a matinee on Saturday at 2 p.m.
      ABBA's hits tell the story of a young woman's search on the eve of her wedding for her birth father on a Greek island., a daughter's quest to discover the identity of her father brings three men from her mother's past back to the island they last visited 20 years ago.
      Click here for tickets and more info.


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. Stay for 30 minutes or the whole two hours. Click here for more info.


     COVID-19 is still here and family gatherings for Thanksgiving are right around the corner.
      FEMA is reimbursing Vermont for almost $23 million to cover the cost of testing for COVID-19 during the pandemic. The grant covers the cost of the 2,679,928 antigen tests the state procured between October 2021 and July 2022.
      New COVID-19 hospitalizations statewide totaled 30 in the November 1 report but nine of those were in Franklin County, a total unchanged from the prior week. As of October 21, there were six more COVID-related deaths reported statewide in that week for a pandemic total of 1,050 in Vermont.
      Vaccines are available for COVID, the Flu, and RSV, the three main viruses that cause people to end up in a hospital in the Fall and Winter respiratory virus season. According to the state COVID-19 and Flu Vaccination Dashboard just 7% of Franklin County residents have received the new COVID vaccine, trailed only by Essex and Windsor Counties.
      COVID vaccines are 100% free to everyone 6 months and older living in the United States, regardless of immigration or insurance status. The free shots are available via health insurance, Medicare, and through federally qualified health centers, pharmacies participating in the federal Bridge Program, or district health department offices. Free masks are also available at many of the same locations. Click here for more info.
      Some homebound Vermonters cannot get to the pharmacy or doctor's office for a shot. The Vermont Center for Independent Living has secured a $1 million grant from the federal Administration for Community Living. VCIL will provide COVID-19 and flu vaccines to about 800 Vermont households. They will also have the RSV vaccine in some instances. They will exhaust the grant money in less than three months and have called on the state to restart the mobile vaccine program it discontinued in May.
      Every U.S. household may again order four free COVID-19 rapid tests delivered directly to your home. The state and many municipalities also still have home antigen tests, available in libraries and town halls or food pantries. Click here for more info.
      Some health plans will also offer partial coverage of COVID-19 treatments such as Paxlovid but that will be plan dependent. As always, check with your insurer for specific information on your plan.
      The Health Department still recommends following best practices. Call 855.722.7878 or visit for more info about the first or second dose and for booster shots of the vaccine.
      My own plan remains unchanged, especially since our precautions have waned and the new COVID variant dodges our current immunity. I got the COVID and Flu shots, and the boosters, and I still take precautions because neither vaccine nor "natural immunity" is 100% foolproof. I wash my hands. I double mask with a genuine N95 mask (not a bandana and not a "chin strap") plus 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, November 16
SOUTH HERO--Cooie Sings at the Blue Paddle Bistro for Acoustic Thursday this evening at 5 - 7 p.m. Singer and songwriter Cooie DeFrancesco brings Americana to life. Click here for more info.

Thursday-Saturday, November 16-18
ESSEX JUNCTION--On Tap starts off another weekend of music with Summer Sounds favorite Jenni Johnson and the Junketeers tonight at 6 p.m. two shows Friday night, Shane's Apothecary at 5 p.m., and then the return of Toast for to bring the house down starting at 9 p.m., plus two more shows live on Saturday night with the Wrecks at 5 p.m., and Last Kid Picked starting at 9:30 p.m. Call 802.878.3309 or email for more info. Click here to reserve a table.

Friday, November 17
ST. ALBANS--Off The Rails at One Federal often has live performances in the lounge on Friday at 6:30 p.m. Find them on Facebook for more info.

SHELDON--The Abbey Friday Night Music Series often has live performances on Friday about 6:30 p.m. Reservations are suggested. Find them on Facebook for more info.

Friday-Sunday, November 17-19
BURLINGTON--Lake Champlain Music Festival and the Lane Series present the Great Virtuoso Composers: Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Liszt, and Paganini at the UVM Recital Hall on Friday through Sunday.
      The weekend brings a Mini-Festival of recitals, talks, and masterclasses. Friday has Zitong Wang's solo recital of Frédéric Chopin, Sergei Rachmaninoff, and Franz Liszt. Saturday will include piano and violin masterclasses. Tickets for Saturday's talk and masterclasses are free but registration is requested. Soovin Kim follows with the Niccolò Paganini's 24 Caprices on Sunday. Click here for tickets and more info.

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, November 18
MORRISVILLE--River Arts presents Rusty Dewees' Tiny Town Hall on Saturday at 6 - 8 p.m. His tour combines growing up in Vermont with music for his uniquely Vermont experience. Intermission will have pie and beverages for sale. Admission is $25 in advance or $30 at the door. Click here for tickets and more info.

ST. ALBANS--14th Star presents the Back Roots for a night of Campfire songs for dancing in The Room on Saturday at 6 p.m. Find them on Facebook for more info.

Wednesday, November 22
ST. ALBANS--14th Star hosts Wine Down Wednesday with a night of wine and the live music of Cozy for Thanksgiving Eve in The Room on Wednesday at 6 - 9 p.m. but wine from 4 - 10. Find them on Facebook for more info.

ST. ALBANS--The Taphouse at Mill River hosts Wicked Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. Find them on Facebook for more info.

SHELDON--The Abbey serves up a Thanksgiving Eve Party with Chris & Erica on Wednesday about 6:30 p.m. Reservations are suggested. Find them on Facebook for more info.

ESSEX JUNCTION--On Tap has a special night of jerborning with Jerborn and Axe's Thanksgiving Eve starting at 6 p.m. Call 802.878.3309 or email for more info. Click here to reserve a table.


     Virtual music and events continue this week.

      The Tyler Mast Band played at Summer Sounds in Highgate in July via Northwest Access TV on YouTube. With Chicago roots and a Green Mountain soul, the folk-rock songwriter has "top-shelf keyboard chops, piano-driven melodies, powerfully authentic lyrics, and a dedication to groove make his style unequivocally his own."

      Summer Sounds favorite Mark Shelton sang Elvis and more on Facebook as a fundraiser to help rebuild the Williamstown United Church that was severely damaged by a fire. Follow him on Facebook for a link to this week's offerings.


ST. ALBANS--The St. Albans Free Library hosts Mornings, Muffins, and Mysteries this morning at 10:30 a.m. The group reads a variety of mystery genres and meets the third Thursday of each month. Click here for more info.

SWANTON--Swanton Library hosts the monthly book club, But I Progress, on Tuesday at 6 p.m. "All humans welcome to participate." The readings focus on writers who "identify as women, with particular attention to Women of Color and nonbinary women, who are under represented in literature. Today women's works are priced lower, more seldom purchased, and not receiving proper credit." There will be snacks, reviews, discussion, ideas, and good conversation. Click here for more info.

      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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