By Steven Froias
For the Creative Ambassadors project
It’s common knowledge that whales have a language all their own. But, what’s uncommon is the specific message the “Secret City Whales” have for us. In fact, their words are Love Letters for New Bedford.
“Secret City Whales” is the project of Creative Ambassador Mandy Fraser. The well-known Fraser has no secrets at all; she’s been involved in so many projects around New Bedford that she’s a bona-fide celebrity.
Officially, she somewhat modestly writes that, “I am a painter, illustrator, muralist, and graphic designer.” Actually, she’s a firecracker and the spark that helped co-found the Queer Arts Council of New Bedford.
A better representation of her as a person is a look at her CV: I stay involved and connected to our community through my work as a South Coast LGBTQ+ Network Board Member, Chair of the AHA! Pride Committee, 3rdEyE Youth Empowerment’s Visual Arts Coordinator, and part of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee for the historical Rotch-Jones-Duff House and Garden in New Bedford.”
And in case anyone has missed her signature baseball cap, the Cape Cod native is an avid Red Sox fan.
Currently working as a sign artist and the Partners & Programs Coordinator for AHA! New Bedford, the second Thursday of the month arts & culture powerhouse, Mandy now lives in the north end of New Bedford with her wife, Nicole.
As a Creative Ambassador, Mandy’s idea is to let New Bedford itself talk to us all through the “Secret City Whales.”
Secret City Whales are large paintings of whales fabricated out of words written in the style of graffiti, she explains. The words will consist of different terms, places, mottos, ideas – and collectively add up to Love Letters for New Bedford.
“I will be engaging with the community at events, documenting why people love New Bedford, and collecting words or terms they associate with the city. These answers will be added to the paintings – live at the events.
“I hope that people seeing their words incorporated into a piece of art will create a sense of inclusion in the arts community as well as instill a sense of pride about our city,” she sums up.
Fitting work for the person so many know as the first to jump into a project. She says, “Through my personal art and volunteer work, I hope to help connect, empower, educate, entertain, and serve the community here in New Bedford and on the South Coast.”
Featured Photo: Mandy Fraser at work. Photo by John Robson.
-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.