AHA! New Bedford announces campaign for A Community Thrives, part of the USA Today Network: Crowdfunding campaign needs to raise $6,000 in local support to be eligible for over $2 million in additional grants by The Gannett Foundation


Contact: Candace Lee Heald, Director of AHA!
Phone: 508-965-4816
Email: AHACoordinator@southcoastcf.org
Website: AHA! New Bedford and A Community Thrives Campaign

New Bedford, MA — In 1997, the local newspaper, The Standard Times, convened a planning process to identify the SouthCoast as a regional hub. An Arts and Culture subcommittee had the idea to create a program that would celebrate the uniqueness of the region’s past, present and future: Art, History and Architecture, or AHA! Two years later, free AHA! Cultural Nights began every second Thursday of the month, and is now a long-standing tradition in New Bedford.

AHA! has a 20+ year history of offering free programs to the community, mostly located downtown, and collaborates with over 60 artists, cultural institutions and small businesses. When the pandemic hit in March, AHA! quickly pivoted to an online format and #VAHA! (virtual AHA!) brought the city’s rich arts and culture to an online audience and became a statewide model recognized by the Mass Cultural Council.

AHA!’s latest project, “Reimagining Resilience”, has been accepted to participate in the nationwide crowdfunding campaign by USA Today Network called A Community Thrives. A Community Thrives allows neighbors, friends, family and peers to show their excitement and support for community building ideas such as Reimagining Resilience. In turn, this support unlocks access to +$2,000,000 in grants to bring the project to fruition in 2021.

In partnership with the New Bedford Economic Development Council and New Bedford Creative, “Reimagining Resilience” will use AHA!’s existing framework of monthly virtual and in-person free cultural nights to connect community members to the resilience of New Bedford.

The plan for the project is to enlarge the current in-person footprint of monthly events with outreach to community neighborhoods, carrying the message that New Bedford is ready to create, regenerate and re-engage at all levels.

“Working together is what we do — that’s what makes us New Bedford. It’s how we got here and it’s how we will get through this pandemic stronger, with everyone supporting one another — residents, artists, galleries, cultural venues, neighborhood associations, and commercial enterprises,” says Lee Heald, Director of AHA!

From September 21 to October 16, AHA! needs to raise $6,000 in order to be eligible for over $2 million in additional grants by The Gannett Foundation. Visit the campaign page today to show your support.


Governor Baker Announces Phase 3 Updates



Staff Contribution


Over the weekend, Governor Baker announced that Massachusetts will press pause on the implementation of Step 2 of Phase 3 of his reopening plan, among other initiatives, in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. Details of the update can be found outlined in the press release here. Key components have been highlighted below:


Group Gatherings Update
Effective today, outdoor gatherings must reduce their capacity from 100 to 50 individuals, per the Executive Order from the administration. Indoor gatherings will continue to be limited at 25 people. Please note, this will now apply to both public and private spaces. Read the revised Executive Order for more details.


Step 2 of Phase 3 Postponed
Step 2 of Phase 3 of the Commonwealth’s reopening plan has been postponed indefinitely as a result of rising COVID-19 cases across the state. Events hosted at indoor theaters and concerts, among others will be affected. Please see the Order Authorizing the Reopening of Phase III Enterprises for a list of businesses in Phase 3, Step 2.


Restaurant/Bar Protocol Update
According to the updated restaurant protocols, alcoholic beverages may only be served for on-site consumption if accompanied by orders for food prepared on-site.


Cross-Agency COVID Enforcement and Intervention Team
The Administration unveiled a targeted cross-agency COVID Enforcement and Intervention Team that will lead enforcement statewide and coordinate with local intervention efforts in higher risk COVID-19 communities. For more information, please see the press release.


Small Business Updates & Resources
• Last week, the SBA released a PPP Forgiveness FAQ to support borrowers seeking loan forgiveness.
• The SBA also released its Small Business Resource Guide, full of tools and resources to help businesses with everyday operations and COVID-19 related support.
• SCORE, MSBDC, the Center for Women & Enterprise, and many others are available to assist with virtual counseling and workshops to support your small business; find an SBA Resource Partner here.


To apply for an outdoor dining permit, click here


For information on a free masks (must be New Bedford resident), click here.


To view additional sector-specific updates and details of the Governor’s reopening plan, click here


For more information on the status of reopening in New Bedford and other important news, visit New Bedford’s COVID-19 page.

