New Bedford residents can get ready for an innovational and imaginative new year, according Margo Saulnier, Creative Strategist for New Bedford Creative.

"We're very excited to announce 16 projects in the city, called Wicked Cool Places, a grant program specifically for making or keeping a place wicked cool! Most of these projects are being led by New Bedford residents," explained Saulnier.

The projects span everything from public artwork to music.

"The range and impact of the new grant awards is astonishing. Some of the projects include public art, new murals, and events like the popular Reggae on West Beach. The Queer Arts Council will be reviving the Pride Block Party for AHA! Night, and Buy Black New Bedford pop-up markets, just to mention a few," Saulnier said.

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Lindsay Mis, Executive Director of Massachusetts Design Art & Technology Institute (DATMA), has an original tack.

"We don't have a physical building, because our mission is to take amazing projects and place them in highly visible locations in New Bedford. Our museum is for all of New Bedford, every street and alleyway, to be our exhibition room," Mis said. "We'll be adding artwork to busy locations, like the big blank wall of the Northern Pelagic Group building on the New Bedford-Fairhaven Bridge."

The giant mural will portray New Bedford's past, present and future, incorporating commercial fishing and other industries, and it will give everyone coming in to New Bedford a nice welcome, Mis added. If COVID cooperates, the artwork could be up by summer.

As an additional asset, the mural will be a collaboration with New Bedford High School students and faculty, who'll design and create the 3-D public art mural using their new S.T.E.A.M. labs where technology, science, art, engineering and math work together to create art.

"People incorrectly think you have to be only in the creative sector to be an artist, but in fact, art is only better when you take all those mediums and pull them together in partnership," Mis said.

Asked why she wanted to be an artist, Mis replied, "One of my grandfather's was a construction worker and the other is an artist, both encouraging me to work with my hands, and they showed me how art is integrated into everyday life. My father, who is a mathematician, instilled in me that there was art in numbers. All of this taught me that whenever you can't do something, taking a creative approach encourages you to come up with your own solution."

Funding is provided by the City of New Bedford's Art, Culture and Tourism Fund, with additional support from Bristol County Savings Bank, Mass Cultural Council, and Mass Development's "TDI Creative Cities Initiative."

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