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8 Great Things: June on the South Coast

Is there anything better than June? We think not. Feel free to do nothing at all and just soak in this wonderful month. Or take a look at these 8 things to make June even better!

1. Gone Fishin’

At 6:00 am, a horn will sound on Tihonet Pond, signaling for competitors to begin furiously fishing. Although the early schedule may seem made for serious fishermen, the Tihonet Pond Fishing Derby is open to all levels of fishermen, from the serious pros to those just wanting to join the fun. The Wankinquoah Rod & Gun Club puts on the event with free pancake breakfast (making the early wake-up worth it), bait and lunch available for purchase, and some prizes for adults and juniors. Competitors can fish from shore or bring their boat or kayak (or rent a kayak for the day on site!).

June 3. The registration fee is $12 for adults and $3 for children 14 and under. Registration begins at 4 am, official start at 6 am and official end at 2 pm. For more information and to pre-register, see here.  150 Tihonet Road, Wareham.

2. Open Studios

With three floors of art (paintings, mixed media, ceramics, sculpture, woodworking, and more), the talented artists of Hatch Studios will open their workshops to the public as part of their “Second Saturday” series. Don’t miss out on the chance to explore the studios and meet the artists. The event is free of charge and features a raffle for several pieces of art (pictured) donated by the artists! The raffle is open to all; just visit the participating artist’s studio to fill out a ticket and get a chance to take home a wonderful piece of art. June 9, 12-5 pm.  88 Hatch Street, New Bedford. See more here. 

3. Trés Jazzy

Ready to get dancing? On June 9th, the annual New Bedford JazzFest is moving onto the pier! The evening features art, food, and drink with two stages of non-stop live jazz. JazzFest founder Eric Paradis promises “This is jazz that will make you move!” Head down to New Bedford’s historic waterfront under the tent on Pier 3 for this vibrant event to be held rain-or-shine and featuring a diverse line-up of jazz musicians, as well as local food trucks, a full bar, and the “artist’s colony,”a section highlighting the work of local artists. Tickets are $25 at the door and can be reserved here. June 9. 2-7 pm.  Pier 3, Downtown New Bedford. Children 15 and under are free when accompanied by an adult.F

4. Farmer Coffee in the Dell

There’s nothing better than spending spring outside. Adding coffee and donuts to the mix just sweetens the deal. Friends of Buttonwood Park is sponsoring Coffee in the Dell, featuring free coffee and donuts (while supplies last) and guided tours of Buttonwood Park’s arboretum. Buttonwood is the largest and most visited public park in New Bedford, planned by Frederick Law Olmstead in 1895. If you haven’t yet visited, June is the perfect time to go. If you have visited already, now is the perfect time to go back! Enjoy a beautiful spring day outside, meeting other like minded South Coasters, reading the paper, and enjoying some coffee. June 10th, 10 am -12 pm (rain date: June 24). Coffee will take place across the road from the warming house, west of the Greenhouse. Oneida Street, New Bedford.

5. Season Opener

Pull out your mini-vans and SUVs and start piling in because the Westport Vineyards Sunset Music Series is $10 per CAR! The event features great music, and local beer and wine can be purchased by the glass. For the season opener, Rebecca Correia (featured in this summer’s print issue!) will be performing a mix of her own originals and covers. Bring your picnic and non-alcoholic drinks or purchase food from a selection of local chefs! Price per car goes up the week of the event, so organize your friends and buy your pass now right here! June 15, 6 pm.  417 Hixbridge Road, Westport.

6. Put Yourself Out to Pasture

A beautiful walk at dusk? Yes, please. Join Weatherlow Farms Land and Livestock Manager Brent on an evening walk through the gorgeous fields of the farm (we were just there for our launch party last month, so we can promise that the landscape is gorgeous! Check out pictures from our party here). The walk promises much more than pretty views, as participants will learn about Weatherlow’s approach to raising livestock and building healthy soils that contribute to sustainable agricultural practices! The event is free, but it is requested that you reserve a ticket as to manage numbers. June 28, 5:30 -7 pm. 845 Sodom Road, Westport. Register here.

