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“Your New Bedford” finale caps milestone year for 3rd EyE Unlimited

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Contact: Keri Cox, President, 3rd EyE Unlimited
Ph: 508-992-8546
Email: info@3rdeyeunlimited.org
Web: 3rdeyeunlimited.org

New Bedford, MA — The wild, improbable, magical ride that is “Your New Bedford” celebrates its finale on Thursday, November 12, 2020.

“Your New Bedford” is the series of pop-up 3rd EyE Unlimited events that launched last April in the city. It was the recipient of the first-ever “Art is Everywhere” grant, $50,000 awarded by New Bedford Creative on behalf of MassDevelopment and the Barr Foundation.

New Bedford BLM member, Seirra Rose, gets ready to perform a spoken word piece live from Your New Bedford headquarters in downtown New BedfordFive “Your New Bedford” virtual events have entered the digital history books. The sixth and final pop-up as part of the grant will take place during AHA! New Bedford’s cultural celebration on November 12.

Your New Bedford hosts Lonelle Walker and Chan Grant chop it up with 3rd EyE team member JunnYahh about his 20 year involvement with 3rd EyE and the local dance community.png
Starting in April of this year, 3rd EyE has produced over 20 virtual events from this tiny spot in downtown New Bedford known as the Communal Space
Neveah performs live from Your New Bedford headquarters in downtown New Bedford

No one could have predicted what 2020 would bring as the “Art is Everywhere” grant applications were evaluated back in March of 2020. Projects were discussed and scored virtually as Massachusetts went into shutdown and the arts community adjusted itself to a different reality.

But, one thing remained the same. The overwhelming consensus was that whatever the year ahead would bring, the project envisioned in 3rd EyE Unlimited’s “Your New Bedford” could adapt due to its fundamental creativity and foundation in the community. And, that it would be the best pilot program to accelerate arts-based economic development in the city by fulfilling its core mission.

That was expressed as follows: “Your New Bedford” deepens connections between neighborhoods and downtown, builds partnerships between cultural organizations and community groups, and strengthens the creative economy and arts ecosystem.”

WOAH Workshop creators Amanda and Geneva talk shop with Your New Bedford hosts Lonelle Walker and Chan Grant while artists Alison Wells and Deana Tavares live paint
New Bedford BLM member, Seirra Rose, gets ready to perform a spoken word piece live from Your New Bedford headquarters in downtown New Bedford
DJ Fresco on the ones and twos for the Your New Bedford virtual dance party

Now, 3rd EyE Unlimited had to do it virtually. They did that from April forward with special online pop-up events streamed over Facebook live. Then, they reimagined the series for the new format and went about organizing six “Your New Bedford” nights with various neighborhood partners, such as Youth Opportunities Unlimited in the south end and the Community Economic Development Center in the north end. All in all, 3rd EyE Unlimited partnered with over 30 community groups and organizations throughout the city.

Each was hosted by the gifted Project Director, Peter Lonelle Walker. He embodied the goals of the programming by making the connections between these and many other groups, organizations, small businesses and individual creative residents for the online audience. Each “Your New Bedford” became an opportunity to discover, learn and inspire under his navigation.

In between the “Your New Bedford” evenings, 3rd EyE Unlimited programmed other online pop-up events celebrating community, with V3E Pride, the Pillars of Hip-Hop, and even managed to mount a pandemic-safe, scaled down version of its annual “3rd EyE Open” hip hop festival this past summer.

The New Bedford Invitational, put together by Superflat NB, involved 15 artists live painting on one screen as part of the July Your New Bedford event
Shay Mae Lee and Freddrick HalleluYAH!!! perform live from Your New Bedford headquarters in downtown New Bedford
Linton Harrington talks about Youth Opportunities Unlimited, as part of the Your New Bedford Community Conversations segments

Even as the team adapted to Covid-19, the entire nation soon began grappling with the complex and disturbing awareness that it needed to do much, much more to further racial equality in society. If ever there was an organization so perfectly poised to help meet that challenge, it was 3rd EyE Unlimited.

Rap-ready and Hip Hop-tinged, for over 20 years 3rd EyE Unlimited had helped break new ground and old barriers in New Bedford.

