YOUR WEEKEND: One last taste of Summer and more…

Personal Space Opens

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 22 – “PERSONAL SPACE,” portraits by artist Daniel Kornrumpf opens tonight in the Groundwork! Gallery with a free, open to the public reception from 6:00-8:00pm. Read more about the man, the work and the show in this previous blog post.

Working Waterfront returns

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 – The wonderful WORKING WATERFRONT FESTIVAL returns to the city today! Taking place from 11:00am-6:00pm, the festival happens on Steamship Pier and at the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center. Psst…free parking at Elm Street Garage with free shuttle between the Center and Steamship Pier. Visit for all the details about performers, authors, cooking demos, activities and more.

Y.O.U. are invited

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 – If you missed #NBx2: The New Bedford Neighborhood Bus tour on Sun. Sept. 17, then you missed checking out the brilliant Youth Opportunities Unlimited (Y.O.U.) in the city’s South End on Brock Avenue. But fear not; they’re having an Open House and Celebration today from 2:00-5:00pm! Address is 224 Brock  – the nifty Victory Park Warming House by the pond.

Fish Fry for a cause

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 – The PIlgrim United Church (635 Purchase Street) holds a FISH FRY supper tonight from 6:00-8:30pm – and here’s why: Help bring HOPE to the Homeless,” they write. “ Join us for a delicious fresh haddock and scallop dinner, thanks to the generosity of our New Bedford fishermen. All proceeds go to Mercy Meals and More, who operate New Bedfords only daily breakfast program for those in need. Your support helps us serve an average of 1800 hungry neighbors per month. Tickets are $10 each and are available the night of the dinner or by contacting Debra Basse at 508-287-7128.”

Tuneful trio at Groundwork!

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 – The multi-faceted Shelley Cardoos steps away from E for All and come out from behind the counter at Hippo to step in front of the mic tonight. She’ll be performing original songs during a performance at Groundwork! (1213 Purchase Street/enter through Maxfield Street entrance) along with NXNS and another multi-faceted person, Carl Simmons. Shelley tells us that some of the tunes she’ll be singing were written over a decade ago – so this is kind of like a career retrospective concert! Showtime is 8:00pm; cover is $5.

Reggae on West Beach

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 – While it’s sad to see summer ‘17 pass into the history books, you’ve got one last chance to get your groove going by Clarks Cove with REGGAE ON WEST BEACH. The last edition of the popular summer phenomenon happens on what is forecast to be a summer-like afternoon. The tunes start to spin at 2:30 pm this time around to accommodate the earlier sunset and close the series at 6:30pm. Look for all the action on the beach pavilion across from Hazelwood Park on W. Rodney French Boulevard – including some terrific food trucks.


Mark your calendar NOW for two big events coming to GROUNDWORK!

First up is Oktoberfest at Groundwork! – an Open House day on Wednesday, October 25 featuring Free coworking; Workshops; Networking; Chair massages; Mindfulness session; Office yoga; Seasonal beer & cider; Ping pong, Games & music and Membership promotions and deals. Groundwork! is New Bedford’s only coworking space. It offers flexible work stations, meeting rooms, events, community and more to entrepreneurs, start-ups, independent contractors, freelancers, small businesses and others. Come find out all about it from 10:00am until 6:00pm at this free, all day event on Wednesday, October 25.

That weekend, on Saturday, October 28 and Sunday, October 29, Groundwork! Hosts the Children’s New Bedford Book Festival featuring some of the best regional authors and illustrators around. The free and open to the public bookfest happens from noon-4:00pm each day. Follow for details.

NBx2: Wheels on Fire

The start: Inside Grace Episcopal Church.

Who knew riding a bus could be so much fun?

NBx2: The New Bedford Neighborhood Bus tour cruised around the city this past Sunday, September 17 riding a funky vibe all its own. It felt like a union between a school field trip and a duck boat tour as familiar places were seen from a new perch – the comfy seats of a Tremblay’s Motor Coach.

The idea behind the NBx 2: The New Bedford Neighborhood Bus is simple. Bring people together from different neighborhoods to share stories, discover something different in the city and build bridges. It arose from a discussion about how downtown revitalization efforts could extend to the neighborhoods and bring more people into the process. The co-working Facility, Groundwork! At 1213 Purchase Street sponsored #NBx2 with the support of MassDevelopment.

A Tremblay’s coach ready to whisk us away.

Two bright yellow, black and white Tremblay coaches picked up passengers at the NBx2 starting point, beautiful Grace Episcopal Church on County Street. From there, just over 50 folks were transported to New Bedford’s North End and the artist condo community, The Ropeworks. Then it was a loop up Acushnet Avenue to Mt. Pleasant Street on our way to The Kitchen, serving “The Best Soul Food In Town,” in the cafeteria at the United House of Prayer for All People on Kempton Street. Finally, down on Brock Avenue, the final stop was Youth Opportunities Unlimited (Y.O.U.).

Throughout the tour – caught by The Standard-Times in this story – riders expressed delight in discovering or revisiting places of interest in the city as a group. While a good number of us had been to one or two of the stops before, NBx2 offered us a communal viewpoint into The Ropeworks, The Kitchen, and Y.O.U. – and we got to learn something new about each of them.

Artist Tracy Barbosa (in purple) greets visitors to her Ropeworks studio.

Artists at the Ropeworks invited riders into about five of the live/work spaces in the building for an intimate look at where some of the much-heralded art in New Bedford is created. It was a nice preview of the Open Studios tour the building will be holding on Saturday, Oct. 14 and Sunday, Oct. 15. (Details here.)

In The Kitchen, we learned that serving food isn’t just a past-time. It has allowed the congregation (and other congregations) to build or purchase mortgage-free their houses of worship.

Chowing down at The KItchen (open every Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the United House of Prayer for All People, 419 Kempton Street).

And at Y.O.U., we toured not only the group’s HQ – the Victory Park Warming House on the site of the old Poor Farm – but it’s community garden, too.

Between stops, our two tour guides (one on each bus) were Mark Fuller and Carl Simmons – two guys who have New Bedford in their bones. And speaking of bones, they will also be guiding folks through the New Bedford Artists and Artisans Tour at Rural Cemetery on Saturday, Oct. 7. (More info here.)

The Community Garden at Youth Opportunities Unlimited (Y.O.U.).

We here at Groundwork! Were thrilled with the response to NBx2, and enjoyed the opportunity to help put it together with our member, MassDevelopment TDI Fellow Jim McKeag. He and all of us here would like to thank Carl Simmons, Mark Fuller, the artists at The Ropeworks, the congregation at the United House of Prayer for All People and the good folks at Y.O.U. for being part of this first New Bedford Neighborhood Bus Tour.

And we’d like to thank everyone who came on the tour – the reason why we all volunteered our time to put it together. An enthusiastic response to NBx2 is reward unto itself, and we were well-rewarded by our 50+ riders. They behaved so well we didn’t even need bus monitors!

Smaller-scale events like NBx2 have a great impact here in New Bedford. Between the big events – like the Folk Festival, Portuguese Feast or monthly AHA! Nights – they foster a sense of community and keep the positive momentum the city has achieved recently rolling along.

So, you can bet another NBx2 bus will be traveling around New Bedford. When and where to, we’ll certainly let you know. In the meantime, if you’d like to support future tours, swing by Groundwork! And grab yourself an official NBx2: New Bedford Neighborhood Bus tour tee-shirt, produced here in the city by Scrimshaw Printing on Sawyer Street. They’re $15 each and the money raised will help fund future NBx2 bus tours.

Grab your NBx2 tee at Groundwork!

