More Eden Soares Art Arriving in New Bedford

By Steven Froias

#NBCreative Writer-at-large

NEW BEDFORD, MA – The City of New Bedford is known for its rich culture and historical social significance. In recent years, one artist in particular has been exploring that past and bringing it into the future, leaving an indelible mark on the city’s landscape through his exceptional public art. 

Eden N. Soares is on a roll. He has been diligently working throughout the city the past several years, capturing the essence of New Bedford’s culture and history in colorful, captivating murals. With each work, he weaves a story that resonates with the local community and visitors alike.

On August 10, another Eden Soares work enters this canon of iconic art. The Pilgrim United Church of Christ will be celebrating the installation of a mural of Booker T. Washington at its Church Home, 634 Purchase Street, designed and executed by Eden Soares. (Note: Featured photo above is a rendering of the mural, not the actual work.) 

As the city anticipates yet another wonderful creation by Eden Soares, let’s take a closer look at his incredible contributions and the upcoming celebration of his latest work.

Eden Soares’ journey as a muralist in New Bedford began with a vision to showcase the city’s diverse cultural heritage. He has created public art that not only beautifies the streets but also fosters a sense of belonging among residents. His magnificent  murals of recent years grace the Cape Verdean Cultural Center overlooking Island Park on Acushnet Avenue and, with artist Adrian Tio, the Cape Verdean Ultramarine Band Club.

But Eden’s artistic endeavors didn’t stop there; two other works detail his dedication to typography and color to bring historical resonance to life.  The “Maximize Love” mural at the former Capital Theater on Acushnet Avenue is pure joy. And,  as students enter Carlos Pacheco School, they are greeted by a Soares creation that brings a riot of bright colors and inspiration to their daily routine.

Also, the SuperFlatNB “Welcome to New Bedford” mural on Purchase Street captures the essence of the city’s diversity, reflecting its warm embrace of all who come to call it home. One of the artists who brought it to life? Eden Soares. 

(As of this writing, a new “Love The Ave” mural by Soares in the Nye Street Pocket Park is also in the works; follow #NBCreative on Facebook for updates.)

The excitement is therefore palpable as the Pilgrim United Church of Christ prepares to celebrate the installation of Eden Soares’ latest masterpiece – a mural of Booker T. Washington. This remarkable piece of art at the Church Home at 634 Purchase Street will commemorate Washington’s historic visit to the site in 1895.

The unveiling ceremony, scheduled for Thursday, August 10, 2023, at 5:00 pm, will be a part of the August AHA! events, the monthly arts and culture celebration in New Bedford. 

During the ceremony – open to the public – guests will be introduced to the artist himself. They will also have the opportunity to hear readings from Booker T. Washington’s autobiography, “Up from Slavery,” by the eloquent Elliott Talley. To further enhance the ambiance, City Councilor Shane Burgo will provide musical accompaniment.

Eden Soares’ work as a muralist has enhanced the visual and cultural landscape of New Bedford. Through his art, he has celebrated the city’s rich history, embraced its diverse communities, and created a sense of pride and belonging among its residents. 

As we eagerly await the unveiling of the Booker T. Washington mural, it’s evident that Eden Soares will continue to be a driving force in preserving and sharing the stories that make New Bedford such a special place to call home. 

Let’s come together on August 10, 2023, to celebrate his latest gift to the city and embrace the essence of New Bedford’s cultural heritage.

NOTE: It’s important to recognize that such artistic endeavors are not possible without the support of the community and various organizations. Eden Soares’ project received support from the New Bedford Cultural Council, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the Arts, Culture, and Tourism Fund of the City of New Bedford via a Wicked Cool Places grant, facilitated by New Bedford Creative. 

Moreover, the contributions of Bristol County Savings Bank, the Barr Foundation, Mass Cultural Council, and MassDevelopment’s TDI Creative Cities Initiative further exemplify the unity and passion of New Bedford’s residents and institutions in fostering artistic expression.

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