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“Tides and Times” bring the 2021 New Bedford Seaport Art Walk to life

In 2013, artist Jessica Bregoli founded New Bedford’s annual Seaport Art Walk. It’s become a signature cultural event since then, combining the rich history of the Port of New Bedford and equally deep legacy of artistic expression in this city.

Each year several artists are selected by a review committee to explore a theme through outdoor installations such as murals or sculpture along the working waterfront. By the docks of America’s highest value fishing port, profound social values come together and help define this authentic seaport city and its Seaport Cultural District.

It’s fitting then that “Tides and Time” is the theme of this year’s Seaport Art Walk, which officially opened on Thursday, July 8 during AHA! New Bedford with a public tour featuring the curator and artists. The selected artists chosen to create work in 2021 have internalized the meaning of the last pandemic year, while also looking more broadly at the society we live in today. Its sculptures and murals were created to reflect or comment on our ever-changing climate, whether that be the ocean, environment, economy, politics, or social justice.


Kyle Couture and Marcus Cusick present their new mural _The Heirs to the Land_ for the 2021 Seaport Art Walk. (Seaport Art Walk photo)

Artist Jake Ginga, for example, was just 19 years old when he got a job working for a small oyster farm run by a family who had been shellfishermen for over four generations. They taught him everything – about family, hard work, and aquaculture – at an age and time he needed it most, he believes.

January of 2021 claimed the lives of two of them, the father and grandfather who were both irreplaceable father figures. His very first artwork displayed in New Bedford galleries were portraits of them. In an attempt to process his grief, he has created portraits of them again for “Tides and Time” entitled “The Bell Brothers.”

Meanwhile, artist Marcus Cusick and Kyle Couture of Open Eye Movement, working with Chief George Spring Buffalo and Chief Daryl Black Eagle of the Pocasset, offers “Tides and Time” a mural called “The Heirs of the Land,” which brings to light the true histories that surround the Pokanoket nation.

He explains in an artist’s statement, “The Algonquian language was nearly lost to oppression of a people and their culture, and is kept alive today by the descendants of a nation who first greeted the pilgrims, the Pocasset Wampanoag tribe of the Pokanoket nation.


Jake Ginga with his _The Bell Brothers_ mural tribute. (Seaport Art Walk photo)

“The mural aims to depict portraits of local Native American chiefs and their descendents showing how, over time, the nation was resilient and able to survive. The backdrop includes a landscape composition of layered text of Algonquian words and titles.”

Alanna Boucher designed a sculpture called “Hashtag Change” with New Bedford High School students and art teachers. In her artist statement, she says: “Change is a constant evolution of remembering old ways and supporting the new; whether it is about taking care of the planet, ourselves, or helping others, change is growth. Time is not going to stop or slow down so we must keep pushing everyday to better this world and work towards changing the future for generations to come.”

For the 2021 Seaport Art Walk, her large wood hashtag symbol was built with the help of her husband, engineer Chris Boucher, and is covered with word planks naming important topics designed by the teenage students and art teachers. She encourages everyone to share what they want to bring awareness to on social media – and remember to hashtag key words from this sculpture.

Meanwhile, Eric Lintala’s fiberglass and metal sculpture titled “Enough is Enough” represents the many injustices that still plague our country and the world.

He says, “We make speeches, we march for human rights, social injustice, environmental issues, etc. and still the never ending fight goes on. My sculpture symbolically represents all people and all concerns and hardships we bring to ourselves and to this planet and visually gestures ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!”


Erin Meade looks upon her mural _CAPping the wave_ made with over 6,000 recycled bottle caps. (Seaport Art Walk photo)

And finally, Erin Meade, an art teacher at Keith Middle School in New Bedford, says she has always loved the simplicity of window installations. She put her passion for display and creativity to good use working in New York City with industry favorites such as Macy’s and SAKS Fifth Avenue, as well as small boutiques.”

So, for “Tides and Time,” she has designed a 30-foot installation which incorporates all different types and sizes of plastic bottle caps to create movement and playfulness through a wave and whale form. This is a recycling project that the students of Keith Middle School have contributed to, as well as an opportunity to show the community that even trash can be turned into beauty.

