ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 21 * * All Arts News On the Web * * January 5, 2017


      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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      2017 will be another busy year in the arts. We'll divide the coming events into two groups: All Arts, the Festivals, the Opera House, and the Town Bands this week, and artists and other presenters next week. First, the look at what's happening now.


ST. ALBANS--The Artist In Residence Gallery features different artists each month. This month, the spotlight is on photographer David Juaire, the jewelry of Cathy LaClair, and painter Linda Wirts.
      The A.I.R. gallery hosts a free meet-the-artists reception with refreshments and a raffle today 4 - 7 p.m. The exhibit continues through the end of January.
      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. The gallery, newly reopened at 10 South Main Street, is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Click here for more info.


SWANTON--The Swanton Arts Council has received 501(c)(3) certification. This is the most common, and sought after, type of tax-exemption for a nonprofit organization. It means that SAC is exempt from federal income tax because its activities are charitable, educational, literary, and more.
      "It has been recognized on a national level that the SAC is here to stay and will continue to be a growing force in our community to create an artistic presence and develop the artistic community in Swanton!" SAC Executive Director Judy Paxman said.
      It also means that your gifts, donations, and bequests to SAC are easily tax deductible. At the other end, applying for grants just "got a whole lot easier as we will no longer need to have other organizations act as our fiscal sponsor," she said.
      Email with questions, donations, and for more info.


SWANTON--The SAC Writer's Group will meet at the Swanton Public Library this evening at 6 p.m.
      "We're going to tackle a longer writing project - our own version of National Novel Writing Month in which participants are challenged to write a 50,000-word novel in one month," organizer Becky Rupp said. The less-structured SAC version is a chance to try something new and different; tackle a memoir, a mystery, or a short-story collection.
      Call Ms. Rupp (802.733.7471) for more info.


ESSEX JUNCTION--On Tap offers Blues Night with the Nobby Reed Project tonight at 7 p.m.
      On Tap has music on Tuesday through Saturday nights. Call 802.878.3309 or email for more info.

ST. ALBANS--Tell it at Twiggs in True Tales from Local Storytellers tonight at 7 p.m.
      We all have a story to tell and tonight is the night to enjoy true tales of the lives and experiences of some of Vermont's best storytellers. Bill Torrey, three-time winner of Burlington's Moth Story Slam and proud winner of VPR's Story Slam competition, hosts.
      A $5 cover charge benefits St. Albans Community Arts. Click here to sign up.
      Next up, Twiggs presents indie-rock duo Jesse and Dave on $4 Friday and Ryan & Slim on Saturday. Shows begin at 7 p.m.
      Call 802.524.1405 or click here for more info.

SOUTH HERO--Snow Farm Vineyard features singer/songwriter Carol Ann Jones for Wine Down Friday on Friday at 6:30 p.m.
      Call 802.372.9463 for info or reservations.

ST. ALBANS--First Step Dance, Vermont Ballroom Dance Company, holds the first St. Albans group class of the year in City Hall Auditorium starting this Monday at 7 p.m. The class will meet on January 9, 16, 23 and 30.
      Level I Rhythm will cover the basics of Rumba, Cha Cha and Merengue. The cost is $50/person for all four weeks, or $15 per week as a drop-in.
      Come see the new dance and performance space in City Hall.

EAST FAIRFIELD--The Fairfield Community Center Association will hold its Annual Public Meeting at the Center on Wednesday at 6 p.m.
      This is an important gathering as the community discusses and chooses the role of the Center and how to meet the needs of residents in the coming year. The board of directors will host a potluck meal.


     2017 will be another busy year in the arts with another 250 concerts, exhibits, recitals, and shows from more than 40 organizations. This week, we have info about upcoming All Arts Council and Opera House events plus the Four Franklin County Festivals and our Town Band plans. We will cover Other Major Presenter plans next week.
      Happy New Year!

      Summer Sounds, Franklin County's premiere outdoor concert series, enters its 27th season with a lineup of bluegrass, classical, country, folk, jazz, pop, opera, and classic rock-n-roll. Assuming the Towns continue their support. The concerts are always on a Sunday night, always in a Town Park, always at 7 p.m. and always free.
      The All Arts Council's three primary goals haven't changed: continuing our popular programs, continuing our support of artists and other presenters, and continuing our partnerships. The AAC may also host several one-time shows. Email the All Arts Council if you would like to suggest or host a show.
      AAC will hold exhibits for artists in all media and pays actual cash money for bands and solo performers. If you are one or know one, email the All Arts Council .

      Every Franklin County presenter has planned another blowout year so we all need money and volunteers. From All Arts to Young Tradition-Vermont, please remember that volunteers and a permanent base make up the "back room" that each of these groups needs to continue the programming you enjoy.
      The AAC needs volunteers to provide the marketing and technical help, have resources, and to host meetings and exhibits, and concerts and workshops for artists, other groups, and local presenters. And we're actively searching for someone to be me.
      If you have an advertising budget to spend or space to lend for the year, email the All Arts Council . If you want to run an arts program, email the All Arts Council faster.

      The Opera House at Enosburg Falls plans a mix of major productions, touring, and community events from vocalists in concert, musicals, and theatricals, to talent shows and art shows. The new season begins in March and continues through December.
      The Opera House already has productions for this year but wants proposals for the 2017 theatrical season. Productions are volunteer-based with small honorariums granted based on the proceeds of the show. The 300 seat historic center of the performing arts serves 14 communities.
      Email for more info.

      Taken together, the four major Franklin County area Festivals attract around 100,000 people to extravaganzas of outdoor arts and entertainment here.
      The 42nd Franklin County Field Days swells Highgate with crafts, exhibits, agricultural exhibits, cattle judging, antique tractor pulls, rides, and more at the Franklin County Airport. This long running event fills a tent, the grounds, and the stage with popular bands and solo performers from near and far on August 3-6. Click here for more info.
      A Quarter Century of Jigs! The 25th annual Jig in the Valley will benefit the East Fairfield Community Center with a family day of music and picnicking on the last weekend in July. This concert helps raise funds and awareness for the NMC regional health center, pre-school, Head Start, Teen, and Senior Citizen programs. July 30 (always the last Sunday in July). Click here for more info.
      The 61st annual Vermont Dairy Festival will spotlight Franklin County performers in a benefit weekend for the Lions Club traditionally held on the first weekend of June, on June 1-4.
The Lions are always looking for dedicated women and men to join because it is the people who serve who make the real difference. Click here for more info.
      The 51st annual Vermont Maple Festival in April is the first major outdoor festival of the year. St. Albans City and Town host three days of family education and entertainment. The Festival includes a popular talent show, the sold out fiddler's variety show, the best of Vermont music, and a large craft show; it embraces many other community events and offers the biggest parade in Vermont. The Maple Fest is a Top 10 Summer Event this April 28-30. Click here for more info.

      The Citizens Concert Band begins a new season of outdoor concerts starting in late June and alternating on Wednesdays between St. Albans City, St. Albans Bay, Swanton, Highgate Springs, and Highgate Falls, all under the batons of co-directors Jeremy Berger and Jennifer McConnell. Click here for more info.
      Enosburg Town Band rehearsals begin in the Enosburg Falls Elementary School Band Room on the first Tuesday every April at 7 p.m. The 2017 Summer Concert Series will begin around Memorial Day on the bandstand in Lincoln Park. Call Pat Evans (802.827.3970) or click here for more info.
      New members (high school age through adult) are always welcome at both bands.


      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
Chamber of Commerce
Island Arts
St Albans Community Arts
Swanton Arts Council
Young Tradition Vermont


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All Arts Council of Franklin County

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