Deep Dive into Clasky Common Farmers Market

Marisa Barone and Ian Nichols of Backyard Garden.

Last week, I wrote about the growing, informal urban agriculture network springing to life in New Bedford. This week, we’re looking at one piece of it – the terrific, weekly Saturday morning Farmers Market at Clasky Common Park.

The Coastal Foodshed Farmers Market at Clasky Common is just a few blocks down Pleasant Street from Groundwork!  (which is located at 1213 Purchase Street.) It’s been a weekend pick for several summers now for most members, like myself – and more summers for others. This farmers market was the city’s first, launched some years ago now. Like all things, it’s evolved over time.

Drew of Silver City Acres.

This year’s crop is especially interesting. As I noted last week, newcomers Backyard Garden have joined the line-up of stands at the market, along with Silver City Acres. Sampson Farm – which brought amazing strawberries and their signature potatoes to the market last week – is a hold-over from last season.

Marisa Barone and Ian Nichols, the Backyard Garden team, tell me that they lease their land out in Westport. They get acreage and the landowners receive a tax credit for agriculture. They work the land well; their produce is stupendous.

Marisa and Ian tell me something else very interesting: They enjoy being at the New Bedford Farmers Market more than others in the region, by far.

They say people actually shop for food here, and that makes them feel purposeful. At other locations – which won’t be disclosed – they feel shoppers purchase little of actual purpose, but instead stop by more as a social rather than dietary function.

That may be because Coastal Foodshed has been progressive in administering the markets. Also, New Bedford Farmers Markets are indeed necessary, as some areas of the city are severely under-served when it comes to fresh produce.

Sampson’s Potatoes are a Clasky Common staple.

That’s certainly the case with Clasky Common. It’s at the eastern edge of a large, residential swath of the city which doesn’t see a supermarket until Hathaway Road to the north, Down to Earth way out west by Rockdale Avenue, and Price-Rite off Rt. 18 heading south.

To meet the need, Coastal Foodshed is launching something new this summer: pop-up farmers markets around the city. They will begin with a “soft launch” in June and then follow this schedule beginning in July:

Tuesdays on the corner of Brock Ave/Warren St. (near Tedeschi’s) 4:00-6:00 pm

Wednesdays at Carlos Pacheco Elementary School 3:30-5:30pm

Saturdays at Buttonwood Park Zoo, inside parking lot area 11:00-1:00pm

“We will also be doing Popup events such as festivals and fairs,” they write to me. “All produce will be sourced from local Southcoast farmers! There will be cooking demos on site throughout the month and health screenings as well. We do plan to expand to more locations in the future but are working out all of the logistics this year.”

Also, they have created Farm Share program, where you can order online for pick-up each Wednesday at Carlos Pacheco School, on Mt. Pleasant Street just north of Sawyer. Find details here.

Back at Clasky Common Farmers Market, you can feel a special vibe all its own developing.

It’s always had the fact that it is New Bedford’s most graceful park going for it. Now, Groundwork! is part of the neighborhood. An expansion of the Veterans Transition House is in the works, mid-way between the coworking facility and the market. There’s just more vitality – and interest – in the neighborhood.

Zekiah Lucas and his Yamaha.

Maybe that caught the eye – or rather, ear – of busker Zekiah Lucas. He arrived at the Common Clasky Farmers Market this past Saturday, new acoustic Yamaha in hand, and provided the soundtrack for the day.

He tells me that he plans to stop by about every other week at Clasky Common. (The enigmatic Lucas also makes appearances at the Brooklawn Park Farmers Market on Monday afternoons, as well as locations throughout the city, as the spirit moves.)

It’s a nice touch and adds to the already easy-going ambiance of Saturday mornings at Clasky Common.

Stop by and do some food shopping or just hang out in the park on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. every week to soak it all up.

New Bedford Now: Connecting to Grow

Maura Ramsey and Kristin McCullin filling the wagon with plants outside of Haskell Public Gardens on Shawmut Avenue, NB.

Last Thursday, June 7, GROW Education held its annual Community Garden planting at Carlos Pacheco Elementary School. It was one of many the program has done in recent weeks all around New Bedford.