This year’s 2021 exhibition “Tides and Time,” is presented by New Bedford Creative, in partnership with DATMA’s WATER 2021, New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center, and New Bedford Parks, Recreation and Beaches. It is funded in part by New Bedford Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency, as well as the city of New Bedford’s Arts, Culture and Tourism Fund, and Bristol County Savings Bank. Further details can be found at newbedfordcreative.org/seaport-art-walk.




1st Annual Poetry Jam to feature Whaling City Jr./Sr. High School students during FREE livestream

Free livestreaming Jam will showcase readings of original works by student poets, June 16.

The First Annual Poetry Jam 2021 titled “Voices of Whaling City”, will feature original works of students of Whaling City Jr./Sr. High School. The Poetry Jam will livestream free on Facebook, Wednesday, June 16 at 12:15 p.m. at: www.facebook.com/WhalingCity455

Students cordially invite the public to join them for the Poetry Jam as they read and perform their works, a year end project of their English Language Arts studies. The works are being published as a commemorative booklet and will be available for sale for $5 by contacting Whaling City: (508) 997-4511, ext. 38550. Proceeds to benefit Whaling City programs.

The program’s introduction explains the purpose behind the Jam’s creation. “We all have something to say. The Whaling City 2021 Poetry Jam is a project meant to unite us as students and bring us together, saying all those things we have to say. At the beginning, we chose a central theme – Growth – around which to build our words. We have collected a wide variety of works that all tie back into this theme, all from the great minds of our students. We hope you enjoy Voices of Whaling City as much as we enjoyed creating it and bringing these works to all of you.”

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Whaling City Jr./Sr. High School Mission Statement
Whaling City Jr./Sr. High School is committed to developing a community of life-long learners who are academically proficient, demonstrate strong character, exhibit self-confidence, self-respect, and respect for others. Students are supported in stretching their academic potential, building life skills, confidence, and establishing meaningful relationships in order to achieve their future goals.




BCC scholar produces podcast about COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on art and culture in New Bedford

Bristol student Kwang Arnzen, of Westport, recently graduated as a Commonwealth Honors program scholar this May with a degree in liberal arts: behavioral and social sciences and will transfer to Bridgewater State University to pursue a degree in sociology with a minor in audio production.

This past semester, Kwang put both interests to perfect use in his capstone Honors program project by interviewing representatives of six New Bedford cultural organizations via Zoom, including local artist Alison Wells, the Dream Out Loud Center, Buttonwood Park Zoo, the New Bedford Whaling Museum, the New Bedford Art Museum and 3rd EyE Unlimited, to discern how the COVID-19 pandemic was impacting the city’s cultural landscape. For the project’s production, Kwang synthesized more than four hours of interviews into an hour-long podcast, complete with his own musings and original music to weave the content into a unified, engaging narrative. Kwang’s podcast will also be added to the archival holdings in the special collections at the New Bedford Public Library.

To listen to Bristol student Kwang Arnzen’s podcast “A Snapshot of New Bedford Culture in the Time of Covid-19,” please click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-CsGahWfeM

In addition to strengthening his professional skills in audio production, the project provided Kwang with a better knowledge of the culture of New Bedford as well as how the city’s cultural organizations have adapted and thrived throughout the pandemic. Throughout producing the podcast, Kwang gained a deeper respect for the great collaboration and cultural symbiosis that exists in New Bedford.

Kwang describes the project and his participating in Bristol’s Commonwealth honors program as an opportunity to “love learning and love thinking critically, sociologically, philosophically and creatively.” He also credits several Bristol faculty members with encouraging him to pursue the rewarding Honors program.

“It was a true pleasure to work with Kwang on this project,” said Dr. Colleen Avedikian, Bristol Faculty Member and Kwang’s Commonwealth Honors Program Mentor. “He chose this podcast as a way to really challenge himself to research a topic that he deeply cares about and I was continually impressed by his high level of commitment and creativity throughout its development.”

The Commonwealth Honors program (CHP) at Bristol Community College offers tremendous opportunities now and in the future for highly motivated students looking to challenge themselves intellectually. CHP allows students, regardless of their discipline or program, to create customized academic experiences that meet their career interests and needs. By working one-on-one with faculty, participating students develop intellectually stimulating experiences and projects that point towards future goals.

For more information about Bristol Community College’s Commonwealth Honors program, please visit http://www.bristolcc.edu/honors or email Honors Program Coordinator denise.dimarzio@bristolcc.edu.




