Art, Reggae, Yoga and more…YOUR WEEKEND

Judith Klein Art by the Cove

SATURDAY, JUNE 24 – Judith Klein Art Gallery occupies a sweet perch in Kilburn Mills Studio overlooking Clarks Cove – and the new Cove Walk. If you’ve never been, today’s the day to swing by from 5:00 – 8:00pm for the opening reception of their Summer Exhibition. Every year, it’s an eclectic and refreshing show featuring some of the most interesting artists in the region working in Painting, Photography, Mixed Media, Fiber Art, Printmaking and Sculpture. You’ll find the gallery around the back of the building at 127 W. Rodney French Boulevard; hang a right from the New Bedford Antiques Center parking lot and look for the signs to lead you to door 31.

24 Hour People

SATURDAY, JUNE 24 – The Collective NB holds one of their fab 24 Hour Projects this evening from 7:00 – 10:00pm at Gallery X, 169 William Street, NB. They explain how it works here: All the shows we put up on that night will be written, rehearsed, produced and performed in 24hrs. We will have a special musical guest – Rob Velocity will be entertaining with his Musical Talents! Plus a raffle where you can win things from local artists,businesses and restaurants.The first show will be at 7:00pm and the second show (The infamous Stumble Through) at 9:00pm the same night. Admission is a suggested donation of $10. Make reservations by sending an email with the amount of tickets you need and what time you will be attending to Thecollectivenb@gmail.com.

Sea Shanty Sunday

SUNDAY, JUNE 25 – The New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center (38 Bethel Street, NB) kicks off their first anniversary celebration at 11:00am this morning – with a special sea shanty chorus! Following in rapid succession are: 11:45 – Unveiling of Founders plaque; 12:15 – Cake by Ellen’s Creations & ice cream from the Ox Cart; 12:45 – Performance by storyteller Jackson Gillman. Plus children’s activities and Ox Cart food truck! Free admission to all events today.

Reggae on West Beach!

SUNDAY, JUNE 25 – Reggae on West Beach – the beautiful brainchild of Brooke Baptiste – returns to New Bedford today from 3:00 – 7:00pm! And this year, it’s for the entire summer! Good to Know Productions, in conjunction with the City of New Bedford Parks, Recreation, and Beaches, will host the 2017 Reggae on West Beach Summer Series June 25, July 30, Aug. 27, and Sept. 24, from 3:00pm-7:00pm, at the West Beach Pavilion located at 237 W. Rodney French Blvd. across from Hazelwood Park. Reggae On West Beach is a free community event that is inclusive, multi-generational, welcoming and family-friendly for all who attend, celebrating Jamaica’s gift to the world: reggae music. It’s a reinvention of the “sound system” parties that have been a staple of Jamaica since the 1950s. Patrons are encouraged to bring beach chairs, pack a picnic, and groove to the vibes. Food trucks will offer a variety of delicious local offerings. Food trucks include Two Sisters, Alice’s Food Truck, and Dorothy Cox selling ice cream and Del’s Lemonade. We could write more – but just take our word for it and just go!

Yoga at the Fort

MONDAY, JUNE 26 – REMINDER: Yoga at the Fort – Fort Tabor/Rodman – continues tonight and every Monday and Thursday through the summer, weather permitting. Class drop-in charge is only $5. Class incorporates movement, meditation, balance and strength. This is open to all levels, newbies to advanced. Bring a mat/towel and water at 6:30pm. More info here

America Divided

TUESDAY, JUNE 27 – Southcoast Fair Housing and Civic Support come to Groundwork! tonight at 6:00pm to co-host a film screening of “America Divided.” The film explores the housing divide in New York City, confronting stark images of inequality. The filmmakers speak with tenants, realtors, homeless people, housing activists, landlords and city officials — investigating the Big Apple’s affordability crisis, hedge fund speculation on residential housing, and a legacy of discrimination that still persists today. Discussion to follow. Refreshments provided. Kid-friendly and free admission in Groundwork’s co-working space at 1213 Purchase Street (use Maxfield Street entrance.)

How would you spend $5.5 million in New Bedford?

Okay, the headline is clickbait. But the funds are real. With a few caveats.

