Seaport Art Walk
New Bedford’s annual Seaport Art Walk was founded in 2013 by artist Jessica Bregoli, and was the city’s first large format outdoor public art installation. Each summer, sculpture and murals are strategically placed along New Bedford’s working waterfront and Seaport Cultural District.
Seaport Art Walk 2022 is facilitated by New Bedford Creative, housed at the New Bedford Economic Development Council, and a collaboration with the City of New Bedford’s Parks, Recreation and Beaches, Destination New Bedford, Massachusetts Design, Art, and Technology Institute (DATMA), New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center, UMASS Dartmouth’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA), and Bristol Community College (BCC) Visual and Performing Arts Department.
This program is supported in part by a grant from the New Bedford Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency, as well as the City of New Bedford’s Arts, Culture and Tourism Fund, with additional support from Bristol County Savings Bank.
2022: Open Spaces
For 2022, artists were invited to submit proposals reflecting this year’s theme – “Open Spaces” – artwork that reflects or comments on the idea of creating open space for our minds and our souls, like the wilderness, the vast ocean, meditation, parks, nature, and opening ourselves to healing and love. Artworks could also address questions, such as:
- How do we create open space to breathe and build community?
- How do we create open space to build connection and unearth or rediscover joy?
- How do we create open space for our community to dream, envision and embody a more just future for all of us?
Jessica Bregoli and Jessica England, “Reconnecting”: Our Piece “Reconnecting” represents our need to get back in touch with nature. Not being in nature and open spaces is detrimental to our well-being as a whole. During the past few years, we have lost touch with ourselves and simply being outside in nature. We have been isolated and absent from our own communities. Now we are at a time where we are relearning how to be out and connect with others again. The centered seated figure is in a lotus pose which represents our need to balance ourselves. The two figures on each side are plant humanoid and represent nature. They are reaching out to the figure to invite us to reconnect with the world.
Keith Francis, “Glittering Patterns”: Open ocean reflecting “glittering patterns” of sunlight. New Bedford’s past, present and future is beholden to the ocean. The name “glitter pattern” implies a moving and changing phenomenon. Glitter patterns consist of many bright points of light that come and go, blending together to form a smooth path of glittering light when viewed at a distance. If you look closely at a glitter pattern, you can see individual points of light. Each of these points of light is a specular reflection of the sun, called a sun glint. Glints occur on the water where the local slope provides a direct specular reflection of the sun. Staring at the ocean actually changes our brain waves’ frequency and puts us into a mild meditative state. A study published in the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s journal even found that blue is associated with a boost of creativity.
Jacob Ginga, “Another Year, An Osprey’s Story”: In 2021 I painted murals here of two beloved friends and local fishermen who passed away. This year I repainted those same panels with the images of two Osprey, migratory birds of prey. It feels appropriate to reimagine them as Osprey, a bird that roosts all around the area where we used to farm shellfish together. “Another Year: An Osprey’s Story” symbolizes the changing of seasons when the birds return to New England, build their nests, and start families. It also marks another year the world turns without Ben & Grampa Ben in it. Another year we have to learn to fly without them.
Erin Meade, “Mirrored Iridescence”: This year’s theme incorporates open minds, souls, and healing. My first thought was reflection. How can I incorporate unconventional materials with this year’s theme? This installation is inviting, creates an open space, and is also interactive. Using recycled CDs creates a variety of colors and reflects the light vividly. As an unconventional artist, it’s interesting to see my process from paper turn into a work of art. The meditational arches invite your mind to become more open to an iridescent experience.
Collin Wetzel, “A Discovery of the Native Algae, Seaweed and Kelp”: One of our most beloved Open Spaces happens to be the shoreline, marshes and beaches we visit. I often look at the minute details in our surrounds and have been working on a series based on local natives such as those commonly named Irish Moss, Bladder Wrack, Spiral Wrack, Dulce or Sea Lettuce. The many species of algae, seaweed and kelp provide shelter and breeding for many native crustaceans, fish fry and other microorganisms. What surprised me during my study was the many uses these important and often overlooked species have provided over the years. Some species were great sources of iodine, gelatin for cosmetics and food, a thickening agent, stabilizer or alternative sugar substitute. Others were used for treating goiter, joint pain and swelling and even fertilizer for crops. With my mural I hope to highlight the minute details, magnify them and possibly make those who enjoy our shores to take a closer look at the diverse intricate beauty right at our feet. My mural for the retaining wall below the upper level parking of the ferry terminal below the Nantucket and Vineyard Ferries Sign features a background of slate blue to reflect the color of the ocean, olive green, muted-red/coral for the seaweed, Algae and Kelp.