Call to all artists: Rhode Island offering $50,000 and stipends for painted portrait of former Gov. Raimondo

How would you like to win a $50,000 commission for your artwork? Furthermore, it comes with additional stipends that will cover the crating and shipping and if you need to travel to make it all happen, the state is willing to cover expenses for that too.

The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) is now accepting applications for any artist that thinks and feels they are up to snuff.

“This commission is an opportunity to capture the unique and historic nature of the first woman governor of our state,” said Randall Rosenbaum, the executive director of the RISCA.

All one needs to do is send a resume with six images of your work by the deadline of June 30. Please note: already completed original works of art will not be accepted – the portrait will be a new piece. Over the next few months after the deadline closes, former Governor Raimondo will peruse all the works of art and choose the one she likes the most. Once chosen the winner will have until November 2022 to complete the painting.

You can see more information here.




New Bedford’s 2020 Seaport Art Walk is “Lighting the Way”

Special online opening presentation with the artists takes place Thursday, Aug. 13 at 6:00pm as part of virtual AHA!

Written by Steven Froias, contributing writer

The 2020 Seaport Art Walk officially opens in New Bedford this year with a special online video premiere of the project, which in real life is presented along the city’s waterfront in the Seaport Cultural District.

Viewers are invited to meet the artists and get a behind-scenes look into the creation and installation of their artwork on Thursday, Aug. 13 at 6:00 p.m. during AHA! New Bedford. You can watch the video on New Bedford Creative’s Facebook page Facebook.com/NewBedfordCreative. Thereafter, the public art will remain on exhibit through October and patrons are invited to visit the waterfront and view the work at their leisure abiding by social distancing and mask wearing guidance.

The theme of this year’s annual Seaport Art Walk is “Lighting the Way: Historic Women of the SouthCoast.” It is adapted from, and in collaboration with, the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s “Lighting the Way” project. Launched in 2018, “Lighting the Way: Historic Women of SouthCoast” explores the historical impact of women from the region.

Other partners are New Bedford Creative, the City of New Bedford, Destination New Bedford, New Bedford Harbor Development Commission, UMass Dartmouth College of Visual and Performing Arts, and Bristol Community College.

The Seaport Art Walk is a large format outdoor public art installation consisting of sculptures and murals. It was founded in 2013 by artist Jessica Bregoli – who this year is one of the participating artists. All the artists were selected by an esteemed panel of jurors. The program is supported in part by a grant from the New Bedford Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency, as well as the City of New Bedford’s Arts, Culture and Tourism Fund.

The work in this year’s Seaport Art Walk was evaluated on the values embodied by the “Lighting the Way” project. The Whaling Museum states that “as educators and philanthropists, abolitionists and crusaders for social justice, investors and confectioners, sister sailors and millworkers, women from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds have shaped their SouthCoast communities, the nation, and the world.

“Lighting the Way is unearthing remarkable stories of women’s callings that required grit, tenacity, and enduring commitment to their families, careers and communities.”

The four artists who have created the specially commissioned artwork for the 2020 Seaport Art Walk are as follows:

BRUCE BAILEY is a retired software engineer residing on New England’s South Coast with his wife of 50 years, Susan. He attended Boston University College of Fine Arts in the 1970s and obtained a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering at Drexel University in the 1980s. After decades in the steel, shipbuilding, construction and aerospace industries, he has returned to his first passions of painting, printmaking and sculpture. He is currently engaged in ongoing study at the College for Visual and Performing Arts at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. His work may be seen at www.brucce.com.

His work in the Seaport Art Walk is “Homage to Florence Eastman, Army Nurse.” The only woman to enlist in World War I from Mattapoisett, Florence Eastman (1894-1918) became the Head Army Nurse of the Isolation Hospital at Camp Mills, Mineola, Long Island, with 20 nurses and over 100 orderlies under her supervision. In 1918, she died at age 24 of the Spanish Influenza, contracted while devotedly treating infected soldiers.

GRACE LANG is a mixed media artist who creates two and three-dimensional work to tell stories of triumph. Continually preoccupied with the concept of personal “demons,” her work reflects the internal struggles that plague us all, creating visual expressions of those dark little thoughts that are at once frightening and sort of funny. Much of her work stems from the belief that these personal demons are not necessarily enemies but, rather, aspects of ourselves that can be utilized for good. Understanding this link between creative expression and identity development has led Grace to facilitate art-making workshops for children. She has spent the past decade creating illustrations for teen development company, Your Self Series. Most recently, this work has focused on educational presentations about neuroplasticity aimed at fostering positive mental health atmospheres in schools. Her work may be seen at www.grooseling.com.