On Tuesday, June 20, the Community Preservation Committee (CPC) held the first of three public meetings to solicit input for a plan to utilize Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds – estimated to be roughly $5.5 mil by the end of this year. About 30-40 civic-minded folks came to the Hazelwood Park Senior Center to learn more about CPA – and offer their input.

Don’t worry – we didn’t spend all the money Tuesday evening. In fact, we didn’t spend any of it.

Everything you ever wanted to know about CPA

Community Preservation Committee co-chair Colleen Dawicki and member Ross Nunes

CPC committee co-chair Colleen Dawicki kicked things off with a robust and skillful presentation all about the CPA. It is 1) State-wide enabling legislation allowing communities to create funding to preserve open space and historic sites, create affordable housing and develop outdoor recreational facilities; 2) Funded by a tiny property tax surcharge approved by New Bedford voters in 2014; and 3) A big pot of money – that will be replenished every year.

That money can be spent on projects proposed by organizations such as non-profits or even the city itself. If they meet the CPA requirements and fit the needs of the community. Determining those needs and setting spending priorities and turning them into a plan is what the public meetings are all about. (You can go deep into CPA at this link.)

If you missed Tuesday’s meeting, no worries. There are two more meetings scheduled for the coming week. One on Thursday, June 22 at the Buttonwood Park Community Center. Then again next Tuesday, June 27 at the Brooklawn Park Community Center. (This one will have simultaneous Spanish interpretation.) Both take place from 6:00-7:00pm.

A CPA Grocery List

At this Tuesday’s meeting, we all got down to offering our input with alacrity. It’s not every day you get to help spend a wad of dough like this, after all.

Some familiar names for preservation made it onto the list. The Orpheum Theater. The Armory. But it’s important to note that preservation encompasses more than just buildings (as outlined above) and you can get creative with your needs.

I was with New Bedford’s grassroots renaissance man, Carl Simmons at the meeting and he suggested scanning important documents and other ephemera as an idea. Something the New Bedford Free Public Library could certainly take a shot at.

Some others noted that the very park we were at – Hazelwood – could benefit from some preservation on its grounds and some enhanced outdoor recreation facilities.

But, I like my idea best and am going to write the most about it – because it’s my blog post and in my neighborhood. :-)

The Kempton School Market on Shawmut Avenue

I’d like to see CPA funds used at the former Kempton School on Shawmut Avenue in a  manner that would meet a lot of the needs of the community around it – and also check a lot of the state requirement boxes.

I call my neighborhood “The Dead Zone.” It has few eating establishments and is actually a food desert when it comes to fresh produce and the like. It also suffers from a lack of meaningful outdoor recreational facilities like parks. And, there are few historic structures of significance.

Yet, the red-brick former Kempton School (in the featured photo at top) is sitting empty on a big plot of land – and both can be put to much needed use here.

Like a huge community garden – nay, urban farm – on the site. In the building, a year-round food hall/market selling what’s grown on-site supplemented by local farmers and other purveyors of decent foodstuffs could set up shop. Throw in an artisan market and build affordable live/work artist lofts in the former classrooms upstairs and man, you’re on your way to transforming an entire neighborhood – within important CPA guidelines.

It would result in a bustling community center of commerce and enterprise that 1) Preserves a historic building; 2) Provides outdoor recreation of a unique variety; 3) Offers low-income artists and craftspeople a place to live, work and sell their wares; and 4) Addresses a long-standing even urgent need in the community. (The project is already getting good press, thanks to ace reporter Wesley Sykes.)

Additionally, the terrific GROW Education program is already doing great work with community gardens at New Bedford schools – and working with up and running organization checks another box on the state’s list of should haves if not must haves. It’s easy to imagine them scaling up to tackle a chunk of this project.

Another great organization, E for All Southcoast, could also find a role in helping entrepreneurs start and run the individual market stalls. Both organizations are Groundwork! members so have experience in collaborative spaces.

It may be a dream – but it’s in Ward 3, which has new, hot-shot representation in councilor Hugh Dunn. If anyone can advocate for neglected Ward 3, it’s him! Okay – I’m shamelessly kissing his ass to get him on side  – and tagging him on Facebook to make sure he reads this.