Seaport Art Walk through the Years
2021: Tides and Time
Alanna Boucher on her “Hashtag Change” sculpture: “Change is constant. Today we must reach the young generations who will shape our future. This hashtag sculpture is here to bring awareness to ideas and topics teens find important. Change is a constant evolution of remembering old ways and supporting the new; whether it is about taking care of the planet, ourselves, or helping others, change is growth. Time is not going to stop or slow down so we must keep pushing everyday to better this world and work towards changing the future for generations to come. Please share what you want to bring awareness to on social media and remember to hashtag key words from this sculpture to spread awareness. Thanks to Chris Boucher who helped build and install the sculpture and to the New Bedford High School students and art teachers who designed planks.”
Marcus Cusick and Kyle Couture of Open Eye Movement, working with Chief George Spring Buffalo and Chief Daryl Black Eagle of the Pocasset, presents “The Heirs of the Land,” a mural that brings to light the true histories that surround the Pokanoket nation. The Algonquain language was nearly lost to oppression of a people and their culture, and is kept alive today by the descendants of a nation who first greeted the pilgrims, The Pocasset Wampanoag tribe of the Pokanoket nation. The mural aims to depict portraits of local Native American chiefs and their descendents showing how, over time, the nation was resilient and able to survive. The backdrop includes a landscape composition of layered text of Algonquin words and titles.
When Jake Ginga was 19 he got a job working for a small oyster farm run by a family who had been shellfishermen for over four generations. They taught him everything — about family, hard work, and aquaculture — at an age and time he needed it most. January of 2021 claimed the lives of two of them, the father and grandfather who were both irreplaceable father figures. His very first artwork displayed in New Bedford galleries were portraits of them. In an attempt to process his grief, he is creating portraits of them again entitled “The Bell Brothers.”
Eric Lintala’s fiberglass and metal sculpture titled “Enough is Enough” represents many aspects of this year’s theme, “Tides and Time.” Eric says: “There are many injustices that still plague our country and that exist around the world. We make speeches, we march for human rights, social injustice, environmental issues, etc. and still the never ending fight goes on. My sculpture symbolically represents all people and all concerns and hardships we bring to ourselves and to this planet, it visually gestures ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!”
Not part of this year’s exhibit, but a fixture at the bottom of Centre Street is Eric Lintala’s work “I am the Walrus, I am the Hunter.” Lintala, who recently retired after over 30 years teaching at UMassD College of Visual and Performing Arts, originally created this 15-foot fiberglass and aluminum sculpture in 2010 as part of the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s outdoor sculpture collaboration called “In the Unequal Cross-Lights,” inspired by a passage from Moby Dick. He drew inspiration from the Whaling Museum’s collection, combining imagery such as a harpoon, a hand-carved walrus mask from the arctic region, a two-sided ivory comb that evoked skeletal whale vertebrae, snow goggles, and a wooden spoon of unknown origin. He said: “For me, these objects magically coalesced into a shamanistic manifestation of a whaleman’s past arctic adventures.”
Erin Meade, an art teacher at Keith Middle School in New Bedford, has always loved the simplicity of window installations. She put her passion for display and creativity to good use working in New York City with industry favorites such as Macy’s, SAKS Fifth Avenue as well as small boutiques. Her design of a 30-foot installation entitled“CAPping the Wave” incorporates all different types and sizes of plastic bottle caps to create movement and playfulness through a wave and whale form. This is a recycling project that the students of Keith Middle School have contributed to, as well as an opportunity to show the community that even trash can be turned into a beauty.
2020: Lighting the Way: Historic Women of the SouthCoast
Jessica Bregoli, “Maria Mitchell’s Waves”
Bruce Bailey, “Homage to Florence Eastman, Army Nurse”
Ramiro Damaro-Comas, “Lighting the Way Mural”
Grace Lang, “Votes for Women”
2019: Whirlwind of Art
Elizabeth Bell, “New Bedford Clothesline”
David Cardenas, “Lost in the Wind”
Laura Franco, “Triptych of Thaumatropes”
Alesia Guzman, “Winds of Hope”
Bianca Laslo & Paige Smiley, “Wind in Mind”
Melony Poirier, “Cat’s Tail”
2018: Freedom & Equality: the Bicentennial of Frederick Douglass
Tracy Silva Barbosa, “Same Window, Different Day”
Julie Bardon, “Log Cabin”
Alanna Boucher & Jessica Bregoli, “The Weight of History”
Justin Cifello, “Mixed Messages: Beacons of Welcome, Windows for Those Yearning to Breathe Free”
Donna Dodson, “Madam President: A Monument to the First Female President of the USA and to the Dream that Every Girl can become the President of the USA”
Eric Lintala, “Shackles Broke – Free at Last”
Melony Poirier, “The Missing Piece”
Lauren Savoia & Youth Leadership Academy, “YLA Fight for Freedom and Equality”