ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 24 * * All Arts News On the Web * * May 21, 2020


      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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      Vermont now has the lowest coronavirus growth rate in the country and is easing the pandemic restrictions. Starting tomorrow, hotels, campgrounds, and marinas may open on a limited basis. Customers must certify they are symptom free and, if coming from out of state, that they have been quarantined or isolated for 14 days. Residents will be required to complete a health questionnaire and certification. Governor Scott said if the disease continues to slow, he will allow more businesses, such as hair salons and restaurants with outdoor dining, to open in June.

      So far, this spring, the annual Rotary Home & Recreation Exposition rescheduled for this weekend and the 54th annual Vermont Maple Festival was cancelled. Both organizations look forward to seeing everyone next year with even bigger and better events.
      The 18th annual Farewell Reunion concert will take place on line (details below). The Vermont Dairy Festival, Bay Day and the Great Race, summer shows at Burton Island, the Double E Performance Center, Evenings at the Meeting House, Grace Church is shuttered, the 30th season of Summer Sounds won't happen until 2021, and many Young Tradition events have been cancelled. The Opera House at Enosburg Falls has cancelled its entire 2020 season. 20/20 Visions, the Montgomery Center for the Arts summer art show and fundraiser, will not be happening as planned. Open Studio Weekend has become an online event for 2020.

      Although so many of our favorite activities won't happen this year, all the volunteers will stay as active as possible and this weekly column about the arts and entertainment around the region will continue to serve up live and almost live events and artists from around the region. Read all about it here every Thursday.


      The Artist In Residence Gallery has posted artist videos to their playlist, AIR Artists at Work, on Facebook. Donna Blatchly shows fiber and pebble art. Barry Genzlinger salvages cracked bowls. Shanna Ratner demonstrates the process of making a block print. Deb Shell demonstrated how she throws a mug.
      The Artist in Residence art 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. Click here for more info.

      Open Studio Weekend will host a virtual tour on Memorial Day Weekend. The Vermont Crafts Council event is a statewide celebration of the visual arts and creative process. Visit the Vermont Crafts Council website beginning on Saturday to start your own personal tour.
      Area artists are participating with pictures of their work and short videos showing the artist in their studios making art. The tour will be online through the entire month of June but individual live videos will only happen Saturday and Sunday. The tour is free and open to the public. Click here or find them on Find them on Facebook for a schedule of the live videos.


FAIRFAX--Thanks to the current forecast and reduced restrictions on social distancing, the Fairfax Arts Council will meet in the open air on Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. There are two projects to discuss. With the BFA graduation looming, there is an opportunity to provide utility pole banners and designs to the town. And it is time to go back to painting the raised beds at community corner.
      The meeting place is available to anyone who plans to attend but it takes an RSVP. Call Amanda Duling (802.338.0232) or Email for the address. The meeting will he held outside, location TBD based on # of participants. Bring a chair and sunblock.


     With all venues shut down, we have to rely on ourselves for entertainment so sing from a manhole. Record yourself in the attic. Paint your wheelbarrow gamboge and fallow. OK, maybe not that.
      You're housebound? Your show is cancelled or postponed? You're bored? How about putting on a show?
      Get the band together and video or livestream a rehearsal every day. Or set up your easel and video a painting coming together. Read a few pages from your novel or a short story or a poem. Get in costume and video that play or the dance. Do some improv in your living room.
      We're locked down, too, and missing you. You'll get in a session and we'll like seeing you. Please share your efforts with your local arts council, too. And if the artist has a donation button, the audience can express appreciation through PayPal, Venmo, or other services.
      Here's a roundup for this week.

      In "the new Friday Date Night with John Bartus and Sarah Brawer," the Summer Sounds favorite will perform a new Social Distancing Concert Live from the Florida Keys from his studio in Marathon, Florida, thanks to Facebook Live every Friday at 7:30 p.m. Last week's all request show is on Facebook.
      Find them on Facebook for the link.

      Bill Kirchen was live on Find them on Facebook . He plays "Ameripolitan," rockabilly, rock and roll, country, country rock, Bakersfield sound, blues, and jazz. He says he's "having so much fun [he is] going to do this every Friday night at 7 p.m. until the sun comes out." The guitarist, singer and songwriter is known as a the "Titan of the Telecaster."

      Andrew Lloyd Webber will stream his musicals in the free YouTube series, The Shows Must Go On, every Friday at 7 p.m. for 48 hours. A new show begins tomorrow; Cats took the stage last week. Clips of famous performances and behind-the-scenes footage also appear on the channel beside the full shows.
      Click here for Mr. Webber's YouTube channel for all the details and to subscribe.

      Summer Music at Grace has for several years started the summer music season with the annual Farewell Reunion concert. Because social distancing is still in effect, they will host the annual kick-off via the internet.
      The 18th Farewell Reunion features the Zeichner Trio and Romy & Ben Munkres live on Facebook on Friday starting at 7 p.m. and ending by about 8 p.m.
      "We’ll miss the acoustic wonders of Grace Church in Sheldon, but not the chance to see and hear some great music on the Friday evening prior to Memorial Day," Mark Sustic wrote.
      This year they also honor the young concert-going friend, Brian Crane, who died in January at age 28. You may remember Brian as the boy, and then young man, who sat at the back of Grace in his wheelchair during many a concert.
      Traditionally, this concert has raised funds for the Tom Sustic Fund and Young Tradition Vermont. This year's event will raise money for the Tom Sustic Fund. You don’t have pay to watch but a $10 donation is suggested. Click here or mail to YTV, PO Box 164, Fairfax, VT 05454. Email or click here for more info.

      Upcoming, the Bayside has booked Eleven for Friday Night Sunset on May 29. Arrowhead Golf Course expects to begin the summer season of Friday Night Live Music & Buffet with Chris & Erica serving up songs and Teriyaki Chicken on June 5. The theme this year will be board games and card games

      Carol Ann Jones should be live on Sunday with another kitchen concert. Check her Facebook feed for other events and click here for this Sunday's kitchen concert.

      Summer Sounds favorite Jenni Johnson has appeared in those sunny Sunday summer evenings more than any other artist. Her YouTube channel has concerts and individual cuts from Jenni's Joint, Discover Jazz, and more. Be sure to search on "Jenni" with an "i."

      In keeping with the Music & Memory initiative, Carol Ann Jones has posted a twenty-minute sing-along to keep the old songs alive and pass them down to the next generation.

      Robert Gagnon was looking forward to playing in New Orleans this weekend. In the meantime, Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams... on Facebook.

      Jacob Green posted a clip on Facebook from his OneManBand performance of his original song Howlin' Wolf at the Lyric Room in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

      Ben Patton pulled out some songs he seldom plays for "another casual 20 minute set" on YouTube.

      Toni Basanta shared this 2017 video of Kenny Barron and Benny Green on Facebook .


      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
Summer Evenings with
Vermont Treasures
Citizens Band
Wednesday Night Live
Enosburg Town Band


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All Arts Council of Franklin County

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