The Children’s New Bedford Bookfest isn’t just child’s play

I think it happened to me when I discovered The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. Ostensibly a “children’s book,” reviewer after reviewer hailed the book by the author of American Gods and The Sandman as something that transcended the genre label. It was and is simply a great read – whether you’re 12- or 28- or 72-years-of-age. A fan due to Gaiman’s “adult” novels and graphic novels, The Graveyard Book opened my eyes to the richness of children’s book literature.

And then, he doubled down by writing The Ocean at the End of the Lane – and superior “children’s books” remained on my radar. So, it was no surprise to meet so many uniquely talented local authors at the New Bedford Book Festival who mined the same territory as Neil Gaiman in equally innovative ways.

Meeting so many creative authors – sometimes also gifted illustrators themselves or astute judges of which artistic partner to team-up with on a project – prompted another wholesale evaluation of the craft of creating a great children’s book. It also sent me scouring the house for my own childhood favorites, like The Borrowers by Mary Dent and all of Aesop’s Fables. And then, it led myself, Sarah Athanas and Dena Haden – co-founders of Groundwork!, and the New Bedford Bookfest – to elect to host an all-children’s book edition of the popular ‘fest.

The Children’s New Bedford Bookfest is timed to take place just before Halloween on Saturday, Oct. 28 and Sunday, October 29, noon – 4:00 p.m. each day. Like the other New Bedford Bookfests, it is free and open to the public and designed to be a platform for regional writers to sell their books to the reading public – of all ages.

GIven the beautiful artwork that is a feature of so many great children’s books, we’re also looking to host local illustrators in the co-working facility’s Draper conference room for the two days – a special space where the artists can make connections and also sell prints or even original artwork to patrons.

In all, the Children’s New Bedford Bookfest will host 20 authors and up to 10 illustrators on the weekend beginning on Saturday, October 28. Author spots still remain and writers or publishing houses can purchase one here. Illustrators should contact us at with at least three digital samples of their work and a short bio to claim some wall space.

Dedicating a New Bedford Bookfest designed for – but not limited to – children is very much in keeping with our mission of bringing to the City of New Bedford, the regional hub of Southcoast, the types of things you’d expect to find in a metropolitan area. It’s why we launched the Bookfest in the winter of 2016 – and were pleased to watch it become a huge success.

The Children’s New Bedford Bookfest takes a deeper dive into the vein of creativity that courses through our city and state and showcases it for the public at large. It’s a new insight into the city – just as good children’s literature is also a different kind of insight into how to be an adult, we think!

We’re especially happy to get the opportunity to work with area schools for the Children’s New Bedford Bookfest. An open-mic will be set up both days and students will be reading from books featured at the ‘fest or from their own personal collections.

Back in the day, when I attended J. A. Parker Elementary, I fondly recall a school-wide reading in the auditorium of Aesop’s Fables. In a sign of things to come, I was the narrator that day. I guess that’s the 4th grade equivalent of a blogger!

I’ll leave the narrating to the kids during the Children’s New Bedford Bookfest at Groundwork!, on Saturday, Oct. 28 and Sun. Oct. 29. Although Aesop’s wise words still resonate…


A fisherman who liked music more than his vocation took his flute and his nets to the seashore. He played several tunes in the hope that the fish, attracted by his melody, would dance into the net placed below. After playing a long time without being rewarded, he laid aside his flute and, casting his net into the sea, caught a multitude of fish.

Moral? It is a great art to do the right thing at the right time.

YOUR WEEKEND: Get on the bus because it’s raining men

Greek Food!!!

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 15 – Just a hop, skip and jump away over in Dartmouth, the annual St. George Greek Food Festival gets underway for the weekend tonight at 5:00 p.m. There isn’t a whole lot more to say about something that has “Greek Food” in the title – except maybe, “Come hungry!” If you need directions to 186 Cross Road, Dartmouth, find them here as well an entertainment schedule for the ‘fest.

