Through a new partnership with the New Bedford Historical Society, UMass Dartmouth, and ArtWorks!, New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park is launching an annual Artist in Residence (AIR) initiative that will be a catalyst for the design and construction of art installations and performances which will highlight the vibrant history of the city. This initiative offers both artists and communities the opportunities to share their talents and vision through the creation of site-specific artwork, while providing visitors to the city a unique way to access the history and culture of New Bedford.
The inaugural project will be a mural in the heart of the national park. The AIR partners have issued a national call for artists to apply for selection through a competitive process.
The theme of the mural will be to honor the 54th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, one of the nation's first African-American Civil War military units. It will be completed in Summer 2013, in time for the 150th anniversary of the 54th's mustering and famous stand at Fort Wagner. The mural will face Custom House Square, the spot where New Bedford men originally enlisted for service.
Interested artists should submit five successful examples of completed public art, a resume, and an artist statement. Once qualifications are reviewed, up to five artists will be invited and offered a stipend to submit full project proposals for a mural design. The selected artist will be required to create a permanent mural in the designated space in downtown New Bedford, to provide background information about the imagery and mural process, and to work with the AIR partners and the community to document and publicize the resultant mural.
The AIR program will provide planning assistance as needed, an artist stipend, public recognition of the artist at events and in all media materials, and housing in New Bedford for the duration of the project. Interested artists can submit their qualifications through the call for artists website.