Owner of Hatch Street Studios in New Bedford Offers Rent Deferment During COVID-19 Crises


NEW BEDFORD, MA – On Tuesday, April 21, 2020 Jeff Glassman, Owner of the multi-story Hatch Street Studios complex at 88 and 90 Hatch Street, New Bedford, MA, offered his artist tenants two months of rent relief.

Glassman, on a Zoom call with the artists on Tuesday, offered two months of deferred rent to ease their financial burden during the current economic situation related to COVID-19.


Artists have the option to spread the deferred payments, May and June rent, over 12 months starting July 1st, 2020.

Hatch Street Studios is New Bedford’s largest community of visual and performing artists. More than 60 professional and novice visual and performing artists create work here in a variety of mediums; painters, sculptors, printmakers, photographers, woodworkers, ceramicists, musicians and others.

Glassman purchased the building in 2015. He has worked closely with artists to grow the Hatch Street creative community as well as the art community in New Bedford as a whole.

“Since purchasing the building 5 years ago, I have been working with the artists to continue to grow the community within the building and on a larger scale here in New Bedford,” said Glassman. “My goal has always been long term with this community. Hopefully a little relief with their expenses now will help them get through this mess we are all experiencing.”

“I can’t say enough on how important it is to the creative community to have an engaged and involved building owner,” said Adrian Tio, Hatch Street artist.

Glassman also owns Darn It!, Inc. on Belleville Ave which is a refurbishment and quality control, and warehousing and distribution business for many retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers worldwide. Darn It!’s remains open with a reduced workforce and increased health and safety measures, producing masks for several businesses and organizations in the area.

For more information about Darn It! or Hatch Street Studios, please contact Jeff Glassman at 508-999-4584.

Hatch Street Studios maintains an online presence with information on individual artists.

Visit www.hatchstreetstudios.com for more information.



For Immediate Release: April 17, 2020

For more information contact: Penny Pimentel, ppimentel@zeiterion.org

High resolution images of The Zeiterion available: http://zeiterion.org/press/








(New Bedford, MA) In response to the disruption caused by COVID-19 outbreak, The Zeiterion Performing Arts Center, and its resident companies The New Bedford Symphony Orchestra and The New Bedford Festival Theater, have extended the postponement of all programming through August 2.




As a result of the closure, the Zeiterion furloughed 70% of staff. Beginning with the first performance cancellation in mid-March, 30 show-related employees were immediately without work. Three weeks later, a combination of 15 full-time and part-time positions were furloughed.




Michael Tavares, President of the Zeiterion Board of Trustees stated, “We made the difficult decision to furlough most of our staff temporarily, in order to protect the financial stability of our organization. The Board is committed to preserving The Z as the heart of our community well into the future and is taking the necessary short-term measures to ensure the best outcome.”




The closure also affects over 700 performing artists. This includes all artists, musicians and dancers employed by the The Zeiterion, the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra and the New Bedford Festival Theatre.




On March 12, The Zeiterion was among the first cultural organizations in New Bedford to cancel a major event in response to the virus. Following the initial cancellation, performances were postponed through April 30. That postponement date has now been extended through early August and affects over 50 performances, 10 school student shows, and the annual two-day New Bedford Folk Festival.




In total, the three non-profits estimate over 31,000 people would have attended performances at the Zeiterion during the closure between mid-March and early August, and that translates into a $2.3 million dollar economic loss for the region. Annually, The Zeiterion, New Bedford Symphony Orchestra and New Bedford Festival Theatre attract 100,000 visitors to downtown New Bedford which represents a $7.6 million dollar impact on the regional economy.




Zeiterion’s Executive Director Rosemary Gill added, “We are acutely aware of our influence on the local economy and we are all doing everything we can to ensure the strongest possible reopening.”




The COVID-19 closure has a deep financial impact on the all three organizations. Like many non-profits presenting entertainment, a majority of their annual budgets are derived from earned revenue through ticket sales. The Zeiterion alone will endure a $1.4 million dollar loss of income.




“Many supporters are asking how they help during this time. Charitable donations or memberships would immediately benefit any of the three non-profits that share the Zeiterion’s stage” says Rosemary Gill, the Zeiterion’s Executive Director.  She added, “I’m so grateful to The Z’s board for their courage to make difficult decisions to protect our future, to our patrons for their patience and understanding, and to our donors and funders for their generosity.”




