Hatch Street Studios: A world within a city

By Steven Froias / Contributing Writer
Posted May 31, 2018 at 3:01 AM

Alissar Najd Langworthy was at the helm of the 88-ton, 75-foot research vessel, Phoenecia for what turned out to be a four-month voyage to — and stay in — Cuba this past year.

The intense experience so changed her that when she returned to her studio at Hatch Street Studios in New Bedford’s North End, her painting took an entirely new — and stunning — abstract direction.

The smell of cedar wafts through the second floor outside Woodworker John Giacobbi’s studio. He’s storing a quantity of red cedar for future use.

But right now, he’s busy creating intricate and beautiful adornments for the historic Christmas House on Route 6A in Sandwich. After construction here in Hatch Street Studios, the woodwork will be disassembled for the trip down the highway and reassembled on site.

New Bedford residents are most likely aware of sculptor Erik Durant’s work due to his Fishermen’s Monument on the waterfront and statue of Cape Verdean leader Tom Lopes at Washington Square.

But his studio at Hatch Street is a fantastical land all its own, where Erik’s sculpting runs riot through history and mythology.

In their spaces and others throughout Hatch Street Studios, you see not only the work of its many artists and artisans, but glimpse the infinite within and without New Bedford as discerned by talent, tenacity and industry.

It’s a world within a city informed by experience and brought to life through pure imagination.

You can enter this world frequently now, thanks to a new, ongoing series of Second Saturday Open Studios events inaugurated by the Hatch Street Studios Artist Association. The first Second Saturday happened on May 12, and the next is scheduled for June 9.

All of them are free and open to the public and will feature special events in addition to the opportunity to tour the artists’ studios, chat them up, and see and buy their work.

It’s all part of a new lease on life for the venerable building, home to upwards of 50 artists and artisans on three floors and across two buildings — 88 Hatch St. and annex 90 Hatch St. — two blocks off Acushnet Avenue, with a view of the river with the same name, in the historic Nashawena Mill District of New Bedford.

Open Studios on Second Saturdays

Robert “Jack” Babb of the Hatch Street Studios Artist Association says he got the ball rolling for the Second Saturday Open Studios based on his experience attending regular open studio events at Western Avenue Studios in Lowell. He was living in New Hampshire at the time and would drive down for the events.

A chance encounter at a Yoga event in Boston brought Jack to Hatch Street.

“I met Amanda Walker, a lifetime resident of the area,” he explains. “She introduced me to the South Coast: the arts, the cultural variety, the natural beauty, the history. I was doing some glass work and interactive art in New Hampshire part-time. I moved my studio to Hatch Street because of the vibrant arts community in the area, the culture, the ocean.” And, “Easy access to Boston, Providence and New York.

Realizing that Hatch Street lacked a regular opportunity for arts patrons to meet building residents, outside of its annual Open Studios event in November, he decided to organize Second Saturdays.

The first monthly Open Studios in May featured members of the SUPERFLAT mural team and a pop-up 3rd EyE Unlimited music, dance and art jam. The second floor of Hatch Street Studios has a large, open community space to accommodate special happenings like that.

Between the special programming and the participation of most of the artists, the launch was a solid success and bodes well for future Second Saturdays.

Jack is generous with the praise for all concerned in the effort, noting Keri Cox’s organization of 3rd EyE, Destination Soup’s event kitchen, and the support of building owner Jeff Glassman.

“And, of course, Brian Tillett, Meaggsy, and Alexx Jardin who generously gave of their time and talent to create murals,” he said of the SUPERFLAT team.

Upcoming Second Saturday Open Studios will feature more special programming and themes. The aforementioned Amanda Walker is putting together a “Sun and Sea” theme for August.

“In September, Jeff Angeley is pulling together a music-themed event. In October, I am planning a Maker/Makerspace themed event,” said Jack. (Jeff Angeley is the musician behind the recent World Fiddle Day event in the building, where he maintains a studio.)

The June 9 special event will be a drawing for works of art donated by Hatch Street Artists. July is currently open, and Jack is open to collaborating with people throughout the city who may have creative ideas.

