ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 28 * * All Arts News On the Web * * May 16, 2024


      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--14th Star Brewing Company hosts two events this week.
      The Paint Your Pet Portrait paint n sip with Linda Oakes Carvalho takes place on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. Register for a class, email a clear image of your pet and show up. All supplies are included. Food and beverages are available from 14th Star and Grazers. The cost is $48. Click here for tickets and more info.
      Youniquely Me offers Make Your Own Star Wars Terrarium at 14th Star on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. Choose a favorite character and design a landscape from Tatooine to Endor. All supplies and instructions are included. Food and beverages are available from 14th Star and Grazers. The cost is $48. Click here for tickets and more info.

SWANTON--The Swanton Arts Council Art Journaling Group meets in person at the Swanton Free Public Library on Wednesday at 5:30 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. If you need supplies to get started, check out the library's Makerspace or email or click here for more info.


MONTGOMERY--The Montgomery Center for The Arts hosts the semi-annual MES Student Spring Art Show in MCA-Kelton Hall on Friday and Saturday at 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. and Sunday at 12 noon - 4 p.m. This is the final weekend. Click here for more info

ONLINE and AROUND THE STATE--The Beneath Our Skin exhibit on display at the Clemmons Family Farm in Charlotte, the South Burlington Public Library, the Root Social Justice Center in Brattleboro, the UVM College of Nursing and Health Sciences and online.
      The exhibit offers stories of Black Vermonters who were fully, partially or not at all vaccinated against COVID-19 between October 2021 and December 2022. Curated by Yanna Marie Orcel, a wellness arts adviser at the farm, the exhibit includes ten stories from members of the Vermont African-American/African Diaspora Artists Network beyond Chittenden County, 16 stories from vaccine providers who gave the vaccine to Black clients around Chittenden County, and seven anonymous stories shared with a facilitator.
      Click here for more info.

SWANTON--The Vermont Abenaki Artists Association features certified fine, decorative, and performing artists officially labeled as "American Indian" under Federal law.
      Nathan Johnson specializes in parfleche, the plains-style painted rawhide and elaborately painted carved horse/bird dance sticks. Click here for his story and a look at his work.

BURLINGTON--The traveling exhibit Nebizun: Water Is Life is on view at Ethan Allen Homestead through October. Featured artists include Charlie Adams, Vicki Blanchard, Joe Bruchac, Bill Gould, Francine Poitras Jones, Jeanne Morningstar Kent, Melody Walker Makin, Lucy Cannon Neel, Hawk Schulmeisters, Breanna Sheehan, Linda Longtoe Sheehan, Chief Roger Longtoe Sheehan, Vera Longtoe Sheehan, JES, Chief April St Francis Rushlow, Dorothy Tondreau, Amy Hook-Therrien, and Aaron York.
      Nebizun is the Abenaki word for medicine. Curated by Vera Longtoe Sheehan, the exhibit underscores the importance of water in everyday activities related to foodways and healing powers of water. Click here for more info.


ONLINE--UVM professor Adrian Ivakhiv introduces the field of Environmental Humanities with Critical Studies for Feverish Times at the Norman Williams Public Library and online on Wednesday at 4 p.m. He will focus on what it means to live at this a time now labeled "the Anthropocene." The current geological age is thought of as the period of human activity as the "dominant influence on climate and the environment." Register for this free event for the link to the stream. Call Vermont Humanities (802.262.2626) or click here to register and for more info.


JEFFERSONVILLE--Bryan Memorial Gallery hosts the two-day Impressionist Portraits in Pastel or Oil workshop led by Karen Meneghin on Saturday and Sunday at 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
      The workshop focus is pastels "in the manner of" Edouard Manet. The cost is $300. Use "BMGMEMBER" to receive discounted member pricing. Call 802.644.5100 or Click here to register and for more info.

