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Now You Know: The Sea Flower art in downtown New Bedford


You’ve probably driven past the wooden piece of art that looks like a Sea Flower or Sea Urchin, that is not too far from the octopus intersection just behind the court house and Social Security Administration building. It’s a recognizable piece of art, but there isn’t much near it to detail its origins, so we asked for details on our Facebook paged and learned about it:

Shelley Cardoos: “Yes! It’s called Sea Flower or Sea Urchin. The sculptor’s name is James Surls and was installed in 1978.”

Caleb Fiero: “The Sea Flower was created by artist James Surls and installed in 1978. It is meant to represent New Bedford’s seafaring history. As an art student at UMass, this was one of my favorite sculptures in the city. The most un-interesting thing I’ve learned is that a lot of people hate this sculpture. As usual, the majority of people hate abstraction, and only think realism is good art. Those people are boring.”

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About Michael Silvia

Served 20 years in the United States Air Force. Owner of New Bedford Guide.

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One comment

  1. I remember when it was built-everyone waited with anticipation for the unveiling. I could be wrong, but I think the cost was about a million dollars? It was some months before it was completed & when it was finally unveiled, people said “We paid that much money for THAT??!!” Back then it was called the sea urchin, & everyone though it ugly. To me it was a big waste of time & money.

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