I had to check the date on my phone last night as I was parking my car in downtown New Bedford to go into Greasy Luck for dinner. Normally, AHA night is the second Thursday of the month, but there were people sitting on folding chairs on the corner of Union and Purchase Streets. People were gathering – six feet apart – on the sidewalk enjoying some open mic poetry last night.

I have to say, it was a unique sight. As I've said countless times before, if nothing else, this pandemic has forced innovation. What I saw was simple, but it was unlike anything I've seen before. Inside the Swain Studio space, protected by the glass windows, there were poets offering readings and spoken word performances.

First off, the lighting for the poetry readings was incredibly eye-catching; very, very professionally done.

Secondly, the display was so different. The artists were tucked in the window front, reciting their poetry. The audience outside could hear them through the speakers that were set up outside. I did some digging and discovered that this performance was part of a series that will be held there every Thursday night from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

According to UMass Dartmouth's website, the Star series is presented by its College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA). The performances began last night and will run 13 weeks through the end of April.

Luckily, the weather last night cooperated, as it was quite mild for a February night in New Bedford.

I admire the dedication of the CVPA at UMass Dartmouth to enrich the community with art and culture.

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