7. Homecoming!

Nearly two hundred vendor booths, live entertainment, an outdoor art exhibition, and free fire engine rides for kids all play a part in Fairhaven’s largest annual event, Homecoming Days! Fairhaven’s picturesque town center, filled with European-style architecture, adds to the charm of the day. The Unitarian Memorial Church (showcasing English Perpendicular Gothic style architecture) will be open for tours all day. There is no entrance fee to the fair, and a free shuttle will operate between the Northeast Maritime Institute and Fairhaven High School. June 30, 10 am to 4 pm. Center Street, from William to Green Streets. See here for more information.

8. Get Out There & Swim!

Swimming 1.2 miles through the New Bedford Harbor? No problem! With the assistance of the U.S. Coast Guard and local safety patrol, swimmers will pass through the channel by the Butler Flats Lighthouse and New Bedford Hurricane Barrier before reaching the finish at the Fort Phoenix State Reservation. The beach party finish includes a live steel drum band, cooked to order pancakes, coffee, free massages, and local beer! With a $25 registration fee and $150 fundraising minimum (with a special rate for youth teams), the fundraiser supports the Buzzards Bay Coalition, whose events are often featured in our monthly blog post and whose work is essential in conservation of the Bay.

If the Coalition signs up 60 more swimmers, they’ll earn a $50,000 challenge grant to benefit clean water. If the Buzzards Bay Swim has been on your bucket list, make this the year to do it! June 30, 6:30 to 10:30 a.m. Register here. 

For occasional free email updates from us on things that make the South Coast the best place to be any month of the year, go right here.

 

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The Best Homefries We’ve Ever Had

From time to time, we take our advertisers out to breakfast to review a local breakfast place for our readers. Because, really, who doesn’t love breakfast? Most recently, we had breakfast with Cindy Parola of LaForce Realty…..

Cindy Parola is a local’s local and she really knows her stuff, whether that is real estate or home fries. I knew she’d be a good person to ask about breakfast spots. When I asked her to pick a place to review, she chose the Riverside Cafe on Wareham’s Main Street.

I got there a few minutes early and took a look at the menu. I had settled on the Green Pig (spinach, sausage and mozzarella cheese omelet) before Cindy arrived and the waitress came over to give us the specials. There were a half dozen specials but one stood out and made me forget the Green Pig: morning glory pancakes. Like a morning glory muffin, but in a pancake form. With coconut too. I know people have strong opinions about coconut. Me, I love it. Put it in any dish and I want that dish. (“Coconut infused fried kidney livers?” Sure! Sign me up!)

So I put away the menu and ordered the morning glory pancakes. Cindy chose the Main Street Special. She told me she picked Riverside because the hash is amazing. Then she realized she hadn’t even ordered the hash. “Yeah,” she said, “the problem is that it’s all good.” She also likes that everything in Riverside is mismatched, like our coffee cups were. She took a second glance at one of them, “I think this is my Black Dog mug.”

homefriesWhen her order arrived, she told me Riverside makes the best home fries she’s ever had and she let me try them. She’s right. They are stupendous. Crispy like no others I’ve ever had. They are seriously worth a trip, even if you hail from the other end of the South Coast. Even if you’re coming from Boston.

While we happily ate our breakfast, we talked about Cindy’s work and life here.

Her family story reads like the American dream. Her grandfather came to the United States from Greece. He started working as a shoeshiner, then got a pushcart in downtown New Bedford selling produce before purchasing a wholesale route and opening a storefront on Wareham’s Main Street (where Mumma Marys is now). Then he started buying bogs at Mary’s Pond in Rochester and started farming cranberries. Real estate was important to him and Cindy absorbed his lessons (“always buy corner properties” and “you can always make more money but you can’t make more land.”)

Cindy inherited his worth ethic. “I don’t do anything half-assed,” she says frankly. “I was taught that an A- wasn’t good enough. The bar was set high. I was also told I had to participate.” At Old Rochester Regional High School, she participated in theater, track, volleyball, band and chorus. She took the late bus home every day which set her up for the grueling schedule she’s maintained throughout her life. In many ways, she has carried on her grandfather’s legacy of land and cranberries — she’s been president of Decas Cranberries for 20 years and she’s also a real estate broker affiliate at LaForce Realty. But she’s done so many other things: she owned a liquor store in Wareham when she was just 17 [before she was legally of drinking age!]; she finished college in 3 years; she served on the Wareham School Committee and Board of Selectman; she’s hosted two dozen Cape Cod League baseball players.