Finest Kind Screening

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 15 – If you missed the premiere of the documentary, “Finest Kind: The New Bedford Fishing Industry” at Greasy Luck Brewpub a few weeks back, here’s another chance to catch a screening. The New Building Whaling National Park will run it this evening at 7:00 p.m. in the Corson building auditorium (entry through the Visitor’s Center on William Street), free of charge.

William Street Festival

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 16 – The William Street Neighborhood Festival happens today from noon – 5:00 p.m. up and down…William Street! Expect music, art, crafts, history, food and fun at this free, all ages event in downtown New Bedford, now in its second year.

Shakespeare in the Park

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 16 – The Glass Horse Theater Project presents “Romeo & Juliet” in Buttonwood Park today at 3:00 p.m.  The performance will take place near the Lawler Library and is free. We’re informed that this production will feature “local actors portraying a modern, dystopian, interpretation of Romeo and Juliet.” Sounds like my love life will be on the lawn!

NBx2: Wheels on Fire

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 17 – NBx2: The New Bedford Neighborhood Bus tour happens today beginning at 1:30pm. Departure point is Grace Episcopal Church at 133 School Street (fronting County). From there, buses will whisk you away to The Ropeworks in the North End; The Kitchen at the United House of Prayer for All People in the West End; and Youth Opportunities Unlimited in the South End. You can read all about it – and RSVP for this free tour brought to you by Groundwork! and MassDevelopment – in this previous post.

It’s raining men

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 17 – This is also outside New Bedford – but stars the city’s Yoga superstar, Jeff Costa – who launches The Men’s Class on Sundays this afternoon at 4:30pm at Studio on 6, 1097b State Road (Rt. 6), Westport. “Men at every level of ability, from beginner to professional, are welcome to The Men’s Class,” Jeff writes. “ Build personal power, strength, endurance, stability, mobility and range of motion in community with other men. We will target problem areas due to overuse/injury including shoulders, hips and lower back. All ages are welcome – $15.” RSVP here.

Who wants some soul food in New Bedford?

Last Spring, some friends and I checked out the The Kitchen, serving “The Best Soul Food In Town,” in the cafeteria at the United House of Prayer for All People on Kempton Street in New Bedford’s West End. It’s a weekend pop-up eatery at the rear of the church that we had always heard great things about. Salivating for fried chicken, collard greens, cornbread and more, we ventured over – and weren’t disappointed. For about 10 bucks we chowed down and even had dessert.

Hidden delights, off-the-radar destinations and inspiring people are what make up this Sunday’s first-ever neighborhood bus tour of New Bedford – NBx2. It’s the brainchild of downtown NB TDI fellow James McKeag, aided and abetted by his co-working colleagues here at Groundwork! featuring some notable folks from the city, like our tour guides Carl Simmons and Mark Fuller. And yes – The Kitchen is on the tour!

Jim began discussing the idea for a neighborhood bus tour months ago. His patch is usually defined by the TDI district downtown around Purchase and Union Streets – but he adheres to the idea that the downtown is not only a hub but a springboard for all of New Bedford.

We here at Groundwork! gladly enlisted in the cause, helping out by making some connections, creating some graphics, spreading the word to our networks and acting as sponsors for the tour. Co-working has built-in advantages like that; you have the ability to get a lot done by simply looking over your shoulder sometimes and seeing who’s around.

That’s how Youth Opportunities Unlimited on Brock Avenue became the South End stop on the tour. Groundwork! member Carissa Wills-DeMello also works with the non-profit that is dedicated to providing inspiring experiences to the youth of New Bedford. How they’re doing that is something we’ll all find out when we get on the bus for NBx2: The New Bedford Neighborhood Bus tour on Sunday, September 17.

NBx2 begins at Grace Episcopal Church, 133 School Street fronting County Street. We’ll meet there from 1:30 p.m. on and take the opportunity to check out this beautifully restored building.

