YOUR WEEKEND: 3rd Eye Open; E.T., pancakes and more…

Phone Home

FRIDAY, AUGUST 18 – The Friends of Buttonwood Park bring that lovable little alien, “E.T.” to the lawn tonight. Let’s hope Trump’s ICE officers are looking the other way! Pictures in the Park starts at 7:30pm and the screening is free – but donations are always welcome. (UPDATE – At post time, the Friends decided to RESCHEDULE the screening due to impending rain. We’ll bring you the new date when it happens.)

Clean Sweep

SATURDAY, AUGUST 19 – The Veterans Transition House at the corner of Purchase and Willis Streets (a few blocks north of Groundwork!) is the starting point for Operation Clean Sweep this morning at 8:30am. Come prepared to pick up some trash and help keep New Bedford clean; pre-register here. (You get a free t-shirt if you do!) You’ll be provided with gloves and tools – and if you stick around until noon you can expect some free pizza from Domino’s, too.

Write Club

SATURDAY, AUGUST 19 – GNB Writers Block hosts Write Club today from noon – 3:00pm at Dream Out Loud Center, 1 Johnny Cake Hill (an inspiring location for writers!). Here’s what scribes should expect: The first hour and a half will consist of silent writing. The second hour will consist of pairing with a partner, and the two of you will offer helpful edits/edit suggestions, inspiration, and constructive criticism; the first half hour of that second hour will belong to you and your work, the next will belong to your partner. The last half hour of Write Club will involve each participant stating what they’ve accomplished during this session and what they intend to accomplish in the month preceding the next meeting.”

3rd Eye Open

SATURDAY, AUGUST 19 – New Bedford’s hip-hop festival returns to the city this year after a hiatus. You’ll find it throughout downtown, and it’s a packed schedule. Here’s what to expect:

Schedule of Events:
/// Live graffiti and murals, throughout the day in Wing’s Court & Custom House Park
/// Cypher in the Street, popping up throughout the day
-///No Problemo & Solstice Skateboarding host a Skate Jam in the New Bedford YMCA parking lot, time TBD
/// Live screen printing in Wing’s Court, time TBD – Buy a tshirt for $20 or BYOPrintable and have it screened for $10
/// 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament, hosted by A’s before J’s Program, sponsored by Christian Fellowship Center and Carter’s Clothing & Footwear, 9am start time in Carter’s parking lot
/// Custom House Kids Carnival presented by Doodles Creative Session, 10am-2pm in Custom House Park. Activities include: Mass Attack Roller Derby demos; Kindness Rock Garden; Facepainting; Dance Party with Still ILL Productions; 3rd EyE Open Scavenger Hunt with Creative Oasis: Destination Painting & Mobile Art Sessions; Lawn Games with LIFE FUNdamentals; Mini-Golf with New Bedford Parks, Recreation & Beaches; Cooper Demo & the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park 1850s Ladies ; Interactive Art Installation with New Bedford Art Museum; Play Dough Party with Children’s Art Lab; Giant STEM Games & Troll Ball with Mastermind Adventures & more!
/// Soap Scrimshaw on the New Bedford Whaling Museum plaza, 10am-noon
/// New Bedford YMCA Mermaid Swim, 11am-noon
/// Books Come To LIfe: 4 fun events at the New Bedford Free Public Library, 11am-4pm
/// Dance Jam: Battles, Cyphers & Team Exhibitions, noon-7pm in Wing’s Court
/// Activism & Resistance Doc Watch presented by Friends of the New Bedford Free Public Library, watch “Free Angela and All Political Prisoners” noon-2pm in the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park theater
/// Hip Hop Yoga at 1pm & Reggae Yoga at 2pm, presented by Erin Poyant Yoga in Custom House Park
/// EforAll South Coast Pitch Contest, 2-4pm at the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park visitor center
/// Live music stage, 3-7:30pm in Custom House Park
/// Open Up Your 3rd EyE Sunset Guided Meditation with Clarity Wellness, meet in Custom House Park at 7:30pm

More event info, volunteer sign-up and donation opportunities at www.3rdEyEUnlimited.org

Hotcakes

SUNDAY, AUGUST 20 – Mercy Meals holds a pancake breakfast fundraiser late this morning at Pilgrim United Church (635 Purchase Street). Mercy Meals does good work – and a stack of hotcakes may be just what the doctor ordered after a full day of hip-hop-ing! The griddle sizzles from 11:30am until 2:00pm – ticket/donation is $10.