It’s why he’s been visible at community meetings, like the last Love The Ave meeting. That’s the group dedicated to extolling all things good on and around Acushnet Avenue. One of the Hatch Street Artist Association’s goals is to reach deeper into the neighborhood it shares in a diverse north end.

Keep up with events at Facebook.com/88hatchstreet.

Hatch Street Studios 2.0

Hatch Street Studios has been a fixture of the New Bedford arts scene for many years.

But a seminal event occurred in 2014 which changed the course of its history and set it firmly upon its present reinvigorated course.

That year, Jeffrey Glassman, owner of neighbor Darn it!, Inc. at 686 Belleville Avenue, bought the building — actually two. Hatch Street Studios today consists of both 88 Hatch St., the original studio building, and 90 Hatch St., which now houses smaller studios than the almost cavernous spaces found at 88.

Glassman bought Hatch Street Studios committed to retaining its integrity as an arts center. Indeed, he’s been keen on doubling down on its reputation as a destination for artists seeking studio space in the city and from throughout the region.

What’s remarkable about this is that Jeff Glassman is a businessman — and a successful one, at that. Darn It! is an apparel and general merchandise repair and inspection business that found a successful niche for itself after NAFTA. Glassman joined the family business in 1994 and has overseen its steady growth since then.

When the opportunity arose to purchase neighbor Hatch Street Studios, it was the businessman in him that made the deal. Fortunately, he’s a creative businessman with a concern for the community, who doesn’t simply want to own and manage, with his wife, Lori, an artist studio building.

He wants it, everyone in it, and the arts destination New Bedford to thrive.

There was trepidation among some of the artists when he took over the building at first, because of that businessman’s approach. In that first year, everyone in the building had to do something that previously had happened on a loose, ad hoc basis: sign leases. And, there were rent increases.

But, concurrent with those actions were improvements to the building, both in terms of infrastructure and management. And, the addition of an entirely new floor of studios, the second — with that large community space that’s now being put to good use during the Second Saturday Open Studios events. All of it has brought new energy to Hatch Street Studios.

Glassman the business owner has been aggressive in bringing attention to the art and work being produced by the residents of Hatch Street.

He’s hosted events at the building that introduced other members of the business community to the creative community, for example. He’s also invested his time in promoting the studios and people in them whenever possible at multiple venues and meetings throughout the city and region.

For New Bedford, Hatch Street Studios signifies that the creative economy has found real purchase — as an idea and as a brick and mortar cornerstone in the city.

Now open to the public every Second Saturday of the month.

Steven Froias blogs for the coworking facility, Groundwork! at NewBedfordCoworking.com. Email: StevenFroias@gmail.com.

Original article here.

New Bedford’s State of the Arts

Many readers have no doubt read, heard or discovered for themselves that New Bedford is regarded as one of the nation’s most creative small cities and is a destination for the arts and artists.

This isn’t exactly something new; the city has long been rich with culture. But when Atlantic magazine included New Bedford in a “Top Ten” list of creative communities over a decade ago, it brought new opportunity and urgency to the perception.

So what exactly does a “destination for the arts and artists” mean in 2018? How does that designation impact the city? Who does it include and who does it benefit? In short, what exactly does being — and being recognized as — one of the nation’s most creative small cities mean for New Bedford?

Have no fear. State of the Arts is here to help sort it all out.

This new, ongoing column and feature story series will cover the arts in a new way here. As a regular beat, right alongside the City Desk, General News, Politics, Business, or Sports. That means a mix of reporting, feature stories, profiles and opinion. All branded under the banner State of the Arts.

Every week, yours truly will attempt to illustrate exactly how the arts are being practiced in New Bedford — and why the cultural well-being of the city is a critical element of municipal life here.

It will deliver to readers artistic personalities across the creative spectrum; examine the role of arts and culture in the economy; and report on arts administration as a function of civic engagement and government.

It’s an opportune time to launch State of the Arts. As I write this, the City of New Bedford, through the New Bedford Economic Development Council, is in the nascent stages of preparing an arts plan for New Bedford that will help guide its fortunes into the future.

As part of that effort, a comprehensive city-wide Creative Directory is being compiled. It will highlight the full scope of New Bedford’s professionals in all manner of cultural disciplines.