MILTON--The Milton Artists' Guild has three workshops this week.
      Social Sunday continues at the MAG 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.
      Aviano Bellydance Class takes over the space on Sunday at 4 p.m. The cost is $15 for members or $20 for non-members. Click here for more info.
      Tina Lesperance continues the six-week Workshop for those with Dementia and their Caregivers at MAG on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. They will work on a different art/craft design each week through May 28. This workshop is free for participants thanks to a Vermont Arts Council grant for Creative Aging. Click here for more info.

FAIRFIELD--The Brick Store offers classes in Letterpress Printing in the general store studio on Sunday at 10 a.m. - 12 noon and at 1 - 3 p.m. Christa will lead classes monthly on the 1918 Chandler & Price press. They will focus on the basics and print some stationery together to take home. The cost is $35. Click here for more info.


     COVID-19 is still here. Cases fell again but statewide hospitalizations were unchanged. Another Vermonter died the virus bringing the pandemic total to 1,147 in Vermont.
      CDC estimates that 97% of Americans have some level of immunity, from either vaccination or infection or both, but the fact many Vermonters have died or have been sick enough to require hospitalization this year alone, even with that level of immunity, remains worrisome. That Franklin County has less than 8% of the state population and accounts for more than one-third of those hospitalizations is more so.
      Vaccines are available for COVID, the Flu, and RSV, the three main viruses that cause people to end up in a hospital. 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 N95 masks are also available at many of the same locations. Pharmacies in Vermont may now give COVID-19 shots to kids ages 3 and older. Click here for more info.
      Although the free program has been suspended, there are still thousands of free testing sites. The state and many municipalities may 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 current JN.1 variant dodges all but the most up-to-date 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 everywhere 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, May 16
SOUTH HERO--Cooie Sings traditional tunes, popular songs, and originals at the Blue Paddle Bistro for Acoustic Thursday this evening at 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. Click here for more info.

SWANTON--Summer Sounds favorite Carol Ann Jones and Will Patton begin the monthly Irons & Ale to give your swing a little extra at the Champlain Country Club this evening at 6 - 8 p.m.

ST. ALBANS--It's Karaoke and Open Mic Night live in The Room at 14th Star on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Find them on Facebook for more info.

Friday, May 17
ST. ALBANS--14th Star Brewing Company serves up a double header Friday.
      Get ready to stomp your feet to The Duel with John Geno and Kevin Connelly from Summer Sounds favorites IncaHoots for a night of live music on Friday at 6 p.m. Find them on Facebook for more info.
      Next Stop Comedy brings top stand-up comedians to the 14th Star stage also on Friday at 7:30 p.m. The show features a line-up with "acts seen on TV and heard on your favorite podcasts." Admission is $20-25. Click here for tickets and more info.

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.

ESSEX--Flatpick Fridays continue with Summer Sounds favorites Banjo Dan and Willy, Danny Coane, and Sam Blagden, the VT Bluegrass Pioneers, live in the newly redesigned Double E Lounge on Friday at 8 p.m. The space offers a 180 degree stage view, elevated standing area, and the "new chill lounge area." Find them on Facebook for more info.

Friday-Sunday, May 17-19
ESSEX JUNCTION--On Tap has two shows Friday night, Shane's Apothecary at 5 p.m., followed by Justice 3 returning for late night music and beads starting at 9 p.m., plus two more shows live on Saturday night with Pet Project at 5 p.m., and the Maple Grove Band starting at 9 p.m. Call 802.878.3309 or email for more info. Click here to reserve a table.

COLCHESTER--The Outdoor Summer Music Series fills the Spanked Puppy with music all weekend. Blues Without Borders kicks it off on Friday at 6 p.m. followed by Chris & Erica on Saturday at 6 p.m. and Chris and Issy on Sunday afternoon at 2 - 5 p.m. Find them on Facebook for more info.