The Zeiterion, NBSO and NBFT are currently planning for days when safety allows people to gather again. New Bedford Festival Theatre has postponed its 2020 production of Annie and is working to secure the rights in order to bring Annie back in the summer of 2021. Many of the Zeiterion and some of the New Bedford Symphony shows have been rescheduled, and new performances will soon be announced. During the closure, The Z is offering pay-what-you-choose virtual classes like salsa dance and ukulele lessons, and both the NBSO and The Z are presenting virtual concerts on their social media channels.




For continued updates, please visit the web sites for all three organizations: www.zeiterion.orgwww.nbsymphony.org, and www.nbfestivaltheatre.org.


Governor signs Zeiterion bill to allow long-term lease

Posted Nov 7, 2019 at 9:35 AM

BOSTON — Legislation that would allow the city to enter into a long-term lease with Zeiterion Theater Inc. has passed its final hurdle. On Thursday, Gov. Charlie Baker signed the legislation which had already been passed by the state Legislature.

Zeiterion Theater Inc. is seeking a long-term lease with the city because it is embarking on an $18 million capital improvement campaign to renovate the theater, and tax credits and bonds being applied for require applicants to have a 99-year lease.

“I’m thrilled that the governor and our state legislators support the city’s request to enter into a long-term lease agreement with the Z,” said Rosemary Gill, executive director of Zeiterion Theater Inc. “It means that the Z will be able to make very necessary and exciting improvements to the building and that’s going to have tremendous and long range implications for what our organization can offer to the community and what sort of impact it can have.”

Gill said they have already started conversations with city officials about the lease and said they’ll probably establish a working group with the city.

According to Gill, the group will then have to go before the City Council to negotiate the terms of the lease.

In May, the council voted to send a home rule petition to the Statehouse to pave the way for the long-term lease.

Mayor Jon Mitchell also supported the home rule petition and said on Friday, “Given the importance of the Zeiterion to the cultural life of the city, and knowing the ambitious plans to upgrade the facility, I was pleased to honor the Z’s request and work with the City Council to initiate this home rule petition.”

Mitchell said the long-term lease “unlocks access to millions of dollars of federal investment that could make the project that much more feasible.”

Sen. Mark Montigny filed the legislation for the lease and said in a statement that “It’s taken well over a decade of work in the legislature to provide state funding to the Zeiterion so it could successfully provide New Bedford and our entire region with world class performances and opportunities for children and families. Consequently, the Z has become an economic engine for downtown and we’re very excited for this next phase in its development into a 21st century performing arts center.”

Original story here.

$1 million more directed to boost local arts and culture

The arts community in New Bedford and Fall River is on the cusp of receiving another influx of cash. A million-dollar investment to be precise.

The Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts, which has administered the Creative Commonwealth Initiative grants for the last two years, announced that the Boston-based Barr Foundation is looking to augment that fund over the next three years to the tune of $1 million.

“To receive the funds, the Community Foundation will need to raise an additional $220,000 from local donors,” a press release from the Community Foundation stated.

“Over the past three years, the Community Foundation has taken a very public and leading role in the promotion of the role of arts and culture as essential to the lives of the residents of and visitors to the cities of Fall River and New Bedford.

“From a deep investment in public art that has, in the past year, changed the visual landscape of our cities, to the support of cultural celebrations as diverse as this past weekend’s Fabric Festival in Fall River and Festival Tipíco in New Bedford the previous weekend, to a partnership with area non-profits that is building professional expertise and providing technical assistance, the first phase of the Initiative has been an exciting and impactful effort.”

Over two years, Creative Commonwealth grants have focused on funding public art projects and cultural projects, respectively. Additional funding through the initiative has helped area nonprofits build a stronger foundation to form boards, seek private funding and execute projects.

This new funding will help underpin those efforts, officials said.

“This additional funding will build upon lessons learned over the past three years of the effort,” the press release states. “Specifically, the Community Foundation will be investing more robustly in building the capacity of arts and culture nonprofit organizations in New Bedford and Fall River in order to create long-lasting and sustainable change. The focus of the Creative Commonwealth Initiative will remain on supporting culturally diverse communities, immigrants, and youth in both cities”

The announcement of this extension is the continuation of a 10-year partnership with the Barr Foundation and five community foundations throughout the state including the Berkshire-Taconic Community Foundation, the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, the Essex County Community Foundation, and the Greater Worcester Community Foundation.

While each community foundation has approached the past two years from different perspectives and through varied outlets, the ultimate goal is the same — to help deepen community engagement with and philanthropic investment in the arts. The initiative is dedicated to building bridges, developing leadership, and helping to create wholistic perception of arts and culture as an integral facet of the region.

