Over 70 projects and individual artists benefit from the City of New Bedford’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) through grant programs ARTnet, Art is Everywhere, and Wicked Cool Places
NEW BEDFORD, MA — Over thirty cultural events, programs, and special projects, and forty individual artists will receive Wicked Cool Places, ARTnet, and Art is Everywhere funding to keep New Bedford Creative. In total, $419,520 will support arts, culture, and creative expression in New Bedford through these awards.
The grant funding is part of the City of New Bedford’s investment in the arts using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, administered through the New Bedford Economic Development Council’s arts and culture-focused arm, New Bedford Creative.
Mayor Jon Mitchell commented, “A reverence for artistic expression was first woven into New Bedford’s identity in the whaling era, when the city was a global focal point for new ideas and creativity. And that sensibility has endured. With a foundation of thriving cultural institutions, a beehive of working artists, and broad civic support for the creative sector, New Bedford today is a thriving cultural hub. This investment will enable us to deepen and broaden the cultural experiences available to our residents and visitors alike.”
Wicked Cool Places is the grant program for making or keeping a place where things are happening and people want to be that involve residents, visitors or businesses in New Bedford’s neighborhoods. This grant was originally created in 2019 with funding by the City of New Bedford’s Arts, Culture and Tourism Fund, with additional support by Bristol County Savings Bank.
ARTnet is a new artist recovery and training network to help artists recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic by providing financial support, business planning support, training workshops, and access to a network of creative-entrepreneur peers.
Mayor Jon Mitchell announced the allocation of ARPA funds to arts and culture in the city at a special event in May, 2022. On that occasion he noted that “the artists that comprise New Bedford’s thriving arts community are themselves small businesses. Funding to accelerate their emergence from the pandemic represents a timely investment in our economy and will energize our cultural scene.”
Art is Everywhere is a grant program that prioritizes creative solutions to expedite the recovery of the COVID-19 pandemic in New Bedford’s neighborhoods. This grant was originally created in 2020 with funding by MassDevelopment’s Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) and the Barr Foundation as one component of a broader “TDI Creative Cities” initiative to boost arts-based economic development.
“All the artists, groups and projects awarded ARPA funds have a proven track record of giving back to the City of New Bedford,” says Margo Saulnier, NBEDC’s director of creative strategies. “Now, they are getting the support they need to maintain momentum as we all recover from the pandemic and lay a solid foundation to keep New Bedford Creative.”
Grant applications were evaluated by independent review committees. Reviewers for Wicked Cool Places included members of the volunteer New Bedford Creative Consortium. Reviewers for Art is Everywhere are from organizations such as Coastline Elderly Services, Groundwork Southcoast, American Red Cross of Southeastern Massachusetts, PACE (People Acting in Community Endeavors), and City departments of Public Health and Community Services.
Learn more about the City of New Bedford’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding at newbedford-ma.gov/arpa.