Grace’s work in the Seaport Art Walk is an illustrated mural entitled “Votes for Women” which celebrates the centennial of Women’s Suffrage in the United States and features artwork from her recently published children’s book, March On!. It highlights the 1915 Women’s March and encourages young children to band together and stand up against injustice.

RAMIRO DAVARO-COMAS is an Argentine/American artist and entrepreneur living and working in Valatie, New York. He is the creator and director of ‘Dripped on the Road,’ a traveling artist residency program, and an artist on the road himself, at times. His dedication to painting, traveling and community work have allowed him to travel throughout his career and collaborate with other artists. After many years, the combination of all three passions led him to launch ‘Dripped on the Road’ and pursue an artistic career. His work can be seen at www.ramirostudios.com.

In the Seaport Art Walk, Ramiro created a mural called “Lighting the Way.” It is a selection of 22 portraits of women illustrated all together as a community of leaders. In between some of the groups are phrases like “Lighting the Way,” “South Coast” and “Vote.”

Finally, JESSICA BREGOLI is the founder and curator of Seaport Art Walk. As curator, Bregoli works with various city departments and jury-selected artists to bring the Seaport Cultural District to life with murals and sculptures of all shapes and sizes. Each year’s theme is inspired by New Bedford’s unique culture and history. Originally from Oregon, she moved to this area with her mother as a child. Growing up, she worked with her mentor, Emily Johns, taking care of the gardens along the waterfront in downtown New Bedford. In 2012 Bregoli got involved with the sculpture program at UMass CVPA and upon graduation has been committed to building the arts and culture of the city. She participates on numerous local committees, including the Seaport Cultural District, New Bedford Creative, and is the Chair of the New Bedford Cultural Council. She is the Executive Director of The Steeple Playhouse (the future home of Your Theater Inc.), the Gallery Director at Groundwork, and owner of Owl Eye property management. For more on Bregoli’s work as an artist visit Facebook.com/jessbregolisculpture.

Her work is entitled “Maria Mitchell’s Waves.” Maria Mitchell was a pioneer for both ocean navigation and feminism. She became the first woman elected Fellow of the American Academy of the Arts and Sciences in 1848. She grew up in Nantucket and was navigating by the stars on whaling ships by the age of 14. She discovered a comet in 1857, which was named after her. She was hired as a full-time teacher at Vassar College and during this time she promoted equal pay for equal work when she realized her male counterparts were getting paid more for the same work.




MassDevelopment awards $455,000 in Commonwealth Places funding for 20 Placemaking Projects, including New Bedford

MassDevelopment has awarded up to $455,000 for 20 projects through the fourth round of the Commonwealth Places program, a statewide initiative that leverages public support for placemaking projects in Massachusetts. The program funds place-based, community-driven projects that revitalize downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts, such as art installations, public space improvements, markets, and more.

“Behind each of these projects is a goal to spur economic activity in the community by creating a unique ‘place’ that draws people in to dine, shop, experience arts and culture, or otherwise spend time,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss. “MassDevelopment is pleased to support these efforts with funding from our Commonwealth Places program.”

Created in 2016, Commonwealth Places aims to engage and mobilize community members to make individual contributions for placemaking projects, with the incentive of a funding match from MassDevelopment if the crowdfunding goal is reached. Through its first three rounds, Commonwealth Places has launched 64 projects in Massachusetts, with communities crowdfunding more than $2.3 million and MassDevelopment providing more than $1.8 million in matching funds. Previous projects have included main street improvement projects in Hyannis, North Adams, and Wakefield; neighborhood-wide public art installations in Lynn, Salem, and Worcester; and pop-up retail activations in Ashland, Brockton, and Lowell, among others.

In October 2019, MassDevelopment announced the availability of funding for the fourth round of Commonwealth Places and subsequently worked with applicants to amend the scope and timelines of proposed projects to incorporate COVID-19 concerns where applicable. All grantees and projects will be required to follow the mandatory safety standards and protocols of the Commonwealth’s Reopening Massachusetts plan.

MassDevelopment is also currently accepting applications for its special Commonwealth Places COVID-19 Response Round: Resurgent Places, which is being made available to help nonprofits and other community groups prepare public spaces and commercial districts for residents and visitors.

