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Category: People We Love

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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6 Amazing Women: Eva Sommaripa

Eva Sommaripa (Photo by Elin Bodin)

March is women’s history month and we’ve had a fun month, introducing you to the six amazing women we chose to feature in our inaugural issue.  If you’ve been keeping track, you know we’ve introduced five women so far this month.

Who is the sixth? Well, we actually introduced you to her on our blog back in January (because we wanted to be thinking about spring and farming back in those cold, dark days).  Eva Sommaripa is a food pioneer, who is known all over Rhode Island and Massachusetts for her remarkable herbs, microgreens and foraged edibles. For those of you who missed it, please feel free to check out the print version of our 2016 article on Eva right here: Eva Sommaripa

And if you want to keep up with more of our favorite South Coast folks, sign up here for our free emails filled with lots of juicy stories and local tidbits.

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6 Amazing Women: Michelle Hantman

March is women’s history month. At South Coast Almanac, we’re digging into our (short) history to bring you the profiles of 6 amazing women from the inaugural 2016 issue.

Today, we introduce Michelle Hantman from the United Way of Greater New Bedford. Michelle flirted with the idea of becoming a news anchor and even interned at CNN and Extra in Los Angeles before realizing that she wanted to make a difference back home on the South Coast. Check out her story here: Michelle Hantman

And if you want to keep up with more of our favorite South Coast folks, sign up here for our free emails filled with lots of juicy stories and local tidbits.

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6 Amazing Women: Dr. Ann Partridge

March is women’s history month. At South Coast Almanac, we’re digging into our (short) history to bring you the profiles of 6 amazing women from the inaugural 2016 issue.

Today we present Dr. Ann Partridge, an internationally renowned Dana Farber oncologist, who lives right here in New Bedford. Find out why she chose a 60 mile commute.  Check it out here: Ann Partridge

And if you want to keep up with more of our favorite South Coast folks, sign up here for our free emails filled with lots of juicy stories and local tidbits.

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6 Amazing Women: Gail Fortes

March is women’s history month. At South Coast Almanac, we’re digging into our (short) history to bring you the profiles of 6 amazing women from the inaugural 2016 issue.

This week, meet Gail Fortes who detoured from a career in dance to a career empowering girls and women. Find out why she’s got rolling suitcases packed at the office at all times. Check out her story here: Gail Fortes. 

And if you want to keep up with more of our favorite South Coast folks, sign up here for our free emails filled with lots of juicy stories and local tidbits.

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6 Amazing Women: Ashley Bendiksen

March is women’s history month. At South Coast Almanac, we’re digging into our (short) history to bring you the profiles of 6 amazing women from the inaugural 2016 issue.

Our hero today is Ashley Bendiksen, a young woman who passionately works to make sure other young women know they can survive domestic abuse. Check out her story here: Ashley Bendiksen.

And if you want to keep up with more of our favorite South Coast folks, sign up here for our free emails filled with lots of juicy stories and local tidbits.

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6 Amazing Women: Louise Bastarache

March is women’s history month. At South Coast Almanac, we decided to dig into our own history (alright, alright…with just one issue out so far, we don’t really have to “dig” very far) to bring you the profiles of 6 amazing women from the inaugural 2016 issue.

First up, the baby whisperer: Tobey Hospital’s Louise Bastarache. People drive from as far away as Boston and Provincetown to have Louise as their midwife. Check out our story about her here: Louise Bastarache.

 

And if you want to keep up with more of our favorite South Coast folks, sign up here for our free emails.

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5 More South Coast Couples We Love

5 More South Coast Couples We Love

Last year, we shared our favorite South Coast couples and it was the most popular post of the year (check it out here if you missed it). We guess everyone is drawn to a good love match, just like we are. In honor of Valentine’s Day, we continue the tradition this year right here, with 5 More South Coast Couples We Love. A special shout out and thanks to A.J. Marks Jewelers for sponsoring this post! If you’re looking for something for your sweetheart, check out A.J. Marks — they’ll take good care of you.

Justin & Megan at the 2016 South Coast Almanac launch party

Justin Tonnessen & Megan Bruce

Together since: 2011

Why We Love Them: We love the patience of this Fairhaven couple. Their courtship was the longest we’ve ever heard of. When mutual friends tried to set them up, they went out for a lunch date in 2009. Then they went on another date in 2010. In 2011, they ran into each other at Cork in downtown New Bedford. Something clicked that night and they’ve been together non-stop ever since.

 

 

Our favorite Valentine's couples

Tim & Howe at the annual Picnic on the Lawn

 

Howe Allen & Tim Evans

Together since: 2003

Why We Love Them: They bring a sense of adventure to everything they do. On a whim and having never visited Fairhaven before, they decided to drive to West Island because they were looking for a second home and they liked how it looked on a map. Within a month, they were West Island homeowners. Three years later in 2010, they had moved permanently from Boston to Fairhaven. They settled in and together have created new treasured traditions in the community like the annual Picnic on the Lawn (which we adore!) and the Fairhaven Short Film Festival (which we’re going to check out this May). We’re so happy they moved to the South Coast.

 

 

 

Mark Medeiros

Mark & Gayle on Martha’s Vineyard

Mark & Gayle Medeiros

Together since: 1972

Why We Love Them: They’ve been together for over 40 years since they first met at Bristol Community College but you’d never know it. They still look like two kids in love. Perhaps it’s because they make sure to go out on a date every weekend. That’s pretty impressive (and is perhaps the reason for their longevity). They still enjoy each other’s company enough to work side by side at Slocum Design Studio in Dartmouth (where they help us keep this website up-to-snuff!)

 

 

Dave Richardson & Jan Schmidt

Dave & Jan

Dave Richardson & Jan Schmidt

Together since: 2014

Why We Love Them: They met when Jan was a guest performer at one of Dave’s weekly blues gigs. They were both “reluctant relationship people” but they liked each other and started following each other’s musical careers. Dave remembers being an audience member at one of Jan’s shows, mesmerized by her and just thinking “wow, look at that!” After that show, they hopped on his motorcycle, went out for sushi and decided to go to see Boyhood at the Cable Car Cinema in Providence. Settling into the leather couches that night, they both realized they had something special.

A detour from the South Coast: Dave says, “When we met, I was planning to move back to Maine. I told her, ‘If I’m moving to Maine, I’m not leaving you behind.'” Sadly, they did move to Maine. Happily, they moved back to New Bedford last summer.  Check them out performing together at Fathoms Bar & Grill on February 24 and March 10 or at Tavolo on March 4.

 

Ashley & Riley

Ashley & Riley at a farmer’s market

Ashley Payne & Riley Mello

Together since: 2015

Why We Love Them: They’re always thinking of the next big idea. And then making it happen. In November 2015, they made a batch of dog treats made from spent grain left over from Riley’s home beer brewing. Turns out, the treats were pretty darn good. They applied for permits and went into business last spring as French BrewDog Bakery, attending events and farmers markets all over the South Coast. We ran into them at the Fairhaven Farmers Market and fell in love with them and their adorable booth. We won’t be surprised if they open a cafe for humans someday soon. Their Dartmouth home is the experimental base for creating all sorts of funky edibles like kombucha, wine, beer and things you’ve never even considered (like fermented granola, fermented salsa and fermented ginger beer). Keep an eye out for expanded offerings…

 

Keep up with South Coast Almanac updates, news and events, by signing up for our free emails here.

Special shout out to AJ Marks Jewelers in Wareham and Hyannis for sponsoring our Valentine blog posts. Thanks, guys!

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