“When we began this work in 2017, our shared hypothesis was straightforward: We believe arts and creativity are essential for thriving communities, that community foundations are well-positioned to catalyze more vibrant and sustainable arts ecosystems in the regions they serve, and that community foundation impact can be enhanced through strategies they design and pursue in their respective contexts,” San San Wong, director of arts and creativity and Jim Canales, president, stated in a recent Barr Foundation blog post.

According to John Vasconcellos, president of the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts, “This work and the investment from the Barr Foundation is a bold confirmation of the unique role that community foundations play, as match-makers between philanthropists — both locally and outside the region — and the great work that is happening in our communities. Community Foundations understand both sides of that equation and when thoughtful and innovative, can bring significant change, improvement, and investment into our communities. This Initiatives proves that.”

What started with community conversations in 2017 morphed into a two-year pilot phase with over $100,000 raised and over $360,000 directly granted to nonprofit organizations through grants and trainings. Public Art grants in September 2018 made a splash with nearly $200,000 being granted to arts and culture nonprofits in New Bedford and Fall River.

Installations, festivals, and murals brought arts to the streets of Fall River and New Bedford this summer and fall as a result of those grants.

January 2019 launched the beginning of a six-month capacity building series for arts and culture nonprofit organizations. Twelve nonprofits were trained on marketing and branding, finance, fundraising, and more. Shared learning opportunities will continue through the rest of the year.

Two large workshops were offered for free and open to anyone to attend, bringing national arts trainers Arts Midwest and Springboard for the Arts to the Southcoast.

Summer 2019 awarded $111,000 in cultural expression grants to almost a dozen organizations organizing and elevating the artistic expression of some of the cultural and ethnic groups that are often glanced over in the conversation about “mainstream arts.”

The Get Out and Art! Summer Program sought to address the obstacle of transportation and access to youth arts programming. Grants were awarded to the New Bedford Art Museum and Dream Out Loud Center for the Arts to lead their programs on site in community centers at two New Bedford Housing Authority locations.

“The vibrancy of arts and culture in the region is apparent and the impact that the Creative Commonwealth has had over the past year and a half has contributed to a shift of appreciation and investment in the arts,” the press release states. “Accessibility, networking, collaboration, outreach, and capacity have all been amplified amongst our grantees and the community-at-large. The Community Foundation has learned that while key additions can be put in place, community change happens organically. Ideas cannot be forced into neighborhoods and desired outcomes do not take place without input and shared learning.

“The next three years will take a deeper dive into further developing and strengthening the capacity of arts and culture nonprofit organizations; it will build upon the current work with the cities’ youth through Get Out and Art!; it will continue to work with donors to increase local philanthropy and ensure the sustainability of the Initiative; it will offer opportunities for community members to grow with and learn from each other; it will be representative of the cultural and ethnic diversity that makes Fall River and New Bedford unique. This is just the beginning of an exciting and meaningful journey. There is still much work to be done, but the future looks very promising.”

“The Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts has been laying the groundwork for a stronger and more sustainable arts and creativity sector. Their investments in the effectiveness of grassroots arts organizations are already paying dividends in the community,” stated San San Wong.

“The Community Foundation is thrilled to continue this partnership with the Barr Foundation and other funders to grow and sustain investment in arts and culture in the region. Stay up to date on the Creative Commonwealth Initiative by ‘liking’ the Community Foundation on Facebook.”

Original story here.

MassDevelopment to pilot arts development program in New Bedford; announces TDI grants aimed at the arts

The Barr Foundation is well-known in the New Bedford arts community thanks to its work in funding the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts’ Creative Commonwealth initiative and partnership with the Karman Family Foundation to give nearly $1 million last year in unrestricted funds to The New Bedford Art Museum/ArtWorks!, New Bedford Symphony Orchestra and the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center via the Barr-Klarman Massachusetts Arts Initiative.

New Bedford takes center stage in this latest grant announcement.

On Tuesday, MassDevelopment announced it will create new arts-based programming through the agency’s Transformative Development Initiative thanks to a $500,000 grant from the Barr Foundation.

Transformative Development Initiative, better known as TDI, is a program for Gateway Cities designed to accelerate economic growth within focused districts.

MassDevelopment will use grant funds to provide two new tools for TDI districts: (1) a competitive grant program for art and other creative industry projects aimed at catalyzing economic development and neighborhood revitalization, and (2) additional capacity in New Bedford to support a planning phase focused on creative industry development and arts and culture infrastructure.