The Performing Arts Collective, INC. (New Bedford) – $10,000
The Performing Arts Collectives Makes a Space

The Performing Arts Collective, INC. will launch a crowdfunding campaign to establish a new space for the Performing Arts Collective in New Bedford’s South End this year. Funding will cover the build-out of a backstage space and reception area, new speakers and lighting, and portable platforms for pop-up community events.

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $10,000, the project will win a matching grant from MassDevelopment.




“JazzWall New Bedford” mural to be installed in downtown New Bedford

Superflat NB announced today that it will be program managing the installation of the “JazzWall New Bedford” mural starting this week which was designed by local artist, Kat Knutsen and sponsored by Fiber Optic Center, Inc., Whaling City Sound, and the New Bedford Historical Society. The mural, which is funded in part by New Bedford’s Wicked Cool Places grant will be applied to the East facing wall of the Fiber Optic Center building at 23 Centre St. in New Bedford, MA. It is the second Superflat project for 2020 and celebrates jazz musicians who have made a lasting impact on the city and its inhabitants. It features Rick Britto, Armsted Christian, Paul Gonsalves, Bobby Greene, Herbie King, and Joe Livramento.

On the eve of painting, Knutsen commented “I was inspired to create a candid moment between the musicians performing popular jazz standards like “‘Round Midnight.” They’re positioned to reflect the moment right before one of them (Livramento) is getting ready to begin his solo. The design attempts to capture the magical telepathy that exists between musicians as they fill the space with their captivating performance. The colors selected for the design are inspired by the festivities that jazz music brings to events like Carnival, Mardi Gras, and the New Bedford JazzFest.”

The mural location has been the site of free summer concerts as part of the New Bedford AHA! nights for the last 20 years. The “JazzWall New Bedford” mural will serve as a backdrop to future performances and bring an appropriate added dimension to a space that has brought the local community world-class music. More details about the featured musicians and the breadth of New Bedford jazz history will be showcased on a future website that will host biographies of local jazz musicians.

“We are celebrating the amazing history of jazz in New Bedford by featuring masters from the area who had an influence not just on up and coming players but on the world jazz scene as a whole, and who are no longer with us. Paying tribute to them where live jazz music will be experienced, in this striking manner, recognizes their efforts and extends their influence into the future,” stated Neal Weiss, the founder of Fiber Optic Center, Inc., and president of the CD studio and label, Whaling City Sound.

This installation joins approximately eleven other murals that Superflat NB has either brought directly to the city or in partnership with other local organizations so that all residents of New Bedford can enjoy public art. Superflat NB is a creative placemaking, mural art organization dedicated to beautifying New Bedford while flattening barriers to the arts. It aims to foster pride and ownership of shared spaces through public art by giving local, national, and international artists a role in revitalizing the city of New Bedford while creating inclusive environments where anybody can experience great art. Serving young people is central to its efforts. The organization wants to inspire them and be inspired by them, creating new explorations of culture, expanding social networks, and making connections to resources and opportunities.

Fiber Optic Center Inc. is an international leader in distributing fiber optic components, equipment, and supplies and has been helping customers make the best cable assemblies in the world for over two decades.

Founded in 1999, Whaling City Sound is a CD label based in New Bedford that works with artists near and far to produce exciting live events and recordings.

The New Bedford Historical Society (NBHS) is dedicated to documenting and celebrating the history, legacy, and presence of African Americans, Cape Verdeans, Native Americans, West Indians, and other people of color in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Founded in 1996, the NBHS has created public art that highlights the history of people of color in New Bedford including the 54th Regiment Mural and the Lewis Temple statue.

Wicked Cool Places (WCP) is the city of New Bedford’s grant program for creative placemaking, uniting willing property/business owners, artistic/cultural groups, design/preservation specialists, and business/development experts to help transform New Bedford’s overlooked or undervalued places. Wicked Cool Places enhance community development, arts entrepreneurship, and ongoing investment in the rich arts and culture of the city. Wicked Cool Places is funded by the city of New Bedford’s Arts, Culture + Tourism Fund, with additional funding by Bristol County Savings Bank, Mass Cultural Council, and MassDevelopment.




New Bedford Creative Directory officially launches; exploring arts and culture in times of Covid-19

Written by Steven Froias, contributing writer.