At 2:00 p.m., everybody gets on the bus for the ride north, and Carl Simmons and Mark Fuller take over as tour guides – one on each bus. That’s right – looks like NBx2 will really live up to its name because as of today advance RSVPs indicate we’ll need two buses to accommodate everyone. (And here’s your chance to RSVP: Click here to reserve your seat. It’s free to ride; food and beverage purchases at any stop offering that amenity are on you.)

We’ll travel up Rt. 18 to Acushnet Avenue and then visit one of the buildings that helped kick off New Bedford’s cultural renaissance over a decade ago: The Ropeworks at 123 Sawyer Street. It’s an artist condo community that was indeed once a ropeworks. We’ll peek inside and get a glimpse ahead of a full Open Studios tour the building is planning for October.

Then, it’s back on the bus for the trip to the city’s West End and the The Kitchen at United House of Prayer for All People at 419 Kempton Street. Here, we’ll linger long enough for guests to grab some of that great chow I opened this post with above as well as meet the super people who make this place hum and sing – or maybe that should be hymn and sing. After that, it’s on to the South End and Y.O.U.

Along the way to each of the stops, Carl and Mark will share some history, anecdotes and points of interest to passengers. Who knows? Some of them may make up a future NBx2 ride.

Finally, back downtown, after disembarking everyone is invited down to lower Union Street for some socializing over cocktails on the Slainte Irish Pub rooftop deck. Groundwork! has held a few monthly Business Buzz events here and we never tire of the beautiful view east of New Bedford harbor and west up Union Street from the roof.

So, hop on to NBx2: the New Bedford Neighborhood Bus tour this Sunday, September 17. You don’t need a Charlie Card. Once again, it’s a free ride – but you must reserve your seat right here at this link to come aboard.

Do it now!

YOUR WEEKEND….outside the city limits

I’m doing something entirely different this week for YOUR WEEKEND. Over the past year, there can be no doubt as to my New Bedford bona fides – and my well-known belief  that the city is the region’s hub.

But a hub works both ways – it draws people to its bosom and also knows when to let them venture out into the wild world. So, ALL of this weekend’s events are BEYOND the city limits. Go forth and enjoy. New Bedford is confident you’ll be back. Just be sure to return before sundown if you’re a vampire or by midnight if you have a propensity to turn into a pumpkin.

Wild Honey Pie Camp

BEGINNING FRIDAY, SEPT. 8 – The Wild Honey Pie is thrilled to invite you to their fifth annual Welcome Campers, a summer camp music festival weekend being hosted at Camp Lenox, 2034 N Main Rd, Otis  in Western Massachusetts, Friday, September 8 through Sunday, September 10. Weekend passes include free meals (plus access to food trucks), lodging, plus musical performances around camp and summer camp activities such as kayaking, arts and crafts, tennis, nature hikes, campfires, volleyball, basketball, kickball and more. Ticket info here.

Apple of your eye

SATURDAY, SEPT. 9 – The 38th annual Apple Peach Festival happens today and tomorrow, Sunday, Sept. 10 in Acushnet, 10:00am – 6:00pm both days. This is a come from miles around type of event from which you’re guaranteed to come home with at least a bag of apples. The Long Plain Museum at 1203 Main Street is your starting point – the orchards are your destination. Free admission, kid-friendly and red delicious.

Narrows Festival of the Arts

SUNDAY, SEPT. 10 – If Fall River has one thing that I wish New Bedford had, it would be the Narrows – that terrific all-around arts and performance venue that’s in a class by itself. (Okay – and I wouldn’t mind seeing that battleship anchored in Clarks Cove…) Today, the 16th annual Narrows Festival of Arts happens along the Fall River waterfront featuring “music that matters” and “art that inspires.” The fest runs throughout the day, from 11:00am to 7:00pm and the best part is that it is FREE. Narrows Center for the Arts is located at 16 Anawan Street, Fall River. Find out more about the Festival of Arts here.