In New Bedford, grant funds will support a year-long planning phase with key community partners to create a strategy to best enhance the local arts and culture infrastructure as a mechanism for supporting economic growth.

The goal of this planning phase is to form the foundation for a more comprehensive set of resources that could later be deployed elsewhere, bolstering the revitalization of Gateway Cities and re-establishing these communities as regional centers for art and culture, a press release from Mass Development stated.

Grant funds will support the salary of two staff members that will be centrally involved in this effort, including Margo Saulnier, Arts and Culture Strategist for the City of New Bedford, and Dena Haden, Program Manager for the Co-Creative Center.

Additionally, grant funds will also be used to hire an external consultant to help the partners facilitate the process and undertake an initial community-led pilot project.

“There is significant momentum building in New Bedford centered around arts, culture, and our city’s emerging creative economy,” said New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell. “We are eager and grateful to work with MassDevelopment, the Barr Foundation, and other partners over the next year to explore opportunities to sustain and further amplify this momentum.”

In the first arm of the initiative, MassDevelopment will develop a two-year competitive grant program through which individuals and organizations in TDI districts can apply for grants ranging from $20,000 to $40,000 to support public-facing projects that serve to enhance local arts and culture infrastructure.

Current TDI districts – in the cities of Chelsea, Chicopee, Fall River, Fitchburg, Lawrence, Springfield, and Worcester (Main South) – as well as graduated TDI districts – in the cities of Brockton, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lynn, New Bedford, Peabody, Pittsfield, Revere, and Worcester (Theatre District) – are eligible to apply.

This grant program will complement existing MassDevelopment grant programs that support Massachusetts’ creative economy, including TDI Local, Commonwealth Places, and the Collaborative Workspace Program. The Collaborative Workspace Program has also received support from the Barr Foundation; in 2016 the organization provided a three-year $1,965,000 grant to the program to expand support for arts-related collaborative workspaces in the Commonwealth.

“The Transformative Development Initiative represents a high-touch, partnership-based approach to neighborhood development in Gateway Cities, and we are seeing firsthand the major role that arts, cultural assets, and the creative economy play in positioning these former industrial centers to be economically competitive,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss. “We are thrilled to receive support from the Barr Foundation to provide new arts-based programming and assistance in these cities.”

During the program’s first three and a half years, MassDevelopment has invested $13.5 million in the TDI districts through tools such as technical assistance, real estate investments, grant programs, and fellows who work in the districts. That investment has directly influenced over $39.8 million and assisted an additional $80.6 million of public and private investments in the districts.

“Investing in arts and creativity generates so many benefits for communities,” said San San Wong, Barr Foundation Director of Arts & Creativity. “Not only is it a proven economic driver and way for businesses to attract and retain talent, it lifts up the voices and rich cultural expressions of our diverse neighborhoods. The arts and creativity help people build understanding and stronger connections — the ‘social infrastructure’ that is such a crucial feature of lasting economic and community revitalization. It is exciting to see MassDevelopment so fully embrace the potential for arts and creativity to enrich their efforts in the Gateway Cities, and it is our privilege to support this new work.”

MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, banks, and communities to stimulate economic growth. During FY2019, MassDevelopment financed or managed 316 projects generating investment of more than $2 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are estimated to create or support 9,743 jobs and build or preserve 1,992 housing units.

Original story here.

‘Our link is just the creative community’: 3rd EyE Open Hip Hop Festival takes over Downtown New Bedford

If you were walking through Downtown New Bedford on Saturday, you might have been confused by what you saw. 3rd EyE Open Hip Hop Festival not only had break dancers, but also everything from graffiti artists giving demonstrations to farmers selling sunflowers to families playing miniature golf.

“Just the sight of alpacas walking around the hip hop stage is so cool to see,” Allison Faunce said.

Faunce is one of the founders of Southcoast Open Air Market (SOAM) and she teamed up with the organizers of 3rd EyE Open to host the market in Custom House Square during the festival.

While the combination of a hip hop festival and a market with alpacas; farmers; and vendors selling pottery, soaps, and other artisan craft goods may seem odd to some, to Faunce it makes perfect sense.

“I think our chain or link is just the creative community,” Faunce explained, “Creativity comes out in so many different forms.”

WGBH Open Studio with Jared Bowen: DATMA Puts Wind On Display In New Bedford

This week wind, science, technology art and culture are on full view as Design Art Technology Massachusetts, (DATMA) and their Summer Winds 2019 event begins.

