ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 20 * * All Arts News On the Web * * January 14, 2016


      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--The Northwestern Medical Center Gallery hosts photographer and NMC employee Charlotte Roberts in a solo show this month. The show continues through the end of January.

HIGHGATE--MVUHS hosts the National Art Honor Society Induction Ceremony on Wednesday, January 20, at 7 p.m. The NJAHS program inspires and recognizes students who have shown an outstanding ability and interest in art.
      Email the Swanton Arts Council for more info.

BURLINGTON--The third annual Art's Alive Photography Exhibit opened Sunday at Union Station. 37 resident Vermont photographers have work in any subject matter on display. The show runs through February 28.
      The show features three new photographs by David J. Griggs.

AMHERST, VA--The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts has offered Fairfax artist Gail Salzman a residency that begins January 19 and continues through Valentine's Day.
      "I'm envisioning a mixed-media series involving some new techniques and materials, expanding upon a familiar theme in my work -- the fluidity / mutability of time and memory," she said. 24 artists, writers, musicians from around the globe will spend the month in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Ms. Salzman will work in a spacious studio and partake of evening concerts, reading of works-in-progress, and have focused time to paint
      The residency is supported in part by a Development Grant from the Vermont Arts Council.


ESSEX JUNCTION--On Tap offers Blues Night with the Nobby Reed Project tonight at 7 p.m. Vermont's own blues trio includes Eric Belrose, percussion, Ray Bushey, bass, and Mr. Reed on lead guitar and vocals.
      Call 802.878.3309 or email for more info.

Friday and Saturday
ST. ALBANS--Twiggs presents the Smokey Newfield Project Friday and Micah Plante on Saturday. Both shows start at 7 p.m.
      "The Smokey Newfield Project decided that starting a band was a cheaper way to deal with their mid-life crises than buying convertibles." (Personal note: Driving a ragtop to a concert is a guaranteed crisis preventative.) They bring great harmonies to an eclectic mix of folk rock, classic rock, country, and pop covers. Burlington luthier Micah Plante plays "political lo-fi folk" on solo guitar.
      Call 802.524.1405 or click here for more info.

BURLINGTON--Dominique Dodge will hold a multi-session residency with Fiddleheads at Burlington Violin Shop on Saturday starting at 9:30 a.m. The program will focus on O'Carolan tunes to be performed at the annual Carolan Festival in Worcester.


     Most libraries will close Monday for Martin Luther King Day.

ENOSBURGH--Snow is falling an the books are calling at the Enosburgh Public Library. Meet the new Library Director, Brenda Stanley, today. Every Friday, the library has Coffee and New Books at 11 a.m. as Kathe presents the week's new arrivals. The Creative Writing Group meets every second and fourth Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. Bring writing from home to share and discuss.

FAIRFIELD--The Bent Northrop Memorial Library begins Freedom and Unity: The Vermont Movie this evening at 6 p.m.
      Part one, A Very New Idea, explores the roots from which the future state of Vermont grew. It looks at early settlement, native peoples' resistance, the little-known history of African American settlers and Vermont's radical constitution.
      The six part collaborative documentary was produced by several dozen Vermont-based film makers. Popcorn will be provided!

FAIRFAX--Chess Club continues today and most Thursdays at 3 p.m. this afternoon. The Non-fiction Book Group will discuss Grand Obsession by Perri Knize this evening at 6:30 p.m. Ms. Knize' lyrical and intimate memoir chronicles her love affair with a rare and exorbitantly priced German grand piano that suddenly loses its voice.

HIGHGATE--The Highgate Public Library has an opportunity to win a free school or library visit from writer-illustrator Jan Brett. The school or library with the most parents, teachers, friends, or supporters who enter a free online contest will win. Ms. Brett has over forty million children's books in print from Annie and the Wild Animals to Trouble with Trolls.
      Click here to enter. Highgate is in the middle of the pack and needs every reader to move up on the inside!

SHELDON--The Sheldon Public Library's first book this year is a NY Times Best Seller, The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. The library will host snacks and a lively discussion on Tuesday, January 26, at 6:30 p.m.

ST. ALBANS--Tonight is Classic Movie Night at the St. Albans Free Library with The Searchers at 6 p.m. The John Ford film stars John Wayne as a Civil War veteran who sets out to rescue his niece from the Indian tribe that killed her parents. Films are shown on the 4' by 6' screen in the upstairs conference room cinema. Admission is free, along with popcorn and beverage.
      The Classic Readers Book Group gathers on Tuesday at 6:45 p.m. for The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins. The first English language detective novel, the Moonstone is the large diamond from India that English woman Rachel Verinder inherits.

SWANTON--The Swanton Free Public Library is experimenting with new website designs and will choose a new format for their site soon. Meanwhile, they have books and will host Reader's Theater on Friday at 3 p.m.


      We wind up the preview of another busy year in the arts with a look at our Visual Artists, at the Major Independent Presenters, and at Young Traditions-Vermont. We covered upcoming All Arts Council and Opera House events plus the Franklin County Festivals and Town Band plans last week.

