The Creative Oasis: Youth Art Project MAKES IT HAPPEN!!! Part I

I consider serving my community as an obligation for making a living here. It’s doing my part to contribute to the sustainability of the community AND conservation of the culture.

Whatever sings to you DO IT…TODAY!!! I will confess I had NO IDEA what I was doing, but I was compelled and for the FIRST TIME, I REEEEEALLY followed through with a BIG project of my own AND had measurable success. The reward was in the service to the underprivileged and at-risk youth of New Bedford, BUT also in creating a KICK-ASS team of artists and young people. There was PLENTY of joy in seeing what the CREATIVE OASIS: YOUTH ARTS PROJECT meant to those who needed it!

A 100 miles and running


The work isn’t done yet! I’m STILL hustling to make sure we’re meeting ALL the standards of the grant we received from the New Bedford Cultural Council. I STILL need to make sure we ALL get taken care of while we take of others! Can’t save someone if I’m drowning.

(Speaking of helping, you can donate to our GoFundMe Campaign by clicking the logo above OR click here. All proceeds go to pay back artists for supplies and their time giving to the City of New Bedford‘s youth)


Thank you members of the New Bedford Cultural Council for believing in this project enough to help get it started. From Deb Smook‘s inquiries about the project (at the early meetings where I learned more about the grant), to Jill Horton Sims and Pat Daughton being open to ALL questions and guiding me through the grant process from both perspectives (as a Cultural Council Member and prospective grantee).


The complete list of members are: 2015-2016 NEW BEDFORD CULTURAL COUNCIL MEMBERS: Mat Arruda, Jane Ferris Richardson, Brooke Baptiste, Scott Carola, Patricia Daughton (Secretary & Co-Chair), Hank Gatlin, Jill Horton-Simms (Chair), Kat Knudsen, Deb Smook, Pat Coomey Thornton, Eric Stotts (Treasurer), Terry Wolkowicz, Jessica Bregoli, Fitzcarmel LaMarre, Steven Froias.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the New Bedford Cultural Council. A local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.


I STILL need to make sure we ALL get taken care of while we take of others! Can’t save someone if I’m drowning.


It’s been an interesting journey from conception to implementation with TONS of lessons on the way! Earlier promotions would have improved attendance at one location, but the built-in target audience at the other two revealed how ready we were to meet the need.

I’m NOT going to act like I didn’t want MORE from the program but I learned several things about myself, the team chosen, the city and its needs. This was it’s FIRST run with a LOT of personal “firsts!”

I gained the confidence I need to tackle BIG projects. I KNOW so much is possible by the people I surround myself with and the projects I get in or start. The NEXT project is a DOOZIE!!! More on the personal level and not so much the social impact of the CREATIVE OASIS.

it’s not where you’re from, it’s where you’re at!


I’d like to thank ALL THREE VENUES’ staff members.

Southcoast Health System & Southcoast Hospitals Group, RAPPP Program Coordinator – Cindy GuilbeaultTim Velho, Michelle Guilbeault-Bartlett, Cedric Houtman of  Southcoast Health’s RAPPP Program in the north end of New Bedford; Recreation Manager – India Russell Pena and New Bedford Parks, Recreation & Beaches – Director Mary Rapoza for the Andrea McCoy Recreation Center, our central location; as well as Associate Director –  Joe NevesSean HargravesJoe Gill at the Dennison Memorial Recreation Center in the south end. for hosting us. Each location allowed us to use their space and time to get some quality, creative activities to the kids!


The out pour I expected didn’t come in the way of artists sending in proposals and me being flooded with inquiries. So, the OTHER issue that arose outside of funding, was staffing the project. I KNEW I had a few folks in mind, but not enough.

the dream team


The team assembled itself as I allowed myself to notice what I NEED is usually in my face. I reached out to fellow New Bedford Cultural Council Member (among MANY other things) Jessica Bregoli to act as the Project Coordinator. She helped me choose MORE artists, and scheduled them among other administrative duties. She and her mother (long time Art Teacher and GOAT LADY fame) Jane Bregoli organized the Creative Monitors‘ activities.

jane’s in the jungle


Jane was also one of our Creative Oasis Art Educators at Andrea McCoy AND Dennison Memorial Recreation Center for the week. She was a HUGE part in filling in the necessary components such as sets of supplies for all the venues and THE GIVEAWAYS. Leaving EACH child with something to continue being creative, from pencils and erasers to coloring books and watercolor sets. There were mini colored pencil sets, stickers, crayons…and smiles! With all her experience she was placed on the front lines at the Dennison Memorial.

at the mac


We had a MORE GREAT ART EDUCATORS like artist Kayla Angelini, who I met maybe a week before the event at the UMASS Dartmouth MFA Exhibition and agreed to join. Her collages with paint & patterned papers on canvas were a HUGE success with the kids at Andrea McCoy!


My friend Jeb came to two locations, four of the five days we were running. He created a small portfolio of paintings on canvas (that he gave to his parents as gifts)!

My other MAJOR PLAYERS as Creative Monitors, at Andrea McCoy were Tracy Ponte and Goncalo Goulart. I’ve seen these two work with kids for the past few years through their work with New Bedford’s Parks, Recreation and Beaches Department. They engage the children in a fair and positive way. They jump right into the lessons and have fun with it themselves. It was an EASY fit since they already work at McCoy and the April Vacation timing was perfect with their schedules (with a little magic from India ).

Tim Gastall and Jacqui Luca also made appearances with sessions on creating in-depth, comic book characters and…well…I’ll let Jacqui describe her session…

We were making sculptures out of aluminum and then covering them with plaster strips- After they dried we painted them”

My class consisted of five young talented girls. It was really amazing and I loved being able to talk with them about what they enjoyed about art. One of the girls at the end of class told me that she didn’t have any art supplies at home- so I let her take the paints , brushes and some of plaster strips. Told her that she’s a talented artist and that these will help her “smile emoticon”. Her mom was really happy and thankful. It was just really a great experience!

-Jacqui Luca

The other Ace I had up my sleeve was Ann Miller. Ann is my coworker, friend, Big Sister and Spiritual Revivalist at Painting At Splash! She rounded out the MAC’s creative coverage with an acrylic painting class!

RAPPP it up!

The youth of New Bedford burned through a LOT of canvas, paint and art supplies! Supplies the Creative Oasis Art Educators paid for themselves OR used their own supplies. I had a combo of that plus sponsorship from Painting At Splash (formerly Painting With A Splash)!

splash it up!

THANK YOU, Debra & Barry Trahan for helping make this project an easier possibility! Without help from Painting With A Splash we would have had to come out of pocket for even MORE canvas and paint! There were no aprons, no paint brushes, no easels, etc. for us to worry about budgeting in. Imagine our reach with MORE generous sponsors!

want to connect?


I’m EASY to find via social media. You can find and follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin

Or you can email me at:

[email protected] OR [email protected]


;o) Fitz

#CreativeOasisNB #BigGoalHunting #TheBlackBobRoss #TheArtGuy #FastFoodArtist #NewBedfordArtists 

One observation on “The Creative Oasis: Youth Art Project MAKES IT HAPPEN!!! Part I
  1. Pingback: It’s GOTTA be Happy Hour Somewhere! Destination Paint Party 002 – Fitzcarmel LaMarre

Leave Your Observation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *