Wicked Cool Places grant program will keep #NBCreative

NEW BEDFORD, MA – Murals, music, moments and much more have defined New Bedford Creative since its inception in 2018. On streets in every neighborhood, the impact of New Bedford’s merchants of the imagination have helped redefine and unite the city. That work is more important now than ever – and will persevere in the year ahead.

Margo Saulnier, the City of New Bedford’s Creative Strategist, is pleased to announce today that the creative placemaking program Wicked Cool Places (WCP) is now accepting applications for its next round of projects. The deadline for applications is December 1, 2020

“Creative placemaking has never been as important as it is now,” Saulnier states. “As we continue to adjust to life during a pandemic, placemaking helps ensure that we remain connected as a community. Wicked Cool Places makes that possible in engaging and meaningful ways for all of us.”

Reflecting the reality of grappling with Covid-19, the grant program has extended its boundaries to include places where things are happening and people want to be whether it be in-person or virtual. Yet, its core mission remains the same: to unite willing property/business owners, cultural/community groups, art/design specialists, and business/development experts to help transform New Bedford’s overlooked or undervalued places.

Any New Bedford resident with an idea can apply to WCP. That includes individuals, groups, nonprofits or small businesses. The amount awarded will be anywhere from $500 up to $15,000. 

During November, Saulnier will announce information sessions, a grant writing workshop, and will arrange for individual office hours to help applicants complete their grant, which is available online at NewBedfordCreative.org. 

All applications will be vetted by a selection committee of the New Bedford Creative Consortium and scored on the impact of the project. Awards will be based on the grant funds available, which are drawn from the City’s Arts, Culture and Tourism Fund. Applications will be evaluated based upon the following:  Quality, originality and creativity; Community benefit and partnership; Planning; and Budget.

Reflecting the boundaries of life during a pandemic, Saulnier urges applicants to let their imagination run wild. 

She points out that, while some previous grantees have had to postpone their projects because of Covid, many others found innovative ways to adapt and engage in creative placemaking. 

For example, for over 20 years, WCP recipient AHA! New Bedford brought patrons to downtown New Bedford every second Thursday of the month. When pandemic restrictions went into effect earlier this year, AHA first went virtual and became VAHA!, then mixed its usual slate of arts and cultural offerings between in-person and virtual events. 

“The take-aways are that being present for current issues can connect with great planning and have tremendous impact. Artists and creatives who are planning one thing can pivot and make new statements for the community,” says Lee Heald, Director of AHA!

Get ready to make your own statement by applying for a New Bedford Creative Wicked Cool Places grant. Log on to NewBedfordCreative.org for the application and follow #NBCreative at Facebook.com/NewBedfordCreative for notifications about upcoming information sessions to help you realize your vision.

About New Bedford Creative
New Bedford Creative’s leadership team is the New Bedford Creative Consortium, 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 with additional staff support from the NBEDC and City Departments of Planning, Tourism, and the Mayor’s Office. The Consortium meets quarterly and is divided into three Squads: Public Art + Facilities, Placemaking + Community, and Fundraising + Distribution.
In the first three years, New Bedford Creative leveraged $300,000 from the City’s Arts, Culture and Tourism Fund, to an additional $745,000 from Bristol County Savings Bank, MassDevelopment, The Barr Foundation, Massachusetts Cultural Council, and Wicked Cool Places’ grantees.