The Game’s Afoot

SUNDAY, SEPT. 10 – The nifty Somerville Theatre at Davis Square, Somerville screens the long-thought lost, silent 1916 flick, “Sherlock Holmes” this afternoon at 2:00pm. Here’s the deal: This William Gillette film is a vital missing link in the history of Sherlock Holmes on screen. Representing a rare opportunity to see the actor who originated and played Holmes over 1300 times on stage reprising the role for screen. This newly-restored edition faithfully retains the play’s famous set pieces – Holmes’s encounter with Professor Moriarty, his daring escape from the Stepney Gas Chamber, and the tour-de-force deductions. It also illustrates how Gillette, who wrote the adaptation himself, wove bits from Conan Doyle’s stories ranging from “A Scandal in Bohemia” to “The Final Problem,” into an original, innovative mystery play. Get tickets here. (Add on – William Gillette actually lived in a castle in Connecticut which is a few hours drive from New Bedford and open for tours! Info here.) Silent films at the Somerville Theatre are presented with live musical accompaniment by Jeff Rapsis.

So, that’s your weekend away from New Bedford. See you back here at Groundwork! on Monday!

New Bedford on “Chronicle”

“Chronicle” image of New Bedford and WCVB logo

This Thursday, September 7, the Channel 5 WCVB Boston station’s “Chronicle” program will air a segment about our funky city that may finally start to change the negative stereotype of New Bedford so often perpetuated by both local and regional media.

You know that narrative because you’ve probably read it many times over the years. They’re the stories that inevitably begin the same way….”New Bedford, the struggling city….” or, “New Bedford, the one-time whaling capital of the world which has fallen on hard times…”

It was refreshing to read the following promo announcement for the “Chronicle” segment, filmed in early August, which ditched those pejorative keywords:

“New Bedford Renewal

Winds of change are sweeping through this old seafaring city. Its quality of life and low cost of living are attracting new residents from the Boston area. Unemployment has plummeted, and additional jobs await at the state’s new offshore wind facility, located on the waterfront. Plus, New Bedford’s port remains the most profitable in the U.S.. Meanwhile, new green space and a spruced-up city center are restoring local pride. And, residents tell us, the local culture is enriched by New Bedford’s mix of natives, immigrants and other newcomers.”

I like it. In fact, I’m wondering if maybe they’ve been reading this blog!

Perception too often gets mistaken for reality – and many of us who have chosen to live, work and play in New Bedford get frustrated with the lingering negative connotations too many still attach to the city. Those stereotypes are simply out-of-date and don’t reflect what’s happening here.

“New Bedford Renewal” is the perfect headline. It reflects the city’s historic ability to adapt with the times – even if and when that has involved some growing pains. A city is a living, breathing thing, after all, and we all probably recognize in our own lives that change can sometimes be difficult.

But change is a plot point – not the entire story. Any worthwhile drama needs conflict and resolution to come alive. And, especially this past amazing summer, New Bedford has recently sprung to life in many new and unexpected ways. In fact, this co-working facility – Groundwork! – is one leading indicator of what’s going on in the city that speaks to the future, not the past.

I plan to write a separate blog post about the stunning Summer of ‘17 in this city – and if this Thursday’s broadcast continues the narrative it’s begun with the advance publicity, it just may be a stirring coda to that story.

Stay tuned…and tune in to “Chronicle” at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 7, 2017, ABC channel 5.

#tags and the City of New Bedford II

Awhile back, I wrote the first edition of this column, #tags and the City of New Bedford, which encouraged readers to follow some unique local Instagram accounts.

An amazing, event-filled summer in the greater New Bedford region has brought some new digital shutterbugs to my attention. Each caught the city, sunshine and more in all its glory – and in their own different ways. So, here’s edition II of #tags and the City of New Bedford – but first, out of sheer self-interest, be sure you’re following us! Groundwork! Can be found at @groundwork_newbedford and this writer can be found at @newbedfordnow.