Last week, too, the New Bedford outdoor Farmers Markets opened for the season. You’ll find them on Mondays at Brooklawn Park from 2:00-6:00 p.m.; Thursdays in Custom House Square Park also from 2:00-6:00 p.m.; and Saturdays at Clasky Common Park from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Yesterday, I happened to catch Maura Ramsey, Executive Director of Groundwork USA Southcoast (not affiliated with this Groundwork, the coworking facility) at Haskell Public Gardens. She was picking up some donated vegetable plants from Kristin McCullin, horticulturist at the park.

Groundwork USA Southcoast is planting the community gardens at Riverside Park in the city’s north end this year. The organization is based out of the Community Economic Development Center at 1285 Acushnet Avenue, and is part of the Love The Ave group, which is seeking to help revitalize the greater Acushnet Avenue neighborhood.

Maura told me that one of their interns, Irlanda Antunes is also working with Adam Davenport, who oversees the GROW Education gardens for the Marion Institute, which started the program with Zoe Hansen-DiBello. (Both Adam and Zoe are members of this Groundwork.)

Adam Davenport leads the planting at Carlos Pacheco School, Mt. Pleasant Street, NB.

At Saturday’s Clasky Common Farmers Market, newcomers Marisa Barone and Ian Nichols from Westport’s Backyard Garden were well aware of GROW Education’s gardens. Naturally, they love the concept. They would; they grow and sell holistically grown vegetables and herbs. New Bedford is a destination for their hard work due to the city’s growing embrace of local agriculture.

Kristin at Haskell Park has been growing vegetables there for several years now. Discovering her supporting Groundwork USA Southcoast’s efforts in Riverside Park wasn’t surprising; she, like all the people in this report, put their beliefs into practice.

A common bond is developing through all these efforts. It’s one that is very – no pun intended – organic. Local, sustainable agriculture initiatives across the city are finding each other to make common cause.

That’s intentional. Maura Ramsey says that the groups have been actively searching each other out to find ways to go further together by sharing knowledge and resources.

That not only strengthens each but also strengthens the whole – as well as the holistic.

Maura said on Monday that she was thinking of planting potatoes at Riverside Park, but was afraid it was too late in the season.

Not so, said Kristin and myself. Kristin knew from experience. I knew because I saw Davenport doing it at Pacheco School last week.

No doubt Irlanda Antunes will find that out interning for both Groundwork USA Southcoast and with GROW Education, and share the knowledge.

At this coworking facility, we love the concept and practice of collaboration.

And we like it even more when it occurs out in the wild, naturally.

  • The New Bedford Now weekly briefing is deep dive into news from the Groundwork! city desk featuring items of interest, select happenings, coworking member updates, substantiated rumors and good gossip in New Bedford, Massachusetts by Groundworker-At-Large, Steven Froias.

NEW BEDFORD SCENE/SEEN

Drawing on the Sacred Circle at Haskell Gardens – an Installation by Andy Moerlein; in collaboration with Master Horticulturist, Kristin McCullin; and Artist/Curator Jessica Bregoli.

On the Menu in New Bedford Now

This week’s New Bedford Now briefing hits close to home – because I’m happy to share the news that myself and Sarah Athanas, working together as Twin Fish, and in partnership with the New Bedford Economic Development Council, are launching the city’s first RESTAURANT WEEK this September, 2018.

The Love The Ave & North End Restaurant Week will happen from Saturday, Sept. 15 through Friday, September 21. Pull up a chair, grab a fork, and come hungry.

Restaurant Weeks are a terrific vehicle to showcase a city or region’s unique cuisine – and as we all know, New Bedford’s diverse dishes are satisfying and savory. Renowned for fresh seafood, Portuguese and increasingly, Latin American flavor, the city is indeed Destination New Bedford when it comes to dining.

During a restaurant week, eateries break out the good china, so to speak. Specials, signature dishes and discounts define the seven days and thus the establishments. And, then the city.

New Bedford’s first Restaurant Week is centered on and around Acushnet Avenue for a reason. It’s genesis was in the Love The Ave committee, a community group dedicated to revitalizing the commercial corridor which I call New Bedford’s most relentlessly urban space.

