between N. 2nd Street and N. Water Street
Massachusetts Design Art and Technology Institute (DATMA), the non-collecting contemporary art institute, and its partners will kick-off a city-wide, collaborative venture in New Bedford, MA, called “SHELTER 2022–23” over two seasons of which the first will be from June 16 through September 12, 2022. DATMA’s three exhibitions, robust programmatic outreach, and educational workshops will examine the history, economy, and culture of the SouthCoast region which is rooted in the value of ‘shelter’ and will cover a range of topics including today’s housing crisis, the Underground Railroad that harbored African Americans from slavery, the 9,100-foot-long hurricane barrier that protects the harbor of the nation’s most lucrative fishing port in the United States, and more.
Safe Station tells the story of New Bedford’s unique history in opposition to slavery through the lens of local artists. Highlighting key figures and spaces central to the city’s African American community, each artists’ work reflects on the stories of self-emancipated people, the history of the Underground Railroad, and the New Bedford abolition movement. Featured artists include Alison Wells, Fitzcarmel LaMarre, and students from Our Sisters’ School. Local history and self-guided tours will be presented in collaboration with the New Bedford Historical Society and the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park. Visitors can also access interactive digital components, VR tours, and videos originally created for the New Bedford Historical Society and UMass Dartmouth’s exhibition, Black Spaces Matter: Celebrating New Bedford’s Abolition Row.
“As a New Bedford resident and a woman of color originally from Trinidad and Tobago, I have been particularly intrigued and inspired by New Bedford’s significant involvement in the Underground Railroad. My intention is to explore a contemporary approach to the Underground Railroad theme to raise awareness and encourage discussion about a history that is unknown to many but challenges and inspires our community today,” says New Bedford artist Alison Wells about her artwork in Safe Station.
Safe Station: New Bedford’s Underground Railroad will be shown free and open to the public in downtown New Bedford outdoors at the YMCA green space on Union Street, between N. 2nd Street and N. Water Street from June 16 to September 12.