DATMAthe non-collecting institute of contemporary art in New Bedford, Massachusetts, enters its fifth year with another citywide business to include topics of equality, the story of those who have sought refuge and feature people living and working in this diverse economy.

Thresholdby sculptor Mark Reigelman (NYC) is a 17-foot-tall work of art celebrating the principles of equality and community building that have been integral to the city’s history. Inspired by the Quakers, the community’s diverse history, influential New England quilt patterns, and the unique doorway architecture of the oldest building in New Bedford’s Abolition Row Historic District, Reigelman invites viewers to move towards a partially open door. The sculpture is playing at Custom House Square.

Activist and multidisciplinary artist Maxwell Emcays (Chicago), winner of DATMA’s first national qualifying application, presents “Our woven historyinspired by the visual forms of the African baobab and Wampanoag Wetu structures. Using locally recycled clothing, the textile pieces are meant to embody the identity and social fabric of the community, while the illuminated artwork serves as a representation of the city’s culture, fostering creativity, conversation and connection between people. “Our Woven History” is on display at the intersection of Route 18 and Union Street.

Community tides” by artist Silvia López Chavez (Boston) is a semi-permanent mural measuring 223 feet by 17 feet that depicts the local fishing industry, diverse economy, and life at the intersection of land and water. To create his signature colorful patterns, López Chavez collaborated with New Bedford High School students, drawing inspiration from their local landscapes and daily lives. In partnership with Northern Pelagic Group (NORPEL), the paint mural is the first work of contemporary art on Fish Island.

DATMA also highlights the important role of artists in shaping their local community with Studios open to the sidewalk. Works by South Coast artists are displayed in an outdoor print exhibition along the city’s waterfront.

SHELTER 2023 is on view in New Bedford from June 22 to October 23.

To learn more, visit datma.org.

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