So, to help promote Restaurant Week, the group will finally be getting something it has needed for some time – its own website, LoveTheAve.com. In the process of fostering business development with the Restaurant Week, the North End will then be left with a resource to showcase itself into the future, too.

This week, the site and first rush of publicity for the Love The Ave & North End Restaurant Week get rolled out – and followers of Groundwork get the first look courtesy of this blog.

From now until mid-July, we’ll be lining up all the terrific bakeries, eateries and restaurants along Acushnet Avenue and throughout parts of the North End and then packaging them all together to publicize like crazy from later July through September.

You can read all about it soon on LoveTheAve.com.

Below is the first official Press Release for the event, going out to all media in the region this week.

Sarah and I, working from right here in Groundwork, hope you’re excited as we are to get a taste of what makes all of New Bedford tasty. Join us in the months ahead as we plot our course – make that three or four courses – up and down and all around Acushnet Avenue, New Bedford.

PRESS RELEASE:

Restaurant Week comes to Acushnet Avenue and North End in September

Pull up a chair, grab a fork, and come hungry.

The City of New Bedford’s first Restaurant Week launches this September, 2018. It will feature the diverse menus of what some regard as the city’s Restaurant Row.

That’s the commercial corridor Acushnet Avenue, the heart of the North End and affectionately called “The Ave” in the City of New Bedford. This vibrant space pulses from Coggeshall Street to Lunds Corner.

Additionally, eateries from Belleville Avenue to the east and Ashley Boulevard to the west will join in this special week of gastric delight from Saturday, September 15 through Friday, September 21, 2018.

It’s a week to showcase the culinary flavor of New Bedford’s North End,  home to some of the city’s most beloved bakeries, eateries, and restaurants.

From fine dining to casual noshing, Acushnet Avenue and the North End boast an impressive array of savory cultures: American, Chinese, French, Guatemalan, Peruvian, Portuguese, Mexican and Spanish dishes are all on the menu here.

During Restaurant Week, participating eateries can feature price fixe menus, promote special discounts, highlight signature dishes and offer entertainment. It’s their choice – and their moment to showcase their kitchens.

All of these special Restaurant Week happenings will be posted to the website, LoveTheAve.com, launched as part of this special event.

Restaurant Week is being organized by the content media firm, Twin Fish, LLC out of the Groundwork! coworking space in partnership with the New Bedford Economic Development Council (NBEDC) and the community group, Love The Ave – with enthusiastic support from Mayor Jon Mitchell’s office and various city departments.

The Love The Ave group, overseen by the NBEDC, the Department of Planning, Housing and Community Development and the  Community Economic Development Center (CEDC), located at 1285 Acushnet Avenue, is committed to revitalizing the area while empowering its diverse population.

“The Avenue’s many delicious dining spots are its greatest commercial and human asset,” says Steven Froias, a member of the Love The Ave community group. “They all bring distinction to this wonderfully funky, relentlessly urban space in New Bedford.”

Establishments that would like to participate in Restaurant Week can sign up directly LoveTheAve.com. There is no cost to participate. It is everyone’s wish that these terrific small businesses seize the opportunity to put North End dining on the Destination New Bedford map.

Eateries in the Restaurant Week area, along Acushnet Avenue from Coggeshall Street to Lunds Corner and from Ashley Boulevard to Belleville Avenue, can also contact Steven Froias and Sarah Athanas, the Twin Fish team, at NewBedfordNow@gmail.com with any questions. They will be reaching out to owners and managers between now and July 15, too.

After the full line-up has been created, Restaurant Week will be promoted through special blog posts to LoveTheAve.com, its Facebook page (Facebook.com/lovetheave), posters, postcards and advertising throughout the city and region.

Acushnet Avenue is New Bedford’s International Marketplace. In recognition of this, Twin Fish has designed LoveTheAve.com to be read in English, Portuguese and Spanish. It will read the settings on web browsers and switch between languages – or, you can click on the flag representing each at the top of the site.

Many of the cultures found around Acushnet Avenue and the North End are represented by their food and the places that serve it.

“A Restaurant Week is a great way to literally bring everyone to the table. It’s a meaningful economic development tool that is also culturally enriching,” says Angela Johnston, Director of Business Development for the NBEDC.

