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Creative Minds And Unique Events At SoWa Boston

By S. Mathur

From a rundown, neglected neighborhood of warehouses to a vibrant community of artist studios, contemporary art galleries, boutiques, design showrooms, and restaurants, the SoWa Art + Design District has come a long way.

The Boston neighborhood is undergoing a dramatic renaissance by building on the mission to support small businesses, artists, and entrepreneurs, as the tag line has it. Now home to talented artists and entrepreneurs, it is becoming a destination for tourists and residents alike.

The name is a shortened version of South of Washington Street. SoWa runs from Mass Ave to Herald Street and from Shawmut Ave to Albany Street. Unusually for Boston, there's plenty of parking and the Broadway, Tufts, and Back Bay stations, and the Silver Line are all nearby. Location matters, but what unifies the new SoWa is a shared passion for unique art and experiences, according to Brad St. Amand, Director of Operations.

"SoWa connects visitors with a dynamic group of makers and thinkers, and offers a platform to showcase their work at now-famous events such as the SoWa Open Market, SoWa First Fridays, and the SoWa Art Walk," St. Amand said. "It's vibrant, lively, creative and passionate. Visitors to the district are exposed to handmade local artisan products, farm fresh produce, unique experiences all while supporting local entrepreneurs from our great city."

SoWa Boston enhances the community at large, St. Amand feels.

"SoWa has experienced a dramatic renaissance, becoming the creative epicenter of Boston and attracting a wide range of art-enthused fans, creative minds, and unique events," he said. "In 2015, SoWa was ranked #2 in USA Today's 10 Best Art Districts in the country. SoWa enhances the South End community and beyond by providing the space and platform for artists and entrepreneurs to showcase their work while providing residents and visitors a variety of quality and unique boutiques, galleries, design showrooms and restaurants."

The district is now home to over 200 talented and innovative artists and entrepreneurs. There are a variety of galleries, boutiques and restaurants. Upcoming events include a Book Swap, an antique jewelry trunk show and a an evening devoted to grilled cheese, mac and cheese, or cheesesteak. All the food trucks will feature themed menu items, as well as craft beers, cider, and wine.

The regular SoWa Open Market has over 100 vendors, including artists, farmers, and specialty food vendors. And as a special inducement, SoWa merchandise sales in September will be donated to support Boston Public Schools. And later in the year, there's the SoWa Winter Festival at the iconic Power Station to look forward to. There will be the region's best artisans and specialty food vendors, winter cocktails, carolers, and more.

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