New Bedford Public Schools’ annual District-Wide Art Show opened to the public Thursday evening, an annual feature of the May AHA! New Bedford, the popular monthly downtown arts night. More than 2,000 people attended opening night festivities, which included live music by the New Bedford High School Jazz Combo and the NBHS Steel Drumming Ensemble, a talk by local artist Fitzcarmel LaMarre, an awards ceremony and refreshments.
This year’s show features more than 3,000 pieces of student artwork from every New Bedford Public School and grade level. Mounted on dozens of 8-foot tall panels and display tables, art of every medium occupies the length of the first and second floor hallways of the Paul Rodrigues Administration Building, located at 455 County Street at the head of William Street.
The ceremony “is a wonderful display of the hard work and dedication from both our students and teachers,” said Lynn Souza, the district’s Director of Fine Arts.
Throughout the 2½ hour opening celebration, hundreds of attendees streamed up from City Hall Square to the former high school building, as the NBHS Steel Drumming Ensemble, its tropical tunes reverberating throughout upper William Street Arts District, performed on the front lawn of the former NBHS building.
Members of the NBHS JROTC manned the entrances and acted as guides, providing directions and assistance to guests. For opening night only, an exhibit in the main foyer which drew special attention was the New Bedford High School Art Team’s design prototypes for the Vans Custom Culture Competition, a national art contest in which the NBHS footwear designs for Vans have placed in the top five.
The Awards Ceremony was held in the auditorium to recognize recipients of ‘Best in Show for Middle School’ and ‘Best in Show for High School’ awards, as well as Special Judges’ Awards (Gold Key and Silver Key) given to middle school and high school artists with exemplary work. Winners were determined prior to the ceremony by a panel of judges from the New Bedford community.
94 Gold Key and 121 Silver Key Awards were given across the district.
The night belonged to senior Quinn Mulvey, who was awarded New Bedford High School Best of Show and also named NBHS Artist of the Year, for winning several gold key and silver key awards. Quinn’s mixed media painting of the Samuel W. Rodman House, an 1842 Gothic cottage, which houses the Offices of the Inter-Church Council of Greater New Bedford, won NBHS Best of Show.
Notable NBHS Artists (winning 3 or more awards) included Jaylah Castillo, Carolina Sam Lazaro, and Ana Gonzalez. The photography display won Best Collaborative Artwork, which recognized all of the students involved.
At the middle school level, Best in Show went to Makenna Connell, Normandin, for her Women’s Rights portrait. Middle School Artist of the Year went to Omar Ortiz, Normandin, for winning several gold and silver key awards. Notable Middle School Artist went to Siomarilis Santos, Normandin, for winning at least 3 awards.
The Art Show is open to the public, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. through Friday, May 17. Admission is free.