But that’s what these meetings are all about.

Passionately promoting your ideas for spending millions of dollars to better and strengthen New Bedford by preserving not its past – but its future.

That’s priceless.

  • New Bedford’s Historic Preservation Planner, the brilliant Anne Louro is your official host for the CPA meetings. You can let her know you’re coming to either of the remaining meetings here.

YOUR WEEKEND and the week ahead

Ride ‘em cowboy

SATURDAY, JUNE 17 – Ashley Ford, a New Bedford institution, holds their 13th annual SVT Cobra, Mustang and all Ford car show today from 9:00am – 3:00pm. “When was the last time you’ve seen a Shelby Cobra GT 500, Mach 1, ‘early’ ’65, 1985 GT with original sticker, and dozens of other classic and rare Mustangs all in one place?” they ask on the Facebook event page. And answer –  “It’s a sight that is seldom seen, and it always delights fans of the car that created the pony class.” And add, “Of course the Mustangs are enough entertainment in themselves, and yet there is music by ‘Johnny Angel’, give-aways, free refreshments and the first 50 entrants will receive a free dash plaque! It’s a great day if you love Mustangs. It’s a great day if you love cars. Heck, it’s just a great day!” Steer yourself to 395 Mt. Pleasant Street to appreciate some car culture this Saturday in New Bedford.

New Life Cup + Block Party

SATURDAY, JUNE 17 – Paul Walsh Field off Parker Street, NB, hosts a huge community-wide event today from noon – 4:00pm. New Life Cup + Block Party is a soccer tournament; live musical performances; kids events; and open to everyone. Swing by and check it out.

Juneteenth Celebration

SATURDAY, JUNE 17 – The Rotch Jones Duff House also gets into the community celebration groove today from 1:00-4:00pm when it hosts the New Bedford Historical Society’s Juneteenth Celebration. Gather in the garden for a day of music, arts and crafts to commemorate the anniversary of Juneteenth, the end of enslavement for millions of African Americans across the U.S. in 1865. Performers include Tammy Denease, storyteller, who will share the story of Mum Bett, who sued Massachusetts for her freedom. Music by El Caribe, a steel drum band and Ponta do So, a traditional Cabo Verdean band. Free admission.

Learn to Quahog

SUNDAY, JUNE 18 – Buzzards Bay Coalition and the New Bedford Parks Recreation & Beaches Department invite you to Fort Taber Park to Learn to Quahog this morning from 9:00-10:30am. Coalition educators will teach you the basics of local quahogging – what you need, how to do it, and where to go. They will also provide rakes, peck baskets, and some waders for you to use. But, if you have your own equipment, feel free to bring it. And remember, “We suggest you wear clothing and shoes that can get wet and sandy, as we will be wading into the water up to our waists. This is a catch-and-release event unless you have a shellfish permit for the city of New Bedford.”  To RSVP to this free, family-friendly event, visit their website here.

Fitness in the Park

TUESDAY, JUNE 20 – It’s across the river in Fairhaven, but we love FITNESS in the PARK, The area’s “longest running and most popular summer fitness classes”! The free classes in Cushman Park take place 8:30-9:30am June 20 – Aug 24. Tuesdays, Yoga in the Park w/ Kripalu Certified Yoga Instructor & Personal Trainer, Jeff Costa (pictured above). Thursdays, Summer Boot Camp w/ Certified Functional Trainer, Wayne Goulart. Get fit at 164 Green Street, Fairhaven.

Business Buzz on the High Seas

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 21 – Here’s the scoop: The June Business Buzz, a co-production by Civic Support and Groundwork! Will be “truly one of a kind as all #NOTworking enthusiasts are invited to attend ‘Mr. Pickles Wacky Sailing Race and BBQ’! Check it out – there will be BBQ food, and beer from Buzzards Bay Brewing, as well as the opportunity to check out the cove from the water thanks to the Community Boating Center. Suggested donation is $5 and all proceeds go to the Charles A.R. Pickles Memorial fund, which helps local kids get sailing lessons, scholarships and opportunities to become teachers and future leaders. For any business interested in becoming a boat sponsor in the sailing race, you can purchase tickets for $150. For more information, look elsewhere on this very website.