JERICHO--The Jericho Café and Tavern fills the weekend with Live Music in May. The Stragglers play Friday. Bob Gagnon performs live on Saturday night. Music starts at 6 p.m. Find them on Facebook for 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, May 18
ST. ALBANS--Northwest Farmers Market fills Taylor Park with live music, handmade crafts, locally grown food, prepared foods, free kids activities on Saturday from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. The market and the music continue every Saturday through October. Find them on Facebook for more info.

ST. ALBANS--The First Congregational Church hosts an Open Mic Coffee House with music, spoken word, story telling, skits and more, all on Saturday at 7 p.m. It's an evening to sing along, listen, and enjoy with refreshments, snacks, and soft drinks. Call Greg Beeman (802.324.0308) or find them on Facebook for more info.
      The space will be open for practice on Thursday from 6:30 - 8 p.m.

Sunday, May 19
SOUTH HERO--The Blue Paddle Bistro hosts acoustic singer/guitarist Jeff Shelley for everything from Neil Diamond to Pearl Jam to the Beatles on Sunday at 5 - 7 p.m.

Monday, May 20
BRATTLEBORO--The Windham Philharmonic performs Mozart and Ravel at the Latchis Theater on Monday at 7 p.m. The programincludes Mozart's Symphony No. 36 in C and Ravel's first orchestral work, Rapsodie Espagnole. Admission is by donation. Baked goods will be available for purchase. Find them on Facebook for more info.

Wednesday, May 22
ST. ALBANS--A girl and her guitar, Laura Fedele-Rasco is back to play all your favorite songs as 14th Star begins Mid-Week Melodies on Wednesday at 6 - 8 p.m. Find them on Facebook for more info.

Plan Ahead SHELDON--Summer Music at Grace begins the 2024 Season with the 22nd annual Farewell Reunion Concert at Grace Church on Friday, May 24. Featuring Becky Tracy and Keith Murphy, the tunes begin with "trad music for a rad cause:" the traditional music of Newfoundland, Quebec, Ireland, France, and beyond. Find them on Facebook for more info.


     Virtual music and events continue this week.

      NW Access TV premiered the season opener of Vaisey Royale with Summer Sounds videographer Jerry Vaisey on YouTube. The show is episode one of an "action packed of our Escape and Evasion playthrough" of the video game Fortnite where "in the air, not everything goes as planned."

      NW Access TV showcased the 24th annual Franklin County Quilt Show in St. Albans City Hall on YouTube. The Quilters Guild show was ablaze with spring colors with over 100 quilts, from bed-sized to miniatures as well as handcrafted items in the guild boutique.

      Summer Sounds favorite Mark Shelton sang Gospel for Mother's Day on Facebook on Sunday. He'll be live at the Cowboy Church in Williamstown on June 8. "It's a great venue plus, they have ice cream!" Follow him on Facebook for a link to this week's offerings.


SWANTON--Two Swanton Free Public Library book clubs meet this week.
      The monthly SPL Book Club meets to discuss the Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown on Tuesday at 6 p.m. The non-fiction novel tells the story of the nine men of the University of Washington rowing team to compete at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Click here for more info.
      The monthly But I Progress meets to discuss the graphics novel Gender Queer: A Memoir written and illustrated by Maia Kobabe on Tuesday at 6 p.m. 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.

STATEWIDE--Governor Phil Scott has named Bianca Stone the new Vermont Poet Laureate. The Brandon poet and teacher has written five books, including the poetry collections, What is Otherwise Infinite (the winner of the 2022 Vermont Book Award) The Möbius Strip Club of Grief, and Someone Else's Wedding Vows. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Poets and Writers, The Nation, and more. She co-founded the poetry-based nonprofit Ruth Stone House, where she teaches classes on poetry and hosts the Ode & Psyche Podcast. She is also editor-at-large for ITERANT magazine.
      "The Poet Laureate has a storied history in Vermont, beginning with Robert Frost," Governor Phil Scott said, "and I want to congratulate Bianca Stone on receiving this important recognition."
      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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