And. Here. We. Go…

If you’ve been anywhere near downtown New Bedford during the past few weeks, you know that the apocalypse is upon Union Street.

Not really – I’m being facetious and echoing some of the comments I’ve seen on social media. Because as we all know, right after violent race riots nothing gets some Americans more worked up than something screwing with their ability to drive and park their cars basically anywhere they like.

The ground is being prepared – or rather, the underground – along Union Street for the streetscape improvements that form the backbone of the Purchase-Union Innovation District project. Helping to facilitate that endeavor is James McKeag, the Mass Development TDI Fellow who works from right here out of Groundwork!

We sometimes tease the affable McKeag – whom I call the Jimmy Stewart of urban planning – that all hell will break loose when ‘he’ starts tearing up Union Street. Maybe that’s why he wisely decided to schedule is summer camping vacation this week as the heavy equipment really got down to business.

It’s probably never a good time to tear up a major thoroughfare and doubly so during a busy summer season. Unfortunately, pipes and drains and maybe culverts and all sorts of other good things under the pavement need to be replaced to ensure years of future infrastructure prosperity. Still, this can be hard on businesses on the street.

So, it’s important to remember that this is #notthebigdig – and while you may have to navigate some traffic detours, the sidewalks are still open. And let’s be honest, you probably wouldn’t have been parking on Union Street anyway.

Part of the charm of a vibrant downtown is its walkability. So don’t be detoured by a few bulldozers. In fact, Destination Soups owner Devin Byrnes has just the right attitude to help see you through the construction.

He posted the following to Facebook: Looking for a free ‘Touch a truck day’? Have a thing for burly work men? Want to support local business? Well, c’mon down. Don’t be alarmed, scarred up Union street may look like an an out take from the latest ‘Transformers’ movie, but the shop is open (as are the sidewalks). For the past week, the street has been opened up more than the eyes of the enlightened, come gawk for yourselves!”

Destination Soups is located at 149 Union Street right beside the entrance to Wings Court. You can watch the carnage from inside the shop or at some sweet outdoor tables in the Court. Today’s special is a bowl of Tomato Basil Soup with a side serving of organically-grown burly workmen. If burly isn’t your thing, here’s a picture of New Bedford’s answer to an American idol star, front end dude Danny Sallom.

The whole point is that, yes, Union Street is going through some growing pains. But because of that, now is the time to show the groovy local businesses and eateries it’s home to more, not less, love.

And, you get touch a truck.

#newbedfordseafood – off to a good start

Alaskan Salmon, Maine Lobster, and…New Bedford Seafood.

Removing the ellipse is the job of a new branding campaign launched recently with some impressive tools at its disposal to get the job done. The task ahead is a noble and worthwhile effort, for sure. It’s ultimate success will depend on resources, reach and repetition. I’m happy to report that it’s off to a very good start.

www.NewBedfordSeafood.org

A new website has been launched, newbedfordseafood.org, which is clean, concise and functional. In other words, it’s good – and useful. On the homepage, viewers are urged straight off to “Buy Fresh Seafood” from 45+ New Bedford fish houses. That’s an impressive amount of fish houses and makes a point in and of itself.

The website then goes the extra mile by actually listing all those fish house at a click. Along with Facebook pages, websites, addresses and phone numbers. Nice.

Fun facts about New Bedford’s fishing industry – and important facts regarding transportation – are sprinkled throughout the pages. The Harbor Development Commission, with Mayor Jon Mitchell, initiated the campaign so some general information about the Port of New Bedford is also included. All in all, it provides a well-rounded glimpse of the working waterfront.

The New Bedford Seafood logo

And then there’s that vintage-style logo created for the site and everyday use (see above). Press material from the city explain that the “branding initiative includes a logo that features the familiar western rig fishing vessel, the backbone of the Port of New Bedford’s successful commercial fishing industry.” It was designed by Moore & Isherwood Communications.

New Bedford faces some stiff competition from the Gloucester Fisherman – made famous by Gorton’s –  in the logo department. So, I think the designers wisely decided to avoid needless bloodshed and sail in a different direction by emphasizing the infrastructure rather than the romance with this logo. The vintage appeal strikes that note, too and is very appealing.

#hashtag #newbedfordseafood

Social media is full of all the beautiful boats lining New Bedford harbor. From Facebook to Instagram, the use of #newbedfordseafood is simple, effective exposure which fulfills the first rule of advertising: repetition, repetition, repetition.