Cheers to New Bedford’s Hardware Stores

Many of us in New Bedford bemoan the lack of commercial investment in our neighborhoods. Too many hole-in-the-wall restaurants, markets and taverns are gone and each new closing – like Carmine’s Bakery on Rivet Street not so long ago – feels like an acute loss.

As with many things, we’re most likely remembering a somewhat exaggerated past. The teeming establishments outside of downtown and Acushnet Avenue were probably enjoyed by our parents’ generation and we just heard the stories.

However, some of us likely do remember our neighborhood drugstores, like Family, Lariviere’s, Reca or Nelson, and they are indeed missed. Each helped define their particular neighborhood and were lively centers of commerce and gossip. You could often get a meal or at least an ice cream at their soda fountains, too.

The chain pharmacies like CVS, Rite-Aid, etc. are a poor substitute. They squat on entire city blocks in buildings that are architectural abominations in slavish obedience to their parking lots – Storm Troopers of the global supply chain as commanded by Big Pharma.

Okay, I’m getting carried away. But when I get too worked up, I remind myself that it’s better to dwell on what we have today in our neighborhoods that make them special rather than get lost in the past. And that always leads me to…

New Bedford’s Hardware Stores.

These pugnacious rebels have somehow found a way to carry on the tradition of the neighborhood pharmacy in many places throughout the city in the face of Home Depot and Lowe’s.

Small businesses like Rivet Street Hardware, Almeida’s True Value Hardware, Bourassa’s Hardware, County Street Hardware, and Beacon Paint and Hardware constitute old-fashioned place-making. They help define their city blocks and brand their neighborhoods. In a geographic place all its own sits Fairhaven True Value Hardware on Pope’s Island. And, in a space of historic imagination, you’ll find Kirby Paints off Shawmut Avenue. Taken together, all these establishments and others serve as a bridge between urban past and present.

Yet, they also serve an important function into the future – including the vaunted creative economy of now and tomorrow.

Form follows function = art

Many artists and creative types are big fans and faithful customers of New Bedford’s neighborhood hardware stores. An often overlooked facet of creating art is the need to hang art in sometimes creative ways. And there’s nothing more fun than searching these shops for some fancy hardware that lends something different to your work.

Also, when creating with found materials or constructing installations, you need to find items of use that you may not necessarily find at big box stores. That special hook, custom rope, or metal sheathing that lends itself well to your vision.

Wandering the aisles of New Bedford’s hardware stores stirs your imagination. You find things Home Depot or Lowe’s don’t carry that can fire up your creativity in unexpected ways. Any designer will tell you that form follows functions – and there’s no better place to see that maxim in action than on a shelf at a good hardware store.

Just the right fit

Of course, the bread and butter of New Bedford’s hardware stores are customers who engage in home repair and renovation. They’re in no short supply in a city full of older and historic housing. These buildings often have special needs which are best – or sometimes only – served by Bourassa or Rivet Street Hardware Stores.

Like when searching for door knobs, hinges or latches that fit older doors. Or venting you need for your gas heating stove. And custom screens for your windows. Plumbing fixtures are an especially vexing problem if you have claw foot bathtubs and cast-iron sinks, and Manny at Rivet Street Hardware has rode to the rescue more than once with good advice and the correct faucet.

New Bedford’s hardware stores are the 21st century equivalent of last century’s corner drug stores. They may lack lunch counters, but some of them do carry plants for your garden that grow into tomatoes and basil and cucumbers and more. Call it a take-out lunch.

But really, beyond filling the obvious needs and complementing the creative economy, the hardware stores throughout New Bedford represent the city well as locally owned and staffed small businesses with a human heart and face. And you find them from the south end to the north end, from County Street to Acushnet Avenue and neighborhoods in between, today not yesterday.

Take a look.

YOUR WEEKEND and the week ahead in New Bedford

Day of Portugal

BEGINNING FRI, JUNE 9 – New Bedford’s Day of Portugal celebration takes over Acushnet Avenue this weekend with food, music, vendors and lots of old country culture. Events begin Friday night at 6:30pm and continue into Saturday (beginning at 1:00pm) and Sunday (beginning at 8:00am). Come hungry and seize the opportunity to check out everything Acushnet Avenue in New Bedford’s North End has to offer. (A highlight for this writer will be the chance to tour the former Strand Theater, which will one day be the Cape Verdean Cultural Center!)

