WEB New Bedford

The Arts & Culture Planning Project comes to Groundwork!

Some readers may already be aware that the City of New Bedford is in the process of creating what it hopes will be a comprehensive arts plan. In my other life as a Standard-Times columnist, I wrote about it recently for State of the Arts, and you can find those words here.

For those of you who aren’t aware, here’s the 411…

To come up with a plan, the city has designated the New Bedford Economic Development Council – located right upstairs from Groundwork! In the Quest Center at 1213 Purchase Street – to coordinate the effort. They’ve contracted a cultural strategist, Margo Saulnier, to help facilitate meetings between city artists, arts patrons, arts administrators and interested citizens with a planning firm, Webb Associates, which will draft the actual plan after collecting input.

In all, it will be a six month process that will end in June of this year. So, month two is just about to wrap up – with another series of outreach meetings, one of which will take place right here at Groundwork!, this Thursday, March 1 at 4:00 p.m.

An initial series of meetings has already taken place, and a bunch of one-on-one interviews. So, Webb will be sharing some preliminary results at all four meetings, and here’s the complete schedule in case you can’t make the one this coworking facility is hosting.

Meeting 1: WEDNESDAY, FEB. 28 at 3:30 p.m. at the NEW BEDFORD WHALING MUSEUM, 1 Johnny Cake Hill, NB.

Meeting 2: WEDNESDAY, FEB. 28 at 6:00 p.m at HATCH STREET STUDIOS, 88 Hatch Street, NB.

Meeting 3: THURSDAY, MARCH 1 at 4:00 p.m. at GROUNDWORK!, 1213 Purchase Street, NB.

Meeting 4: THURSDAY, MARCH 1 at 5:00 p.m. at GLOBAL LEARNING PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOL, 190 Ashley Boulevard, NB.

At each of these meetings, you can offer your opinions as to what you think an arts plan should look like, what its goals should be and what its purpose for the city should be. Just to clarify, the different meetings are categorized by the strategist into separate artistic disciplines – but that’s just a guideline. All artists – visual, musical, literary, what-have-you – are welcome at all of them.

I’ll be attending at least two of the meetings – and will no doubt be reporting on what transpires both here and in The Standard-Times.

But that’s for another day – today, just know that you’re invited to all the meetings, and as always, particularly welcome to Groundwork!

See you at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 1!

Coworking on the weekends is here. Get a Groundwork! weekend pass:

Have you been wanting to check out coworking at Groundwork! – but haven’t had the opportunity during the regular work week?

The Groundwork! Weekend Pass is your ticket to coworking this winter.

During the month of February, Groundwork! will be open to guests on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. each day for a special non-member, guest rate of $40 for one entire weekend or $25 for any weekend day of your choosing.

Got a start-up business plan to write? Working on a thesis or school project? Been contemplating writing a novel? Or, do you just want to beat cabin fever and get some work done on the weekend – without the temptation to binge-watch on Netflix?

Whatever your need, spacious tables, fast wi-fi and hot coffee await you. GW member and  blogger Steven Froias will be here to greet you and get you settled in.

Swing by at your leisure and get your pass when you arrive any Saturday or Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on these  dates:

  • Sat. Feb. 3 & Sun. Feb. 4
  • Sat. Feb. 10 & Sun. Feb. 11
  • Sat. Feb. 17 & Sun. Feb. 18
  • Sat. Feb. 24 & Sun. Feb. 15

The weekend pass is good for one weekend. Credit or debit cards accepted, or cash. You will receive a Groundwork Guest password upon arrival to access wi-fi. Staff will be present to greet you and provide any assistance you may need.

Doors open at 10:00 a.m. and close at 4:00 p.m.

Please use the Maxfield Street entrance. Groundwork! is located in the Quest Center at 1213 Purchase Street, New Bedford and street parking is abundant on weekends.

Please note: No other special promotions or discounts can be applied to the Weekend Pass. Free day passes do not apply to weekends.

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Social Media: A college student’s perspective

Thank goodness social media, and the way we use it, has been evolving as quickly as we do. Looking back at my old posts, that Facebook and Timehop love to remind me about, I can’t help but get red in the face and ask myself, ‘what the hell was I thinking?’ When Facebook was relatively new, status updates were step-by-step rundowns of a person’s day – “Jenny is…chewing bubble gum and walking to the corner store”.

When did people start thinking that the world cared or needed to know what they were doing every minute of every day? Social media grew like wild fire, so people must have cared – no idea why. Maybe we’re lazy? Maybe we’re creeps? Maybe we just like to stay in touch? Whatever the reason, social media is a way of life for us now. If you’re not on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn or some other platform, do you really exist?