The branding campaign was launched with this hashtag – a smart and savvy move. The challenge is to keep it in circulation. Readers and supporters of the seafood industry can do just that by using it whenever possible. For example, if you’re shooting by the water, add #newbedfordseafood to your go to #hashtags when posting. And naturally, when you’re taking pictures of your dinner at a favorite local eatery, be sure to credit the source with #newbedfordseafood.

Launching a successful branding effort takes equal parts work and imagination. The campaign for #newbedfordseafood is off to a good start but will only be successful if it enters general circulation and finds it target audience. The press release announcing the launch states that, “The HDC will work with local restaurants and fish markets to further identify locally-landed fish and seafood for area residents in an effort to highlight some of the underutilized species landed in local waters.”

The future of #newbedfordseafood

That’s all fine and good – but to truly have an impact, #newbedfordseafood will have to think bigger, as some of the marketing pros here at Groundwork! would advise them. In the future, we’d encourage the city and HDC to take advantage of a room full of members who excel in advertising, branding and communications before embarking on a major campaign. Groundwork! is housed a floor below the New Bedford Economic Development Council in the Quest Center at 1213 Purchase Street, after all!

The release also contains this: Outside of our region, not enough people know how important New Bedford and our fishing industry are to providing sustainable, fresh, delicious fish to buyers and consumers everywhere” – a statement attributed to Ed Anthes-Washburn, Port Director. It continues, “The fishing industry and our waterfront are the cultural and economic center of our region. We think it’s important to showcase New Bedford’s seafood at the same level as other brands like Alaskan salmon or Maine lobster.”

But to whom and where? That bit is left out – but will really determine the success of #newbedfordseafood. Along with the resources available to promote the brand beyond our local borders.

Until then, it may be preaching to the choir – but at least it’s a good tune and engendering more civic pride in #newbedfordseafood is a solid beginning .

YOUR WEEKEND: From Funny Please to Finest Kind…

Scroll below for world premiere screening info.

IPO in blubber

FRIDAY, AUG. 11 – Before Silicon Valley there was…New Bedford, Massachusetts! A one-day symposium, “Economics of Whaling: The Whaling Industry as the First Venture Capital Business Model in the United States” takes place all day today (9:00am-5:00pm) at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. “The Whaling Economics Symposium will convene professors, historians and businessmen to discuss the success of this 19th century American global enterprise and the application of this unique business to modern finance,” they write. RSVP and tickets required; do it here.

Summer Sounds/Yoga

FRIDAY, Aug. 11 – Two recurring favorites tonight: The Summer Sounds Series hosts Whiskey Affair beginning at 6:00pm on State Pier, New Bedford and Yoga in the Park happens in the Rotch Duff Jones House garden, also at 6:00pm. Decide which you need more!

Gluten-Free Brazilians

SATURDAY, AUG. 12 – Here’s something new: Seabra Supermarket at 41 Rockdale Avenue, NB hosts a Gluten-Free tasting hosted by Brazilian Crepe from 1:00-3:00pm. In case that doesn’t register, they write, “Gluten-Free / Lactose-Free / Sugar-Free / No Preservatives / Nut-Free / Soy-Free / Peanut-Free / Sodium-Free / Vegan / Paleo.” So there!

SAIL with CARE

SATURDAY, Aug. 12 – Cuttyhunk Ferry Company and CARE, Southcoast team up for “Sail with CARE” – a fundraising cruise to benefit the animal rescue shelter. Pull away from the dock at 66 State Pier, NB at 5:45pm and expect raffles, a cash bar, the sunset and music by Carlin Tripp (a treat!). Get $35.00 tickets here.

Funny Please at the Moose

SATURDAY, AUG. 12 – The performance art and comedy troupe, Funny Please celebrates their first anniversary with a show tonight at the Moose Lodge 914, 119 Rockdale Avenue, NB from 9:00-11:00pm. Tickets are $10 at the door. Get a Funny Please preview at their website.

Finest Kind: The New Bedford Fishing Industry

SUNDAY, AUG. 13 – Here’s a big event that invites us all to show some pride in #newbedfordseafood: The New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center presents the world premiere of “Finest Kind: The New Bedford Fishing Industry” tonight at 7:00pm. The screening will be held at Greasy Luck Brewery located at 791 Purchase Street, NB. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to arrive early to purchase a meal before the screening. The film will begin at 7:00pm followed by a facilitated discussion with some of those featured in the film and director Kevin Kertscher. The screening is presented free of charge. Free parking is available on the street. The venue is wheelchair accessible.