New Bedford Jazzfest

SATURDAY, JUNE 10 – New Bedford Jazzfest happens on State Pier from 2:00-7:30pm today. The line-up includes: Southcoast Jazz Orchestra (17 piece big band); The Dino Govoni Quartet featuring vocalist Cassandre McKinley; Gerry Gibbs Trio (#1 album 3 weeks Jazz Charts); and Matthew Hartnett & The Gumbo All-Stars (New Orleans jam). Tickets are $25 (kids under 15 free) – but parking is free at 49 State Pier and the Elm St. Garage. In addition to the tunes, expect food trucks, regional arts and crafts vendors and, of course, a full bar. What would jazz be without bourbon…?

Mission 22 Pub Brawl

SUNDAY, JUNE 11 – New Bedford Police Officers Jared Lucas and Donald Williams are conducting a Pub Crawl through downtown NB tonight to benefit Mission 22 – a veteran’s assistance group that seeks to mitigate the sad fact that on average 22 combat veterans a day commit suicide. The pub crawl starts at Rose Alley Ale House then heading to Slainte, Moby Dick Brewery, Pour Farm Tavern and finally, Greasy Luck Brewery.Tickets to attend are $22 and include a T-shirt. Participants will spend an hour at each location. A raffle will be held at each establishment. For more information, call 508-965-2464 or 508-789-8239.

NB Farmers Markets return

THURSDAY, JUNE 15 – The New Bedford Farmers Market returns to Custom House Square Park for the season beginning today at 2:00pm. Yes – from now on, you’ll be able to shop downtown for local produce and other goodies from 2-6:00pm every Thursday through the summer. New this year – People’s Pressed Juice will be squeezing out their own brand of cold-pressed liquid sunshine! Psst…you can get a head start on grocery shopping on Mon. June 12 when the Farmers Market returns to Brooklawn Park from 2:00-6:00pm. Also, check it out at Clasky Common Park on Saturday morning, June 17 from 10:00am – 2:00pm.

Communicate NB

THURSDAY, JUNE 15 – New Bedford gets its very own chapter of Toastmasters tonight when Communicate NB launches at 6:00pm at Tia Maria’s European Café. Here’s the 411 from their Facebook page: “Toastmasters is an internationally recognized organization that promotes public speaking, communication and leadership skills. This is a unique opportunity to develop yourself professionally or just to simply challenge yourself and have fun.” Prepare your oration now.

YOUR WEEKEND and the week ahead…

Beginning Fri. June 2 – Purchase Street Records (767 Purchase Street) celebrates six months of being open for business in downtown New Bedford with a 10% OFF all record purchases weekend. That’s right – all records 10% off plus other special deals and (weather permitting) sidewalk sales through Sunday, June 4.

SATURDAY, JUNE 3 – New Bedford gets its PRIDE back – a public LGBTQ Pride Festival in Buttonwood Park happens today from 9:00am – 4:00pm. It begins with Yoga in the Park with Jeff Costa, followed by a Fitness Walk and then lots more entertainment, family activities and more. New Bedford’s resurgent gay community was the feature of one of our recent blog posts – and you can read all about PRIDE and more here.

SATURDAY, JUNE 3 – The Seaport Art Walk officially opens on the State Pier in New Bedford with a celebration from 2:00-5:00pm today. It’s another show-stopping event we previously wrote about, so get the full story here.

SATURDAY, JUNE 3 – The Community Economic Development Center and the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center are pleased to present Fiesta Tipica de Guatemala, “a mini-festival of traditional culture featuring music, dance, demonstrations of traditional crafts, and a concurso (children’s contest for the best traditional clothing)” today on Acushnet Avenue. From 2:00pm-6:00pm, come get your dose of Guatemalan culture at the Phillips Avenue Pocket Park (on the corner of Phillips and Acushnet Avenues, naturally – steps from Lorenzo’s Bakery and Mimo’s Cafe).

