Watch the 5 minute video below!
Watch the 5 minute video below!
By Michael Bonner / email@example.com
Posted Aug 1, 2018 at 6:18 PM
Lauren Liss felt a buzz emitting from the city as she sat at the bar at the Harbor Hotel on Tuesday night.
The CEO of MassDevelopment spent the night at the hotel to prepare for its grand opening Wednesday morning. The fresh paint, new furniture and maritime accents highlighted the city’s latest addition, and also exposed potential for the future.
“There is a buzz in New Bedford, a tangible, palpable buzz in New Bedford, this city is alive,” Liss said. “It’s thriving and the excitement that’s generated by projects like this is absolutely phenomenal.”
While the hotel actually opened on July 16, politicians, investors and community members filled the lobby for its official grand opening Wednesday.
Mayor Jon Mitchell referred to the moment as six years in the making.
“This place is going to be a shot in the arm for the downtown economy,” Mitchell said.
The 46,000-square-foot building at 222 Union St. includes a restaurant and bar, a banquet space and fitness center. It employs about 50 people, with 42 hailing from New Bedford.
The hotel consists of 70 rooms featuring mini-fridges, high speed internet and 40-inch flat screen televisions.
In its long history, the building formerly housed a drug store and WBSM. While dormant, utilities hadn’t been updated to produce enough power needed for current amenities.
“Of course, we always thank the mayor, but this time it’s actually for real,” President of Columbus Group Shiawee Yang said with a laugh. “I don’t know if you know that our mayor picked up the phone, called that company, you know what, otherwise we still may not have power. You literally brought the power.”
In the two weeks since it opened, General Manager Dewan Kashem said the occupancy rate has been as high as 85 percent. Immediately prior to the grand opening, he said it was about 50 percent.
“We think August and September will be really good,” Kashem said.
As visitors enter the hotel after a valet service parks their car, a wall-sized photo of a vessel greets them at the entrance. Across from that, a piece of artwork highlights another wall as hundreds of photos of New Bedford residents come together to display a larger picture of a knot.
Many of the rooms feature ocean-themed artwork. A few offer exposed brick with the original wood ceiling and floors.
Those staying may not be Whaling City natives, but they’ll leave understanding New Bedford’s history.
“This feels like you’re in a big city space, and spaces like this shouldn’t be limited just to big cities,” Mitchell said. “Every city that’s successful should have a space that looks like this.”
Original story here.
New Bedford in BBC travel!
New Bedford, Massachusetts, is a place few have heard of. But the mark it has left on the world is profound.
By Mike MacEacheran
20 July 2018
On the south-eastern underbelly of the Massachusetts shoreline, overshadowed by the hook-shaped peninsula of beautiful Cape Cod and the harbour islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, New Bedford is the kind of place most visitors drive right through.
All but forgotten on the Acushnet River, the downtown is a relic of its 19th-Century heyday, preserved as a monument to history and a peculiar reminder of the city’s rise and fall. The quaysides and cobbles still buzz with local life, but scratch below the surface and darker, more uncomfortable truths lurk on every corner.
Because New Bedford isn’t just any town. On a visit, you’ll learn it was once the wealthiest city per capita in North America. But you’ll also hear it was where men were 100 times more likely to die than anywhere else and that the streets were once overrun with blubber and blood. The catalyst? Whaling.
National Park Ranger Andrew Schnetzer walks visitors through this murky history several times a week, chewing over the divisive, taboo and controversial subject. First, he takes them down William Street, site of the red-bricked New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park headquarters. Then to Water Street, once wall-to-wall with candle works, coopers, carpenters, shipwrights, blacksmiths, oil refineries, insurance companies and the richest banks on the continent.
“We call New Bedford ‘the city that lit the world’ for a reason,” Schnetzer told me, pointing to what was once the most profitable street in the US. “The Quakers – the religious dissidents who first settled the area – found that if they rendered the fat from a whale carcass washed on shore, then lit it, they had smokeless, scentless, beautiful lamp oil.”
As gruesome as it sounds, whale oil was a plentiful resource, and within years the operation had multiplied tenfold. To increase yields, liquid spermaceti wax was harvested from the skulls of sperm whales that swam in the channels of Nantucket Sound, then later processed into fuel.
What made it so attractive was that it was cleaner, brighter and worth six to eight times more than regular whale oil. In 1850, for instance, Hadwen & Barney Oil and Candle Factory produced 4,000 boxes of spermaceti candles, plus more than 450,000 gallons of refined sperm oil valued at $300,000 – about $9 million (£6.85 million) in today’s terms. It was a huge profit few argued with. Even if, they say, you could smell New Bedford before you could see it.