A year in the making, this original documentary was produced by the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center itself. Written and directed by Kevin Kertscher of Big Ocean Media, the film interweaves interviews, historic and contemporary footage, and photographs to provide a sense of the rich history and culture of the New Bedford/Fairhaven fishing industry. The expression “Finest Kind” was commonly used in New England fishing communities to mean “the best”. We agree!

SUMMER of S.T.E.A.M.

Introducing S.T.E.A.M. the Streets at Groundwork!, May 2017.

Ben Gilbarg is one of Groundwork!’s most prolific members – with an alphabet soup’s worth of acronyms filling out his resume, many of them dedicated to community-empowering pursuits. Ben was a co-founder of 3rd EyE Open and New Bedford YAP; founder of the video company Visionary Communications Consultants, LLC; and now, founder of Big Picture Anthems and its S.T.E.A.M. the Streets project.

Big Picture Anthems produces hip outreach campaigns fueled by music, video, and the passion for impacting youth, states their Facebook page. S.T.E.A.M. the Streets is their latest campaign and it is designed to inspire underrepresented youth to pursue S.T.E.M./S.T.E.A.M. career paths – S.T.E.A.M. being “Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math.”

Ben kicked off S.T.E.A.M. the Streets with an event held here at Groundwork! Last May, he invited community leaders, members and teens to this co-working facility to learn about the project he had been preparing throughout the Winter – and also see the first video in the campaign.

It was an amazing evening here. The room was full of energy and purpose – and yes, thankfully packed with the very youth who are still too often underrepresented in community gatherings dedicated toward raising the level of play for everybody.

It is Ben Gilbarg’s gift and a reflection of his hard work over many years that when he puts out a call to action, people respond. He’s built a reputation for crafting forward thinking, inclusive initiatives – like 3rd EyE and YAP – that speak up, not down, to young people and inspire them to be their best selves.

The vehicle through which S.T.E.A.M. the Streets seeks to do just that reflect the notion. The videos in the campaign are compelling, professional and enlightening – for everybody, not just their intended audience. They profile S.T.E.A.M. success stories – from people who don’t look like typical Silicon Valley stereotypes but people you might see next to you on the bus.

Here’s the one Ben introduced at Groundwork!, just to give you some flavor:

It’s a terrific video – and for the viewer, especially the young viewer, helps illuminate a path forward. Teens get a lot of mixed messages; this one is unambiguous: You have a seat at this table, too.

Ben has been promoting and producing more S.T.E.A.M. the Streets vids all summer. (Follow them on YouTube here.) As I write this, he’s in New York City with the project. But luckily, New Bedford is always on his radar and he’ll back in time to reconnect with 3rd EyE Open as the hip-hop festival returns to the city on Saturday, Aug. 19. He’ll be lending a hand with the graffiti art part of the day.

Beyond that, Ben writes to me that, “We are starting an innovative program with Carney Academy this fall as part of the (S.T.E.A.M.) campaign. The goal is to boost levels of engagement and attainment in math and science through this pilot program.”

He’s also heavily involved with the recently announced “Hip Story” project (read all about it here). In fact, Ben Gilbarg is one busy guy and one incredible asset to our city – especially our city’s younger citizens.

When I ask him how he keeps inspired and how he keeps finding new ways to expand the boundaries for everybody, he replies:

“Good question. I love being creative for a cause, that’s why my title is creative catalyst.  Maybe it should be creative cause catalyst! I have a strong connection and affinity for youth who have not been given all the opportunities or have not been expected to accomplish much.

“It’s my life’s work to catalyze creative communication and education initiatives that make them more aware of opportunities, social issues, and their full future potential. I really believe that this is a big missing link in our society right now, and if we can utilize multiple techniques and sectors (public, private, social media, music/video) to reach and influence youth to be more aware and achieve greatness, then I have done my job.”

That’s not a bad day at the office.

YOUR WEEKEND…Groundwork! at the Feast!

Groundwork! at the Feast!

BEGINNING THURSDAY, AUG. 3 – I sometimes use “world famous” as a bit of an inside joke and statement of aspiration – but not in this case. The Feast of the Blessed Sacrament is indeed “world famous” – the largest Portuguese feast in the world! Right here in New Bedford.

You don’t really need my help to check out the Feast. It’s pretty straightforward. Beginning Thursday, Aug. 3 and concluding on Sunday, Aug. 6, it takes place a few blocks east of Acushnet Avenue in New Bedford’s north end at the Madeiran feast grounds. You can find everything you need to know about the Feast on their website.

