By Steven Froias
for the Creative Ambassadors project
As a Creative Ambassador, Iva Brito brings both a historical and world view to the role, through a spiritual prism.
As a native of Cabo Verde, West Africa, she states that she channels her “nostalgic love of her birthplace through her talents” which results in a Love Letter for New Bedford – whether she is working or performing here or around the country.
That’s something she does frequently, even as she maintains a deep connection to the city, where her IBC is grounded.
She explains that, “Iva Brito Consultancy (IBC) believes the creative process can serve as a practice for liberation and spreading love. We are all visionary beings. Through our creativity, we remember and own our power in the vibrant City of New Bedford.”
To achieve that, IBC has established an Arts and Culture Fellowship Program that engages New Bedford immigrant youth. The program encourages them to explore their creativity and leadership skills.
“In the program, we share the stories of the unique cultures and histories present in New Bedford by engaging others in the expressive arts, through various modalities, inclusive of art, poetry, and storytelling,” Iva says. “Our summer session helped immigrant youth access tangible life skills and build civic leadership skills. In addition, youth were exposed to various artists and cultural experiences to provide them with a holistic learning experience that will help them to shape a better future moving forward.”
It’s a profound Love Letter for New Bedford, based on the unique skills and talents Iva Brito so freely shares in many ways. She’s a licensed social worker, holds a Master’s of Science degree in Education and finished her advanced graduate studies in Expressive Arts at Salve Regina University.
As a consummate creative, her talents run the gamut of artistic expression. A visual and performing artist, she is also the author of the poetry book Essence, Tones, Whispers and Shouts and a contributing author in the book Cabo Verdean Women Writing Remembrance, Resistance, and Revolution.
In 2019, Iva was an Artist in Residence at the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park. There she produced paintings that were an interpretation of her poetry and focused on the region’s unique ancestral connections through its many immigrant communities. In 2020 Iva was awarded the 100 Women of Color Award.
That year, she was also a featured artist in the Women Anthem “Take Back the Power” music video, a partnership with the National Parks Service, which celebrated the centennial anniversary of the women’s vote.
As recipient of an Arts is Everywhere Grant, she co-produced the film “Pandemic Renaissance – The Art of Surviving C-19.” It highlighted the multicultural and artistic experiences that the New Bedford community used to see themselves through the pandemic.
By now, you may realize that Iva Brito is a Creative Ambassador engaging the community on an elemental level, pursuing a multi-faceted role in the society she is helping to create. It’s the drive that made her the inaugural Director of Bristol Community College Women’s Center. And it’s what powers IBC’s mission to harness her Afro-Indigenous roots and use the healing arts to support and uplift women, children, and the community.
A Love Letter for New Bedford, from the soul.
Featured photo: Iva Brito.
– New Bedford Creative, with Arts Midwest, is presenting this series of profiles spotlighting Creative Ambassadors in the City of New Bedford. Their stories and special projects are “Love Letters for New Bedford” and are part of “Creating Connection,” funded by The Barr Foundation. Find out more here.