“During the 20-plus years of 3rd EyE’s existence, we have witnessed and lived through many changes in our city and the diverse communities that comprise it,” said 3rd EyE Unlimited President Keri Cox when the grant award was announced. “Our mission since our founding has been to shed light on the vibrant cultural expressions that often go unrecognized, and particularly those of young people who will play a key role in reshaping and reimagining the New Bedford of the future.”

Samia Walker, founder of Doodles Creative Sessions, created engaging content, geared towards kids under 10 and their caretakers, for every Your New Bedford event
Mos D3f Crew members (Shanai Nadia, Jet Way, and TFlow) perform live from Your New Bedford headquarters in downtown New Bedford
Live martial arts demonstration and conversation with Costa_s Karate along with Your New Bedford hosts Lonelle Walker and Chan Grant and artists Alison Wells and Deana Tavares live painting
A look behind the scenes at the making of a Your New Bedford virtual event host, director and producer Lonelle Walker
Alison Wells shows off her finished piece to Your New Bedford hosts Lonelle Walker and Chan Grant while artist Deana Tavares continues to paint
Akeia de Barros, from the New Bedford Whaling Museum, discusses the Common Ground project with Your New Bedford hosts Lonelle Walker and Chan Grant while artists Lauren Savoia and Alanna Boucher get busy creating in their studio

With “Your New Bedford” the organization reached a new pinnacle of purpose in a moment of reckoning and promise. While much of 2020 was fraught, the decision to award the first-ever “Art is Everywhere” grant to the project not only proved exciting, but prescient.

Join them as they continue to make history in the city with the sixth and final edition of “Your New Bedford” on Thursday, Nov. 12. It will take place as part of AHA! New Bedford’s “Made in NB” day of virtual and “in real life” programming. The event will feature music and spoken word performances, the Dance Jam, live painting, community conversations (and some other surprises!), live from the stage of the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center as well as some other popup locations around New Bedford.

Find more “Your New Bedford” info at https://3rdeyeunlimited.org/yournb/ and the live stream on Nov. 12 at Facebook.com/3rdEyEinc.

Your New Bedford Juneteenth Celebration

On Friday, June 19 – “Juneteenth” – the youth empowerment organization 3rd EyE Unlimited launched “Your New Bedford,” a monthly pop-up event featuring music, dance, visual arts, education and a community corner for dialogue about local needs and challenges. “Your New Bedford” is a collaboration between 3rd EyE, which uses the five pillars of hip hop to foster young people’s creative capacities, and community partners attuned to the needs and resources of specific neighborhoods or populations. Their partner for the first event is Hatch Street Studios. According to the organizers, the project is designed to deepen connections between neighborhoods and downtown, build partnerships between cultural organizations and community groups, and strengthen the creative economy and arts ecosystem.
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3rd EyE Unlimited Launches Your New Bedford On Juneteenth

On Friday, June 19th — “Juneteenth” – the youth empowerment organization 3rd EyE Unlimited launches “Your New Bedford,” a monthly pop-up event featuring music, dance, visual arts, education and a community corner for dialogue about local needs and challenges.
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New Bedford Creative awards 3rd EyE Unlimited first-ever Art is Everywhere grant

3rd EyE Unlimited’s winning project, “Your New Bedford,” responds to the COVID-19 pandemic in creative ways

May 4, 2020

Young performers on the main stage at an early 3rd EyE Open at Buttonwood Park (Photo courtesy of 3rd EyE)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Margo Saulnier, Creative Strategist, New Bedford Creative
Cell: 617-359-2409 | Email: artsnewbedford@gmail.com | Link to High-Res Photos

New Bedford, MA — New Bedford Creative has awarded 3rd EyE Unlimited and partners the first-ever Art is Everywhere grant program as part of a pilot to accelerate arts-based economic development in New Bedford. The award includes $50,000 to create and implement “Your New Bedford,” a project that deepens connections between neighborhoods and downtown, builds partnerships between cultural organizations and community groups, and strengthens the creative economy and arts ecosystem. The grant program is made possible with funding from MassDevelopment and the Barr Foundation.

3rd EyE Unlimited’s project for the Art is Everywhere Grant, “Your New Bedford,” intends to demonstrate that the New Bedford arts scene is more than its rich whaling and abolitionist histories — it is also a hothouse for inclusive and cutting-edge youth-oriented culture. Each “Your New Bedford” event will be designed in collaboration with community partners who are attuned to the needs and resources of local residents, and will feature music, dance and movement, visual arts and education, and a “community corner” – a time for dialogue about local needs and challenges.  