The only thing I will draw your attention to is the fact that Groundworkers will be marching in the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament Parade on Sunday, Aug. 6 with fellow members from E for All Southcoast. So be sure to check us all out in our Groundwork! T-shirts as we beat it down The Ave before finding an open flame at the pit for some BBQing. The Parade begins at 2:00pm and travels one mile down Acushnet Avenue from Brooklawn Park to the Feast grounds.

With the weekend being dominated by the – world famous! – Portuguese Feast, other events are sparse. But here’s a few things to keep on your radar…

Wellness Walk

SATURDAY, AUG. 5 – The fantastic New Bedford Wellness Initiative holds another of their fun – and beneficial – Wellness Walks this morning from 10:00am – 12noon around Buttonwood Park. Fire up your Fitbitss and meet in the parking area in front of the zoo.

Downtown Ceili

SATURDAY, AUG. 5 – The First Unitarian Church at Union and County Streets, NB holds another Downtown Ceili tonight from 7:00-10:00pm. “Play us some songs (originals or covers, traditional or not!), sing us something, read a poem, tell a story, pretty much anything goes! Don’t feel like being the center of attention? Just come and hang out and listen!,” they write. Okay.

Sunday Morning Stroll

SUNDAY, AUG. 6 – Get outside and take a Sunday Stroll with the Buzzards Bay Coalition and Southcoast Health at the Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust – DNRT‘s Parsons Reserve. During these mid-morning walks, held one Sunday each month, you’ll get some fresh air and exercise while learning how to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle and explore the outdoors.

America’s Autoclinik at Hazelwood Park

SUNDAY, AUG. 6 – Here’s a good story: A group of mechanics are raising funds in New Bedford to open an Auto Repair Shop that functions as a co-op and which will serve members of the community who hail from Central, South as well as North America. Today at Hazelwood Park in the south end of NB, they are holding a fundraising Beach BBQ (Hazelwood is across from West Beach, where the popular Reggae on the Beach afternoons take place) from 11:00am to 3:00pm. They write, “We are nearly halfway to our fundraising goal to purchase a building for our shop, thanks to donations and loans from our community! Come celebrate with us and help us reach the finish line! Bring the kids for biking and swimming – and donations for food and to help buy a building for Americas Autoclinik! If you can’t attend, but would like to donate, visit our donation page.”

YOUR WEEKEND: Wrestling, Reggae and more….

Reggae on West Beach returns this Sunday, July 30…

Summer Sounds on the Pier

FRIDAY, JULY 28 – Louie Leeman and Cheap Sneakers perform from 6:00-8:00pm tonight as part of the Summer Sound Series. The outdoor, summer concerts take place on Fisherman’s Wharf, Port of New Bedford – free of charge. Bring a chair and enjoy “a band that can make a party come alive, with roots in Rock ‘n Roll, R&B, Folk and Blues,” according to Destination New Bedford. They’ll be performing classic songs by some of the best artists of the rock era: Van Morrison, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Chuck Berry and others.

Yoga & Picnic Pop-up

SATURDAY, JULY 29 – We’re taking you outside of New Bedford for this one, but it’s worth the trip thanks to the fabulous Jeff Costa. He’s the dude who brings Yoga and Meditation to the masses at Cushman Park and Custom Square House Park respectively. In fact, he’s all over South Coast and beyond spreading good vibes and better health. Today, Jeff is hosting a Yoga & Picnic Pop-up at How On Earth (62 Marion Road, Mattapoisett) from noon – 2:00pm. Here’s the 411: Yoga starts at noon and lunch will start at 1:00p.m. This event will be all inclusive for $20.00 with a yoga lesson, lunch afterward with a cocktail or mocktail to end your day well.” Namaste, Jeff adds, to which we reply, “Right back at ya’, baby!”

Slammasters

SATURDAY, JULY 29 – House of Bricks Pro Wrestling returns to Moose Lodge 914 (119 Rockdale Avenue, NB) tonight at 7:00pm. The tag team of HoB Pro Wrestling and the Moose Lodge come together to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as they present HoB SLAMMASTERS!  All tickets are just $10 with proceeds going to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital – New England Office.