      The Northern Vermont Artist Association kicks off its 2016 show schedule on January 21 with a two-month exhibit at the T.W. Wood Gallery. NVAA will open at the Emile Gruppe Gallery in February, has the famous June Juried Show at the Visions Of Vermont Gallery in Jeffersonville, fall shows at the Red Mill Gallery in Jericho, Union Station in Burlington, the Village Frame Shoppe in St. Albans, and several other venues including an online gallery. Click here for more details.
      The Northwestern Medical Center has a solo show for one area artist in the main exhibit space each month as well as occasional shows in individual hospital departments.
      The Rotary Home Expo will have exhibits and featured artists all around the Collins Perley in March. Click here for more info.
      Swanton Arts Council will host workshops for artists, open art studios, paint-and-sip events, art exhibits, and the Swanton Fall Arts and Crafts Show. They have ongoing design contests, crafternoons, and more. Click here for project info and an up-to-date listing of events.
      The Village Frame Shoppe & Gallery will have artist visits, local and regional Fine Art exhibits with "fine pieces from across the street and around the world," and more. Click here for more info.
      Look for other shows from the Bishop Street Artists, the Swanton Arts Council, and more.

      The AAC helps promote many other Franklin County presenters and individual artists. Our regularly updated online calendar is found at Email to add events.
      Bay Day will celebrate on July 3 this year with continuous entertainment and family activities all day plus a Summer Sounds concert and fireworks to cap this Independence Day blowout.
      This winter and Spring, the BFA Performing Arts Center will host at least two dance performances, a one-act play and the Junior Jamboree, the Spring Band Concert, an Instrumental Concert, and the Spring Choral Review Concert, and a cabaret.
      Island Arts has brought arts activities to Grand Isle County for over 30 years. This year, they will have wide ranging concerts, theater performances, and craft fairs for children and adults including the Island Arts Academy, summer concerts, and more in the "Homer Knight barn." The group needs Island Arts Academy Instructors with a "particular passion ... to share with others." Any activity/hobby from visual arts, music, dance, photography, to theater is fair game. click here for more info.
      County-wide, our public Libraries have a slew of plans including readings, lunchtime concerts, art shows, and kids' performers including Vermont Reads 2016: Shackleton. The two Vermont Reads titles are Jennifer Armstrong's Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World and Caroline Alexander's The Endurance, Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition.
      2016 marks the 200th anniversary of the Episcopal society in Sheldon and they plan to celebrate Amazing Grace this year. The eclectic Music at Grace series will also include the return of Village Harmony and a program of exceptional performers for several concerts this summer and fall as well as the 15th annual Farewell Reunion concert, a perennial favorite, which kicks off the series. Click here for more info.
      Northwest Access TV will offer more courses free of charge, movies in the parks, as well as concerts and arts programming.
      Restaurants in and beyond Franklin County have our art on the walls and music in the halls. Twiggs will continue to feature artists and exceptional music several nights each week. The Abbey, Bayside, On Tap at the Lincoln Inn, One Federal, and Shooters all have a regular roster of Franklin County musicians.
      The St. Albans Historical Museum will have a lineup of performances, exhibits, and educational programs in the third-floor Bliss auditorium. Click here in the Spring for more info.
      School art shows should include FNESU's annual Art Gala and the annual FCSU Art Show. The shows bring together hundreds of two and three dimensional pieces in schools and halls around the County.
      Summer Evenings with Vermont Treasures continues with monthly concerts from May to October at The Meeting House in East Fairfield. The rumored lineup has Michael Hurley returning along with Will Patton's gypsy jazz quartet, Tim McKenzie, Patti Casey, and more.
      The Vermont Youth Orchestra Winter Concert is January 31 at the Flynn; next up, the showcases in February and March and then the Spring Concert series. VYO programs include three orchestras, three ensembles, and two choruses. They teach and showcase over 500 students of all levels of musical ability from Vermont, NY, and New Hampshire including several from Franklin County. click here for more info.

      Young Tradition-Vermont is a statewide presenter with more than a dozen major events each year including several Events for Tom. The organization has added an Executive Director position, expanded its public school partnerships to include residencies, performances, workshops and fiddle clubs, and committed to a long list of projects and programming.
      They are preparing for the Touring Group trip to Ireland in April and have moved the usual January reunion concerts to May, to coincide with Young Tradition Weekend. Their first educators conference comes in May. The number of instrument petting zoo installations continues to expand. The instrument loan program runs at capacity and could use more instruments.
      Fiddleheads will meet at the Burlington Violin Shop with residencies with masters including Dominique Dodge and Pascal Gemme. Trad Camp will return during the last week of July.
      Young Tradition and Fiddleheads have a lineup planned that includes the Summit School Festival; Young Tradition Showcase; the Burlington Irish Heritage Festival; and more. The Young Tradition Weekend will feature players, singers and dancers from Franklin County and many other places and all the events, no matter where in Vermont, bring in performers we don't often get to see here.
      Click here for more info.


      ArtBits features a quick weekly peek at the bookshelf or night stand of the folks you know in and around Franklin County. That popular feature has a page of its own at the Franklin County Bookshelf here on the AAC site.


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      This article was originally published in the St Albans Messenger and other traditional print media. It is Copyright © 2016 by Richard B. Harper. All rights reserved. Archival material is provided as-is. Links are not necessarily maintained (if a link in this article fails, try or your favorite search engine).
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