New Union Street building introduces hub for creative minds

Tracy Silva Barbosa never tires of the feeling after she introduces friends to her home.

They visit, look at her glass art, perhaps dine at a restaurant downtown and always leave with the same reaction.

“I never knew it was so beautiful and all of this wonderful stuff,” Barbosa said of the recurring reactions.

Barbosa lived in New York City for a decade before returning to the state where she grew up. Like many of her visitors, New Bedford impressed Barbosa and her husband. The culture and ever-growing art scene attracted them to make it their new home.

In January it will also be the home of her new business. Duende Glass will occupy a space in a new 10,000 square foot unit on Union Street dubbed a Co-Creative space by WHALE.

Barbosa, like multiple others whether it be artists or “creatives”, will use the space to create art and also sell it.

“I think the Co-Creative Center is just another spore from that flower,” Barbosa said. “It’s coming out of people who genuinely care and want to bring out the wonderful character this city has and bring it out in a tasteful way.”

There’s three levels to the building sitting beside The Garden and running along Acushnet Avenue.

The second floor of the building will consist of non-profit office space, apartments, and artist studios, which are already leased. The third floor consists of a two-bedroom market rate apartment.

The first floor, where Duende Glass and People’s Pressed, a juice and coffee shop, will be located, will house a public creative space.

The plan is to utilize the area closest to Union Street as a marketplace. Behind it will be a learning area where classes can be taught by anyone in the community. At the back of the building, bordering a park, the area will be used as a creative space filled with up-to-date technology like fabrication equipment and computer stations as well as work benches.

“We’re hoping we can build a community of Creatives,” WHALE Development Coordinator Amanda DeGrace said.

The first floor learning space will act as a chameleon of storts, blending into whatever the community envisions its best use.

DeGrace said there are 15 classes currently being discussed that would be available for public participation. They range from graphic design, creative writing, visual artists, sewing and even jam making. The class list continues to grow as community members continue to pitch ideas.

“We need to open the doors and see what this community wants this place to be,” DeGrace said.

Below the “Co-Make” area is a basement geared toward more industrial and textile creating as well as storage for artists.

Much like Gallery X on William Street or the studios in the former mill building on West Rodney French Boulevard brought Barbosa to the city, the Co-Creative Center hopes to attract even more imaginative minds.

“Through the Co-Creative more diverse artists come,” Barbosa said. “You want to have some cross pollination and that’s what innovation is.”

Follow Michael Bonner on Twitter @MikeBBonnerSCT

Original story here.

Karyn Polito: State, SouthCoast working to ‘unleash’ region’s potential

Milhench Supply celebrates 85 years in New Bedford

Chronicle WCVB5 abc: New Bedford Renewal

On Thursday, September 7th, 2017 the Chronicle aired a program called New Bedford Renewal. We hope you take a few moments to enjoy the clips. City leaders and their partners have been hard at work on all fronts: Public Safety, Education, Economic Development, Community Development, Alternative Energy, and Quality of Life. We hope you enjoy the show!

New Bedford Renewal: A New Vitality

New Bedford Renewal: Port Prosperity

New Bedford Renewal: Beyond the Port

New Bedford Renewal: An Epicenter for Clean Energy

Business Newsmakers: Darn It! Inc once again taps Beaumont Solar to nearly double their existing solar system

NEW BEDFORD — Beaumont Solar, a leading, full-service solar developer and Engineering, Procurement & Construction (EPC) company, and Darn It! Inc., a family-operated distribution and refurbishment business located in New Bedford, have partnered once again on a successful solar installation. Back in 2011, Darn It! Inc. President Jeff Glassman selected Beaumont Solar to fully engineer, procure and install a 281.6kW roof-mounted solar system on his 1903 mill building. It was the largest commercial solar rooftop in the City of New Bedford at that time.

Seeing first-hand the utility savings the solar system was providing, Glassman once again contacted Beaumont Solar to expand his system by an additional 234.5kW to further offset his utility costs. “For a facility the size of ours and the volume of business we accommodate, our utility costs became a big problem for us. Solar is the solution for that problem,” said Jeff Glassman, President of Darn It! Inc. “The building has a huge flat roof, it’s in the sun all day so solar made perfect sense. The first system worked out so well and I still had plenty of available roof space, I realized why not get rid of even more of our electric costs by calling up Beaumont and seeing if we could add more solar. I can make even more of my own power, gain further control over my energy usage and invest that money somewhere else.” And so, the call was made.