She’s got a sharp wit and is full of surprises. She seems tenacious and tough but I thought I detected something else under all toughness. I’ve noticed that she’s the first to support the members in our 6 Degrees Networking group. I told her I thought I had cracked her secret. That underneath it all, she is kind. She laughed. “I’m not kind,” she said, definitively. “No,” she repeated for emphasis. “I’m not.”

I was a little surprised because who doesn’t want to be seen as kind? I tried a different approach. “Well, you’re loyal then.”

“Nope,” she countered. “I’m not loyal.”

“But you’re such a great supporter of all the small businesses in our group,” I argue back. “I go to sign up for a yoga class and you’ve written the testimonial on the website.”

She was having none of it. “I’m fiercely protective of my reputation,” she said. “I want to try people out before recommending them. I’m not going to recommend people who I don’t use myself.” Fair enough. She knows a lot of people and a lot of people know her. “If you own a liquor store when you’re 17, trust me you know everyone,” she says. It makes sense that she is fierce about her reputation. (Still, I think there’s at least a little kindness mixed in there too.)

So here are the takeaways from breakfast with Cindy Parola.

  • The Riverside Cafe is amazing. We both give it an A.
  • The home fries are the best we’ve ever ate.
  • Morning Glory Pancakes with warm syrup should be a regular part of anyone’s life.
  • Cindy is supposedly neither kind, nor loyal.
  • She is a connector.
  • I should go back to Riverside for the hash.

Check out the homefries yourself at Riverside Cafe, 189 Main Street, Wareham, 508-295-2050. Open daily for breakfast and lunch, 6 am to 1 pm.

To find out more about Cindy’s real estate practice (commercial, residential, you name it — she knows it all), go here.

And, finally, to keep up with breakfast place reviews and lots more going on in the area, sign up here.

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8 Great Things: May on the South Coast

“All things seem possible in May.” Edwin Way Teale

It’s true. All things do seem possible in May. Know what’s nearly impossible? Narrowing the choices down to just 8 great things to do! But we did it. Once again, we present you with 8 great things to do on the South Coast this wonderful month!

Things to do1. Story Walk

Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust is taking a page out of Anne Ferguson’s StoryWalk Project. What could be better on a warm May day than wandering down a nature trail as you happen upon the pages of a beloved book! You can read Over in The Meadow by Paul Caldone, a nursery poem about animals, along the trail of Ridge Hill Reserve or Sheep Take A Hike by Nancy Shaw, a book about sheep wandering through the woods and finding their way home, in Paskamansett Woods. The laminated book pages will be placed along the trail on May 1st and can be enjoyed throughout the month. Starting May 1. See here for more information.

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Juice is Having A Moment — So We Did Too!

The Lowdown on Our Juice Taste Test

Juice cafes are all the rage. Green juices, cold-pressed juices, artisanal juices. We had a question: are they really worth the price tag?

We sat down for a juice taste test with two of our advertisers, Kendellyn Cavanaugh Gagne & Jen Manse. Our assignment was simple:

  • Purchase juice from People’s Pressed, New Bedford’s juice cafe;
  • Taste several flavors;
  • Review them;
  • Have fun!

We picked Kendellyn and Jennifer because they share an office and both work in holistic health fields. Kendellyn is a physical therapist specializing in myofascial release; Jen specializes in biofeedback. It seemed like their small businesses have a nice synergy with a healthy juice shop. (Unfamiliar with biofeedback and myofascial release massage? Hold on! We’ll get to that after the juice.)

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8 Great Things! April on the South Coast

“April is the cruelest month,” writes T.S. Eliot in the opening lines of his poem, The Waste Land. Thousands and thousands of words have gone into analyzing this opening line. You know why? Because it makes no sense. April is pretty darn great. Here are 8 more things that make it so….