2019 3rd EyE Open dancer in breakdancing battle (Photo by Josh Souza, New Bedford Creative)

Responding directly to COVID-19 impacts on the arts and the New Bedford community more broadly, 3rd EyE Unlimited has retooled and reimagined the original “Your New Bedford” six-part monthly program series in several ways. The group is shifting from neighborhood-based pop-up events in community settings to an interactive virtual format, providing paying work for local artists whose incomes have been directly affected by the pandemic, diversifying artist revenue generation strategies, and addressing the social isolation felt by many residents at this time. 

“3rd EyE Unlimited is honored and humbled to be the recipient of this first Art is Everywhere grant,” said Keri Cox, President of 3rd EyE Unlimited. “During the 20-plus years of 3rd EyE’s existence, we have witnessed and lived through many changes in our city and the diverse communities that comprise it. Our mission since our founding has been to shed light on the vibrant cultural expressions that often go unrecognized, and particularly those of young people who will play a key role in reshaping and reimagining the New Bedford of the future, which is especially relevant now during and after the pandemic.” 

2019 3rd EyE Open_ MCs Tyson Moultrie & Peter Lonelle Walker (Photo by Josh Souza, New Bedford Creative)

“A thriving community is more than just what’s seen on the surface, it’s also what is not immediately visible,” said Your New Bedford’s Project Director Peter Lonelle Walker. “The New Bedford that visitors see, particularly in our revitalized historic downtown, is fueled by the influence, expression and culture of the communities and neighborhoods that lie outside the tourist map. It’s harder to connect right now, and our goal is to create a platform that empowers and showcases our communities and neighborhoods, celebrating the contributions we and our neighbors have made and will continue to make.” 

3rd EyE Unlimited and Community Partners Build Bridges
3rd EyE Unlimited is known for their signature annual creative arts festival in downtown New Bedford, the 3rd EyE Open, an effort to build bridges between the neighborhoods and downtown, and between young people and the business sectors. Their project “Your New Bedford” includes a core team of artists who will collaborate with a dedicated roster of community partners. This team includes dancers Terrence Bboy Swift-T Mills, Amanda Eyssallenne, and Tatiania “Tati” Morales, arts educator Samia Walker, artist Mandy Fraser, photographer and performer Darnel Staley, writer and public speaker Tyson Moultrie, and music producer Peter Lonelle Walker.

2019 3rd EyE Open dancers hug it out after a breakdancing battle (Photo by Josh Souza, New Bedford Creative)

Barr Foundation and MassDevelopment Collaborate in Gateway Cities
In late 2019, the Barr Foundation awarded a $500,000 grant to MassDevelopment to create new arts-based programming for Gateway Cities through its Transformative Development Initiative. MassDevelopment is using a portion of those funds to support a yearlong planning phase in New Bedford with key community partners to create a strategy for enhancing the local arts and culture infrastructure as a mechanism for supporting economic growth. The Art is Everywhere grant program is one component of this multitiered planning phase. The local team working in partnership with MassDevelopment and the Barr Foundation includes the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts, the Co-Creative Center, New Bedford Creative, and New Bedford Economic Development Council. As a program for Gateway Cities, the Transformative Development Initiative has been working to respond to the economic impacts of COVID-19 in these communities, especially with respect to vulnerable businesses, including artists, that are losing income during this challenging time.

2019 3rd EyE Open artist, barber and fisherman Jeff Saint puts finishing touches on mural (Photo by Josh Souza, New Bedford Creative)

In January 2020, the Art is Everywhere grant opportunity was announced, with applications due February 21. Once the pandemic arrived, the review committee decided to move forward with the call for proposals providing the winning entrant could demonstrate how its project would help support artists and the arts community during this difficult stage. In addition to the cash award made possible by MassDevelopment and the Barr Foundation, 3rd EyE Unlimited will receive a one-year membership to the Co-Creative Center, the opportunity to participate in professional development training organized by the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts’s Creative Commonwealth Initiative, New Bedford Creative, and New Bedford Economic Development Council, and limited technical assistance from MassDevelopment as needed to help with project implementation.

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