Mark your calendar now for the Love The Ave and North End Restaurant Week, Saturday, September 15 through Friday, September 21, 2017.

And remember to come hungry.

What a difference a year makes…

File photo from the 2017 South Coast Pride – which returns to Buttonwood Park this Sat. June 2, 2018.

Last year at this time, I wrote a blog post entitled, “New Bedford gets its PRIDE back.” It was about the return of the city’s LGBTQ Pride Festival after taking a few years hiatus.

I wrote then, “While New Bedford is certainly home to a wonderful LGBTQ community, it hasn’t been a particularly visible or vibrant one – but that may finally be beginning to change for the better and to the city’s benefit.”

On the eve of tomorrow’s LGTBQ Pride Festival – Saturday, June 2, once again in Buttonwood Park – it’s fair to say those words no longer apply.

For, in the past year, the LGBTQ community has indeed been visible and is achieving a level of vibrancy it’s probably never enjoyed in New Bedford before.

During the past year, the organization South Coast LGBTQ Network has led the way under the amazing leadership of Traci Welch.

It launched a weekly Facebook Live show via New Bedford Guide that provides a great forum for discussion of issues pertaining to or affecting the gay community.

The group NB AGLY, which offers support to at-risk LGTBQ youth, launched a weekly Pride Cafe at its downtown headquarters, which supporters got to visit during an AHA! New Bedford open house evening.

And numerous other events have succeeded in creating an ongoing platform for the LGBTQ community – which includes just plain fun events, too. Like the monthly Drag Brunches at Incognito Bar & Grill on Acushnet Avenue. And, more happenings at LePlace, New Bedford’s LGBTQ bar in the Hicks-Logan gateway neighborhood.

That’s not only a good thing for the gay community, but for the city. It underscores the fact that New Bedford is a fully-functional city that embraces, values and empowers the diversity within it.

A Pride Festival showcases that – and Groundwork! is proud to be one of the sponsors of this year’s festival.

South Coast Pride begins at 9:30 a.m. in Buttonwood Park and continues until 4:00 p.m. On the day’s list of activities is Yoga in the Park with Jeff Costa – right at 9:30 – followed by a wellness walk and then entertainment (like Sister Funk), vendors, family friendly activities, food and more.

A pre-Pride party happens Friday night at Incognito (1606 Acushnet Avenue) and an after-Pride party happens at LePlace (20 Kenyon Street), both 21+

There’s certainly more to be done to ensure equality for everyone, regardless of sexual preference or gender, in New Bedford and society.

But on Saturday, we can all take pride in the knowledge that the city has come a long way recently in a short amount of time – mirroring the positive direction New Bedford is going in generally.

That’s no coincidence – it’s the rainbow after the rain.

New Bedford Now: All Eyes on Hicks-Logan

Sitting right off I-195, New Bedford’s Hicks-Logan neighborhood could be an important gateway to the city.

For some, it’s a convenient means of egress and exit to and from the north end.

Some still call it home. In fact, the pioneering The Lofts at Wamsutta are part of a generous interpretation of the area.

For others, it’s a place to do business. Service industries, the city’s only LGBTQ bar, two destination antiques stores, Kyler’s Catch Fresh Seafood and more are all located here.

Here would be Hicks-Logan – an area of New Bedford sliced and diced by highways and left for dead.

And yet…

The obituary for its residential and industrial apocalypse was always premature. It’s held its own as a distinct neighborhood – which is more than can be said for others within Ward 3, where it resides. And many consider it a woefully underutilized gateway to the city, sitting right off Interstate 195.

Public art by Alexx Jardin under I-195.

It’s also exuded an urban porn charm which has always made it catnip to those with the fetish – like artists.

As I often say, “Where angels fear to tread…” artists rush in. And they have to Hicks-Logan. With street art (courtesy of Alexx Jardin) and performance art (thanks to the drag shows hosted at LePlace) and, in a bygone era, the music of the New Wave Cafe.

LePlace, the city’s only LGBTQ bar, has been open in Hicks-Logan for over 30 years.

The public mural team SUPERFLAT has had walls in Hicks-Logan in its line of sight since day one.