1. A is for April; A is for Art

Dedee Shattuck GalleryThe first exhibit of the 2018 year at the Dedee Shattuck Gallery is here! Solastagia, curated by Charlotte Hamlin and Anna Kristina Goransson, presents work from several textile artists. We’ve checked out the exhibit page (see it here) and are in AWE of the artists’ work, it was hard to pick just one photo to feature! Check out a sneak peak of the work online, and then head out to the artist’s reception on April 7th from 5-7pm to see the exhibit and celebrate the opening with the people who brought the exhibit to life! If you can’t make it to the opening, you can check out the exhibit from April 4th-29th. 1 Partners Lane, Westport, 508.636.4177. Wed – Sat, 10 – 5, Sun 12 – 5.

2. Black Violin?

Black ViolinHip hop meets violin. Have we got your attention yet? Wil Baptiste and Kevin Sylvester, the artists of Black Violin, blend their classical violin background with hip hop, R&B, rock, and bluegrass music. They and their band are returning to the Z this April. Still not convinced? Check out this video to see them jamming with their full band (complete with an electric violin!!). April 6, 8 pm, The Zeiterion Theater, 684 Purchase Street, New Bedford. Tickets $22 – 35.

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Through the Looking Glass: Tracy Silva Barbosa

The South Coast is brimming with creative energy, art and culture. In our 2017 issue, we featured 7 artists who help make it so. Over this month, we’re reprinting our 2017 profiles, with some extra photographs. Today, meet Tracy Silva Barbosa who creates inspiring works which celebrate a wide variety of compelling narratives (written by Laura Pedulli and photographed by Elin Bodin). To see the story as it originally appeared in our summer 2017 issue, click here or just read on…

As a child of Portuguese immigrants, painter and glass designer Tracy Silva Barbosa first encountered art in the works of the Catholic church. “I was always drawn to the arts, but I did not have much exposure to museums,” she says. Barbosa would peek at the pictures in her mother’s Bible, or notice stained glass in church in her native Taunton.

Tracy Barbosa Silva

Autumnal Tide

Barbosa considers herself foremost a glass artist, trained at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston and the Pilchuck Glass School in Washington. But when she graduated, she no longer had the 2,000 lb. melting tank, kilns and other tools needed for glass art. “That prompted me to paint on canvas, and I was able to produce the same effect. These were sketches for glasswork, but people liked the paintings,” she says.

Her glass art contains both urban and flora elements, and is inspired by Asian landscape paintings and medieval relicology. She utilizes painterly strokes and photographic imagery in the plates of glass she layers together.Her work “Three Wishes,” features a hazy New Bedford skyline, with etched and leafed glass plates layered in, exuding an organic feeling.

Tracy Barbosa Silva

Cygnus & the Admirer

Before moving to New Bedford, she gained access to the tools she needed at UrbanGlass in Brooklyn and was involved in the New York City art scene. Now, she does commissioned work for private collections or individuals — but also works on community projects. “Ever since I was in art school, public art is a goal of mine.”

Some public works include a large 35-foot mural in the Carney Academy Public School Greenhouse, and a bus shelter installation in Providence. The former, which was installed more than three years ago, has been treated with respect, she says. “I always had this theory, that if space is treated with a dignity and care that honors the person using it, that gets reciprocated. People will respect it.”


“People want me here, and they are good at showing it. I know the mayor on a first-name basis; I love that,” she says.


Barbosa also is involved with “artsadvocacy,” which means lobbying for government funding of the arts. Although the New Bedford area is not the same as living in New York City, she says as an artist she is appreciated here. “People want me here, and they are good at showing it. I know the mayor on a first-name basis; I love that,” she says, adding that many economic development programs exist in town to help artists become self-sustaining entrepreneurs.

Keep up with our series of artist profiles by signing up here for updates as they are released.  To see more of Tracy’s work and how to purchase it, click here. 

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The Grace of Strong Women: Alison Wells in New Bedford

The South Coast is brimming with creative energy, art and culture. In our 2017 issue, we featured 7 artists who help make it so. Over the next month, we’ll be reprinting our 2017 profiles, with some extra photographs. Today, meet Alison Wells who creates inspiring works which celebrate a wide variety of compelling narratives (written by Laura Pedulli and photographed by Elin Bodin). To see the story as it originally appeared in our summer 2017 issue, click here or just read on…

Painter Alison Wells, a native of Trinidad, never imagined she’d end up in southern Massachusetts—or that she’d make her living as an artist. “Every time I made very certain decisions not to get into the arts, my life and universe just brought me back,” she says.

