ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 22 * * All Arts News On the Web * * January 4, 2018


      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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      2018 will be another busy year in the arts. We'll divide the coming events into two groups: the Arts Councils, 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 the decorative concrete of Mike Byers, Arlene Jarvis' intricate, unique beadwork jewelry, and weaver Ann Levy.
      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.


ST. ALBANS--St. Albans Community Arts will meet in City Hall on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
      The first monthly meeting of the new year is a chance to meet new people, discuss new and ongoing business, and any creative ideas that crop up. The meetings are typically held in the first floor conference room but might move up the stairs to the upper floor meeting area.

SWANTON--The Swanton Arts Council hit the ground running with a calendar planning working meeting on New Year's Day. Up next, the first 60 Second Film Contest planning meeting at the Swanton Village Complex on Monday at 6 p.m. All are welcome.
      Real Artists Don't Starve is the subject of a three part book discussion group starting at MVU on Wednesday at 6 p.m. (signs outside commons will direct you to the correct room). Based around the book by Jeff Goins, this week will be Part 1: Mind-Set. A copy of this book is available at the Swanton Free Public Library. The informal group is open to all. Part 2: Market will be held on January 17 and Part 3: Money on January 24.
      Email for more info for both events.


ST. ALBANS--Cooie Sings in the Pub at Durty Nelly's this evening at 6 p.m. Her clear and vibrant vocal stylings bring the lyrics to life.

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--14th Star Brewing Company brings in The Duel, the Plattsburgh-based duo of Summer Sounds favorites John Geno and Kevin Connelly, live on the Taproom stage on Friday starting at 6 p.m. Get ready to stomp your feet.

ST. ALBANS--Twiggs presents the jazzy Ellen Powell Trio on Friday and the roots and rock-a-billy music of Graziano, Schofield, and Slim on Saturday. Shows begin at 7 p.m.
      Call 802.524.1405 or click here for more info.

MARATHON FL--The two day Florida Keys Celtic Festival features Albannach, Screaming Orphans, West of Galway, Marcille Wallis & Friends, and more in Marathon Community Park on Saturday and Sunday. Festivities begin at 11 both days and wrap up around 7 p.m. on Saturday and 5 p.m. Sunday.
      The festival features family-friendly Celtic rock and traditional music, Irish and Scottish dancing, sheep dog herding, pipes and drums, a children's glen with games, face painting and activities, and Celtic (and Keys) foods and crafts vendors. Highland Athletics, the original Strongman sport, features a sanctioned Woman’s Highland Athletics Competition and Men's Highland Athletic Demonstrations.
      Admission is a Hurricane Irma special price of $5 at the gate but paying more helps. Proceeds support the Hammock House at St. Columba Episcopal Church, a free after school and summer camp program providing nurturing and nutrition. Click here for more info.


      2018 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 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 28th 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.
      We're actively searching for someone to be me. If you want to lead Summer Sounds, write this column, or anything else, email the All Arts Council . The AAC also 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.
      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.

      St. Albans Community Arts is looking forward to a vibrant arts scene in the city starting with a Second Friday Dance Social and the Winter Blues Arts Festival this month. There will be art walks, music, the Festival of Trees, and more.

      Swanton Arts Council is planning a 60 Second Film Contest, and has scheduled the Real Artists Don't Starve discussion group, several Paint & Sips, the annual Youth Art Show, gallery and Pop-Up Gallery showings for local artists, artist gatherings, the barn quilt challenge, pinwheels, sidewalk chalk day, the SAC writers' group, and more.

      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 some productions for this year but wants proposals for now and for upcoming theatrical seasons. 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 local communities and more.
      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 52nd 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 27-29. click here for more info.
      The 62nd 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 May 31-June 3. 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 26th 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 29 (always the last Sunday in July). click here for more info.
      The 43rd 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 2-5. click here for more info.

      The Citizens Concert Band begins a new season of outdoor concerts starting in 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 weekly rehearsals for our 2018 summer concert season begin in the Enosburg Falls Elementary School Band Room in March or April. The band welcomes all talent above the beginner level and over the age of 12. There is no audition. Call Pat Evans (802.827.3970), email, or click here for more info.
      New members (high school age through adult) are always welcome at both bands.

      The Vermont Humanities Council has selected Katherine Paterson's book, Bread and Roses, Too, as the Vermont Reads book for 2018.
      Ms. Paterson saw a picture "of children standing on the steps of [Barre's] Old Labor Hall. The caption was, 'Children from the Lawrence strike come to Barre.' I had one of those writerly chills up and down my spine that said, 'There's a story here that needs to be uncovered'." Read the entire interview at
      ArtBits features weekly links to library events in and around Franklin County. That popular feature has a page of its own at the Franklin County Bookshelf on the AAC site at

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


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