Within a few generations, the hard-working, parsimonious Quakers had become global titans of the whaling industry, masterminding a business controlled as much by those on shore as on ship. And in the rippling wake, New Bedford was put on the world map.
“At that time, New Bedford was supplying 5,000 street lamps in London,” Schnetzer said, matter-of-factly. “The oil was shipped to Europe, South America and the West Indies, even helping kick-start the American Industrial Revolution. Get in a car today and drive around. The system for making that possible was invented on Water Street. Flick a light switch on in your room, and it’s the same thing. It all began here.”
Today, New Bedford still lives off the deep harbour that empties into Buzzards Bay. Thanks to scalloping, it has the highest value of any fishing port in the US, landing up to 65 million kg of seafood annually. But dig deeper, and the whaling story remains writ large on the streets. The Moby-Dick Brewing Company is on the corner of Union Street, while the faux-historical Whaler’s Tavern is next door. Running parallel on Johnny Cake Hill is the clapboard Mariners’ Home (it only stopped housing fishermen in 2006) and, next to that, the Seamen’s Bethel, which continues its mission of remembrance for lost mariners.
By Michael Bonner / firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted Aug 1, 2018 at 6:09 PM
Tony Cabral joked that he hoped he didn’t wake his neighbor, Mayor Jon Mitchell, when he arrived home at 3 a.m. Wednesday after the state legislature passed a bill that could bring retail shops and restaurants to the State Pier.
“I heard (you), I thought it was a burglar,” Mitchell quipped back at the state rep.
The laughs and celebration for the economic future of New Bedford didn’t come without a bit of struggle to include language for mixed-use options at State Pier into the economic development bond valued at more than $1 billion.
“I’m pleased with the outcome. Obviously it was very contentious,” Mitchell said. “I hope that we can all put aside this matter and move on with the many other challenges facing New Bedford and the opportunities before us.”
The final language, which passed late Tuesday night, allowed for up to 20 percent of the square footage on the west side of State Pier, adjacent to MacArthur Drive, for “accessory uses.”
Regulations for State Pier limit accessory use to 25 percent, which would have governed the language in the Senate’s version of the economic development bill. While the Senate’s version of the bill included mixed-use provisions, the House’s version didn’t.
Tuesday night, negotiations for the final bill included provisions that capped the number at 10 percent between the northwestern and southwestern corners. Another potential provision would have restricted anything that could infringe on the right of way used by trucks and rail.
“These two provisions would have made it extremely difficult to have any meaningful development,” a spokesperson for state Sen. Mark Montigny said.
In the past, state Rep. Bill Straus voiced concerns regarding mixed-use facilities on the pier. He began negotiations hoping for a lower percentage, but ended Tuesday night satisfied with the discussion and final bill.
“It takes no skill at all to end the day with no deal at all. Anyone can fail with negotiations,” Straus said. “I think what people have to appreciate is how important it is when all the parties keep their eyes on the ball, which is what happened here.”
Cabral initially inserted similar language regarding mixed-use into the House’s version of the bill, however, it was cut from the final version. On Monday, he worked with other New Bedford representatives in the House that would calm any concerns.
“The last few days of formals are always hectic. There’s so many things that we’re working on. But obviously last night was a little more intense,” Cabral said. “I wanted to get that done. I needed to get to a point where everyone felt comfortable with language.”
The bill also included language to allow MassDevelopment to sign a lease to manage State Pier for a term not to exceed 35 years.
As the management organization watching over State Pier, it will decide what’s next after the governor signs the economic development bill.
The thought behind adding mixed-use possibilities to State Pier is to connect the waterfront with downtown New Bedford.
Mitchell first spoke about the idea when he ran for mayor in 2011. Montigny brought the idea to the Statehouse in 2008. His 2014 State Pier bond authorization of $25 million allows for an array of projects ranging from commercial fishing, to educational facilities and fresh produce and fish markets.
“We must maximize the true potential of State Pier, and this fight was worth every bit of the political capital necessary to finally connect downtown with our unique working waterfront,” Montigny said in a statement. “Existing industry will remain intact, and we can finally make much better use of what is essentially empty space right now.”
Original article here.
Posted Jul 31, 2018 at 5:54 PM
Experts will give a series of lectures in August about America’s longest painting, “Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage ’Round the World,” which is featured in two New Bedford Whaling Museum exhibitions: “A Spectacle in Motion: The Original” and “A Spectacle in Motion: The Experience.”