Ladies who brunch

SUNDAY, JULY 30 – Incognito, found at 1606-1610 Acushnet Avenue, NB holds another of their popular Drag Brunches today. The eye candy is as delicious as the food as their fab female impersonators strut their stuff – over eggs and French toast! “Join Jacqueline DiMera, LaDiva Jonz and Vi’let as they return with their brand of glitz, glam and humor,” Incognito writes. Make your reservations TODAY (they always sell-out) by calling (508) 993-3933. (Note: Please call after 4pm.) Show and chow time is 11:00am – 2:00pm. (Note: If you’re more of a Saturday night rather than Sunday morning person, get your drag on at Le Place when Queens of the South Coast present Beach Babes: Summer Bash beginning at 9:00pm at 20 Kenyon Street! 21+/$5 cover.)

Reggae on the Beach!

SUNDAY, July 30 – The last Sunday of a summer month means the return of Reggae on West Beach during 2017 – as in today from 3:00-7:00pm. Groundworkers caught the June edition and had a blast groovin’ on Clarks Cove in New Bedford’s south end. “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.” And that certainly works for us! Hear the sounds right across from Hazelwood Park…

Creature Feature

SUNDAY, JULY 30 – Fresh off his famous annual BBQ on Saturday (co-hosted with wife, Sue), Chuck Hauck opens Creature Feature at The Vault gallery (169 Rockdale Avenue) this afternoon from 3:00-6:00pm. It’s a new art show – also featuring David Mello – with Chuck’s infamous creature sculptures and Mello’s ceramic wall sculpture. The artists will be present and light refreshments will be served…and Chuck’s work doesn’t bite despite appearances to the contrary.

Mapping New Bedford

Dean Haden, James McKeag and Zachary M. White at Groundwork! with one of the artist’s maps of New Bedford.

One of the great perks of being a member of Groundwork! is meeting new and interesting people all the time as they walk through the doors of 1213 Purchase Street. Some serious serendipity was happening when Zachary M. White came to Groundwork! one afternoon along with his unique maps of New Bedford. He had come to discuss exhibiting them both downtown at BCC with TDI Fellow James McKeag and also in the Groundwork! Gallery with founder Dena Haden.

A third venue for his cartography was quickly arranged after I saw Zach’s work. After all, I was in the planning stages of putting together the annual summer art show at Haskell Public Gardens called…Maps & Legends! Talk about a no-brainer!

I have to add a caveat to this story right here and now. I had actually already met Zachary here at Groundwork!, when he was part of the Spinner Publications crew on hand for the New Bedford Bookfest. He works for the publishing house – but even his colleagues there didn’t know that even as he was busy cataloging and digitizing so many of their beautiful historic photos, he was also busy in his spare time mapping the City of New Bedford – in sometimes surprising ways. Like enumerating every Dunkin’ Donuts in the city.

The archivist and artist may be a bit reticent regarding his work, but that’s okay. I’ve got a big mouth and a blog as well as an art show with which to make all the proper introductions between the public at large and this thoughtful artist’s work.

So, I put a few questions to Zach about how and why he began mapping New Bedford, and exactly what that process entails….

What drew you to map-making?

Senior year of undergrad I did my photo thesis project on Urban Renewal in New Bedford. It involved pairing photos from the 1960s and ‘70s with a photo of the same location now. I always referred to the project as being catalog photography rather than documentary because my goal was just to provide people with the visual information about places they have probably driven by hundreds of times. I intended to present the photographs with a current map overlaid with a map of how the streets appeared in the 1960s, plotting out where each photo is/was. I began tracing old maps and drawing new maps before running out of time, but I saved all the information for it hoping to one day finish it.

Historic photos of New Bedford Zach cataloged for his project: Howdy Burgers and a former Glaser Glass location.

Then when I started back at UMass for my Post-Bac, I was trying to think of some unifying idea or theme to work from. My work around this time was getting more abstract – but I wanted the abstract elements to be based on something real. So, I started incorporating pieces of cemetery maps that I have a lot of (not in a weird or dark way; my dad has been in the monument business for almost 40 years and from time to time you need a map to help you locate a particular section or grave). Finally, by last Fall, I found files I had worked on from the thesis project and decided to just make an actual map.

Do you begin with all hand drawings then graduate on to woodblock for the print-making?

The UMass CVPA router in action…

It depends on what my intentions are with the print, when I want to be able to replicate it or make an edition I like to plan out every layer and color prior to starting. To make the block for the full city map (on display at Haskell Public Gardens through August 17, 2017), I planned and drew it all out in Photoshop and double and triple checked every street to make my map to scale and be as accurate as possible. To maintain the accuracy of my maps, I had the block cut with a CNC router at UMass CVPA. The router uses the computer file of the image to cut it into a substrate which can then be inked up and printed. It’s during the actual printing process that I change things up.  I might print something as intended a couple of times and then I just begin layering and changing colors and end up with 4 or 5 prints that are completely different even though they came from the same block.

