NEW BEDFORD — New Bedford will be the place to be, June 9-11, with its planned 20 square foot citywide celebration featuring open studios, guided bike tours, live music, art installations, craft markets, family fun and entertainment. other unique experiences.
“It was really exciting and energizing to see the positivity of our community members,” said Beatriz Oliveira of Beatriz & Company, the creative producer of 20mi2.
“I can’t wait to see this come to fruition.”
The project is funded by MassDevelopment/TDI and is part of a larger ‘TDI Creative Cities’ initiative to support arts-based economic development.
“20mi2 is the culmination of this whole process, because what they were interested in was having a major reunion one way or another,” said Margo Saulnier, creative strategist for the Economic Development Council. .
“I want everyone to fall in love with New Bedford.”
20mi2 is 20 square miles, which is the landmass of New Bedford. “There’s such a density of culture here. It doesn’t exist in other cities of this size,” she said.
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A local collaboration
When Oliveira began outreach in January, she said local organizations and creatives were immediately on board, excited and asking how they could help.
“We are looking at around 70 partners who have come together,” Oliveira said. “One of the goals of the 20mi2 effort is to keep dollars as local as possible and to work with hyperlocal vendors.”
Elizabeth M. Isherwood, president of Moore & Isherwood Communications, Inc., serves as a public relations consultant for the team.
“There’s something for everyone, all the time here. It’s just that on steroids,” Isherwood said, referring to the 20mi2 movement.
The website features all the events that will take place over three days, searchable by date, category or zip code.
What’s going on in the city
Some of the planned activities include indoor and outdoor music, art installations, nature walks in public parks, and rowing in traditional Azorean whaleboats.
On Thursday, 20mi2 will close Purchase Street between School and Union, to set up a 400ft table inviting guests to bring a picnic basket or take out to local restaurants.
“We want to live this experience with your community and offer a seat at this table,” Oliveira said.
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In collaboration with the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center and CVPA UMass Dartmouth, guests will be entertained for two hours with performances popping up from different locations around the table.
There will also be a chance to design eight-foot table sections with creative centerpieces or designs for a cash prize. Interested creatives can register online.
The Whaling Museum will host a “Whale Scavenger Hunt”, the New Bedford Starchasers will lead a group ride from Buttonwood Park to downtown New Bedford with a number of activities along the way, as well as a wellness retreat. be organized by Sangha New Bedford Yoga & Healing Arts Community,
There will also be free entry to Buttonwood Park Zoo.
Superflat NB, a creative wall art project dedicated to beautifying New Bedford. will install a new mural entitled “Harmony Wall, Flora & Fauna” along the Acushnet Avenue fence, adjacent to Custom House Square.
Something for everyone, every day
Among several other events, an open house will be held on June 10 at the Cabo Verdean Cultural Center and a showcase of the Guatemalan community will be held at Phillips Avenue Pocket Park.
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There will be a family night at the Andrea McCoy Recreation Center and a pop-up of pottery, plants and cut flowers at the Allen C. Haskell Public Gardens, with another 400-foot table on the grounds with other performances in direct.
On June 11 there will be a “By The Beach” mini-market in West Beach and master percussionist Sidy Maiga will also perform and bring drums for audience participation.
20mi2 has also commissioned a mural at the Dennison Community Center, which will be unveiled on Saturday. Finally, Morna Lounge and Grill invites guests to end the evening with music and dancing.
Celebrating New Bedford Pride
On June 1, during a press conference at the Co-Creative Center at 135 Union St., Mayor Jon Mitchell said he was excited about the upcoming movement.
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“I’ve been asked many times recently, so how’s it going in New Bedford? Well, there’s a lot to look forward to,” Mitchell said.
“It’s great for a lot of reasons. One, because of the energy it brings…We haven’t been together. This is an exercise in creating a way to connect through the city.”
Samia Walker, Executive Director of EforAll (Entrepreneurship for All), SouthCoast, said there will be an outdoor pitch competition for aspiring entrepreneurs on June 10, at Le Place, in conjunction with the SouthCoast LGBTQ+ Network. Participants will receive expert feedback from the field and win cash prizes.
The Southcoast LGBTQ+ Network will also run programs for LGBTQ+ seniors and families. On the evening of June 9, AHA! is hosting a Pride Block Party at Custom House Square.
“I would like our 100,000 citizens to really celebrate all that New Bedford has to offer,” Oliveira said. “And maybe even come away discovering something new.”
Oliveira, who was born in the town of Guarda, Portugal, has been a huge fan of New Bedford ever since she rented her first apartment in downtown New Bedford aged 18.
“The seaside town is a beautiful place to live, a great place to work, a fun place to play. We want to see it thrive. This movement is our way of contributing to that,” she said.
“20mi2 is about creating a sense of place pride.”
Standard-Times editor Seth Chitwood can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @ChitwoodReports. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Standard-Times today.