Chief Curator Christina Connett will speak about panoramas as a popular form of entertainment in the 19th century on Aug. 7 at the Whaling Museum. Michael P. Dyer, the museum’s curator of maritime history, will look at the Grand Panorama through the industrial lens of whaling and maritime culture on Aug. 14 at the Museum. On Aug. 28, Akeia Benard, curator of social history, will show how the painting reveals New Bedford as a global cosmopolitan hub with connections to the rest of the world through the whaling industry.
All lectures begin at 7 p.m., preceded by receptions at 6. The cost to attend is $10 for museum members and $15 for nonmembers. Series tickets cost $25 for members, $40 for nonmembers. Tickets are available at whalingmuseum.com or by calling 508-997-0046.
In 2017, the museum completed the conservation of the 1,275-foot-long “Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage ’Round the World,” painted in 1848 by Benjamin Russell and Caleb Purrington. “A Spectacle in Motion: The Original” features the enormous painting in its entirety at the Kilburn Mill in New Bedford and runs through Oct. 8. “A Spectacle in Motion: The Experience” presents a large-scale digital reproduction of the artwork as a theatrical moving picture show, similar to what audiences would have experienced in the 1850s. This exhibition opened July 29 and will run through 2021 at the museum.
Tuesday, Aug. 7: A Spectacle in Motion: 19th Century Entertainment and ‘Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage ‘Round the World’
At New Bedford Whaling Museum
By Dr. Christina Connett, Chief Curator
Dr. Connett will place the Panorama in the larger context of the era’s visual culture. The Panorama is one of only a few surviving American moving panoramas, an enormously popular art and entertainment form that reached its peak in the mid-19th century. In many ways, panoramas were cultural indicators of public interests that fed the massive popularity of 19th-century World’s Fairs. Much like the extraordinary adventure writings of authors such as Jules Verne and Robert Louis Stevenson, panoramas brought the spectacle of the exotic and the unknown to eager audiences of armchair travelers in the Industrial Age. Audiences keen on the authentic experience, but without the means or desire to travel far afield, could be transported to another locale through the spectacle of the moving panorama.
Tuesday, Aug. 14: Industry of Whaling and Maritime Culture of Mid 19th-Century America
At New Bedford Whaling Museum
By Michael P. Dyer, Curator of Maritime History
Dyer will examine the Panorama through an industrial lens. Benjamin Russell probably conceived his idea for a traveling whaling panorama picture show sometime between 1841, when he shipped on board a whaler, and 1847, around the time when he and Caleb Purrington actually began to paint it. The painting coincided with the height of American whaling, economically, physically and culturally. The impacts of the whaling enterprise were felt through many segments of American society and its profits later funded the fine and mechanical arts, and local industries as divergent as banking, machine-tool manufacturing, and cotton-spinning. The growth of the industry demanded an American diplomatic presence in many faraway lands, advancing the vanguard of American hegemony in the Pacific.
Tuesday, Aug. 28: Globalization and Diversity of Maritime Industries from New Bedford
Kilburn Mill, 127 West Rodney French Blvd., New Bedford
By Dr. Akeia Benard, Curator of Social History
Benard will show how the Panorama reveals New Bedford as a global cosmopolitan hub with connections to the rest of the world through the whaling industry. The painting illustrates the path of expanding hegemony of the United States through American commerce worldwide in remote and “exotic” ports and landfalls. Details of the ports – their geography, inhabitants, architecture and maritime infrastructure – are vividly represented in the painting. In its very structure, the Panorama represents the connections between these far-flung locations and different cultures forged by the American enterprise of whaling and the global dominance of the American whaling industry.
Original story here.
By Michael Bonner email@example.com
Posted Mar 1, 2018 at 7:17 PM
With each signature scribbled onto the four documents within the Ashley Room at City Hall on Thursday night, the spotlight shining on New Bedford’s cultural scene grew brighter.
Mayor Jon Mitchell, Rick Kidder as the co-chair of the Executive Committee of the Seaport Cultural District, Anita Walker of Mass Cultural Council and Nicole Merusi of the New Bedford Cultural Council all signed a Cultural Compact, which is intended to increase and expand collaboration and partnership within the city’s art community.
“We are headlong into efforts to really activate one of New Bedford’s primary assets and that is the collection of artistic and cultural aspects that makes our city really unique,” Mitchell said.
