ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 21 * * All Arts News On the Web * * January 12, 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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SWANTON--Should Swanton bring back the Festival? The Swanton Arts Council hosts a Public Forum to discuss the festival at the Swanton Village Complex on Wednesday at 6 p.m.
      All are welcome.


FLORIDA KEYS--21 artists from the States and Europe will participate in the third annual Paradise Paint Out plein air beginning on Tuesday. For eight days, the artists will set up their easels at various locations to paint what they see, and paint it quickly.
      Artist demonstrations begin with Haidee-Jo Summer of Lincolnshire England today at 10 a.m. There is an Artist and Patron reception on Friday in the Big Pine Community Park Room "wet room gallery." There's a Patron and Artist Meet and Greet on Sunday and the Finale and Florida Bay Preservation Night on Wednesday, both
      Artists will work in Key West, Big Pine, and Marathon for four days, then continue in Islamorada and Key Largo for four days. The invitational event includes local artists Kathleen Denis of Islamorada and Priscilla Coote of Key West plus well known competitor Jason Sacran from Arkansas; Morgan Samuel Price, Altamonte Springs, FL; Thomas Jefferson Kitts, Oregon; Ms. Summers, Great Britain, Greg Barnes, North Carolina; and more. Mr. Kitts will stay on to teach workshops at Ocean Reef and at the Art Guild of the Purple Isles.
      The event benefits the Florida Keys Children's Shelter and Florida Bay Forever.
      The French expression "en plein air" means "in the open air." Any painting done in oil, water media, or pastel qualifies, as long as most of the work is done outside. All artwork will be available for purchase at the wet room galleries. The Big Pine Community Park Room will be the official wet room gallery for the first four days. Our Place in Paradise in Islamorada will host the wet room gallery for the Upper Keys.
      The finale is the only wet room event not free to the public. Admission to the finale is $25 per person. Tickets are available at


ST. ALBANS--St. Albans Community Arts is the home of the Festival of Trees beginning this year. The first meeting for the 2017 Festival will be held at The Eloquent Page bookstore on Monday at 6 p.m. They welcome new volunteers.


ST. ALBANS--Twiggs presents the soulful harmonies of the Owl Stars on $4 Friday and the groovy folk rock and pop music of the Timothy James Connection on Saturday. Shows begin at 7 p.m.
      Call 802.524.1405 or click here for more info.

SOUTH BURLINGTON--The Winter Concert Series features Missisquoi River Band at the South Burlington Library on Sunday at 2 p.m.
      Northern Vermont's bluegrass band features unique three-part harmony by Sheldon's Patrick Murphy and Jim and Cindy Weed of Enosburg with special guest Will Patton on mandolin.
      Admission is free.


      We wind up the preview of another busy year in the arts with a look at the Major Independent Presenters. We covered upcoming All Arts Council and Opera House events plus the Franklin County Festivals and Town Band plans last week.
      The Artists in Residence Gallery features the color Red as the theme for the months of December, January, and February. This bright color gives the gallery a warm, lively look and feel for the coldest part of the year. Many of the artists have included this dynamic color in their displays so there are touches of Red as well as total Red on the walls. The 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; Each month they feature three-four artists, highlighting their work with opening receptions on the first Thursday of the month.
      The Northern Vermont Artist Association kicks off its 2017 show schedule on March 18 with a month-long exhibit at the T.W. Wood Gallery. NVAA has the famous June Juried Show at the Visions Of Vermont Gallery in Jeffersonville, a July show at the Village Frame Shoppe in St. Albans, fall shows at the Red Mill Gallery in Jericho, SPACE Gallery and at Union Station in Burlington, and several other venues including an online gallery. Click here for more details.
      The Northwestern Medical Center has reopened its gallery space. They host 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.
      St. Albans Community Arts is the home of the Festival of Trees beginning this year! SACA will host an art walk in February. The Burrow project is underway and will be open for a walk-through of the new event space during the Art Walk.
      The first 2017 SACA organizational meeting will be held at City Hall on January 31. They will interview people to head sub-committees. Click here for more info on the sub-committees and applications. SACA will also begin regularly scheduled meetings on the second Tuesday of each month in City Hall starting on Valentine's Day.
      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, SACA, and more.

      The AAC helps promote many other Franklin County presenters and individual artists. Our regularly updated online calendar is found at Email the All Arts Council to add events.
      Bay Day will celebrate on Saturday, July 1, this year with continuous entertainment and family activities all day the first Summer Sounds concert of the year 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 some amazing classes in Birding, Garden Design, Paint and Sip, Jazz Music Camp for all ages. Concerts with the Vermont Jazz Ensemble, the Citizens Concert Band and classical music are booked. 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 2017: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson.
      The eclectic Music at Grace series will include the return of Village Harmony and a program of exceptional performers for several concerts this summer and fall as well as the 16th annual Farewell Reunion concert, a perennial favorite, which kicks off the series on May 26. 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 violin master class takes place Sunday and the Winter Concert is January 22 at the Flynn; next up, Farmers' Night, 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 several hundred events each year including several Events for Tom. The organization has expanded public school partnerships that include residencies, performances, workshops and fiddle clubs, and has committed to a long list of projects and programming.
      They are preparing for the Touring Group trip to Cape Breton in April. Their reunion concerts coincide with Young Tradition Weekend in May. Their second annual educators conference also 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 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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