“One of the concerns Mr. Glassman had was how the changing SREC values and regulated deadlines would affect the financial picture of installing the second system. But our financial team prepared a full, comprehensive analysis and assured Mr. Glassman that we could not only secure him an SREC reservation, and a net metering reservation, but that our design and construction team would complete the project in ample time,” said Phillip Cavallo, President and CEO of Beaumont Solar. True to their word, Beaumont finished the project well ahead of all financial deadlines and Mr. Glassman had the permission to operate the second system from the utility company in his hands by this past April.

The Darn It! Inc. location in the heart of the North End factory district at 630-686 Belleville Ave, has come full circle for the Glassman family and holds ties to the family’s history. Back in the 1930′s, his relatives first came to New Bedford and began working for what was then known as the New Bedford Manufacturing Co, makers of pajamas, in this very building which Glassman ironically ended up purchasing when his own business needed to expand. Today, Darn It! uses the building for providing door to door logistic solutions, warehousing & distribution services for retailers, manufacturers and wholesalers worldwide. Most notably, Darn It! is known for its quality control services including inspections, and correcting manufacturing mistakes offering services that include item re-packaging, repairs, returns processing, mold remediation, label change, dry cleaning/laundering & pressing.

The old mill buildings of the city are a reminder of the generations of hard-working people who made up the heart of the city. However, they were also known as heavy polluters of the atmosphere due to the means by which they accessed their power through coal, and the like. But together, Darn It! Inc. and Beaumont Solar continue to enhance this building’s history and future by making it a commercial business leader that will stand proud amongst its peers showcasing its ability to operate green under its own clean, renewable energy.

Original story here:

Sales pitch contest a big night for aspiring local entrepreneurs

By Steve Urbon

NEW BEDFORD — It was semi-chaos Thursday evening in the basement cafeteria of the Global Learning Charter Public School as about two dozen budding entrepreneurs and their families and supporters joined in a “pitch contest” sponsored by EforAll, a Lowell-based organization whose goal is to nurture entrepreneurs in the smaller cities of Massachusetts.

Before the evening was through, a half dozen people had made their sales pitches, a few fortunate winners had been awarded substantial checks for their efforts, and a huge gesture had been made in support of Homeless Advocates, a local group looking after the homeless in SouthCoast.

Matt Medeiros of New Bedford was the grand prize winner of $1,000 for his concept of a “local coders” organization, which matches fledgling web and mobile app designers with small businesses and cash-strapped nonprofits who otherwise cannot afford to hire agencies to do all the work.

The problem, Medeiros said, is that businessmen like himself have trouble finding web designers and mobile application designers locally because as soon as they learn the skills they are off to Boston, New York or San Francisco, creating local scarcity and higher costs.

“We solve this problem by connecting people who want to learn how to build website and mobile apps with nonprofits who don’t have the money to do it. Participants learn from mentors from the SouthCoast area.

Seconds after Medeiros had his picture taken with the oversized check, he reached out to Peter Costa of the Homeless Advocates and said simply, “This is a donation to you,” drawing cheers from the gathering.

The EforAll pitch contests, similar to the “Shark Tank” reality TV shows, are becoming a regular event in New Bedford, Fall River, Lowell, and other “gateway cities.” They bring together people with ideas or small businesses that can be started with very little money but a lot of mentoring and coaching by volunteers who guide novices through the details of getting a business up and running.

The pitch contests enable participants to hone their sales skills as finalists get two-and-half minutes to sell their concept to a panel of judges, some local, some from EforAll. Contestants bring whatever they can to illustrate their concept or invention, and everybody takes some time to circulate around the room, grab a slice of pizza, and get to know fellow entrepreneurs through a little networking.

Twenty applicants were whittled down to a half dozen for the final pitches, with substantial prizes for those who top the final list: $1,000 for the grand prize, $750 for second place, $500 for third, $500 for a “wild card” and $500 for the people’s choice award.

Nic Cortes of Fall River won the wildcard for his concept of heated driveways.