How did you come upon the idea of mapping all the Dunkin’ Donuts in the city?

The plate ready for inking…

After making the full map, I wanted to be able to combine it with other elements and layers but I didn’t want to just draw random shapes or overlay different images so I tried to come up with how to create these elements that may appear random but are actually based on real information. During this time my advisor, Marc St. Pierre, and I talked about different ways of accomplishing that and where these elements could come from (like outlines of buildings on specific city blocks or tracing the patterns made by the crack sealer for streets) and this led to using the shapes made by things on a map. I started by coming up with places that there are a lot of in the city; banks, gas stations, fast food, etc. This lead to specific places/stores and Dunkin Donuts seemed like an obvious choice. I then used Google to find all the addresses of the Dunkin Donuts in the city (there were 18 at the time) and then plotted them to make a seemingly random shape I could use in my work.

What’s your favorite donut?

My favorite donut was always a vanilla frosted raised donut from Ma’s Donuts, but now that it’s gone…probably glazed.

Have you ever thought of turning your handiwork into an app?

Inked up and ready to print…

Actually, there is a project in the early stages that I’m working on at Spinner Publications with Al Saulniers (one of the authors of A Picture History of New Bedford Vols. 1 & 2) that’s similar in nature to my photo thesis that I hope make an app for. It wouldn’t involve any of the map prints I have done but, the plan is the app will show the locations of photographs plotted on a map while also being able to direct the user on a self-guided tour with captions and stories to go along with the photographs.

Thanks for your time, Zach. One last question: When can we expect a dive bar map?

If someone wants to compile a list, I’ll make the map!

  • And, you can be sure we’ll share it with readers when Zach completes that project! In the meantime, you can catch his work on display now through Thursday, August 17 at Haskell Public Gardens as part of “Maps & Legends” and also find prints for sale in their gift shop. The park is open 7 days a week, dawn to dusk and the maps and sculpture of Kelly Zelen is on display in the greenhouses at 787 Shawmut Avenue. On Thursday, August 17th, Zach and Kelly will talk about their work during the community picnic fun-raiser at the park hosted by AHA! New Bedford, The Trustees and the Community Foundation. More info here.

FOLLOW UP: Branding Purchase Street takes Wing(s)

Over the course of the past year, several meetings were held to discuss ideas regarding the branding of Purchase Street and surrounding environs downtown, such as Wings Court. Those emerging branding and design ideas will now be put under the public microscope this coming Monday, July 31.

TDI Fellow James McKeag writes in his invitation, “Join us for a public review and discussion of emerging ideas for design and branding ideas for Purchase Street and Wings Court. We love to know what you think! The meeting will be held at the UMass College of Visual and Performing Art at the Star Store campus lecture room in downtown New Bedford, Monday, July 31, from 6-8 pm. Hope to see you there!”

Jim McKeag is shepherding the process along on behalf of MassDevelopment. It’s part of his mandate as a TDI Fellow in New Bedford – and part of the Purchase-Union Innovation District Project. I wrote about it here and you can acquaint or re-acquaint yourself with the background at that link, if you’d like. The entire project will also see Union Street transformed from roughly S. Water Street to Pleasant Street, bringing the successful streetscape project on lower Union further up the hill.

The focus of Monday’s meeting will be design ideas that seek to tie the entire downtown area together visually, from the Elm Street Parking Garage through the National Park historic district up to Purchase Street and beyond.

And, a more consistent and better use of Wings Court is key to providing the correct balance point between the various points of interest downtown.

Wings Court takes center stage

Wings Court right now is somewhat of a bastard space. It’s a pathway; it’s a sometimes retail and market space; it affords space for limited-access, outdoor seating to Pour Farm Tavern, Brick and Destination Soups; and occasionally it’s a venue for music or even outdoor wrestling matches.

But mostly, it suffers from an identity crisis and the most transformative part of the plan you’ll see on Monday, July 31 is criteria to properly establish Wings Court as a functioning urban space in downtown New Bedford.

Jim at Groundwork!

Jim McKeag works from right here out of Groundwork! – so some of us were able to preview the plan as it came together. McKeag has done a great job of assimilating all the input received from various parties and turning it into a blueprint for action items. Other exciting elements of the vision include public art projects and enhanced lighting suggestions.