Only six communities in the state were selected to pilot the program, which will develop a framework to spark creative partnerships between local government and cultural leaders within the community.
Walker said applications weren’t taken for the program, rather the Mass Cultural Council selected cities that offered the best opportunity for success.
The city and the Mass Cultural Council have a history of success, Walker said, from the creation of cultural district program to the cultural facilities fund.
“When we start something new, to be honest with you, we don’t want to make it harder than it has to be. We want to make it as easy as it possibly can be,” Walker said. “And the way you do that is you bring a partner that is a proven partner and that we have worked with successfully.”
With the program, Mass Cultural Council intends to provide technical assistance through webinars, podcasts, meetings, training and workshops.
The Cultural Council and Seaport Cultural District will provide programs aimed at increasing artist sustainability, updating the public art inventory, increasing the promotion of current art, music and culture programs as well as developing online resources.
“The Cultural Compact is really putting down on paper and institutionalizing a lot of the things that have been happening here already,” Walker said.
The city began its Arts Culture and Tourism Fund in 2016. State Sen. Mark Montigny led the required passage through the state legislature.
Last year, the relationship between the city and its cultural scene continued with the addition of Margo Saulnier, the city’s cultural coordinator.
Saulnier quoted English playwright Bernard Shaw as he compared his life to a torch that can burn bright for everyone to see.
“The individuals in the creative community and creative economy has already been carrying this splendid torch,” Saulnier said. “So the cultural compact that we’ll be signing and the arts and culture plan that we’re in the early stages of developing will make it bright as possible for the city’s future generations.”
Follow Michael Bonner on Twitter @MikeBBonnerSCT.
Original story here.
By Matt Robinson Contributing Writer
Posted Jan 6, 2018 at 9:31 PM
Almost 20 years ago, the UMass Dartmouth School of Visual and Performing Arts came to downtown New Bedford and with it the Whaling City’s quiet rebirth as a magnet for working artists.
That seeding has now borne larger fruit over the past few years as the city has experienced a flowering of new galleries, open studios and art spaces.
From the Hatch Street Studios in the North End to the studios at the former Kilburn Mills in the South End, the galleries up and down William Street in the downtown and over to Groundwork’s exhibit space on Purchase Street, the painters, sculptors, mixed-media artists are here. They’re literally creating a new chapter of the New Beford experience.
“The city is undergoing an arts transformation citywide,” said Dagny Ashley, New Bedford’s director of tourism.
The latest wave will reach a milestone next week with the opening of the new 10,000-square foot Co-Creative Center on Union Street.
It’s been a fairly steady build-up for about a decade. Among the landmarks: 123 Sawtooth, an artists’ lofts located in the former Ropeworks Building where Market Basket would soon be built at the former Fairhaven Mills site. Colo-Colo Gallery, a popular space in the upscale Historic District moved to a spacious former factory space in the South End. Two artists even opened a gallery, The Vault, in a former bank building just over the Dartmouth line.
A WHALE AND A NIVED
It was the Waterfront Historic Area League (WHALE) that went out and obtained the grants and purchased the historic downtown office buildings that became the Co-Creative Center.
“This is a major investment for downtown New Bedford,” says WHALE executive director Teri Bernert, “not only in bringing beautiful historic buildings back to life but also creating a dynamic footprint for the area’s creative minds to collaborate.”
In addition to 2,000 square feet of gear-filled, open maker space that will be open to community members, the center (which WHALE has been developing for nearly three years) will also offer education, gallery, and retail space, a locally-sourced juice bar, and apartments for artists. It will also house many area not-for-profit organizations, including the Women’s Fund of Southeast MA (www.womensfundsema.org).
“This has been a collaboration with a lot of different individuals in the creative economy and in the non-profit world,” Bernert explained. “It is an idea born out of the community.”
One of the city’s interesting new artists is Devin “Nived” McLaughlin, of Nived Art (http://nivedart.com).
“I’ve watched the New Bedford Art scene ebb and flow,” said McLaughlin, who received a fine art degree from Bristol Community College in 2012.
McLaughlin began his professional career showing his work at many of the city galleries he visited as a younger art lover and he now hosts and shares his wit and wisdom at popular Paint Nite events in the area. “I’ve seen galleries in the area hold their first grand opening exhibition and I’ve watched those places close their doors for the last time, but never without leaving a mark on the culture here,” he said.
Just as the waves on the coast do, McLaughlin suggested the waves of New Bedford culture “ebb and flow” though he sees the current wave building towards a “high tide.”