After that, follow these accounts…

Brian Gallant – first responder photographer

@brian.gallant – Nice story: Brian Gallant is a third generation New Bedford firefighter. His grandfather served from 1950-1981, and his dad from 1976-2010. Currently, Brian is a Lieutenant at Station 7, found at the corner of Cottage and Durfee Streets. He’s also a 2006 graduate of UMass Dartmouth’s College of Visual and Performing Arts with a BFA in visual design/photography. That means when Brian’s not fighting fires, he’s setting Instagram ablaze with stunning images from all over the Southcoast area. His frequent companion and muse, Jake, is pictured above looking over New Bedford Harbor from Fort Phoenix.

The Baker – Satisfy your food cravings

@thebaker_nb – Every Instagram list needs some culinary eye candy. You’ll find it at the account for downtown New Bedford’s The Baker. It’s also useful, as owner and baker Brandon Roderick posts photos of that day’s hot selection of baked goods – which often sell out long before closing time. So if you want to be in the know for the dough, check your Instagram feed before heading into the office….

Tom Bob – Street art in New Bedford and New York

@tombobnyc – His handle says Tom Bob New York City – but fortunately, the street artist also calls the Whaling City home and, more importantly, works his magic on city streets. Get your daily dose of urban art inspiration by following his exploits from Kilburn Mills Studios to Kirby Paints to Acushnet Avenue..

Jordan O’Connell – The Sun, with attitude

@irishmasshole – A gritty persona that reads, “STRAIGHT OUTTA MASS” also plays “Nice with the camera.” This dude knows just when to point and shoot – mostly at dawn or dusk and primarily in the city’s gorgeous south end. You’ll find the best sunrises and sunsets here – and a gangster with a good eye.

Industry City – Imagine the future

@industrycity – Okay – so this user isn’t in New Bedford – it isn’t even in Massachusetts. But, Groundwork is a co-working facility, after all, and it’s nice to get some visual guidance as to what the future here could look like. Industry City is a New York’s hub for creatives and entrepreneurs inside a 6 million square foot (!) campus of interconnected industrial spaces in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. We love the images they post which convey the sheer joy and purpose  of collaboration. It pays to aim high – and @industrycity captures that idea and posts it on Instagram every day.

Jeff Golenski – Eraserhead with a camera

@jeffgolenski – Finally, one of our own. Groundwork! member, WordPress designer, and “life enthusiast,” Jeff Golenski has a style that puts us in mind of a David Lynch movie. No wonder he writes that he’s  “vibrating at 528hz”. His haunting, poignant landscapes capture Southcoast and most often the world at large from their own dimension. Think “Twin Peaks” – with Jeff acting as Agent Cooper.

The Hollihock Writers Conference returns to New Bedford this weekend

At the Hollihock Writers Conference in 2016. It will once again be held at the Star Store UMass Dartmouth campus this weekend.

For the past few years, late August has meant more than back to the classroom for just students. Since the Hollihock Writers Conference launched in downtown New Bedford in 2015, it’s meant back to class for professional writers as well.

Hollihock, in a nutshell, is a three-day writers conference full of panel discussions to help writers improve their work, discover new venues for their words – and perhaps cope with being a writer, which, when done correctly, is a demanding profession.

“All of our authors and presenters have a strong connection to the New England area because we believe that strengthening our community is the best way to improve personal growth,” is a core Hollihock belief. It’s a sentiment shared by this co-working facility, Groundwork!, and it’s one of the reasons we are happy to be a sponsor of the Hollihock Writers Conference.

It will take place from Friday, August 25 through Sunday, August 27 at the Star Store campus of UMass dartmouth (715 Purchase Street, NB). You can find the Facebook event page here and also visit their full website – and purchase tickets to the conference – here. Daily or full weekend passes are available.

Here’s what you’ll discover when you attend: Over this three-day conference, take part in discussions about the literary world of creative writing, poetry, and non-fiction; attend panels to learn tips on finding an agent and writing query letters; get your hands dirty in workshops and master classes; and hear professional writers share their work.”