What I personally liked best about this plan is its incremental nature. It’s doable – not grandiose. It builds on past achievements rather than reinvents wheel. It’s an evolution – not a revolution.

So, you don’t need to bring pitchforks with you on Monday – but your sound judgement and dedication to a downtown and city moving in the right direction riding on the wings of the future.

You can RSVP here.

YOUR WEEKEND: Mary Poppins, Libertarians, Roller Derby and more…

Full Length Collective

BEGINNING FRIDAY, JULY 21 – The Collective NB stages their first full-length play, “Boeing Boeing” beginning tonight at Gallery X (169 William Street, NB). Here’s the synopsis: Swinging bachelor Bernard couldn’t be happier: a flat in Paris and three gorgeous stewardesses all engaged to him without knowing about each other. But Bernard’s perfect life gets bumpy when his friend Robert comes to stay and a new and speedier Boeing jet throws off all of his careful planning. Soon all three stewardesses are in town simultaneously, timid Robert is forgetting which lies to tell to whom, and catastrophe looms.” Sounds like fun – kind of like a Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau film from the 1960s! Tickets are $20 at the door or $15 in advance with reservation. Make reservations by emailing The Collective NB at Thecollectivenb@gmail.com – and be sure to tell them which day you will be attending and the number of people in your party. Complete showtimes are: Friday and Saturday July 21. 22, 28, 29, with doors opening at 7pm and the curtain at 7:30.

Yoga & a Brew

SATURDAY, JULY 22 – If and when we feel the need to jet out of New Bedford, Buzzards Bay Brewery in Westport makes for a nice landing spot. Especially today at noon, the start of Yoga & Brew. $15 covers the class and, when the brewery opens at 1:00pm, a pint. “We do the class on the grass outside of the brewery overlooking the beautiful landscape.” Indeed it is – relaxing and family friendly, too. Get more info and directions here.

Mass Attack Finale

SATURDAY, JULY 22 – The final home game of the season for Mass Attack Roller Derby is a double header! Come check ‘em out across the bridge in Fairhaven at the Carousel Family Fun Center (4 David Drown Boulevard). Here’s the line-up: Mass Attack’s All Stars will be taking on the Jersey Shore Roller Girls first. The second game, MARD’s own Bloody Bordens will be taking 40 whacks at Cape Cod Roller Derby’s Salty Dolls.Doors will open to the public at 5:15pm. Make sure to bring a chair, as provided seating fills up quickly, MARD advises. There are raffles and merchandise to purchase, along with engaging activities for fans of all ages. Beer and other beverages are available for purchase by patrons providing proper ID at the Tipsy Carousel. The rink’s snack bar is always available for all who wish to curb their hunger and thirst. Get tickets ($10) here. Tickets can also be purchased at the door for $12, with children 10 and under getting in for free.

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

SATURDAY, JULY 22 – Three summers ago, Colleen Dawicki and her husband, Jeremy Dagnold launched “Pictures in the Park,” finally bringing outdoor movie screenings to Buttonwood Park. The plan was to set the idea in motion and then pass it on. Tonight, the Friends of Buttonwood Park picks up the baton and screens “Mary Poppins” on the lawn under the stars starting at 7:35pm. Thanks to support from Metro PCS and the generous use of equipment from the United Way of Greater New Bedford, this series continues to be free, too!

Cancer is a Drag!

SUNDAY, JULY 23 – Expect the fierce and fabulous when a passel of drag stars takes over the Slainte Irish Pub stage this afternoon from 2:00-6:00pm. They’ll be performing to raise funds for the Dana Farber Institute and write, “These queens will give you glitz, glamour, gags, and guffaws! It will be an afternoon not to forget, I assure you! Slainte has a full bar and full menu so you can nosh and nibble to your heart’s content. Let’s make cancer run for the hills, honey. With your help, we can make that happen!” $10 donation at the door goes to the cause. And maybe a few sequins… Slainte is at 34 Union Street, NB.

Give us Liberty or Give us beer

SUNDAY, JULY 23 – The South Coast Libertarians meet today at Quahog Republic Whaler’s Tavern at 24 N. Water Street, downtown NB, from 3:00-5:00pm. “Meet local Libertarians, members of the Libertarian Party of MA, and other liberty minded people to discuss libertarianism and activism opportunities,” they write. And, to enjoy Whaler’s awesome Lobster Roll.