“Every time a new project starts,” he said, “it greets this city with a grander, more powerful influence, inspiring others to create, discuss and enjoy art more.”
And while New Bedford’s historic buildings and breathtaking water views may inspire many, McLaughlin said it is the people who make the city arts scene shine.
“We have a huge community of driven artists from all skill sets and backgrounds,” he said. “It’s these folks that are breathing life into this city.”
THE STAR STORE
The cultural center where much of the region’s initial creative energy percolated is the College of Visual and Performing Arts, which in 2011 moved into a $19 million reincarnation of what was once the dry goods mecca known as the Star Store.
“UMass…has been the catalyst with the downtown campus,” Ashley said.
“The UMass art department moving to the Star Store building had a big impact of the arts in downtown New Bedford,” agreed artist Judith Klein (www.judithkleinart.com), who opened her first gallery downtown nine years ago but has since moved to the South End complex.
“Art students from our program…end up staying in the area and establish a studio in the several mill buildings that have wonderful spaces for our work,” said long-time UMass fine arts professor Marc St. Pierre.
And local artists are not the only ones taking notice. In fact, 2011 was also the year that New Bedford was cited by urban studies scholar and “creative class” creator Richard Florida as the “seventh most artistic city in America,” based upon the population density of its artists.
“The critical mass of artists, performers, galleries, and cultural institutions that flourish in New Bedford have created the ambience of a vibrant coastal cultural center,” Ashley said.
Just six years later, the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) named New Bedford the “most creative community” in the commonwealth. The city has also been cited by Bustle as sixth on the list “Best Cities for Young Artists” (it was the only Massachusetts city listed and one of only two in New England. ) Matadornetwork’s called the “the ninth most artistic town in America” and Complex cited it as one of its “10 Cities That Creatives Should Move to That Aren’t NYC or LA.”
“New Bedford is the place to be, whether you are an artist or a patron,” McLaughlin said.
AHA! AT THE BEGINNING
While many individuals and efforts deserve thanks, the arts engine that was there even before the Star Store was the monthly art party known as AHA! (www.ahanewbedford.org). AHA!, short for Art, History, Architecture, is a city-wide cultural event during which artists and entertainers come out into the streets and public spaces on the second Thursday of the month.
“AHA! is a platform for community participation and collaboration,” explained director Lee Heald, “Our monthly celebration of the arts and culture scene, the diverse city population, fabulous food, performing arts, and feasts and festivals have attracted new development and business growth, populated the city center with residents and students, increased tourism and generated new enthusiasm in this vibrant community,”
When AHA! was created in 1999, New Bedford did not have what Heald refers to as “a gallery scene.” In fact, she admitted, the city then had what could only be described as “a deserted downtown” with perhaps more criminal than creative activity.
“New Bedford had become a place few would visit,” Heald said. ”[It] was a Gateway City…[but] a gateway to what, was the question.”
AHA!’s mission was to make New Bedford “a vibrant city again, to attract new creative potential and expand cultural activities.” At the first AHA!, a little over 250 people came to interact with just 14 artistic partners. Today, Heald said AHA! engages over 65 partners and enjoys a regular audience in the thousands.
“We have learned that partners and partnerships create the program,” she said, echoing Bernert’s comments that fostering collaboration and mutual trust have been the “core mission” of the downtown revival.
A HISTORY OF ARTISTS
While the latest developments are noteworthy, New Bedford’s cultural tide has been coming in for some time.
“New Bedford has always maintained a vibrant creative life,” Ashley said, even before the big revival of the last 15 years.
In the 19th century, artists like William Bradford, Albert Pinkham Ryder, Clifford Ashley, and Albert Bierstadt grew up in the city or started their careers here. The Swain School of Design (which merged with UMass Dartmouth in 1988) attracted other artists from further afield.
The New Bedford Free Public Library housed one of the region’s first serious art collections. More recently, restorations and expansion of the New Bedford Whaling Museum (www.whalingmuseum.org) and the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center (https://zeiterion.org) brought a higher focus on culture to town.
“At one point, New Bedford was the richest city in the world, and home to over 20 theaters,” explained Rosemary Gil, the Zeiterion’s executive director of programming. “Today, The Zeiterion is the only remaining operating theater.”
In the 1980s, community activism helped keep “the Z” from becoming the last word in New Bedford theater.