She studied architecture before a scholarship at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in Jamaica allowed her to do what she loves. She taught art for several years in Trinidad before venturing to New Bedford for graduate school.

Wells’s paintings and collages explore urban landscapes, local history, femininity, and more. Her works appear in public, private and family collections around the world.

In her “Underground Railroad” series, which plays out on canvas and paper, she recreated New Bedford’s history as a destination for escaped slaves, and Frederick Douglas’s pivotal role in bringing them to freedom. Her mixed media collages incorporate painting, photomontage and drawing techniques. Layered into the piece is text from original sources, such as clippings about a man who shipped himself in a box to escape servitude.

Photo by Elin BodinWells’s “Totem Women” series features Caribbean- inspired abstracted female forms that often morph into column-life structures. Traditional Trinidadian head ties adorn their heads. “I’m from a family of independent women. I have four sisters, and I’m very close to my mother. The women [in the series] are strong, protective and stand their ground,” she says.


“Every time I made very certain decisions not to get into the arts, my life and universe just brought me back,” she says.


The production time of her art varies, she says. “It’s all is in how it’s flowing. It’s in how the painting talks to you. If everything is aligning at the same time, and things are working out, not conflicting, it can move faster.”

Photo by Elin BodinSixteen years since moving to the region, Wells has settled into her downtown New Bedford studio. In addition, she volunteers at community organizations that promote historical preservation, and has taught painting to both teens and veterans. “The energy for the arts is growing in New Bedford,” she says.

Keep up with our series of artist profiles by signing up here for updates as they are released.

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8 Great Things! March on the South Coast

March is an intriguing month. Is it winter or spring? We’re never sure. But we are sure about these 8 great things to do on the South Coast that we pulled together for you. Enjoy this fickle month!

Things to do1. Unusual Catches Day

Ever met a fisherman who’s caught a kitchen sink? Alan Cass, a volunteer at the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center, has! Join the Center for their Unusual Catches Day when fishermen will be bringing their strangest caught objects, from fossils to a kitchen sink. Maritime archeologists will be on hand to examine the artifacts. Come with an object you want to be examined or just come to experience all the unusual catches from fishermen on the South Coast. March 3, 1 to 4 pm, free. New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center, 38 Bethel Street, New Bedford.

2. Sugar, Sugar

March in New England means it’s maple season! Learn all about the history and process of maple tapping while talking a lovely walk around LaPalme Farmas, as part of the Buzzards Bay Coalition’s Wednesday Walkabout series. Then, go home, make some pancakes for lunch and drench with maple syrup (one of the 4 major food groups per Buddy the Elf — see that here). March 7, 10 to 11:30 am, LaPalme Farm, Blain Street, Acushnet. Free but you have to register. Find out more here.

3. The Manjiro Story

The New Bedford Youth Ballet performs this true story in which a young Japanese boy is shipwrecked and then rescued by a Fairhaven whaling captain. He returns to Fairhaven, one of the first Japanese people to visit America, where he stays for several years and attends school. Set to traditional Japanese music, one of the performances will take place at the New Bedford Whaling Museum (what better place to watch the story of a shipwreck and a whaling captain!?) during AHA! The weekend performances are a fundraiser with ticket sales benefiting New Bedford Ballet’s scholarship programs. March 8, 7 pm, 18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford (free and open to the public). There are 2 additional performances on March 11 at 2343 Purchase Street, New Bedford, 1:30 or 3:00, with tickets from $7 to $15. See the New Bedford Ballet website here for more information. 

4. Fairhaven’s Pilgrim

The Fairhaven Historical Society is treating us to our favorite tour guide, Chris Richard who fills us in on the last surviving Mayflower passenger, John Cooke. Cooke settled in Fairhaven, the only pilgrim to move to the Old Dartmouth territory. The lecture will be followed by a question and answer session.  March 16, 7 pm, Fairhaven Town Hall Auditorium, 40 Center Street, Fairhaven. The event is free but donations are gratefully accepted.

