Mural highlights restoration of the Strand Theatre on The Ave

Cape Verdean Association and Waterfront Historic Area League commission Eden Soares for Cape Verdean Community Center mural

Unveiling will highlight the upcoming restoration of the Strand Theatre Island Park on Acushnet Avenue  

New Bedford, Mass. (November 6, 2020) – The Cape Verdean Association of New Bedford (CVANB) has partnered with Waterfront Historic Area League (WHALE), a non-profit organization committed to preserving New Bedford’s history and architectural heritage, to reimagine the North End streetscape  

The organizations have teamed up with the City of New Bedford, SouthCoast Community Foundation, Community Economic Development Center, local artist Tracy Barbosa, studio2sustain Architects, and members of the neighborhood group Love the Ave, to create Island Park alongside the former Strand Theatre at 1157 Acushnet Avenue. The theater is currently undergoing renovation into a multi-purpose Cape Verdean Community Cultural Center which will reflect the diversity and inclusivity of the city. 

The new Island Park will feature a multi-panel mural painted by local artist Eden Soares. The Cape Verdean-themed mural design will serve as the welcome to Island Park. Attached to the south side of the theater, it will soar over Acushnet Avenue, a busy commercial corridor and gateway to the North End of the city.

Eden Soares has worked over the past year to create the color-filled mural on 4 foot by 8 foot panels. The completed project consists of over 30 such panels, which have just been hung on the broad expanse of a newly repointed brick wall on the theater.

On Friday, Nov. 13 at 9:00 a.m., WHALE will stream an Instagram Live event with the artist and CVANB members from the site. You can watch it via IGTV from 

CVANB and WHALE believe Island Park will welcome residents, visitors and tourists to Acushnet Avenue’s International Marketplace – a North End destination. The area also hosts some of the community’s most popular annual events, such as the Portuguese Feast of the Blessed Sacrament, Day of Portugal and the Guatemalan Kite Festival. 

Both organizations are excited that the Cape Verdean Community Center, with Island Park, will provide a showcase for a New Bedford community that is home to over 11,000 Cape Verdean Americans.

“Our Board and many community volunteers have been working for many years to open the Cape Verdean Cultural Community Center,” says Raquel Dias, CVANB Board President. “The addition of Island Park will connect the CVA community center to the neighborhood and help to expand our future programming,”  

Since New Bedford is known as a leading “Cape Verdean Capital in the U.S.,” it is imperative to WHALE and the CVANB that the project adequately reflects its people and culture. The center will bring together New Bedford community members as a place to connect history to the future.  

“WHALE has greatly enjoyed working with CVANB to assist with the transformation of this vacant lot and historic theater into Island Park and the new Cape Verdean Cultural Center” states Teri Bernert, Executive Director of WHALE. “As a team, we’ve made a lot of progress so far, but our work is far from done; any support to help us complete these important revitalization projects is hugely appreciated.” 

CVANB and WHALE are assembling project financing of $1.2 million through public and private funding. To learn more about ways to get involved, or to make a donation of any denomination, please visit or email


The Cape Verdean Association in New Bedford:

The CVANB strives to foster continued appreciation for its history and deliver culturally competent programs and services that enrich all communities, making a difference in the lives of the Cape Verdean people here and abroad. As the vanguard of Cape Verdean heritage in the United States, the CVANB aspires to reach, build, and strengthen partnerships throughout the Cape Verdean diaspora.  CVANB is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that has served the New Bedford area since 1990. For more information, please visit



The Waterfront Historic Area LeaguE (WHALE) has dedicated the past 62 years to the preservation of the city of New Bedford’s history and architectural heritage. The organization works on projects that showcase the diversity of the area and exemplifies its culture to accurately reflect its people. Throughout the years, WHALE has facilitated the completion of more than 70 restoration and preservation projects in the New Bedford area. These projects have provided commercial development and affordable housing to low-and-moderate income individuals and families, promote arts and culture, as well as educate the importance of the historic and architectural culture of New Bedford’s diverse people. For more information, please visit: