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So, how was YOUR weekend? Vol. 1

Groundwork! co-founder Sarah Athanas maintains perfect balance as a Yoga instructor.

Groundwork! co-founder Sarah Athanas maintains perfect balance as a Yoga instructor.


DATELINE: Groundwork!, NEW BEDFORD, MA – Getting back to work on a Monday morning at a place like Groundwork!, with its eclectic membership, is like watching Facebook and Instagram come to life. So many of our members pursue so many varied interests that’s it informative just to hear them talk about their weekends. Work-week passions often spill into Saturday or Sunday, yet just as often go in a completely different direction.

E for All’s Shelley Cardoos, for example, doubles down on the entrepreneurship by running the downtown New Bedford artisan market, CRAFTORAMA. Happening every Saturday in June, July and August for the first time this year, it’s a great selling venue for craftspeople, do-it-yourselfers and the all-around creative. (But it must be noted that in addition to CRAFTORAMA the inexhaustible Cardoos can also be found at a wrestling match, concert or any number of other activities on any given weekend!)

Groundwork! co-founder Sarah Athanas goes the opposite way. Her weekend hours bear little resemblance to her ‘day job.’ Very often, Sarah teaches Yoga on the weekend on Cape Cod – in addition to a regular Thursday night class at Carabiner’s Fitness & Climbing here in New Bedford. Fellow co-founder Dena Haden similarly takes it outdoors as a landscaper or tends to her own garden. Or, she pursues her artistic career both indoors and outdoors.

Some of this is simply the way business is done these days. Many people at Groundwork! simultaneously pursue several passions at once to maintain economic vitality. Most freelancers – whether the trade be writing, editing, marketing, or programming – are used to juggling multiple clients and gigs. It certainly makes for interesting if slightly schizophrenic cocktail conversation at the monthly Business Buzz NOTworking events Groundwork! co-hosts with Civic Support at various watering holes downtown. (Next one is Wed. July 27 at Slainte; info here.)

Often, Groundwork! offers itself as a venue for non-members but good friends to reveal bits of their secret selves, too. That happened on a recent Saturday night when the man who feeds New Bedford, Devin Byrnes of Destination Soups let loose and brought Picnic Lunch and some head-banging heavy metal music to the space for a special night of performance art, music and dancing – with hula hoops!

A by-product of pursuing multiple professional goals at once is that it affords many members of Groundwork! the time to participate in the many civic and cultural groups that help make New Bedford hum. You’ll find Groundwork! members on any number of committees and participating in groups working hard for the city. A short list includes the steering committees for AHA! New Bedford; New Bedford Open Studios; the Seaport Cultural District; the Hollihock Writer’s Conference; the New Bedford Local Cultural Council; the Acushnet Ave. Steering Committee; and others.

Personally and professionally, Groundwork! members are a well-rounded – and very civic-minded – group.

I’ll be diving deeper both into everybody’s weekends and volunteer efforts in future columns.

Steven Froias