These days, the theater hosts scores of performances each year (including shows by such legends as Alan Cumming, Jay Leno, the late Joan Rivers, and locally-raised star Samantha Johnson). It provides more than15,000 students with curriculum-based school-time events. In addition to hosting performing arts organizations like the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra (www.nbsymphony.org) and New Bedford Festival Theater (www.nbfestivaltheatre.com), the Zeiterion (which Gill calls a “cultural beacon” in New Bedford) also helps host festivals that attract thousands to the area.
THE ART MUSEUM AND GALLERY X
According to former Mayor Frederick Kalisz Jr., the “critical mass ” of the arts resurgence in New Bedford came with the city’s acquisition of the Art Museum Building and the creation of a gallery on the first floor. The museum effort began under former Mayor Rosemary Tierney. Kalisz credits then City Councilor Ken Ferreira, who came to vote despite being ill at the time.
Another important development was the opening in 1990 of Gallery X, a collaborative artist space that drew on many graduates of the Swain School. It was a time, when co-founder Chuck Hauck said “there were no other contemporary galleries in New Bedford.”
Described on its Facebook page (www.facebook.com/pg/GalleryXNewBedford) as “a place, a collective, an art gallery, a performance space, a funhouse, a basement club, a party palace, a church, a meeting house, [and] a cornerstone to NB’s Creative/Art scene,” Gallery X has since been a place where “artists of all disciplines and persuasions can display or perform the fruits of their creative labors.”
As New Bedford is still a “cheap city to live in, with loft and studio space available cheap,” Hauck said attracting more artists has not been difficult, even in the early days. Even so, he admitted even he has been surprised by the rapid expansion in recent years.
Spotting the trend in the city, New Bedford native Margo Saulnier came home after years of work with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and other cultural organizations to serve as the city’s arts and culture strategist.
When asked about the key moments in the revival, Saulnier first mentioned 1996, the year that the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park was recognized as a United States National Historical Park and also the founding that same year of the New Bedford Historical Society (www.nbhistoricalsociety.org), which has focused its efforts on documenting and celebrating the history and contemporary contributions of African Americans, Cape Verdeans, Native Americans, West Indians and other people of color in New Bedford.
“The diversity of views allows New Bedford to have a rich tapestry of stories to tell and attract new audiences,” Heald said, noting many residents can trace their heritage back to the Underground Railroad that once brought fugitive slaves to the city.
Saulnier also credited the creation of the Creative Economy Task Force in 2008 with encouraging cultural and other development.
“There is a need for new business due to the student influx,” Saulnier said, “and the large population of creative young people influence the revitalization.”
The MCC, has brought over $1 million a year to the city, she said. Its local arm – the New Bedford Local Cultural Council (www.mass-culture.org/New-Bedford) has distributed about $70,000 in grants to local artists and also helped bring local schoolchildren to many cultural centers and events in the region. “The Seaport Cultural District has branded downtown cultural assets within a walkable geographic area,” Ashley points out. “Understanding the future potential of this sector is vital to our strategy for economic development as well as to the quality of life of everyone living in and visiting our city.”
“The power of cultural enterprise, creativity and collaboration are essential keys to New Bedford’s unique and distinctive identity,” Heald said. “Around this core, New Bedford has built a sense of place, engaged residents, forged a new economy and demonstrated how a Gateway City can show the pathway to the future.”
“New Bedford’s renaissance, cultural and otherwise, is the sum of many, many parts,” Gill said. “From a mayor who gets the connection between a healthy arts community and the economy to dozens of hard-working non-profit organizations, to artists of many disciplines who have chosen to make this their home, and the hope and promise of a young generation of entrepreneurs creating an interesting retail landscape – New Bedford [continues to be] on the rise.”
“We are already seeing bigger and bigger waves,” McLaughlin said. “Who knows what well see in the future?”
Original story here.
By Michael Bonner firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted Nov 21, 2017 at 7:24 PM
For the first time in nearly three decades, New Bedford Regional Airport will host a larger volume commercial airline.
Elite Airways announced Tuesday that nonstop jet service from New Bedford to Vero Beach, Florida, would begin Dec. 16 for the holiday season. Seven flights are scheduled with tickets available for purchase at EliteAirways.com.
“We were looking for a Boston-related airport that did not have service into it,” Elite Airways President John Pearsall said. “We look at New Bedford and think we’ve got, for what we do for our customers, the best of both worlds. You’ve got access to Boston. You’ve got access to the Cape. And you’ve got access to Rhode Island. We think it will be a total home run.”
