Just because it is winter doesn’t mean we have to be stuck inside all the time. According to a recent press release, the New Bedford arts community and creative businesses, along with a host of others, have big plans to "put some sizzle into your winter this year."

"#NBfestive Winter Places" will pop-up at various hot spots throughout downtown New Bedford’s Seaport Cultural District - places where residents and visitors can “warm-up, chill out, shop small, and eat local,” beginning on Thursday, February 11.

“#NBfestive Winter Places” partners the City of New Bedford with Destination New Bedford, New Bedford Creative, UMass Dartmouth CVPA, and the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park every Thursday through Saturday through the winter months. Artists, performers, and downtown businesses will offer a variety of special events and programming in the city that are safe and fun for all ages on those days.

“The City of New Bedford is pleased to have received a Winter Placemaking grant through Bench Consulting’s ‘Winter Places’ program, with funding support from the Barr Foundation, to implement programming and placemaking within the downtown’s public spaces,” explains Anne Louro, Preservation Planner. “Our goal is to have people rethink the frosty season, lure them outside, and make our downtown safe, active, and inviting during the winter months while following COVID-19 guidelines.” Additional funding was provided by Bristol County Savings Bank and the Southeastern Massachusetts Visitors Bureau.

The series kicks off on AHA! New Bedford Night, Thursday, February 11 and continues each week after with the following line-up of free activities:

  • Each Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. from February through April, UMass Dartmouth's CVPA ✶ Series will showcase a variety of dynamic performances and visual arts inside their Union Street and Purchase Street corner Star Store gallery, viewable from their street-level windows.
  • Wings Court will host fire pits and curling games on Fridays from 5 to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 12 noon to 8 p.m. all winter long. "Between getting hot and heavy in this winter space, you can enjoy the plethora of small businesses and eateries which circle Wings Court and radiate out for blocks around."
  • Also, on Fridays and Saturdays over in Custom House Square, a snow-making machine will lend a hand to Mother Nature so that you can take advantage of some sledding on the rolling landscape.
  • The New Bedford Art Museum/Artworks! famous purple artMOBILE van will be parked between Custom House Square and Wings Court for youth to engage in artistic and inventive instruction with quality art supplies from 12 noon to 2 p.m. on the following Saturdays; February 13, February 20, March 6, March 13, and March 20.
  • At all times throughout the winter months of #NBfestive Winter Places, enjoy the following: special lights installed in Wings Court and Custom House Square and public art displays – including a large five-foot snowflake by city artist Jessica Bregoli, a six-foot lantern by Tim Catz, three 5-8 foot tall trees, and an 18-foot selfie-ready scallop boat made by John Kumor, John Pereira, Jack Sylvia, and Rick Fournier and painted by Mandy Fraser.

“New Bedford Creative is excited to highlight the public art downtown, the artists who have created beautiful sculpture and window displays, and our cultural organizations and creative businesses who are open and following COVID-19 guidelines,” says Margo Saulnier, New Bedford Creative Strategist. “#NBfestive is a great opportunity for the arts and culture community to work in partnership with the City to offer fun and safe activities for residents and visitors.”

To add to the #NBfestive atmosphere, downtown’s many storefronts will be beautifully decorated and specially lit, and colorful banners will be flying above the streets designed by mediumstudio.

Jennifer Smith, Superintendent of the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, sums up #NBfestive by saying, “New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park is thrilled to be part of the community collaboration around #NBfestive!

“The winter placemaking activities planned are in support of the National Park Service's efforts to provide safe and engaging outdoor recreational opportunities for our visitors. We are just so grateful to be part of a community of creative and resilient people who understand the importance of activating and providing access to our public spaces particularly during these challenging times.”

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