5. Yes, and…

We’ve been intrigued by the popularity of improv ever since reading this New Yorker piece where we learned that ‘yes, and,” is an improv technique used to help prevent your scenes from stalling out. While we’re not ready to fork over hundreds to take an improv class, we’re certainly ready to catch a show! The Rotary Club of Fall River is hosting The Bit Players, an award winning live comedy group from Newport, for a night of improv comedy which supports Rotary Club charities and scholarships. March 16, Bristol Community College. For more about The Bit Players, see here. For more about the March 16 event, see here.

6. Seal the Deal

Buzzards Bay is a big stopover point for seals as they migrate, and March is the perfect time to spot them. The Lloyd Center is sponsoring a cruise to take you to “Gull Island” a small sandbar situated along the Elizabeth Island chain between Cuttyhunk and Penikese. You’ll be accompanied by a naturalist from the Llloyd Center and the day includes a lunch stop on Cuttyhunk where passengers are encouraged to explore the town and the lookout. The ticket price includes lunch and background materials. March 10 and 24, 10 – 2:30, Leaving from Cuttyhunk Ferry, at State Pier, New Bedford. Advance registration required and ticket prices are $20 for children, $43 for Lloyd Center members and $53 for non-members. See more here.

7. Polar Plunge

Ready to brave the waters in a community polar plunge? Well, there’s good news/bad news. The good news: the air is warmer than those New Year’s Day plunges you considered. The bad news: the water temperature is colder. But the 2nd annual New Bedford Polar Plunge is quickly approaching, and you don’t want to be left out. The plunge supports Special Olympics Massachusetts to continue its great work offering free programing to roughly 12,000 athletes a year. The event is open to the public, so even if you won’t be jumping in, you’re encouraged to come out, join the fun and make a donation to a great cause — (in fact, we’d encourage the organizers to require a big donation for NOT jumping in!) March 24, 11 am, East Beach, 1014 E. Rodney French Boulevard, New Bedford. See more here

8. Movie Night Pops

There’s really nothing like hearing your favorite soundtrack performed live by dozens of professional musicians. The New Bedford Symphony Orchestra will be performing all your favorite movie hits in their Movie Night Pops Concert. The night will feature new and old hits from classics (think James Bond, Star Wars, Lala Land, Beauty & the Beast, The Godfather, Superman and more!) all performed live by the orchestra. March 31, 7:30. The Zeiterion, 684 Purchase Street, New Bedford. Tickets range from $30-65, and are $10 for students under 22. See here for ordering tickets. 

P.S. The Onset Bonfire, featured previously in our January 8 Great and which was postponed due to weather, has been rescheduled to take place on March 10!! Be sure to check it out here.

P.P.S. Do you want to keep up with everything local and wonderful? Yes?! Sign up for periodic updates here.

 

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Swinging from the Stars: Teresa Kochis

South Coast artists
South Coast Artists

Photo credit: Elin Bodin

The South Coast is brimming with creative energy, art and culture. In our 2017 issue, we featured 7 artists who help make it so. Over the next month, we’ll be reprinting our 2017 profiles, with some extra photographs. First up, meet Teresa Kochis, our resident aerial artist (written by Laura Pedulli and photographed by Elin Bodin). To see the story as it originally appeared in our summer 2017 issue, click here or just read on…

Mastering aerial arts requires a combination of technical precision, strength, flexibility and grace. Teresa Kochis makes it look effortless.

Kochis, a New Bedford-based aerial artist, performs her high flying acrobatic feats on 19-ft.-long silks that dangle from the ceiling of her home at the Ropeworks loft space for artists. She climbs, twists, spins, drops and contorts herself with the poise of a dancer.


“I love the feeling of possibility that exists in New Bedford. Whether it’s a small business opening up or a nonprofit launching or a historic mill building being re-envisioned, New Bedford is a place where new ideas and projects are being tested.”


South Coast artists

Photo credit: Elin Bodin

“When I perform, I am very focused on executing the skills well and safely. After that, I let the spirit of the piece take over, whether that means deep diving into serious emotion, moving with abandon, or allowing my inner clown to take to the stage,” she says.

