The announcement of the latest round of Wicked Cool Places grants is cause for celebration and appreciation of the essential role of culture in our community, says New Bedford Creative Strategist Margo Saulnier.
“The range and impact of the latest Wicked Cool Places grants is amazing,” says Saulnier. “These sixteen projects represent a long list of projects to create and maintain places in the city. Each highlights the profound impact of creativity in our community – and the ability of our “Cultural Ambassadors” to activate and enhance all of New Bedford. »
Wicked Cool Places (WCP) is the grants program administered by New Bedford Creative, hosted by the New Bedford Economic Development Council (NBEDC). Funding is provided by the City of New Bedford Arts, Culture and Tourism Fund, with additional support from Bristol County Savings Bank, Mass Cultural Council and MassDevelopment’s “TDI Creative Cities Initiative”.
This year, a total of $70,000 will be invested in the program’s most diverse set of competitive applications since the program’s inception in 2018. New projects will join the favorites to provide the City of New Bedford and the South Coast with a wide range of resident-led projects. and events that will enrich the whole region.
Anthony Sapienza, Chairman of the Board of NBEDC, notes that “The Wicked Cool Places Awards reflect the strength of New Bedford and the ability of its creative citizens to reinvigorate not only our economy, but also our raison d’être as a city. ”
The WCP Awards achieve this by recognizing the broadest possible definition of culture. Awards to the City’s Cultural Ambassadors highlight the role that visual arts, music, performance, heritage, health, wellness and critical thinking play in our world today. The sixteen projects also reflect the multifaceted potential of all neighborhoods in the City of New Bedford.
This year’s New Bedford Creative Wicked Cool Places awards are:
$50,000 funded by the City of New Bedford Arts, Culture and Tourism Fund, with additional support from Bristol County Savings Bank:
– The Community Economic Development Center (CEDC) designed “Patio de Comida” specifically to serve the Latin American population of the city. It offers dishes from Guatemala, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and more at Riverside Park. $5,000 will help it host more food vendors, children’s activities and local performers, including Mayan dancers, marimba players, weavers and contemporary musicians.
– The Massachusetts Design, Art, and Technology Institute (DATMA) received $4,000 to collaborate with faculty and students at New Bedford High School, the Consortium for Research & Robotics, and NORPEL Fisheries to create a public art mural in three-dimensional (3D).
– In June, the Queer Arts Council of New Bedford will use $5,000 to bring back the AHA! Pride Block Party at Custom House Square and the historic 54th Regiment Plaza to continue to create and establish queer inclusive spaces downtown and avenues for the LGBTQ+ creative community and businesses.
– Continuing its fifth year, Reggae On West Beach is a truly inclusive, diverse, multi-generational, family-friendly summer series for all walks of life. This event has made the West Beach Pavilion a summer destination and is highly anticipated – every year – and a $5,000 prize will continue this new tradition down south.
– Along with local artist Eden Soares, Pilgrim United Church of Christ is receiving $4,000 to recognize the historical significance of its building as the site where Booker T. Washington spoke during his visit to New Bedford in 1895 by installing a mural on the south wall, adding to the revival of public art in the town of New Bedford.
– The New Bedford Symphony Orchestra and the Cape Verdean Association of New Bedford (CVANB) will partner to present a free outdoor music festival at CVANB’s Island Park on Acushnet Avenue, adjacent to the historic Strand Theater. “Junta Mon: Together in Music” will use $5,000 to make it happen.
– Public mural group SuperflatNB will bring together 12 BIPOC artists to co-create a rotating mural along Acushnet Avenue across from Custom House Square Park with a $5,000 prize. The theme of the mural is harmony in flora and fauna.
– New Moon Dance Party received $5,000 to present a series of outdoor community dance parties during the warmer months at Riverside Park. These events will be radically inclusive, providing a safe place for self-expression for all dancers.
– This spring, the artMOBILE Clay-on-Wheels project at the New Bedford Art Museum will actively participate in several vibrant spring venues, starting with SouthCoast Spring Arts and continuing to open space parks in New Bedford with a $5,000 prize $.
– The Rotch-Jones-Duff House (RJD) and Reverie Theater Group (RTG), formerly the Glass Horse Project, will partner for a third summer to produce Shakespeare’s most admired and uplifting comedy, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. RTG will stage six free performances over two weekends in August 2022 with the help of a $2,000 WCP grant.
– $5,000 will help the South Coast LGBTQ+ Network grow its annual South Coast Pride, working with community volunteers, businesses, schools, and other nonprofits to create healthy activities, family-friendly and fun, including the 6th Annual South Coast Pride All-Inclusive Community Event at Buttonwood Park on June 4.
$5,000 funded by the Mass Cultural Council, to support the maintenance of places in the Seaport Cultural District:
– The Soul Renaissance will host six cultural events with $5,000 that celebrate and elevate the cultural memory of New Bedford’s African and Indigenous community through spoken poetry and lively cross-cultural discussions at Verdean Veterans Memorial Hall. Events will be recorded, streamed online and archived to preserve cultural memory.
– $15,000 funded by MassDevelopment/TDI and the Barr Foundation as part of the “TDI Creative Cities Initiative” to support arts-based economic development:
– Downtown New Bedford Inc. (dNB Inc) will host Shop Small Crawl (Spring), All Treats, No Tricks (Fall) and Holiday Stroll (Winter) in 2022, drawing thousands of residents and visitors to Downtown New Bedford with a grant of $3,000.
– In an effort to continue supporting Black-owned businesses, BuyBlackNB will use $5,000 to host outdoor markets where all people are invited to come and buy goods and services from Black-owned businesses in one space safe and inclusive, including a Juneteenth Vendor Market, a black Independence Day celebration.
– Building resilience in children from birth to preschool through music therapy and yoga, Rosemary Williams of Mindful Melodies’ main goal is to expand music therapy services for children who lack the possibility of accessing this form of therapy in early intervention or preschool settings in low-income communities. The Little Melodies project will receive $5,000 to pursue this goal.
– Coastal Foodshed will hire local and diverse musicians twice a month with $2,000 to perform at the Mobile Farm Stand to be held at Serenity Gardens in New Bedford every Tuesday from 2-6 p.m. June through October. While Coastal Foodshed’s primary goal is always to increase access to locally grown food for Southcoast residents, they also believe markets provide an opportunity to celebrate and build community through cooking demonstrations, music and arts that bring residents together.
More information about New Bedford Creative and Wicked Cool Places, including future grant opportunities, can be found at NewBedfordCreative.org.