ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 20 * * All Arts News On the Web * * March 31, 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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      Christo has authorized a team led by All Arts Council project lead, Vermont artist and water expert Parker Vogt, to do a series of United States environmental projects starting this year. Replay the Bay, their first project, will be unveiled with joint receptions in Highgate Springs and Alburg Springs tomorrow. They have covered the entire surface of Missisquoi Bay with a double layer of floating panels of woven polypropylene fabric. The top layer is the white of winter snow and the underlayer is a rippling, iridescent, blue-green.
      Christo and Jeanne-Claude created environmental works of art. Their Stacked Oil Barrels and Dockside Packages in 1961 was their first collaboration; they installed rolls of paper, oil barrels, tarpaulin, and rope for two weeks in Cologne Harbor.
      This will not be the first floating work. In 1983, they surrounded eleven of the islands of Miami's Biscayne Bay with 6.5 million square feet of floating pink woven polypropylene fabric. The pink covered the surface of the water and extending out from each island into the bay. Their other works include wrapping the Reichstag in Berlin and the Pont-Neuf bridge in Paris, The Gates in Central Park, and Running Fence, the 24-mile-long piece in Sonoma and Marin counties in California.
      The environmental art projects will include our covered bay, river walks, a 4-mile sieve, a giant ocean scoop, and will culminate with The Locks of the Everglades: 10,000 vinyl gates, with free-flowing fabric panels sewn from sugar bags are to be anchored to 20,000 southern yellow pine bases along 37 miles of the Tamiami Trail on the northern border of Everglades National Park. That "art with a message" will underscore the water management issues in that treasured land.
      "The frozen Missisquoi Bay made this the easiest of our projects to implement," Ms. Vogt said. "We just unrolled and unrolled and unrolled on the ice until we covered the world!"
      Monday, as the ice went out on Missisquoi Bay, Ms. Vogt's team of 800 volunteers pulled the white cover back to shore all along the entire shoreline to expose the undulating blue-green surface. The Channel 15 Air Force filmed the "uncoverage" and then returned for Tuesday's winds and 2-1/2 foot waves. The first cut will be shown on the big screen set up at the Highgate Springs Access Area and the final program will air on Channel 15 on May 1.
Replay the Bay
     The receptions will feature the artists, the Lake Champlain Friends Association, a legislative delegation, and dubstep performances by Grammy winner Skrillex in Highgate and by Skream & Benga in Alburg. Both receptions start at 2 p.m. Admission is free but you must have a ticket.
      The Replay the Bay exhibit and receptions are free but you must have a reception ticket to attend those events. Tickets are now available at . Admission will be FREE. Proceeds will benefit local art projects in Franklin County.
      The art project highlights an environmental hazard in our Bay.
      "Mayday! Mayday!" Titania Rainville Smith said. "Missisquoi Bay is sinking in slime and we need to fix it." The recipient of the 2016 EPA Environmental Merit Award and of the National Medal of Science, Ms. Smith resides on Hog Island and is a member of the Lake Champlain Friends Association.
      Each summer, an increasing volume of blue-green, soupy slime coats the water and rocks of Missisquoi Bay. Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, can be lethal to pets and often hazardous to human health. The Vermont Department of Health posts these safety guidelines:
      "Avoid contact with paint-like scums. Keep children and pets out of water that even looks suspect."
      At the end of the art project, the blue-green panels will be symbolically dragged through the Bay's restricted outlet at the Alburg bridge and causeway.
      The water will be "green" until the first of May.
      Click here for a prospectus, schedules and other background materials, and more info.


EAST BERKSHIRE--The new Artisans Market opens tomorrow at 10 a.m. in the Skoozy building.
      The Market will carry a goods to please the eye and the palate including art, photography, jewelry, china, glass, pottery, scarves, knitted goods, and maple syrup plus scrumptious baked goods on Fridays.
      The Blue Crayon Studio has found a new home there. Artist Rebecca Bennett of Enosburg will offer art classes to the public.
      "We are really excited about this new venture," said artist and owner Kitten Ellison of her new home for Franklin County artists to sell their work in the Enosburg/Richford area.
      The Artisans Market is open Wednesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. with the hours extended to 10-7 on Fridays. Call 802.933.4537 for more info.