It’s a daunting task to collect the creativity of a city for online presentation and representation. But, New Bedford Creative has done just that with the formal launch of the Creative Directory on NewBedfordCreative.org.

On the website, browsers can now find and see the multitude of artistic and cultural professionals who constitute such a large part of the population in this authentic seaport city. Almost a year in the making and organizing, mobilizing the resources of the office of Creative Strategist at the New Bedford Economic Development Council, the Creative Directory is a virtual mirror of the inspiration and industry in this city today.

Margo Saulnier, the Creative Strategist, explains that as part of New Bedford’s first-ever Arts and Culture Plan a robust website featuring its arts practitioners on a comprehensive directory has been a goal since day one.

“The Creative Directory is an essential resource for businesses and others who want to engage the services of an arts professional, but may not have known where to start before now,” says Saulnier. “Going forward, when you need anything from a mural to a musician, you can turn to NewBedfordCreative.org.”

After launching the site last year, solicitations went out to all artists to contribute their information to New Bedford Creative. This involved reaching out to dozens upon dozens of people to participate throughout the city – from schools to stages to galleries to former mill studios and home studios.

Saulnier and her team, including senior creative fellow Jasmyn Baird, with the help of the design firm mediumstudio, then collated the words and images into a stunning and attractive online context which highlights the talent of #NewBedfordCreative on the website.

The Creative Directory is introduced to viewers by honoring the city’s past before catching them up to the present:

“Throughout our nearly 250 year history, New Bedford has maintained a vibrant creative and cultural community. Acclaimed artists in visual and performing arts, architecture, literature, and more, lived or worked here, including ornithologist John James Audubon, artist Clifford Ashley, painter Albert Bierstadt, painter William Bradford, author Frederick Douglass, musician Joli Gonsalves, choreographer Carol Haney, author Herman Melville, photographer James Reed, painter Albert Pinkham Ryder, the R&B group Tavares, and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson.

“Today, New Bedford is a hub of arts and culture on the south coast of Massachusetts, boasting a wide array of attractions and diverse venues that showcase the history, art, and cultural fabric of a cosmopolitan seaport. The city is home to hundreds of artists and performers who contribute to our distinctive identity, economic development, and the quality of life of everyone living in and visiting the city. This Creative Directory is a resource to connect you to the talented people who contribute to the arts and culture of New Bedford.”

The New Bedford Creative Directory is arranged into the following categories: Applied & Visual Arts; Film & Multi-Media; Food & Culinary Arts; Music & Performing Arts; Written & Published Works; and History & Preservation.

In the Creative Directory, you’ll meet performance artists like Andy Anello and culture*park, visual artists like Adrian Tio and Joe Quigley, and singer/songwriters like Cedric Josey and Dori Rubicco to name but six of the over 100 listed contributors to the South Coast Massachusetts arts and culture hub of New Bedford.

As impressive as the sheer volume of creative professionals is, Saulnier says that there’s always room for more. Indeed, New Bedford Creative continues to urge city residents in the arts, or area residents who bring their talents to the city, to claim a directory listing.

“Email us at ArtsNewBedford@gmail.com to be included on New BedfordCreative.org,” she reminds all. “Arts and culture is an evolving process, and we want to be right there with you as we all grow into the future.”

In the meantime, patrons of the arts and fans of New Bedford are encouraged to log on to NewBedfordCreative.org whenever they find themselves in need of beauty, inspiration or the desire to engage a creative professional on the South Coast.

About New Bedford Creative
The New Bedford Creative Consortium is the leadership group whose purpose is overseeing the execution of the citywide strategic Arts and Culture Plan entitled New Bedford Creative: our art, our culture, our future. The Arts and Culture Plan is a huge step forward in building a thriving creative ecosystem in our city, and these are the people dedicated to implementing it. This volunteer group is facilitated by the Creative Strategist, meets quarterly and is divided into three Squads: Public Art + Facilities, Placemaking + Community, and Fundraising + Distribution.

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The Silent Army keeping New Bedford creative; Exploring arts and culture in times of COVID-19

Written by Steven Froias, contributing writer.

Almost 10 years ago, an image of Jesus appeared on the wall of a building just north of Lunds Corner in the North End.

It was the artwork of Mark “Maki” Carvalho – and it caused a sensation at the time.

This past Easter 2020, appropriately enough, Jesus re-appeared.

In a mask.

