New Fishing Mural Brightens Life Off New Bedford-Fairhaven Bridge
It's not every day that a mural gets unveiled in New Bedford, but it happened this week near the New Bedford-Fairhaven Bridge. According to the Executive Director of Design Art Technology Massachusetts, this has been a work in progress since 2020.
Lindsay Miś says Norpel Fisheries approached her during the pandemic and asked if DATMA would be interested in creating public art on their long wall by the bridge.
"It took a while to turn around because we wanted to make sure we got the very best players for it," Miś said. "We can't do anything without approval from the City of New Bedford. We can't do anything without making sure they feel that the residents that the artwork is serving feel heard."
Miś said the piece is called "Community Ties." It was a true community endeavor. Art and engineering students from New Bedford High School worked on the design. The students created all of the patterns seen in the mural. Local photographers including Phil Mello offered up their pictures to act as reference points for artist Silvia López Chavez.
The goal of the artwork is to tell the story of New Bedford. The results, as you can see, are stunningly realistic. Each of the people featured on the mural is a local. Paula Perreira (above) works at a lobster bait shop that supplies bait for all of the offshore lobster boats.
Mello said he needed to get permission from his subjects to make sure they were OK with having their photos turned into public paintings.
Joe the fisherman (above) has been in the fishing industry for over 30 years. He used to fish on the Mary Kay, and is playfully holding a lobster on his shoulder in the photos and the mural.
"They were unloading the boat one day and I snapped the picture of Joe fooling around wtih the lobster," Mello said. The photo is featured in Mello's recent book, Working Waterfront.
"As a local resident, I'm pretty proud of that piece," Miś said. "You and I have both been stuck on that bridge, and now we have something to admire. New Bedford and Fairhaven are two of the state's best-kept secrets, but the word is getting out. The SouthCoast is such a special place."
Where will the next project be? We asked if it would be in New Bedford. Miś answered, "On the SouthCoast."