The money always follows the artists (even if too few of them get any of it), and that’s the scenario that may be playing out soon in the Hicks-Logan neighborhood of New Bedford, located East of Acushnet Avenue to the river of the same name, south of Coggeshall Street and basically under Eisenhower’s Interstate I-195.

Blanks walls leading up to Kyler’s Catch have caught the eye of the public art mural team, SUPERFLAT.

Patrick Sullivan, Director of Planning, Housing and Community Development for New Bedford, tells me that the Hicks-Logan neighborhood and the former Eversource site on the waterfront downtown are this close to being officially designated Redevelopment Zones by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts under a new banner of Urban Renewal.

I write “new banner” because some in New Bedford may remember ‘Urban Renewal’ in the city as defined by the demolition of numerous historic properties, Rt. 18 and a Quixotic attempt to turn Purchase Street into a “Pedestrian Mall” from Spring to William Streets (which may have actually been an idea ahead of its time, but let’s not digress…)

Urban Renewal today is defined by Massachusetts as follows: a strategy for redeveloping and revitalizing substandard, decadent and blighted open areas for residential, commercial, industrial, business, governmental, recreational, educational, hospital or other uses.”

What that translates into is a redevelopment authority being given the power “ to plan and implement activities needed to address the conditions contributing to the disinvestment that leads to substandard, decadent and blighted open areas.”

Remnants of the former Revere Copper mill in Hicks-Logan.

That can include quite a lot, including the use of eminent domain, under specific approved redevelopment plans. The scope of these Redevelopment Zones is unclear as of now, as an official announcement is still forthcoming. (A 2008 Hicks-Logan-Sawyer Master Plan can still be found here on the City of New Bedford website.)

In plain English, things are getting real in New Bedford.

Hot on the heels of the city being designated an Opportunity Zone by the U.S. Treasury (details here), and last week’s announcement that Vineyard Wind got a green light for their off-shore wind farm, this is a city which will be soon be juggling multiple big ticket initiatives at once.

Let’s take a deep breath – and a step back.

The fact that the New Bedford Redevelopment Authority and SUPERFLAT both have their eyes on Hicks-Logan just may be a good thing. An opportunity to bring the city’s Creative Activists to the table and breathe some life into what Mayor Jon Mitchell has termed the “New Bedford Way” of doing things.

Redevelopment plans can often go astray – especially given the scope of power entrusted to an agency to carry out its agenda. All too often, the human is lost in the jargon.

Combining ambitious renewal plans with the city’s nationally-recognized Creative Activists is not only a hedge against the new Urban Renewal looking like the old Urban Renewal of the 1970s, but smart policy.

Greater municipal interests and artistic pursuits shouldn’t exist in separate silos. Bring them together and redevelopment just may have a human face – the New Bedford Way.

New Bedford’s season of renewal is real and lasting. Let’s bring all parties to the table and make it something else, too: sustainable and self-regenerative.

  • The New Bedford Now weekly briefing is deep dive into news from the Groundwork! city desk featuring items of interest, select happenings, coworking member updates, substantiated rumors and good gossip in New Bedford, Massachusetts by Groundworker-At-Large, Steven Froias.

Seizing New Bedford’s Moment

In the 19th century, it was whaling.

In the 20th, textiles and manufacturing sustained New Bedford.

And perhaps now, in the 21st century, the city has found another industry to propel it into the future.

The news this week that Vineyard Wind, based in New Bedford, had been selected for the state’s first offshore wind contract was like a catharsis. It almost seemed like a reward for having faith in a city that exerts such a powerful, emotional hold on so many.

On another level, it promised a clear direction for the nation’s sometime sluggish momentum toward a sustainable tomorrow. Renewable energy isn’t a fantasy anymore. It’s the future – and has been for some time elsewhere, but now – finally – here, too.

Here – in New Bedford. The City That Lit The World is once again integral to the national narrative.

The city is well-positioned to build on this moment, not least because it’s been moving in this direction all along. Some of the people who have passed through the Groundwork doors as members or friends over the past few years include David Duquette, a leader in the Tidal Power industry; John Weaver, a commercial solar energy specialist; and Jeremy Dagnold, an energy audit expert with Conservation Services Group.