Third place went to Homeless Advocates, a $500 people’s choice went to Hanna Walsh of New Bedford for a foot therapy ball for people suffering from afflictions like diabetes, and second place went to Anthony Markey of New Bedford for a system to providing college textbooks affordably in an on-campus exchange.

Follow Steve Urbon on Twitter @SteveUrbonSCT.

Original Story Here

 

WHALE making fundraising push for ‘maker space’

By

Next spring, the dusty, long-vacant space at 141 Union St. could be a hive of innovation and design that gives a huge boost to New Bedford’s art and “maker” communities.

NEW BEDFORD — The wooden floors were bare, parts of the ceiling were crumbling and water pooled in small puddles in the basement, but next spring, WHALE executive director Teri Bernert said, the dusty, long-vacant space at 141 Union St. could be a hive of innovation and design that gives a huge boost to the city’s art and “maker” communities.

“We’re trying to keep the artists in New Bedford,” Bernert said Wednesday, standing in what will become the Co-Creative Center, a 10,000-square-foot space that will include work and exhibition areas, with offices and apartments upstairs.

People will be able to use the shared equipment and space through memberships. Bernert and Amanda DeGrace, WHALE’s development coordinator, agreed that if the thriving Groundwork collaborative on Purchase Street is a shared office environment, the Co-Creative Center downtown will be a shared design studio — or lab, or “maker space,” or, essentially, garage-style workshop.

“But a really nice garage,” Bernert joked.

Think 3-D printers, tool benches, graphic design technology and more. Users of the space could include former art students from UMass Dartmouth’s nearby Star Store campus, local artisans, designers, startups and others.

The Waterfront Historic Area League (WHALE) is planning a Saturday launch for an ambitious fundraising effort for the center, as it begins a final push toward opening the doors next May. WHALE is hoping to raise $50,000 by late November, and if it does so, quasi-governmental agency MassDevelopment will match the funds. But if they don’t make the goal, DeGrace said, they don’t get the dough.

“Think of it as like a Kickstarter for community development,” DeGrace said.

The matching funds are part of MassDevelopment’s Commonwealth Places program, and affiliated with the agency’s Transformative Development Initiative (TDI), which began in 2015. TDI beneficiaries include New Bedford’s Union and Purchase Innovation District. MassDevelopment works at federal, state and local levels to create jobs and stimulate economic growth.

Bernert said the Co-Creative Center’s fundraising effort and related events over the next two months are intended “to make the community aware of this new space that’s part of the creative economy of New Bedford.”

The redevelopment project also includes the adjoining 139 Union St., on the corner of Union and Acushnet Avenue. While the shared workspace at 141 Union will be a nonprofit model and eventually “its own entity,” Bernert said, the corner space at 139 Union will be a mixed-use model, with businesses, offices and housing.

Two eateries have signed letters of intent for leases: The Noodle Bowl, owned by Madalena and James Jezierski; and People’s Pressed, a juice bar.

Bernert said the exterior of 139 Union will have “an all-new, historic façade that will wrap around” the building, along the Acushnet Avenue side.

She said the cost of the entire project, including acquisition of the building, is about $2.3 million. Funding has come from several sources, including a deferred-interest, $1 million MassDevelopment loan announced in August.

WHALE will accept donations through Patronicity, a civic crowdfunding platform online. People also can learn more about the project and how to contribute by calling WHALE at 508-997-1776.

The upcoming push for $50,000 more — or $100,000, with the match — will include efforts to gather input from the community. From 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 3, WHALE will host an information session about the Co-Creative Center, to gather input on what local artisans might want to see in the maker space.

That event will be at Groundwork, in the Quest Center on Purchase Street.

“We have a lot of designers that work here who have expressed interest in utilizing the maker space,” Groundwork co-founder Dena Haden said.

Talks about shared memberships and other collaborations are under way, Haden and Bernert said.

“I think it’s going to be a great asset for the community — for makers, artists and designers. I think it’ll be a great hub to have in the middle of downtown,” Haden said of the Co-Creative Center. “It might lead to more graduates from the art school staying in town, if they can utilize the shop and share facilities.”

