A Mother’s Journey: Don’t starve the artists

Editor’s note: Since September 2015, Worcester Sun has chronicled the trials and triumphs of Sun contributor Giselle Rivera-Flores as she explores ways to help her daughter and other Worcester families find affordable educational support and assistance. We used to describe her as an aspiring business owner; now, she’s an inspiring one. During her journey to establish and grow her nonprofit tutoring collaborative she has, you could say, stepped beyond the walls of her dream.

Giselle Rivera-Flores

Please stop asking the creative community to work for free.

If creative work adds value to your product, gives you more exposure to your brand, and generates an impact on your bottom line, then stop asking the creatives to submit work in exchange for “exposure.”

Don’t ask photographers to volunteer for your many events at no charge, don’t ask writers – an obvious sore spot for me – to submit several “specs” of work to prove themselves before hiring them, and don’t ask designers and marketers to create your brand, or promote your brand, for free as you sit back and reap the benefits.

The whole “We’d like to give you exposure in exchange for your work” bit is overrated, misguided and usually, false. Work is work. And no work should be done for free.

A Mother’s Journey: The tipping point

Editor’s note: Since September 2015, Worcester Sun has chronicled the trials and triumphs of Sun contributor Giselle Rivera-Flores as she explores ways to help her daughter and other Worcester families find affordable educational support and assistance. We used to describe her as an aspiring business owner; now, she’s an inspiring one. During her journey to establish and grow her nonprofit tutoring collaborative she has, you could say, stepped beyond the walls of her dream.

Giselle Rivera-Flores

In his debut book “The Tipping Point,” Malcolm Gladwell wrote: “In the late 1960s, a television producer named Joan Ganz Cooney set out to start an epidemic. Her target was three-, four-, and five-year-olds. Her agent of infection was television, and the ‘virus’ she wanted to spread was literacy. The show would last an hour and run five days a week, and the hope was that if that hour was contagious enough it could serve as an educational Tipping Point: giving children from disadvantaged homes a leg up once they began elementary school, spreading pro-learning values from watchers to non-watchers, infecting children and their parents, and lingering long enough to have an impact well after the children stopped watching the show. … She called her idea ‘Sesame Street.’ ”

Gladwell calls this the stickiness factor. In discovering that making “small but critical adjustments in how they presented ideas to preschoolers,” Malcolm wrote, “they could overcome television’s weakness as a teaching tool and make what they had to say memorable.”

In concept, I, too, look to produce such an epidemic of proportionate educational value that the children who attend The Learning Hub will generate a level of stickiness for us, so that we start to discuss more serious methods of how we teach our children in our public schools. We want them to have a leg up as they make their way through the winding paths of what is our current school system.

But as many parents like me believe, the current school system is not up to par, and with that void in the market, the Hub’s stickiness factor can be a bit more contagious.

Read Giselle’s previous chapter, The shape of the city, or scroll down to explore more of her story.

Bushel N Peck spreads to Westborough, tweaks the menu

For decades Bushel N Peck has maintained its perch among the city’s go-to sandwich shops. And now, 37 years after the Oliveri family opened the first store in Tatnuck Square and after new owner Michael Bartosiewicz added locations in Grafton and Clinton, Bushel N Peck is on the verge of opening its fifth storefront in Westborough.

So hungry you could eat a Horse Feast? Try deadhorse hill

Tasting menus the last few years have spread like an epidemic across the country — setting up uninitiated diners and amateur foodies for what can end up being an exhausting night of relentless dish shuffling, constant overselling of unheard-of ingredients by the waitstaff and a bill for dessert that leaves wallets as dry as a glass of Chablis.

In Worcester, though, tasting menus are still more hidden treasure than booby trap, even on a Friday night.

At deadhorse hill, the trendy, well-regarded downtown eatery, Chef Jared Forman’s tasting menu is one of breathtaking explorations into the American palate. Coupling a unique approach to seasonal items with a regular rotation of inspiring presentations, the tasting menu we recently sampled provided all sorts of surprises as the dishes seemed to transport us across the landscape of New England.