Kochis is owner of Overhead Arts, which provides circus arts training right in the heart of New Bedford. She first started offering a few classes for adults in January 2010, and soon extended lessons to youth.

As a child, Kochis immersed herself in drawing and painting. At age 17, she encountered aerial arts when her sister began training at the Circus Arts Institute in Atlanta.

“I remember seeing her perform and knowing I wanted to do be able to do that, too,” says Kochis, who went on to receive training and education from the Arts Institute, the New England Center for Circus Arts and New York University’s Gallatin School for Individualized Study. She also served as a coach coordinator and social circus instructor for the outreach program of Cirque du Soleil.

Kochis and her partner, Andy Anello, eventually moved from New York City to New Bedford with a little guidance from the Internet.

“I googled, ‘Massachusetts loft,’ and our building The Ropeworks Artist Condominium came up in my search. It just happened to be the week before New Bedford Open Studios, so it was easy to come down and take a look at the space. The rest is history,” she says.

In addition to classes at her loft, Kochis brings aerial arts to area youth through New Bedford Cultural Council-sponsored programs at the Boys and Girls Club of New Bedford and AHA! (Art • History • Architecture).


“Every time I teach a student to juggle scarves, I’m reminded of the intrinsic value of circus arts. It has the power to bring joy, self-confidence, drive, and perpetual wonder to an individual in a short instant, which can truly last a lifetime,” she says.


Over the years, she has watched her students reach new heights (both literally and figuratively) in confidence and ability.

“I have adult students who have gone on to acquire teacher- training certificates and now teach at Overhead Arts. I have advanced youth students who are seeking out educational and performance opportunities in circus arts. I have students that come back year after year to take part in Overhead Arts’ outreach programs. I’m so proud of all of them,” Kochis says.

South Coast artists

Photo credit: Elin Bodin

In 2016, Kochis opened an additional space at 88 Hatch Street, not far from the Ropeworks. “The building is a great fit for Overhead Arts since it’s intended for artists, has industrial beams perfect for rigging aerial equipment, and lots of open floor space for classes.”

Kochis credits her success with the supportive atmosphere of New Bedford, which offers affordable living and studio spaces, an array of arts organizations, proximity to larger cities like Boston and Providence, and a rich culture and history.

“I love the feeling of possibility that exists in New Bedford. Whether it’s a small business opening up or a nonprofit launching or a historic mill building being re-envisioned, New Bedford is a place where new ideas and projects are being tested,” she says.

In the meantime, Kochis hopes to grow the student base by attracting more talented and passionate coaches and launching out-of-school camps, and potentially, a scholarship program.

“Every time I teach a student to juggle scarves, I’m reminded of the intrinsic value of circus arts. It has the power to bring joy, self-confidence, drive, and perpetual wonder to an individual in a short instant, which can truly last a lifetime,” she says.

To keep up with your cool and interesting neighbors and what’s happening on the South Coast, sign up for our free updates right here. To learn more about Overhead Arts, check out its Facebook page.

Laura Pedulli is a Marion-based writer who has covered art, government, healthcare, business, education and cultural affairs for various publications – including The New Bedford Standard-Times, Sippican Week and The Wanderer. She currently seves as associate director for communications at a local college. Originally from Boulder, Colorado, she has traded mountains for the ocean and hasn’t looked back. 

Photographer Elin Bodin has spent most of her life outside her beloved Iceland, in Norway, Spain, Singapore, Thailand, Japan and finally the United States. Elín moved to New England in 1998 and shortly thereafter fulfilled her life-long dream and established elín photography (www.elinphotography.com), working in both magazine and wedding photography.

 

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8 Great Things! February on the South Coast

Things to do

Put January behind you! We’re chugging toward spring and we’ve got 8 Great Things to keep you busy in February. March will be here before you know it!

Nature Valentines

February on the South CoastThe perfect way to get the whole family into the Valentine’s Day spirit! The Buzzards Bay Coalition’s Saturday at the Sawmill series is hosting a Nature Valentine making program, including a short walk around the Sawmill to find natural materials to create the valentines. The program is free, bring your little ones and learn about wildlife around the Sawmill while getting an early start on your valentines! The Sawmill, 32 Mill Road, Acushnet. February 3, starting at 11 am (the Hawes Family Learning center is open 10am-1pm). Learn more here.