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Do you really exist?

Millennials manage social media

I am a millennial. We are on almost every form of social media and they are definitely not all the same. They each have certain features and options that allow them to serve different purposes. There are some that I like and some that I never use.

Facebook: The one-stop-shop of social media

I use Facebook as a form of entertainment and surprisingly education. Not only do I enjoy watching hilarious animal videos or BuzzFeed’s blog videos, but I also read articles that my friends share, hear about what’s going on in my community, and try to spread messages that I feel are important. It’s like an interactive, multi-faceted, unbiased news network. *This may depend on who your friends are*.

Groundwork facebook screenshot

I’m not going to lie, I am one of those people that plays Facebook games. They are convenient ways for me to waste time, especially when my news feed is quiet and I’ve already scrolled through everything. Facebook is really like the one-stop-shop of social media. It has everything and knows everything… the ads on my timeline are too creepy. How does it know that I have been looking for this one pair of shoes for weeks?! Creepy but effective.

So why use other platforms if Facebook has it all? That question is exactly why I use those other apps and websites. Facebook is a trap. Have you ever gone to Target to buy one thing and leave two hours later having spent $300? Well, that’s how Facebook works, open the app to check the one notification you got and BOOM, you look up and it’s been an hour. How?!

The visual you – Instagram

I like to view Instagram as my life’s portfolio. You can tell a lot about a person by their Instagram profile. Not only do you get to see a pattern of topics they photograph, but there are also color schemes visible in the ‘all pictures’ overview.

Instagram side-by-side

Instagram overviews:  Lisa(left),  Dena(center),  and Sarah(right)

My Instagram is mostly nature, animals, friends, and the occasional selfie – when I’m not looking like my usual ragamuffin self. The colors I see are very neutral, a lot of brown, blue, green, and the occasional pop of red. Comparing my account to my friends’, I see huge differences. One of my roommates has a lot of pink in her pictures – which fits her perfectly. Another one of my friends only posts pictures with his “squad”. Literally every picture is him and his friends. Someone else only posts selfies.

If a picture can speak a thousand words than your Instagram account is basically your autobiography.

Evolution of Interaction

Flowing with the trends, we no longer post hourly FB statuses depicting our every move. We now share videos, pictures and only make status updates when we have something big going on or an important message we hope to spread. So now how do we find out what all of our friends, family, and distant acquaintances are doing? Snapchat. A quick 10 second video or 3 second picture tells us all we want to know about what’s going on in that other person’s world.

The obvious argument is that we no longer actually communicate with one another. We live life and have relationships through our phone screen. Yes, this can be a downfall in our American Society today, but how do the people that actually use Snapchat feel about its effects on social interaction?

Snapchat: Social or anti-social media?

Being one of the newer forms of social media, Snapchat is most often used by younger generations. We use it because everyone we know uses it. It’s a huge network of our closest contacts. Now what do we use it for? How does it benefit us and actually boost our social interaction rather than sucking us into the screen? We usually only spend 10 seconds on it at a time. Videos are limited to that time frame. Pictures are, on average, visible for 6 seconds. The app actually makes you go back to the real world.

I like to watch friend’s “stories”- public videos or photos that remain up for 24 hours – to see what they’re up to. If I see a friend doing something close by, I message them and join them. Pet updates are the best! I can always rely on a quick picture or video of a friend’s pet to boost my mood. When I see all of my friends out having fun and I am inside bored, it motivates me to get active and go spend my time productively – the opposite effect that other social media sites often have.

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Snapchat: the new Candid Camera

What’s so special about Snapchat?

Comparing my use of Snapchat to other social media platforms, I would say that I spend the most time on Facebook, then Instagram, and the least time on Snapchat. While this is true, I am the most active on Snap. I post more pictures and videos on Snapchat than I do on Insta or FB. Why? Because it’s quicker, easier, customizable and it doesn’t feel like such a commitment. I can share something with friends in 2 seconds and I don’t have to worry about it being perfect because it’s not technically ‘the internet’. Once it’s uploaded it won’t be there forever.

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I think this gives us the opportunity to be more real. It’s almost like a platform for candids. Real time, untouched, real people. That’s what I appreciate the most about it. We all want to see those goofy authentic smiles, dumb jokes, and genuine moments in a friend’s life rather than that posed for picture we often see.
I guess the big picture really is that we all get something different out of the social media platforms we use. How you use it and what you get out of it, is completely up to you…and your followers.