It’s tough to let go of a legacy industry. It takes decades for systemic change to happen – and the transition can be painful. Fully transitioning from a  fossil fuel based economy still won’t happen overnight – but it’s coming now. A fundamental shift in the energy paradigm is as overdue as it is necessary.

The fact that New Bedford will now be at the forefront of this change feels like a vindication, of sorts. Through the lean years, the city never sank as far down as other places might have under similar economic distress.

Though it’s not always popular to say or write, it’s important to remember that stable municipal government over many years played a big part in keeping the city together. Sure, you can pick apart this decision or that and certainly find fault with administrations that made boneheaded decisions or displayed a lack of urgency and creativity in governance, but on the whole New Bedford’s municipal government up to and definitely including the current team in City Hall have performed well.

We’re at a point now, however, when being good isn’t going to be good enough. Because New Bedford is poised for a new era of potential greatness – and that will demand more of all of us. Not just city government, but the private sector and creative classes, individuals and average citizen now have the opportunity to seize the moment and run with it.

For almost a decade, the City of New Bedford has been in a state of renewal. These have been critical years for the city, with many segments of its society laying the groundwork for the next ten to twenty or more years.

The next ten years will be as critical, too. As a possible new era of prosperity beckons, it’s important to include the diverse elements of New Bedford which have all contributed to bring it to this moment in time.

A truly sustainable future concerns itself with social justice, equal opportunity and respect. That groundwork, too has been laid in the city – and it will be important to recall those values in the years ahead.

An early test will be addressing the concerns of the important fishing industry. Since offshore wind is in maturity off the coast of Europe, it would be useful to study the policies in effect there and learn from them. A cursory search reveals that Britain seems to have the most fishermen-friendly practices and thus less conflict than Denmark.

(Vineyard Wind is a majority Danish-owned company with an office at 700 Pleasant Street, New Bedford.)

New Bedford now finds itself in the enviable position of moving forward on all fronts.

Its economic status has improved and is in a position to improve in dramatic fashion. Its school system is poised for the same after years of turmoil. The perception of the city has also changed; the image of a crime-ridden urban wasteland was always overblown and that’s actually reflected in declining crime rates year after year.

More people look upon the city differently now. They see it for its funky charm and abundant possibilities. It’s a distinct and special place that more and more are happy to call home these days.

Positive press about New Bedford is becoming the norm now. The usual opening line, “The struggling former Whaling capital of the world…” has been edited.  

New Bedford is now being portrayed for what it is: Economically viable; culturally relevant; socially diverse.

A city with a past – moving into the future.

It’s a nice place to be.

New Bedford Now: City designated an “Opportunity Zone”

NEW BEDFORD NOW

Weekly Briefing

A dive into news from the Groundwork! city desk featuring items of interest, select happenings, coworking member updates, substantiated rumors and good gossip in New Bedford, Massachusetts by Groundworker-At-Large, Steven Froias.

New Bedford is an Opportunity Zone

Looking for a place to escape paying capital gains taxes?

Forget the Cayman Islands.

Try New Bedford.

The U.S. Treasury, on the Baker administration’s recommendation, designated a big chunk of New Bedford an Opportunity Zone this past past week.

Opportunity Zones are specially designated areas, based on census tracts, around the country which are deemed eligible for a new tax incentive-based plan to attract investment in communities.

The idea is to create Opportunity Funds in the zones. The payoff for investors? They avoid capital gains taxes on money put into the Opportunity Funds, which are privately created.

The New York Times recently labeled the zones and funds “the hidden provision” tucked into the U.S. Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 championed by the Trump administration and signed into law late last year. They note, “If the zones succeed, they could help revitalize neighborhoods and towns that are starved for investment” – if the money flows in.

Construction on Pleasant Street: Will an Opportunity Fund stimulate more private investment in New Bedford?

The plan within the tax cut was proposed by South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott, but enjoyed bipartisan support. New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker signed on to it, for example.

The concept itself came from the Economic Innovation Group, which was founded by Sean Parker of Napster, Facebook and Plaxo fame. (Take a deep dive here.)