SATURDAY, JUNE 3 – Stone Free brings the music of Jimi Hendrix to The Bar (266 Dartmouth Street, NB) tonight beginning at 9:00pm. Come enjoy drinks, chow and a tribute to the music of Hendrix at this great spot.

SUNDAY, JUNE 4 – Striker’s Bar & Grill in the Wonder Bowl (66 Hathaway Road, NB) welcomes Last Comic Standing star and co-star of the Netflix series, “Be a Man” to their Sunday Comic Showcase tonight. Also featuring Featuring the Voice Of The City – Bad Lad and local comedian Larry Soares. Your host for the night Dave Sinclair. Tickets $10.00; show starts at 7:00pm.

TUESDAY, JUNE 6 – The Bay Sox home opener takes place at 6:00pm at Paul Walsh Field by New Bedford High School. If you haven’t seen the Sox in action, get to it this season. At $5, it’s affordable fun for all ages. Find the season schedule here.

Taking the New Bedford Arts Community to the Next Level

Sometimes, all the planets line up and you’re afforded new opportunities in life to seize upon.

New Bedford’s arts economy is about to be offered one hell of an opportunity. An opportunity that arrives with an appeal to participate in an effort to shape the next decade or so of the city and region’s arts and culture landscape. It begins Tuesday, June 6 at 5:00pm at Groundwork! when the Community Foundation holds the first of several community meetings designed to help clarify a vision of that future.

The Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts

Many readers are probably familiar with the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts. If not, their mission statement is simple: To mobilize philanthropy by matching donors and resources with community needs for the benefit of our region.

John Vasconcellos, formerly of The Trustees of Reservations, became president of the Community Foundation about 10 months ago. He explains to me that as he thought about his new role and how to position the foundation for its own future, he couldn’t help but think about making it more responsive to everything happening in and around New Bedford and its burgeoning arts scene.

We all know New Bedford’s reputation as a home to artists and artisans and as an arts destination has exploded in the last decade or so. But fully integrating that growth into a plan that has tangible, long-term benefits for the community remains elusive. Making that happen is the goal Vasconcellos pondered when he assumed the presidency of the Community Foundation – even as a chance to bring some amazing resources to bear on the task presented itself to him.

The Barr Foundation

The Boston-based Barr Foundation also has a mission. It is this: to invest in human, natural, and creative potential, serving as thoughtful stewards and catalysts.” In addition to impressive work in the realms of climate-change and education, their Arts & Creativity programs have their own agenda. It is as follows:

Our overarching goal is to elevate the arts and enable creative expression to engage and inspire a dynamic, thriving Massachusetts. We will pursue this goal through three strategies: advancing the field’s capacity to adapt, take risks, and engage changing audiences in new ways; fostering opportunities to connect the arts to other disciplines and sectors; and activating public support for the arts.

They are achieving this through substantial investment of expertise and financial resources in communities throughout the state – and bringing that to Southeastern Massachusetts through the Community Foundation is what John Vasconcellos seized upon when contemplating a plan of action for the arts.

You’re Invited…

That’s not the end of the story, however. It’s just the prologue. The real story starts…with you. In order to figure out how best to mobilize the resources of the Barr Foundation, the Community Foundation is properly concerned with hearing from the community it serves.

The meeting at Groundwork! (1213 Purchase Street; use Maxfield Street entrance) next Tuesday, June 6 from 5:00-7:00pm is the first of several planned to get the input of artists, artisans, arts consumers, businesses, residents…well, everyone concerned in mapping out the future of our region. The meetings are designed to discover what’s necessary to connect all the dots of the disparate arts community and help bind it together.

It’s important to note here that the alignment of the Community Foundation and the Barr Foundation isn’t simply about finding a new pot of money. It’s about formulating a common purpose for the arts that embraces the entire community. That must certainly reflect greater New Bedford’s amazing diversity; everyone has a seat at the table.

So, invite your neighbors, tell your friends and spread the word. And, be prepared to come to that table with what John Vasconcellos terms a “Clarity of Vision” into a future arts and culture community where are all the planets are lined up in a row.

> You can find the entire line-up of meetings from New Bedford to Fall River here.