“Because His arms are out-stretched about six feet, I felt it said something about what we were going through with social distancing,” says Carvalho – most commonly known simply as Maki, and also Boston Maki though he is all New Bedford through and through.

Though he is an educator by day-time profession, Maki is best known as a street artist. As such, his work is found throughout the City of New Bedford, reflected in colorful images of persons as diverse as Tom Brady, Gregory Peck as Captain Ahab, and Neptune. (See and buy his work at BostonMaki.com.)

So it’s no surprise that even during a pandemic shutdown, the artist would steal surreptitiously into the night and continue to ply his trade throughout the city.

But what may come as more of a surprise is – even as stay-at-home orders kept the vast majority of residents indoors and most businesses locked up tight – Maki received and executed a commission.

He explains that owner Adam Katz of the soon-to-be-opened Play Arcade engaged him to create a series of murals for the new space, which will be a bar and retro arcade in the former Slainte Irish Pub on lower Union Street.

After conducting online classes during the day, Maki went to work in the space at night and first stenciled then painted wall after colorful wall of familiar superheroes to enhance the vintage appeal of the enterprise.

For the artist, it not only represented a commission, but also a chance to mix things up. He says he adopted an entirely new painting technique using stencils that he first created in his studio at Kilburn Mill at Clarks Cove in the south end. Later, they were applied directly to the wall of the imminent retro arcade.

“It was fun to work in a new way,” he says, and the work was a great diversion from pandemic problems. “Things will get back to normal – and it’s great that Adam’s forging ahead with this project and taking advantage of the time to get it ready for its eventual opening.” (Watch for it via PlayArcadeNB.com).

At his home base in Kilburn Mill, things are also moving forward. A huge and diverse building that’s been an exciting center of creative innovation for the past few years, not only Maki but many other artists, small businesses and special event spaces are in residence right by gorgeous Clark’s Cove at 127 W. Rodney French Boulevard.

Though Maki says it was quiet during the mandatory shutdown, things were still happening beneath the surface in preparation for reopening.

In fact, Peter Andrade, one of the managers at Kilburn Mill at Clarks Cove, says the building even welcomed a new artist into a studio space during the shutdown. And, the monumental renovation of the half-million square foot building continued, with essential construction still allowed under state guidelines.

The public can experience this work first-hand as the long-planned first-floor cafe and eatery, DōCo (doughconb.com) has recently opened its doors. During the shutdown, the eatery was building a fan-base for its amazing baked goods by participating in the New Bedford Farmers Market (see offerings at CoastalFoodshed.org).

“Executive Chef Alia Asher is a visual artist herself,” Andrade says. “You eat with your eyes first – and she understands how to create an attractive plate.”

Hailing from Kingston, Jamaica, Chef Asher grew up on her family’s farm and completed her formal culinary training at Johnson & Wales University in North Miami Florida, with stints at some of Ft. Lauderdale’s high end restaurants. Her passion for food and cooking things that excite and satisfy her soul brought her to New England.

“She was not originally trained as a pastry chef or baker, but her talent and creativity has allowed her to develop and play with these skills as we prepared to open Dough Company at Kilburn Mill,” says co-owner Jillian Cotter. “One of our most popular items, the Muffnut – a half donut, half muffin top baked good – was something that she completely came up with on her own, and the idea has really taken off.”

Kilburn Mill at Clarks Cove catapulted to fame when it hosted the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s restoration of “Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage ‘Round The World” during the summer of 2018.

Since that signature event, it’s been on a renovation winning streak adding a luscious outdoor courtyard and stunning rooftop deck overlooking Clarks Cove and the city’s Hurricane Barrier and West Municipal Beach.

Under new ownership for the past several years, it’s kept long-term tenants like the Judith Klein Art Gallery & Studio, many individual artist studios, and its famed Antiques Center, while also building for the future.

That future will still arrive, post-pandemic, and Kilburn Mill, its tenants and artists like Maki and Chef Asher are even now quietly helping to usher it in…venturing stealthily out and about as a silent army battling back to the future.

As Peter Andrade says, “This, too, shall pass….”

But #NBCreative is being built to last.

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About New Bedford Creative
The New Bedford Creative Consortium is the leadership group whose purpose is overseeing the execution of the citywide strategic Arts and Culture Plan entitled New Bedford Creative: our art, our culture, our future. The Arts and Culture Plan is a huge step forward in building a thriving creative ecosystem in our city, and these are the people dedicated to implementing it. This volunteer group is facilitated by the Creative Strategist, meets quarterly and is divided into three Squads: Public Art + Facilities, Placemaking + Community, and Fundraising + Distribution.




