Written by Steven Froias // contributing writer
New Bedford, MA — Reimagining urban spaces is second nature to New Bedford artists. Throughout the city, you’ll find public areas that have been either activated or redefined thanks to the creative impulses of artists in this authentic seaport destination on the South Coast of Massachusetts.
This coming summer, as we all reimagine what time spent outdoors means without public events due to the Covid-19 crisis, this wealth of art has now been collected into three self-guided Public Art Walking Tours by New Bedford Creative, which can still be enjoyed as a community while practicing social distancing.
Patricia Thomas, Co-chair of New Bedford Creative Consortium’s Public Art Squad and Artistic Director of culture*park says, “With these designated Walking Tours, New Bedford is right alongside other great cities where artists, art and community matter!”
“Being able to visit works of art outside, and in person now, is an extra special gift. I hope folks will get out and walk to see the murals, statues and other outside art that may have been hiding in plain sight.”
The Self-Guided Tours are available to residents and visitors alike as either downloadable PDFs or via a specially created Google map. You can find links to both on NewBedfordCreative.org’s cultural district page and the tours page on DestinationNewBedford.org.
There, you’ll find the Self-Guided Public Arts Tours arranged into three distinct districts in New Bedford: The Seaport Cultural District – Downtown; The Seaport Cultural District – Waterfront; and Love The Ave in the North End centered along Acushnet Avenue.
In all, over 50 works of art ranging from murals to sculpture are represented on the tours. Many represent the commitment and investment New Bedford has made in its culture over many years. That’s a historical feature of the city that’s seen renewed energy and purpose in recent times. It’s caused an explosion of public art by the many artists who make their home here.
Other work reflects the individual inspiration of those artists who characterize themselves as street artists and who bestow their gifts upon the city at random. These gems arrive with regularity upon the landscape.
Indeed, though all the New Bedford Creative Self-Guided Public Art Walking Tours are bursting with talent, more still remains to be discovered in the city and none of them are designed to be comprehensive but rather interactive.
Public art walking tour patrons are encouraged to discover the work listed on each tour, as well as new work that comes to light regularly throughout the city.
Share your revelations with all of us by taking pictures and sharing to social media with the hashtag #NBCreative. The tours and the wonder this artwork generates can create a new community experience all its own as we collectively redefine our city together moving forward.
- 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.