As with many local businesses and organizations, I first discovered the Burncoat Center for Arts and Wellness (BCAW) through Instagram.
I’ve been a fan ever since.
What I like about BCAW is their energy. They have created a space that supports local artists through their shop and a place where all are welcomed through their classes and events. The foundation of everything is community.
I finally got to meet the amazing folks who are creating this much-needed space, Barbara Palmgren and Kim Mowers, as I was leaving their Harvest Festival event and they graciously agreed to sit with me to discuss all things BCAW.
How it started.
My first question was about how they got started and it’s an interesting story. They met through mutual friends at a holiday party and just ‘clicked’. The meeting came at a perfect moment for both as they were each looking to make changes professionally. Shortly after their meeting, they were discussing how they might work together. Their backgrounds as a psychotherapist and artist are a great match. The location fell into place as if it was meant to be and BCAW was on the way to becoming a reality.
All this was happening during the beginning of the COVID pandemic. The message here: believe in yourself. Build what you think the world needs. Things will work out.
There’s nothing more badass than starting a new venture during such an uncertain time with a partner you’re just getting to know. They believe in themselves and the vision for what they’re creating and it’s working out quite well so far. That’s badass.
If you haven’t made it to one of their vendor festivals, you need to plan to get to one. There’s always great food, lots of local businesses vending, music, and a general great vibe.
BCAW supports local organizations like Woo Fridge that align with their values. When they have events, they give space to the projects they support. It helps raise awareness and provides an opportunity for attendees to make donations or learn how they can also support.
Lastly, they invite us all to join them for one of their creative workshops. The goal of the workshops is to give people a safe, welcoming space to explore and experiment. The process is the whole purpose, not the final product. I personally can recommend creating something for the sake of creating and nothing else. It’s very empowering.
BCAW isn’t just a community though. It’s also a store that features unique hand-made arts and crafts. They fill the store with eco-friendly, upcycled, and vintage pieces. If you’re looking for something you won’t find everywhere else and prefer to support local small businesses and artists, this is a place for you to shop.
If you are an artist and you make stuff that you think would be a good fit, the best way to connect is through email. Make sure you send photos and a description of what you do. Contact information is at the bottom of their homepage.
They are Worcester’s first refillery. Not sure what that is? Read all about it and how you can get supplies there.
My final question to each of them: What makes you feel badass? I ask this because I think it’s important that women define this for themselves.
The answers I got are, well… badass.
“Creating a space for the community to come together and feel connected”Barbara
“When random strangers let us know how much they love and appreciate what we are doing, and how they feel our space is an open, welcoming, and safe space.”Kim
Go there, follow them, support them.
The Burncoat Center for Arts and Wellness is located at 78 Burncoat Street in Worcester. Make sure you check their site for hours. There’s plenty of parking.
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