New Superflat NB mural installing June and July in New Bedford; “Postcards to New Bedford” will be homage to the city

New Superflat NB Mural Installation June and July Wicked Cool Places Grant Recipient “Postcards to New Bedford” will be an homage to the city

Superflat NB is excited to announce its Postcards to New Bedford mural will be installed during June and part of July in downtown New Bedford, on the back wall of 674 Pleasant Street. The organization was the recipient of a Wicked Cool Places 2019/2020 grant to create a mural that pays homage to the city. Creative Direction is being handled by Greg Pennisten, a professional sign and mural painter who is collaborating with four other artists, Kailey Barrows, Alex Jardin, Lena McCarthy, and Eden Soares.

Describing his approach to the project, Greg commented, “I thought why not allow artists to create multiple cards giving each artist an individual voice or “postcard” to represent their relationship to the city. Postcards are of course, fundamentally, snapshots. Often of a place in time or an object of significance in a particular place, they can also be imaginative, artistic, and less literal. They often serve to preserve memories or celebrate moments, a quick note attached to an image of where one was and when. Each of the artists chosen for this project exemplifies the ability to create such a vignette in their own unique and creative language; relating a memory or thought of New Bedford that is in some way important to them.”

In addition to overseeing and creatively leading the project, Pennisten’s contribution to the mural will commemorate a former West End mural that honored Cape Verdean teenager Lester Lima whose life was tragically cut short in July of 1970. He wishes to honor not only one of the pioneers of New Bedford “street art” but also Lester Lima himself.

Barrows’ interpretation will use a menagerie of creatures that are associated with the area to represent the diverse, supportive New Bedford community. Jardin’s will be his perspective of life in New Bedford through a surreal, nautical narrative of commercial and leisure vessels as well as the notable Butler Flats Lighthouse. McCarthy is honoring a resident of New Bedford and the first in her family to receive a graduate degree, her great grandmother Lena. And, Soares’ version will leverage the retro lettering style of tourist memorabilia as well as landmarks and icons that reflect the rich history of the city. Using various snippets of other postcards, Pennisten is taking each approach and fitting them together as if the postcards had been thrown up in the air and landed haphazardly.

Further elaborating on the project, Greg noted, “Often times we look back at old postcards and realize not much has changed, structures still remain the same, people congregate in the same area and the notes written on the backs speak of similar moments in human lives across time. Postcards can also be used as tools of social archeology and should be viewed through the same lens as any other artifact. Hopefully, in the future, younger generations will be able to look at these postcards we are sending through time and see things have changed. Be it a changing landscape, style of dress, or social construct, we are attempting to record snapshots of what was and is in an effort to memorialize it for a vastly unknown future.”

This installation joins approximately ten other murals that Superflat NB has either brought directly to the city or in partnership with other local organizations so that all residents of New Bedford, can enjoy public art. “Now more than ever, we need to find ways to connect with one another even though we can’t necessarily be shoulder to shoulder. Placing art in neighborhoods and throughout the city makes that possible. What Greg and the team have put together is both visually stimulating and thought-provoking. We are excited to see this project come to life, and for all of you to enjoy it,” said Co-Founder, Jeremiah Hernandez.

Superflat NB is a creative placemaking, mural art organization dedicated to beautifying New Bedford while flattening barriers to the arts. It aims to foster pride and ownership of shared spaces through public art by giving local, national, and international artists a role in revitalizing the city of New Bedford while creating inclusive environments where anybody can experience great art. Serving young people is central to its efforts. The organization wants to inspire them and be inspired by them, creating new explorations of culture, expanding social networks, and making connections to resources and opportunities.

Wicked Cool Places (WCP) is the city of New Bedford’s grant program for creative placemaking, uniting willing property/business owners, artistic/cultural groups, design/preservation specialists, and business/development experts to help transform New Bedford’s overlooked or undervalued places. Wicked Cool Places enhance community development, arts entrepreneurship, and ongoing investment in the rich arts and culture of the city. Wicked Cool Places is funded by the city of New Bedford’s Arts, Culture + Tourism Fund, with additional funding by Bristol County Savings Bank, Mass Cultural Council, and MassDevelopment.

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