The flight schedule spans Dec. 16 through Jan. 1 with one round trip flight per week. The long-term goal of Elite Airways, though, is to add more permanent flights.
“I’m not asking for (every flight) to be sold out,” Pearsall said. “But we’re asking for some good ridership. If we get that, I think we’ll be (OK).”
Elite Airways runs out of Portland, Maine, and has maintenance, sales and marketing offices in Vero Beach. It also runs flights out of Newark, New Jersey; White Plains, New York; Melbourne, Florida; Sarasota, Florida, and the Bahamas. Pearsall said passengers from other flight destinations showed interest in service to and from New Bedford.
The 17-jet airline began in 2006 and serves private charters as well as commercial service. The fleet consists of two kinds of jets: the Bombardier CRJ-200, which seats 50 passengers, and the CRJ-700, which carries 70 passengers. Both will fly out of New Bedford, Airport Director Scot Servis said.
“It’s a nice moment to celebrate, but there’s still a lot of planning to do and getting more airlines interested,” Servis said. “Getting the first airline here and interested is the first high hurdle to clear. It starts to build a track record when we talk to other airlines to come.”
Future growth could mean as many as 50 new jobs within Elite Airways, including 15 at New Bedford Regional Airport.
“We’re operating on the idea if everyone helps each other we all win in the end,” Servis said.
The partnership between Elite Airways and New Bedford began with a simple door knock in Florida.
Chairperson of the New Bedford Regional Airport Commission, Paul Barton, traveled to Florida three years ago and pitched the value of the airport to Pearsall.
“He’s very persistent in a friendly way,” Pearsall said. “I would say he made this happen. A lot of credit goes to him, and, of course, everyone else on the airport board.”
Barton was traveling Tuesday and was not available to comment on Elite Airways’ announcement, but said in a statement, “We welcome Elite Airways at EWB and believe there’s a compelling economic advantage in bringing people up from Florida to the New Bedford area.”
Three years after meeting Pearsall, the partnership became possible after the airport experienced multiple renovations including 139 certification among other things such as TSA checkpoint.
“We are encouraged that the recent hard work to secure FAA approval for commercial air service from our airport is already paying off,” Mayor Jon Mitchell said.
The upgrades will continue, too. The FAA provided $7.6 million in funding for the reconstruction of runway 14-32. The City Council is set to appropriate that funding Tuesday night to begin construction. Servis said the airport plans to add another smaller airline soon, which would compete with Cape Air in service to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.
The airport continues discussions with airlines similar to Elite Airways, Servis said, but no new additions are imminent. The hope is that passenger data from a successful partnership with Elite Airways could lure more business.
“Nothing speaks louder than how many people are on the plane, who they are and where they’re going,” Servis said.
Follow Michael Bonner on Twitter @MikeBBonnerSCT.
By Aimee Chiavaroli
Nov 6, 2017 at 9:12 PM
Ashley Occhino, a University of Massachusetts Dartmouth graduate, has been named as the new executive director of the New Bedford Art Museum/ArtWorks!, officials announced Monday.
“I’ve always found myself coming back to New Bedford again and again. There’s such a rich art community there,” said Occhino, who is in her mid 30s. She’s from Attleboro and lives in Taunton.
Occhino has served as the manager of studio class programs at the Worcester Art Museum since 2014.
Occhino is set to take the helm Nov. 27. Her leadership follows retirement of Noelle Foye who shepherded the merger between the New Bedford Art Museum and ArtWorks! which occurred in 2014 and directed the combined organization. Under Foye’s guidance, exhibitions and educational programs grew while collaborations with other institutions expanded, according to a news release from the museum.
“Noelle Foye’s leadership positioned the art museum to be central to the community and that strength has allowed us to attract such a new talented leader,” said Lee Heald, director of AHA! and a member of the museum’s board and search committee for a new executive director. “We expect that Ashley will continue our strong support of community expression in the arts as well as support for excellence and achievement in the local arts community.”
Heald also said Occhino has a lot of enthusiasm and will bring a fresh perspective to the city.
“New Bedford holds a very special place in my heart and it’s through my times at UMass Dartmouth that I really learned about the city,” Occhino said.
She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) from UMass Dartmouth College of Visual and Performing Arts and has an MFA from Savannah College of Art and Design. She was one of the first classes to experience the Star Store in New Bedford, part of her thesis involved displaying work at ArtWorks! and she’s also taught art classes there, she said.
At the Worcester Art Museum, Occhino said she was in charge of developing programming, managing staff and working with community partners. Also, an education wing with dedicated exhibition space fell under her purview. The museum has an intensive education program with more than 100 classes each season, Occhino said.