> Learn more about the Community Foundation here and the Barr Foundation here.

Timothy Ellis Cole: Helping to sustain New Bedford

Timothy Ellis Cole in front of his work-in-progress mural on New Bedford’s State Pier. The completed work debuts on Saturday, June 3, 2017 during the Seaport Art Walk opening.

You’ll have to forgive us here at Groundwork! for taking an inordinate amount of pride in artist Timothy Ellis Cole. It’s because his roots go deep into the place and into who we are. That’s why we always get excited when Tim is up to his tricks somewhere in New Bedford.

Cole has just completed a mural on the State Pier as part of this year’s Seaport Art Walk. Of course, he brought his usual commitment, talent and energy to the project, spending days and maybe even a few nights painting on a concrete wall that runs about a hundred feet long below the terminal. The result is another triumph of vision that you can really appreciate this Saturday, June 3 when the Seaport Art Walk officially opens from 2:00-5:00pm with a special event that is free and open to the public.

We’re excited to see ALL the artists involved in this, the third Seaport Art Walk, once again curated by the fabulous Jessica Bregoli. New this year, the artists will be paired with scholars during the opening on Saturday to discuss the topics that inspired their work.

Tim at Groundwork!

Timothy Ellis Cole has always inspired us – and we’re happy to see the in-demand artist back in New Bedford. Indeed, along with prolific, local outdoor artists like Ryan McFee and Tracy Barbosa, he is helping to establish a New Bedford aesthetic that distinguishes our city.

Tim was the first artist to be featured in the Groundwork! Gallery in January 2016. His opening was a smash event and did a lot to set the tone for future after-co-working-hours art shows here at 1213 Purchase Street. Part of that tone was set when he christened the Groundwork! Hammock, becoming the first person (after co-founders Sarah Athanas and Dena Haden) to pull an all-nighter in the space!

The artist brought that same sense of total commitment to the mural he painted on our own wall (pictured above). It’s become a well-known feature of the space figuring in all sorts of photos and videos on the social media landscape.

Seaport Art Walk’s Sustainable Oceans

The theme of this year’s Seaport Art Walk is Sustainable Oceans, and Tim’s mural certainly illustrates that. He explains that it depicts the work of the Coonamessett Farm Foundation in applying a field rotation concept to scalloping zones “that saved a decimated industry, turning it into a sustainable fishery that became one of the most profitable in the world.” (You can find out more and even watch the documentary, “Sustaining Sea Scallops,” at this link.)

Like Tim’s link to Groundwork!, there is a personal connection to Coonamessett for him, too. “I used to be the chef on the farm that houses the foundation, so it’s really cool to make artwork about their work after grilling scallops at farm dinners years ago,” he says.

Timothy Ellis Cole probably doesn’t get a lot of time to grill scallops these days, except for precious hours with his wife and two awesome kids. His Partner Projects Studios, operating out of Monument Breach, is busy with projects from Hyannis to the Levitate Music Festival to New Bedford’s Seaport Art Walk and lots of places in-between.

We dig that this artist is binding New Bedford into that bundle of projects and, we have no doubt, beyond into the future as his career continues to grow with all the mad-talent and energy he brings to it – and to our city.

(Visit Partner Projects Studio here and learn more about this year’s Seaport Art Walk here.)

Your Weekend & the week ahead…

Will you be here in 5 years?

SATURDAY, MAY 27 – Sure – it’s a holiday weekend. But before the BBQ and maybe beach, get your fill of public policy at “Gentrification in New Bedford.” Hosted by SouthCoast Today (Standard-Times), Ward 4 City Councilor Dana Rebeiro, and Dr. Michael Goodman of the UMass Dartmouth Public Policy Center, the free discussion with featured speakers takes place from 1:00-3:00pm today at the downtown New Bedford BCC campus (800 Purchase Street).

Memorial Day Parade

MONDAY, MAY 29 – New Bedford’s Memorial Day Parade steps off from Hathaway Blvd. and Parker St. this morning at 11:30am. But the place to watch it is Clasky Common Park on County Street by J.A. Parker School where special events honoring veterans follow the parade.

