Mood Indigo Rising Up From New Bedford’s Cape Verdean Band Club
The SouthCoast has a good number of historic buildings, but in New Bedford, the Cape Verdean Band Club is almost holy for what it has represented since 1917, when the first Cape Verdean and Portuguese immigrants stepped afoot here.
"Originally, they called it the Cape Verdean Ultramarine Band & Club, and it was 'the' hot spot for music, culture and socializing," said Ramona Silva, who along with Carl Bizarro, Scott Carola, and Lindsey Monteiro make up the Friends of Cape Verdean Culture Committee, with support from Mayor Mitchell's office.
"The goal of this effort is to elevate art and invoke pride in the Cape Verdean community by creating a 30-foot-by-20-foot mural on the side of the Cape Verdean Band Club at 181 Acushnet Ave. depicting the true essence of the community, and addressing the need to enhance the public perception of the Monty's Park area," said Bizarro.
Carola, a lieutenant with the New Bedford Police Department, is also an artist himself.
"This project will be a great benefit to the art and culture of the city of New Bedford, the Cape Verdean community and the surrounding neighborhood," he said. "As many times I've passed the Band Club in my cruiser, I didn't think about what a historic landmark it is for so many. The mural will not only symbolize local customs and traditions, but also help revitalize the Cape Verdean community."
The public will have an opportunity to share their ideas soon.
"We have a survey at our Facebook page, Friends of Cape Verdean Cultural Committee, and shortly, we'll be passing out hard copies to be shared in the neighborhoods, asking the public what they want on the mural," Carola said.
The Friends committee "has partnered with the very well-known 501c3, Love The Ave, and they will be overseeing any funds raised for this project through grants, a GoFundMe page, and donations from various local organizations," said Bizarro.
Part of the work on the building has already begun, and Cruz Construction came in with a primary donation, as have the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick and the Prince Henry Society. The committee would like to unveil the mural the week of Cape Verdean recognition in July, when the traditional parade will once again resume in 2022.
The Cape Verdean Band Club has welcomed greats like Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway and the Skyliners Orchestra. In the months ahead, we'll keep you posted on the progress of this worthy project.