Frederick Douglass Read-a-thon

Frederick Douglass Read-A-ThonYou know how much we love a good community read-a-thon (see our January pick for the Moby Dick Read-a-thon). If you missed January’s event, you’ve got a second chance! 2018 is the bicentennial of Frederick Douglass’ birth, and the New Bedford Historical Society is celebrating with its 18th Annual Frederick Douglass Community Read-a-thon. Celebrate Douglass’ life (and his connections to New Bedford!) by reading along to excerpts from his Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave. Sunday, February 11, 2-6pm at the First Unitarian Church, 71 Eighth Street, New Bedford. See here for more information. If you’re interested in being a reader, contact the New Bedford Historical Society by emailing [email protected]

Snowshoe the Shoreline!

February on the South CoastBYOSS (bring your own snow shoes or rent them here)!! Hike along the beach loop trail of Allens Pond Sanctuary with Mass Audubon. The walk is approximately 2 miles long and promises views of winter wildlife and the channel that feeds Allens Pond. Along the way, you’ll look for migrating snowy owls and waterfowl and track the signs of animal activity. The walk will continue even without snow, in that case, just bring hiking boots! February 11, 10 am – 2 pm. Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary, 1280 Horseneck Road, Westport ($10 for members, $12 for non-members). Learn more here.

It’s Fat Tuesday!

Brass Bands and jambalaya buffets and auctions, oh my! Come out and celebrate Mardi Gras in style with the South Coast Brass Band at the Greasy Luck Brewery.  The event benefits the Boys and Girls Club of Greater New Bedford and has a jambalaya buffet and dancing, as well as an auction to benefit the club.  So get moving for a good cause! Tickets range from $50-$60 and can be purchased here. February 13, 7-11pm, Greasy Luck Brewpub, 791 Purchase Street, New Bedford.

February on the South CoastCatch Some Magic!

As winter trudges on, we all need a little extra magic. Join the Masters of Illusion (the nation’s number one touring magic show!) to get your fill and experience a modern twist on the traditional magic show. Check out this video below for a sneak peek of what to expect! February 15, 8 pm. The Zeiteron, 684 Purchase Street, New Bedford. For more information and to buy tickets, go here.

February on the South CoastGet Cookin’!

We love Farm & Coast Market, and we love that they strive to be the front porch, kitchen, and family room of Padanaram. This month, you can get cooking with them and learn how to whip up a French Bistro style menu (including a roast chicken!). The timing of the class is perfect for a late Valentine’s Day date — and we’re sure you’ll continue impressing your friends and family with all your new skills. February 15, 6:30 -8:30pm. Reservations are required, call or email Farm & Coast to make yours (774-992-7092 or [email protected]). 7 Bridge Street, Dartmouth.

24 Hour Theater Project

Scripts written, scenes rehearsed, lines learned, shows performed; all in 24 hours!

The Collective New Bedford is hosting their 2018 Kickoff, featuring original 10 minute plays and performances that are completely created and performed in just 24 hours. You don’t have to be an actor (or a writer, or a director) to get in on the fun (although check out their Facebook page if you want to audition. Auditions are coming up this week!) The day’s creations will be performed twice, admission is $10 and you can reserve seats by emailing [email protected]. February 17, performances at 7 and 9 pm at Gallery X, 169 Williams Street, New Bedford.

A Little Fiddlin’

February on the South CoastEvery fourth Saturday, fiddlers gather on the South Coast for food, dancing, and jamming. There’s good music, great pizza, and it’s open to all. If you’re a musician, bring your instrument (it doesn’t have to be a fiddle! Guitars, banjos, cellos, and all other string instruments are welcome). Otherwise, come prepared to listen and dance. Check out this video of December’s session (and keep your eyes peeled for the cutest young fiddler jamming along, around 30 seconds in!). This month’s session is February 24 at 4:30 pm at Brick, 213 Huttleston Avenue, Fairhaven. See the their Facebook page for more information on Old Time Fiddle Session.

That’s all — enjoy this short month!

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