Follow Mike Lawrence on Twitter @MikeLawrenceSCT

Entrepreneurship for All celebrates one year in the SouthCoast

By

NEW BEDFORD — Say you’re at home in the city or surrounding towns and you’re hungry for a meal from a favorite local restaurant, but they don’t deliver and you don’t feel like picking it up. One of life’s irritating little challenges, right?

Soon, you might not have to worry about it — two New Bedford business owners Got Chew.

Ryan Caton and William Gilmour, working to launch their Got Chew food delivery service, were the top winners at EforAll South Coast’s All Ideas Pitch Contest and one-year anniversary celebration Friday at the Quest Center. The event was held in the Groundwork collaborative work space and drew an enthusiastic crowd, who heard pitches from eight entrepreneurs trying to win startup capital for their ideas.

Caton and Gilmour took home $1,500 split between two big checks: one for $500 as the “fan favorite” — attendees voted by text message, with live results projected onto a wall — and $1,000 as the first-place selection by a panel of four local judges, all with business expertise.

Gilmour is a 25-year-old sales associate for Comcast. Caton is a 26-year-old surveyor for Vivint Solar. The two Got Chew co-owners said they’d use their winnings Friday to develop a website and marketing materials, connect with local restaurants and spread the word about their business. They plan to add a 20-percent surcharge on top of the order price, calling the fee comparable to the tips customers would pay had they actually gone to local restaurants.

Gilmour and Caton said they hope to serve New Bedford and surrounding towns.

“We’re going to need a lot of drivers,” Gilmour said.

They were just two of several business or project owners who gave pitches Friday. Second place in the contest went to Temistocles “Tem Blessed” Ferreira, who won $750 to develop illustrations for “Planeta Blu: The Rise of Agoo,” a graphic novel he’s creating for teens. He described the story as “an epic adventure,” starring inner-city youth who struggle to save humanity and the animal kingdom from an evil world-conqueror named Zander.

“Think of it as ‘The Hunger Games’ meets ‘The Jungle Book,’” Ferreira said.

Third place went to Diana Painter, who won $500 for Miss Pockets, her idea to sew hidden pockets into women’s dresses and garments that were made without them.

“We make the pockets out of recycled material from thrift store clothes,” Painter said, adding that the cost could be $30 for a pair of pockets sewn into a customer’s garment, with matching fabrics.

Other ideas pitched Friday included Cycle Composting company, a pick-up composting service proposed by Caitlyn Kenney; Smart Joints, an industrial pipe innovation proposed by Abel Jimenez; The Collective, a community performing arts center and cultural hub proposed by Kevin Mitchell; an expansion of The New Bedford Book Festival, by Steven Froias; and Donna Motta’s Kalm Communications, a marketing and communications consultancy for businesses and professionals.

“We are so excited about the energy of the crowd tonight, and the diversity of ideas,” EforAll South Coast executive director Shelley Cardoos said.

EforAll South Coast is funded by a three-year grant from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, and is a local expansion of the EforAll model in Lawrence and Lowell. A new location is planned in Lynn.

Friday night’s event was EforAll South Coast’s fourth pitch contest over the past year, with a total of $2,750 in prizes given away at each one. The next pitch contest is Oct. 20 in Fall River, with an application deadline of Oct. 7. Applications are online at www.eforall.org.

Cardoos said several pitch contest entrants also have participated in EforAll South Coast’s business accelerator program, which has graduated 20 businesses and awarded $35,000 in startup funding over the past year.

EforAll South Coast’s summer accelerator program celebrated its graduates Sept. 7. The next program begins in December, with applications online and due Oct. 25. The program offers resources over a year, starting with an intensive three-month period.

Cardoos said all 20 businesses that have gone through the program are “still in process” of developing and moving forward. Many attendees at Friday’s pitch contest were past participants, reflecting the system of shared support that Cardoos and EforAll South Coast program manager Jeremiah Hernandez have cultivated.

“I’m really happy to see how far along we have come in one year, and how much of a community we’ve been able to build within our EforAll network,” Cardoos said.

Cardoos described simple goals as EforAll South rolls into its second year of operations.

“Just keep going strong, reach out to new businesses and make sure that everybody knows about this resource,” she said.

Follow Mike Lawrence on Twitter @MikeLawrenceSCT.