Tracy Silva Barbosa never tires of the feeling after she introduces friends to her home.
They visit, look at her glass art, perhaps dine at a restaurant downtown and always leave with the same reaction.
“I never knew it was so beautiful and all of this wonderful stuff,” Barbosa said of the recurring reactions.
Barbosa lived in New York City for a decade before returning to the state where she grew up. Like many of her visitors, New Bedford impressed Barbosa and her husband. The culture and ever-growing art scene attracted them to make it their new home.
In January it will also be the home of her new business. Duende Glass will occupy a space in a new 10,000 square foot unit on Union Street dubbed a Co-Creative space by WHALE.
Barbosa, like multiple others whether it be artists or “creatives”, will use the space to create art and also sell it.
“I think the Co-Creative Center is just another spore from that flower,” Barbosa said. “It’s coming out of people who genuinely care and want to bring out the wonderful character this city has and bring it out in a tasteful way.”
There’s three levels to the building sitting beside The Garden and running along Acushnet Avenue.
The second floor of the building will consist of non-profit office space, apartments, and artist studios, which are already leased. The third floor consists of a two-bedroom market rate apartment.
The first floor, where Duende Glass and People’s Pressed, a juice and coffee shop, will be located, will house a public creative space.
The plan is to utilize the area closest to Union Street as a marketplace. Behind it will be a learning area where classes can be taught by anyone in the community. At the back of the building, bordering a park, the area will be used as a creative space filled with up-to-date technology like fabrication equipment and computer stations as well as work benches.
“We’re hoping we can build a community of Creatives,” WHALE Development Coordinator Amanda DeGrace said.
The first floor learning space will act as a chameleon of storts, blending into whatever the community envisions its best use.
DeGrace said there are 15 classes currently being discussed that would be available for public participation. They range from graphic design, creative writing, visual artists, sewing and even jam making. The class list continues to grow as community members continue to pitch ideas.
“We need to open the doors and see what this community wants this place to be,” DeGrace said.
Below the “Co-Make” area is a basement geared toward more industrial and textile creating as well as storage for artists.
Much like Gallery X on William Street or the studios in the former mill building on West Rodney French Boulevard brought Barbosa to the city, the Co-Creative Center hopes to attract even more imaginative minds.
“Through the Co-Creative more diverse artists come,” Barbosa said. “You want to have some cross pollination and that’s what innovation is.”
Follow Michael Bonner on Twitter @MikeBBonnerSCT
Original story here.