Keynote speakers include Jabari Asim, Ken Liu and Steph Burt. New Bedford’s Poet Laureate, Patricia Gomes will also be conducting a  “Writing in Silence” during the conference at 2:00pm and will be serving on a panel discussion, “Women’s Leadership: Poetic Engagement & Social Change” with Janet Aalfs and Sara Rivera at 4:00pm that same day.

It was at Hollihock last year that this writer was blown away by Gomes’ powerful recitation of her poetry. It was a highlight in a weekend full of highlights. The Hollihock conference last August was a wonderful and intense three days and arrives back in New Bedford with energy and purpose. In its third year, Hollihock is part of the dynamic trend sweeping through all aspects of city life, reinvigorating the culture and igniting a new spirit of creativity throughout the region.

The founders and prime movers behind Hollihock are Dominic Perri and Kelsey Knoedler – a dynamic duo unto themselves. I spoke to Dom last year and you can read that post here. After Hollihock, we were happy to continue collaborating with him during both the Fall and Spring New Bedford Bookfests and look forward to his company again at the Children’s New Bedford Bookfest this October.

Kelsey also knows a thing or two about writing. Her Hipstorical website is taking a fresh look at places of interest around the country and growing in popularity nationwide. It’s history repurposed, reinvented, and reimagined.

Which means New Bedford is the perfect place for both her, Dom, and writers and authors of all kind – especially during this unique weekend, the third annual Hollihock Writers Conference in a city that is being repurposed, reinvented and reimagined before our eyes every day.

3rd EyE Open: A Shining Moment for the City

Photo by New Bedford Ward 3 City Councilor, Dana Rebeiro

It’s sometimes impossible not to separate a moment in the life of any city from the larger national context in which it takes place. Viewed in this respect, Saturday, August 19 was not only a shining moment for the City of New Bedford but a day that lived up to the city’s motto: Lucem Diffundo.

In the maelstrom we are now passing through that began in Charlottesville, VA, last week felt like a bleak time that reopened raw wounds and deepened division in the country.

But here in New Bedford, 3rd EyE Open arrived on Saturday – an urban hip hop festival full of art, music, basketball and dancing that brought the entire community together from old to young, from black to white and in many other ways people choose to define themselves.

It was beautiful.

All day Saturday, August 19, the city’s downtown lived up to its burgeoning reputation as the creative center of the greater New Bedford region. 3rd EyE Open attracted rappers, graffiti artists, break dancers, basketball players and more.

Most importantly, kids, teens and young adults were engaged in a way most people had never seen before. From the basketball court to the Wings Court dance floor, you saw them everywhere enjoying their city on their own terms. Creative Oasis founder, art teacher, and one of the many volunteers who helped organize 3rd EyE Open, Fitzcarmel LaMarre told me he had never seen anything quite like it before.

Most people probably hadn’t. It was a special moment. 3rd EyE Open was a transcendent festival downtown. It flowed effortlessly through the space and united the geography as well as the people. An institution business, Carter’s Clothing turned their parking lot into a basketball court for the day. A popular newer establishment, Destination Soups distributed some of their signature menu items to the crowd. Each and other members of the downtown family embraced the festival and put out the welcome mat.

It was a unified moment at a time when too many people feel as if the country is in danger of breaking apart on some levels. More than an event, 3rd EyE Open proved what’s possible when your goal is to bring people together with respect and in celebration of one another.

It’s an idea worth fighting for – and the folks behind 3rd EyE certainly fought their way back to achieve this goal. It returned to New Bedford after a three year absence – and after it had been shunned as something dangerous by some not so long ago.

Saturday’s 3rd EyE Open should put that notion to rest. The smiles on all those children’s faces is nothing to fear. Neither is a community that embraces all its members. As far from Charlottesville as you can get, New Bedford on August 19 was a different kind of city…

A shining city upon a hill.