Watch the 5 minute video below!




Wicked Cool Grant Applications available for Creative Placemaking

City of New Bedford Official Website

Beginning this week, anyone with an idea to make a public place in New Bedford ‘wicked cool’ can apply to the city’s Wicked Cool Places (WCP) grant to help turn their vision into reality.

Application here.

WCP is the City of New Bedford’s grant program for creative placemaking. It is funded by the city of New Bedford’s Arts, Culture and Tourism Fund, with additional funding by Bristol County Savings Bank, Mass Cultural Council, and MassDevelopment.

WCP seeks to enhance community development, arts entrepreneurship, and ongoing investment in the rich arts and culture of the city. New Bedford artists, cultural organizations and talented citizens are encouraged to apply for a WCP grant through August 16.

Applications can be found at NewBedfordCreative.org, the just-launched website for all things #NBcreative. For more information, email Margo Saulnier, New Bedford’s Creative Strategist, at artsnewbedford@gmail.com.

“The goal of Wicked Cool Places is to unite property and business owners with artistic and cultural groups, using arts as a tool to help transform New Bedford’s overlooked or undervalued places,” said Saulnier.
Wicked Cool Places began as a pilot program in April 2018 when it distributed $5,000 in grants as a test run to 3rd EyE Unlimited, SUPERFLAT NB, the New Bedford Art Museum/Artworks!, and Seaport Art Walk. This leveraged over $12,000.

In December 2018, the pilot program scaled up to distribute $50,000 in placemaking grants to 12 different artists or groups, investing in projects throughout the City of New Bedford, which leveraged an additional $180,000. A few of those projects include Tracy Barbosa’s Guatemalan Kite Festival Workshops, Brook Baptiste’s Reggae on West Beach, New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center’s Big Boat, Little Boat celebration of fishing culture, Southcoast Lessons’ Open Season Series, and Community Economic Development Center’s Vacant Storefront Gallery.

The official first round of Wicked Cool Places will invest up to $80,000 in funds for city-wide placemaking projects beginning this Fall.
The deadline to submit an application is August 16, 2019. Grants will be announced in mid-October 2019. Once a project is approved, the applicant will receive a commitment letter from the New Bedford Economic Development Council. Grants will be distributed as a reimbursement in full once final approval from that office is granted.

Any project or program within the City of New Bedford is eligible. Individuals and organizations are both eligible. However, Wicked Cool Places cannot accept applications for work that has already been completed, and work for grant-funded tasks cannot begin until successful applicants are provided with written approval.

All applications will be evaluated by the selection committee of the New Bedford Creative Consortium and scored on the impact of the project based on these criteria: quality, originality and creativity, community benefit and partnership, planning and budget.
So, for those who have a wicked cool idea ready to unleash on the world in New Bedford, visit Wicked Cool Places at NewBedfordCreative.org and begin the journey.

About: Wicked Cool Places (WCP) is the city of New Bedford’s grant program for creative placemaking, uniting willing property/business owners, artistic/cultural groups, design/preservation specialists, and business/development experts to help transform New Bedford’s overlooked or undervalued places. Wicked Cool Places enhance community development, arts entrepreneurship, and ongoing investment in the rich arts and culture of the city, and is funded by the city of New Bedford’s Arts, Culture and Tourism Fund, with additional funding by Bristol County Savings Bank, Mass Cultural Council, and MassDevelopment.

New Bedford Arts, Culture and Tourism Fund was proposed by Mayor Jon Mitchell in the spring of 2016 and approved by the City Council in June 2016, and consists of revenue generated from the city’s lodging tax, capped at a total of $100,000. Creation of the fund also required the passage of a home rule petition by the state legislature and the petition’s passage, led by state Senator Mark Montigny and signed into law by Governor Baker in January 2017. The purpose of the fund is to create a dedicated revenue stream to provide for additional planning, programmatic, and administrative capacity to allow the City of New Bedford to take full advantage of its cultural and tourism assets, and to catalyze and manage the growth of the cultural and tourism sectors in the years ahead. The New Bedford Economic Development

Council (NBEDC) has a three-year agreement to manage the fund for the City. This work is lead by the NBEDC’s Creative Strategist. Additional funding is provided by Bristol County Savings Bank, Mass Cultural Council, and MassDevelopment.

New Bedford Creative Consortium 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, holds 1-3 year terms, and is divided into three task forces: Public Art and Facilities; Placemaking and Community; and Fundraising and Distribution.

Original post here.