SWANTON--The Swanton Arts Council hosts an Open Art Studio in the King's Daughters' Room of the Swanton Public Library on the first Tuesday of each month from 4-8 p.m.       Bring your own supplies (including drop cloth) and plan to clean up after yourself.
      The SAC is also calling all artists and crafters to gather and create every Wednesday in April and May at the Swanton Free Public Library at 6-8 p.m., starting April 6.
      Drop ins are welcome. Call 802.752.0589, email, or visit for more info.


SHELDON--The 2016 Ceilidh Barn House Concert Series presents Eric Macdonald and Will Woodson at the Ceilidh Barn at 124 Lahue Farm Road all day today with a formal concert at 8 p.m.
      A guitarist and singer, Mr. Macdonald will be joined by Mr. Woodson on Scottish bellows pipes and whistles for an unforgettable night of tunes and craic.
      Admission is $15.

Friday-Saturday and Ongoing
ST. ALBANS--Twiggs presents Owl Stars tomorrow evening and Coon Hill John on Saturday. Both shows begin at 7 p.m.
      Owl Stars is the married duo of Andrew James and Elizabeth Patterson with a special April 1 performance of bluesy, folk rock originals and popular covers. The Coon Hill trio of Sam Turner, Chad Conant, and Chris Bradley plays a high energy mix of old and new, pop, country, folk, rock, and bluegrass.
      Twiggs offers Music to Dine By with relaxed music and the arts. They have three stages with live piano, violin, or light guitar in the dining room, the Window, or the main stage with regular performances by Abby Road, Sean Ashby, Sean Casey, Bobby Cee, Close to Nowhere, Vern Colburn, Isaac and Dominic French, Davye Huckett, and Robert Young.
      Call 802.524.1405, email, or click here for more info or booking requests.

BURLINGTON--Young Tradition Vermont presents the Young Tradition Touring Group at Main Street Landing Performing Arts Center on Saturday at 7 p.m. Joining them will be special guests Alexis Chartrand of Montreal and Giulia Haible and Caroline Dressler of Boston. This is their final Vermont concert before they leave for performances in Boston and Ireland.
      Mr. Chartrand is a Montreal-born fiddler who began studying classical violin at the age of 7. He mastered Quebec traditional fiddling, inspired by the cultural traditions of his parents and other well-known Quebec musicians. Ms. Haible and Dressler are a Boston-based Celtic fiddle duo who play Scottish/Celtic traditional and contemporary music on fiddle, cello and piano. They are alumni of the Young Tradition Touring Group. They have just released their debut CD Dragonfly.
      Admission is by suggested donation of $15. Email to reserve a seat. Click here or find them on Facebook for more info.

BURLINGTON--Will Patton plays the Sunday Bluegrass Brunch at the Skinny Pancake on Sunday from noon-3 p.m.

ON THE RADIO--Carol Ann Jones will appear live on WLVB Morrisville 93.9FM on Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. click here for more info.

MORRISVILLE--Moog's Place has "live music every night we're open, starting between eight and nine pm" with open mic night scheduled most Thursdays at 8:30 p.m.
      Click here for more info.

ST. ALBANS--Shooters Saloon sponsors an open-mic night every Thursday and scheduled music on some other evenings.
      Call 802.527.3777 for more info or booking requests.


FAIRFAX--Vermont Reads presents Jennifer Armstrong in an author visit at the Fairfax Community Library on Tuesday at 5 p.m.
      Her Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World is VHC's Vermont Reads 2016 pick. Ms. Armstrong will share about writing her book, answer questions, and sign copies as well. This is a free event and refreshments will be provided.

ST. ALBANS--Book Ends, the Franklin County Home Health Agency book discussion group about literature on the end of life, meets at the St. Albans Public Library this evening at 6:30 p.m. Click here for more info.
      The library Apps for Nature Geeks program meets Saturday at 10 a.m. Technology can help intensify and capture our observations. "Bird Diva" Bridget Butler hosts a workshop on how to use smartphone and tablet applications to explore. Bring your own smartphone or tablet, WiFi will be available. Registration required.


      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).
      Thanks to recent misuse of copyright material on the Internet by individuals and archival firms alike, we emphasize that your rights to this article are limited to viewing it and printing it for personal use only. You must receive explicit permission from the All Arts Council and the author before reprinting or redistributing this article in any medium.