Potential Opportunity Zones nationwide had to meet eligibility requirements based on census data. Governor Baker had to submit a list of possible census tracts to be considered for Opportunity Zones around Massachusetts.

Tracts within New Bedford (and others) met the criteria, and were officially recognized by the U.S. Treasury last week.

So, if you know anyone who is looking to avoid appearing in a Paradise Papers sequel, tell them the city is a sound investment.

New Bedford Seen/Scene

Acushnet Avenue in the North End is ready for the World Cup 2018.

 

New Bedford News

ROOMS WITH A VIEW: The Standard-Times’ Mike Bonner reports that the boutique New Bedford Harbor Hotel, soon to open on Union Street, has started accepting reservations for August.

THE GRAND PANORAMA: Yours truly reports that Kilburn Mills Studios on W. Rodney Street in the city’s south end will host a rare off-site exhibition from the Whaling Museum.

NEVER GIVE UP: It’s debatable as to who is more popular – The Baker on Pleasant Street or the Baker in the state house, as in Charlie.

But the democrats aren’t conceding the next election yet – though they may be testing voters’ patience with a Gubernatorial Candidates Forum from 12:00 P.M. – 2:00 p.m. at the Zeiterion Theatre – on Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.

They have also scheduled an Open Fair for 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The fair will at least have booths that offer Voter Registration Information, Candidate Advocacy briefing materials, a local Farmer’s Market and local Music.

Perhaps donuts from The Baker would help the cause? Just a thought…

The Last Weekend

Faithful readers! This is the final YOUR WEEKEND for awhile.

The world isn’t ending, North Korea (or the White House) hasn’t gone nuclear, and the streets are still unpaved in New Bedford. So no worries; Hell hasn’t frozen over.

It’s just that we’re switching up the format of the blog posts here at Groundwork over the summer. Instead of a weekly round-up of events, yours truly will be writing a New Bedford Now weekly status report featuring all sorts of goodies beginning next week.

For events, we recommend following the Coastin’ Facebook group, which you can join here.

So, until the mood strikes again, let’s enjoy our last YOUR WEEKEND together…

Duende

FRIDAY, MAY 18 – Duende – an exhibition by Tracy Barbosa, opens tonight right here at Groundwork! The artist writes, “Traditionally meant to describe dance and music, “Duende” describes an artful moment which cannot be recaptured. It is fleeting, searing, and poetic. Though glass is static, it is in constant flux with its location. Light and color play with glass all day. No moment is ever the same. Hence the namesake of her glass studio practice.” The multi-media show’s reception, free and open to the public tonight from 6:00-9:00 p.m., features work that “utilizes peripheral post-industrial landscapes along with an alphabet of personal archetypal imagery to create paintings on canvas and glass which stir the inner relationships between man, memory, and nature.”

Belly Dance

SATURDAY, MAY 19 – Carabiner’s Climbing & Fitness hosts “Fundamentals of Belly Dance” today from 1:00-3:00 p.m. “What is Belly Dance?” they ask. “During this two hour workshop, we will explore fundamental movements of Middle Eastern dance as well as the movement’s regional variation,” they reply. This workshop is beginner oriented, however all levels of experience are welcomed to join and create an encouraging environment. $15 for Carabiner’s members; $25 for non-members. Carabiner’s is at 328 Parker Street, NB.

World Fiddle Day

Warming up for World Fiddle Day at Hatch Street Studios

SUNDAY, MAY 20 – Old Time Fiddle Session will be hosting a multi-cultural, interactive, traditional music event called “World Fiddle Day” at Hatch Street Studios (88 Hatch Street, NB) today. The event runs from 12:30 to 5:30 pm and includes open playing opportunities for musicians, children’s activities, vendors, workshops, dancing, and a full schedule of performances by traditional fiddle music acts. In celebration of the world’s diverse fiddling traditions, featured performances include Old-Time American, Canadian, Cape Verdean, European, Gypsy, and Yiddish offerings. Cape Verdean fiddler John Miranda and Australian fiddler Mark Russel will be bringing the more distant traditions to New Bedford, while New England style caller Louisa Pugh will help reinforce native roots. It’s also the organizer, Jeff Angeley’s birthday today! So wish him well.