Climate Change & Lyme Disease

THURSDAY, JUNE 1 – “Have you ever wondered how the rate of chronic illnesses such as Lyme disease has grown exponentially as the effects of climate change increase?” If you have or haven’t, you still may want to check out Lyme Disease & Climate Change, with Herbalist Brendan Kelly tonight from 5:30-8:00pm at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, presented by Kelly and the Marion Institute. “Using the lens of Chinese medicine, Brendan Kelly, herbalist and author of The Yin and Yang of Climate Crisis, will discuss how the warming of our planet mirrors a similar overheating within us and within our culture.” Tickets are $10, and they benefit the Marion Institute. Get some here.

Yoga at the Fort

THURSDAY, JUNE 1 – Yoga at the Fort is on for the season! That fort would be Fort Rodman in New Bedford’s South End, where South Coast Yoga will be holding classes on Monday and Thursday nights during the warm weather months. For only $5! (You can purchase a class card, too, for multiple classes – good at Rodman or Fort Phoenix in neighboring Fairhaven)  The 411: Class incorporates movement, meditation, balance and strength. This is open to all levels, newbies to advanced. Please bring a mat/towel and water. The beginning of the season can be chilly, so layers are good!” Arrive at 6:15pm. Follow South Coast Yoga on Facebook for more information.

Planting Roots in New Bedford

It’s a simple and quiet thing yet also something profound. At schools throughout New Bedford, GROW Education is entering its third year of planting community gardens for the benefit of students and the neighborhoods around them. GROW Education is a project of the Marion Institute and it is spearheaded in New Bedford by two great Groundwork! members – Adam Davenport and Zoe Hansen-DiBello.

On Tuesday night, May 23, I joined them and area residents at a community planting event at Carlos Pacheco Elementary School on Mt. Pleasant Street. We got our hands dirty planting tomatoes, kale, lettuce, hot peppers, beans and more in the raised beds on the south side of the school.

At Carlos Pacheco Elementary School

Carlos Pacheco sits upon a majestic spot on Mt. Pleasant Street and affords commanding views of the city down Sawyer Street to the harbor. It was a beautiful late spring evening and everyone was having lots of fun.

Adam had prepared the beds and plants for planting – but still, had left enough to do to allow the adults and children present to learn a bit about proper gardening. We were instructed to tickle roots when appropriate and when to handle them gingerly. (The tomatoes are hardy; the hot peppers less so.)

Adam and Zoe (with Rowan in tow) had just come from a larger planting event at Hayden-Mcfadden Elementary School. In total, there are 12 community school gardens in the GROW Education network. They work with the schools and surrounding residents and encourage all concerned to “take ownership” of the garden beds – which means yes, it’s okay to go and pick some kale and tomatoes! 

User-friendly gardens

To help everyone know exactly what’s planted and when it’s best to harvest, impressive new bulletin boards have been installed at the gardens with all sorts of relevant information posted – including a schedule of when Adam will be at each through the summer in case anyone has some questions or suggestions. (Kudos to YouthBuild New Bedford for their construction prowess.)

The benefits of these great gardens are many. They instill a sense of community at and around an underutilized public resource – our schools. Additionally, children – and adults! – learn something by the act of planting and harvesting. And, as one mom put it Tuesday night, her kids aren’t hot for veggies – but she’s hoping they’ll learn to love ‘em if they’ve had a hand in producing fresh produce on their doorstep.

Finally, as I wrote above, the gardens are just fun to work and play in! They brought out the kid in everyone Tuesday night as we dug up dirt and navigated around worms to plant our bounty. The real kids in the group wandered over to the playground and basketball hoops after the labor was complete and Carlos Pacheco was alive with community.

Not a bad evening’s work.

  • The GROW Education gardens (as well as the school playgrounds) could always use some resources. If any area businesses or entrepreneurs would like to help out and perhaps sponsor a space or some equipment and supplies, contact Zoe at zoe@marioninstitute.org. You can follow GROW Education gardens and events from their Facebook page here.
  • ABOUT GROW Education: GROW Education is an innovative community gardening initiative that works with local schools to cultivate healthy bonds in urban neighborhoods. The GROW Education gardens provide hands-on learning during the school day, and a hub for cultivating community education and action throughout the year. Find out more here.