She’s previously held leadership positions at Danforth Art in Framingham and the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, each time serving in education departments.
“I really just want to embrace the idea of a community museum,” Occhino said. She praised Foye for being successful with the merger, adding “I’m really honored to be following in her footsteps.”
“We are excited the New Bedford Art Museum/Artworks! has hired Ashley Occhino as the museum’s new Executive Director. The NB Art Museum/Artworks! is ideal for arts travelers and invigorates the community. Ashley is familiar with the arts & culture landscape in New Bedford as well as her years of experience and passion for the arts, we look forward to working with her,” said Dagny Ashley, the city’s director of tourism and marketing, in a statement.
Jamie Uretsky, curator at NBAM/ArtWorks! said she looks forward to removing her hat as acting director.
“I’ve only heard good things about Ashley,” Uretsky said. “It’s going to be nice to have her energy in the space.”
Follow Aimee Chiavaroli on Twitter @AimeeC_SCT
Posted Apr 21, 2017 at 6:08 PM
Updated Apr 21, 2017 at 7:01 PM
By Steve Urbon
NEW BEDFORD — Visitors to the Whaling Museum had a pleasant surprise waiting for them when they bought their tickets Friday: Tickets may have gone up a dollar to $17, but that extra dollar bought them admission to the “soft” opening day of the refurbished Seamen’s Bethel and Mariners’ Home.
Fred Toomey, president of the Port Society of New Bedford, which owns the two buildings, showed up at 7:30 a.m. Friday to pick up where he and others left off in completing the building projects. “This has been my second home,” he said. “My wife never sees me.”
Whaling Museum curator Arthur Motta and senior historian Michael Dyer were among those installing antiques and images from the museum’s vast collection in the Mariners’ Home, which is open to the public for the first time in anyone’s memory. No longer will it be a haven for mariners but rather a museum with themed exhibits representing facets of New Bedford. The original kitchen is now an exhibit devoted to modern fishing, and the brick beehive oven has been exposed to admire but not actually use.
There is a room devoted to “Moby-Dick,” the book and especially the movie. There is the Rotch Room, so named for the family that built the Mariners’ Home in 1797.
A walk-through the Home and the Bethel makes it clear that this $2.9 million restoration and expansion project has given Toomey and the rest of the society and the docents a lot of new things to talk about.
In the new main entry, back behind the buildings, is a reception desk made entirely out of salvaged wood and planks.
The desk top, Toomey explains, “came from a plank that was 29 feet long and 30 inches wide and made up a part of the floor” of the Bethel’s basement meeting room, or salt box. “Imagine the size of the tree that came from,“e said.
Over in the Bethel, unlike the Mariners’ Home, everything looks as it has. But there are hidden improvements. “The building is air-conditioned for the first time,” Toomey said.
It is also structurally stable, as compared to the dire condition prior to the project that found the Bethel ready to collapse.
“There’s $89,000 worth of work underneath the floor” of the saltbox, Toomey said. Rotten support beams had taken their toll.
Another selling point: A large granite block, perhaps six feet square and 16 inches thick, is the new welcome mat, having been discovered when uncovering an old cistern.
The Bethel rests on ledge, which brought its own issues. Repairs to the floors had to be done in the Bethel by digging down to uneven ledge, then filling with packed sand, peastone gravel, concrete, two-by-four stringers, marine plywood and then the floorboard.
There is an elevator for the first time to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. It is big enough to handle a gurney, Toomey said. “We don’t say casket.” That is a reminder that the Bethel is a church and sometimes hosts funerals.
Most visitors won’t see the second and third floors of the Mariners’ Home. The second floor is already occupied by the Waterfront Historic Area League, and the Preservation Society will soon move in to the shared space.
The third floor will house the Port Society, a conference room and a kitchen/break room.
The project has raised much of what it needed to pay for it all, but Toomey said that “the capital campaign continues.”
At the Whaling Museum, which has filled the Mariners’ Home with dozens of objects and more to come, admission has risen a dollar to $17, and it is now a combined admission to the Whaling Museum and the Port Society’s properties.
Toohey said there will not be a paid ticket to get into the Bethel and Mariners’ Home directly because it is a church. Anyone who skips the museum will be admitted anyway with a polite request for a donation to defray expenses.
An official grand opening is set for May 19.
Follow Steve Urbon on Twitter @SteveUrbonSCT.
Original Story Here