Meet Tracy Barbosa – Artist

Curator Jessica Bregoli and artist Tracy Barbosa installing work in the Groundwork! Gallery for ‘Duende’.

When contemplating a blog post about Tracy Barbosa, it’s easy to recall all her work as what I call a Creative Activist in the City of New Bedford.

Throughout the city and beyond, Barbosa is well-known for her dedication to using art as a tool of civic engagement and urban renewal.

But to do that here would fall into a common trap when writing about her. Because first and foremost, Tracy Barbosa is an artist – and it’s her amazing artwork that is on display in the Groundwork! Gallery now and which will celebrated this coming Friday, May 18 with an Opening Reception.

Duende – an exhibition by Tracy Barbosa explores the multi-media aspect of the artist’s work. Duende is the name of her business as well as this show.

Duende Glass LLC, is described as helping to find creative solutions to art glass in architectural integrations. Barbosa explains in press materials that, “Traditionally meant to describe dance and music, ‘Duende’ describes an artful moment which cannot be recaptured. It is fleeting, searing, and poetic. Though glass is static, it is in constant flux with its location. Light and color play with glass all day. No moment is ever the same.”  

Thus, Duende Glass.

Examples of work in glass is part of the Groundwork! Gallery show, the first to be curated by Jessica Bregoli here at 1213 Purchase Street, New Bedford.

Also adorning the walls will be select pieces revealing her mastery with paint and proficiency in printmaking.

She states that she “utilizes peripheral post-industrial landscapes along with an alphabet of personal archetypal imagery to create paintings on canvas and glass which stir the inner relationships between man, memory, and nature; with grace in composition and multi-layered technique.”

That’s evident in the work on the walls now – as well as a refined brushstroke which is the mark of the true artist and betrays a dedication to craft and technique.

Her work is simply beautiful – and in that beauty it’s also easy to neglect to see the commitment to craft which informs the whole of it. Just as it’s too easy to forget that underlying the Creative Activist so many know so well is the soul of an artist.

Come get a glimpse of that this Friday, May 18 from 6:00-9:00 p.m. when Duende – an exhibition by Tracy Barbosa opens at the Groundwork! Gallery with a free and open to the public exhibition. Artwork will be available for sale, and the artist will be present.

YOUR WEEKEND

God of Carnage

FRIDAY, MAY 11 – YOUR THEATRE’s production of “God of Carnage” is onstage at 136 Rivet Street tonight and on various dates through May 20. Press info goes like this: Often described as a farcical comedy of manners – without manners, God Of Carnage centers on a playground altercation between eleven-year-old boys which brings together two sets of Brooklyn parents for a meeting to resolve the matter. At first, diplomatic niceties are observed, but as the meeting progresses, and the rum flows, tensions emerge and the gloves come off, leaving the couples with more than just their liberal principles in tatters.” Oh, boy. Curtain at 7:30 p.m. tonight. Get tickets and see the full schedule here.

Sen. Warren comes to town

SATURDAY, MAY 12 – U. S. Senator Elizabeth Warren holds a town hall meeting today from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. at Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational-Technical High School off Ashley Boulevard. Here’s the official PR: Elizabeth Warren will be hosting a town hall in New Bedford on Saturday, and you are invited! She’ll be talking and answering questions about how she’s holding the Trump Administration accountable and fighting for Massachusetts families in the Senate. 

“Doors open at 11:00 AM, and the event will begin at 12:00 Noon. Admission is first come, first served. We’re sorry, but signs/posters will not be permitted inside the event. This event is free and open to the public, but RSVP here.”

SUPERFLAT @ Hatch

SATURDAY, MAY 12 – The mural arts super-group, SUPERFLAT visits Hatch Street Studios along with 3rd EyE Unlimited during the buildings first, Second Saturdays monthly Open Studios. Each month at 88 Hatch Street, expect a variety of open art studios, music, educational sessions, special events, and guest artists. Happens from noon – 5:00 p.m. and it is free to attend.

Mother’s Day

SUNDAY, MAY 13 – It’s Mother’s Day – and you already know what to do. BRUNCH!!! We’re big fans of mothers here at Groundwork! Every member has one or more. So, to all of them from all of us…HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!