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State of the Arts in The Standard-Times

Hey – this all about me! Actually, it’s not at all – but thought I’d have some fun with the opening.

This blog post is about me only in the sense that I’ve got some exciting news to share. In addition to the unbearable lightness of being the joy of writing for Groundwork! on brings me, this Thursday I also begin a new writing venture – a weekly series in The Standard-Times daily newspaper called “State of the Arts.”

State of the Arts will be published every Thursday in the paper’s Coastin’ section. The launch this week on Thurs. Jan. 25 is an introduction to the series and concept, but in a nutshell, it will relentlessly focus on New Bedford’s arts and culture community. Week in and week out, it will treat the arts as any other regular reporting beat through a mix of columns, features and profiles examining, you got it, the state of the arts in New Bedford.

You can read more this Thursday in the newspaper, or online at And, rest assured, I’ll still be writing as usual for this blog. In fact, I wouldn’t have it any other way, because the two go hand-in-hand and together help fulfill a purpose.

When Sarah Athanas and Dena Haden, Groundwork!’s co-founders, first approached me about writing for this blog well over a year ago, the intention wasn’t simply to promote this coworking facility. Sure – that’s part of it. Groundwork! has quickly become an indispensable creative and economic tool in the city, and we all want to let as many people as possible know about it.

But, as good citizens, we also recognize that it’s our duty and pleasure to promote everything positive about the City of New Bedford – especially in the period of renewal it is now enjoying.

So, Sarah and Dena gave me a pretty broad mandate – really, just to write about anything I saw that promoted the best interests of this city, not just Groundwork! I’ve always thought that was remarkable of them. Since we began this journey together we have been able to share a lot of good news with a wide audience, spotlight some great people – in and out of the coworking facility – and advance some progressive ideas and thoughts along the way.

That isn’t going to change – thanks to the commitment we all share toward New Bedford. Indeed, it’s largely because of this effort that I came to the attention of staff and editors at The Standard-Times, and State of the Arts came into being.

State of the Arts

Groundwork! co-founder Dena Haden took my headshot last week, which will go along with the S-T column. Posing for headshots isn’t my thing, so we quickly dissolved into laughs…

Like much of what I write on this blog, State of the Arts will actively seek out and shine a spotlight on what’s propelling the city forward in the arts and culture arena and how that is impacting all of New Bedford.

And, did I mention that I was excited?

I’m especially excited to be joining this team. Despite the decade-long challenge the newspaper industry has faced from digital media, the staff and editors at The Standard-Times are forging forward and a new energy can be found in its newsroom as well as the city.

The Standard-Times

Leading the charge is editor Beth Perdue. Since assuming that role a few short years ago, she has navigated a lot of changes at the newspaper after it was sold to the national company, GateHouse Media. Nevertheless, she has shown a determination to remain innovative locally and is positioning The Standard-Times well for New Bedford’s renewal.

…but eventually kept it together for a suitable shot. Thanks, Dena – and thanks artist Timothy Ellis Cole for the appropriate backdrop!

There aren’t many daily newspapers left that boast an art reviewer, a book reviewer and music columnist, and a boxing columnist (!) all their own. But Don Wilkinson, Lauren Daley and Bob Hanna are all in the pages of this newspaper – alongside its contingent of reporters, sports writers, commentators and other practitioners of real journalism.

And, not many newspapers can boast an award-winning photojournalist like Peter Pereira – whose work is artistry itself and who was instrumental in making State of the Arts come into being.

I’m thrilled to be joining this entire team, which also include distinguished alumni, and promise not to drive my immediate editor, the terrific Jerry Boggs, crazy. Regular readers of this blog know that I’m a prolific writer, so meeting deadlines will never be a problem.

However, I’m sure I’ll be needing a larger word count and more room for photos soon, Jerry…

Come join us all this Thursday, January 25 when State of the Arts launches in Coastin’ – and every Thursday thereafter as we bring you the big picture story of the creative professionals who are redefining New Bedford now.

Steven Froias