Logging off.



UMD teach-in

UMassD Teach-in: Bridging Differences and Creating Change

As a senior in college with graduation only three months away, not only am I sad to be leaving my UMass community and wondering how to “adult”, I am also terrified of leaving the concrete fortress that has protected me from the outside world for the past four years. Usually you hear about people being afraid of change – moving, trying new foods, meeting new people – but I am afraid of the lack there of.

With the chaos that has erupted nationally and internationally, due to our recent presidential election, we can clearly see the division among our people. I’m not saying that the election caused these divisions, but it certainly opened the world’s eyes to them.

Whether you are freaking out, hopeful, or gung-ho about Trump’s win, there are obvious issues in society that need to be discussed. Instead of “let’s make America great again” how can we make America united?  Communicate, collaborate, and create change. The administration at UMass Dartmouth hopes to aid this effort with a community “teach-in”.

UMD teach-in

What is a “Teach-in”?

Cynthia E. Cummings, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth supplied me with the Merrian-Webster definition – “an extended meeting usually held on a college campus for lectures, debates, and discussions to raise awareness of or express a position on a social or political issue”.

“UMass Dartmouth’s Teach-In 2017 is an opportunity for students to learn the value of dialogue, bridge differences, and create positive social change.”
—   Jeannette Riley, Dean of College of Arts and Sciences

Activities will be run from 11am-9pm on Wednesday, March 1st and 12:30pm-6:30pm on Thursday, March 2nd. For the complete schedule of events go to:

Admission to teach-in events is free and open to the public. All members of the university community and members of the larger community are welcome and encouraged to attend

Who will be presenting?

A variety of faculty and staff will present workshops and other presentations. Student groups will set up message tables. Student artists will display relevant work.

What is the goal of this program?

Explore the societal issues that have divided our country and community
Examine their own narratives
Learn from each other’s perspectives
Practice the art of dialogue
Take action to bridge differences and create change

Hopefully this teach-in can promote conversations, offer new perspectives, and educate those of us who are shaking in our boots with no idea what to do. Rather than fear, I want to feel confidence. I want to know that I, we, he, she, they, and everyone else can work together to push positive change forward.

What topics are being focused on?

Topics to be explored:
Racism – Activism – Religious Diversity – Mindfulness – Sexism – Transgender 101 – Power & Privilege – Standing Rock  – LGBTQ + Inclusivity – Feminism – Women’s Issues – Health Diversity – Immigration Policies – Social Justice – Ableism

Younger generations are constantly stereotyped as “not being politically aware” and “unaware of what’s going on in the real world”. The amount of times that I have been called ‘naive’ -with demeaning intentions- because of my hopes to improve our global community, pisses me off. Just because I’m not 50 years old doesn’t mean I don’t have the ability to be educated, educate myself, or experience and affect the world.

Time to change that. Lets show them we are aware, show them we know, we watch, we listen, we communicate, we’re involved. Show them…Show up. Share and learn about what we all post and read on Facebook, in person with each other instead.

How are the sessions organized?

The purpose of the initiative is to engage in civil discourse, so participation will be encouraged. Talks are designed to promote active civic engagement and open dialogue.

Want more info or hope to help organize and promote this event?
Contact the Student Affairs office at 508-910-6402.



Announcing Groundwork’s very own podcast! (and a sneak preview)

We’re super excited to announce that 2017 will bring a new addition to the Groundwork! media empire: the Ground Control podcast. Dena and I are teaming up with everyone’s favorite blogger, Steven Froias, to bring you supreme audio content about all the things that make our community awesome: New Bedford pride, entrepreneurship, creativity, and kick-ass women. Check out the pilot episode here, in which Steven interviews Dena and I on one year of running a coworking space: lessons learned and ideas for the future.

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Karyn Polito

Mass Lt. Governor Karyn Polito Visits Groundwork!

Karyn Polito, Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts, joined Elizabeth Warren in the ranks of powerful women who have visited Groundwork! Polito’s visit to Groundwork! was part of a larger tour of downtown New Bedford, hosted by the City of New Bedford, the New Bedford Economic Development Council, and MassDevelopment. The purpose of the tour was to show the Lt. Governor the site of a proposed re-development project in the downtown area.

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New Bedford Book Festival
New Bedford Chamber of Commerce

Groundwork! Partners with the New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce

We are super excited to announce that as of November 1st, all full time and dedicated desk members of Groundwork! will get full member benefits to the New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce. We think this partnership is a huge perk for our members and we hope it will play a role in bringing the local business community even closer together.

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