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Throughout our history, New Bedford has always been a creative and diverse community. During the 19th century, when the whaling industry fueled New Bedford’s economy, acclaimed artists, such as Albert Bierstadt, William Bradford, Albert Pinkham Ryder, and Clifford Ashely lived and worked in this cosmopolitan seaport.
Today, New Bedford’s downtown is the arts and culture center of the SouthCoast of Massachusetts, boasting a wide array of attractions and diverse venues that showcase the historic, artistic, and cultural fabric of a community that is home to hundreds of artists and performers contributing to our distinct seaport identity.
- AHA! themed cultural nights involving over 40 museums, galleries, arts organizations, cultural institutions, merchants, restaurants, and night spots, that consistently attract thousands of visitors from the city, surrounding towns, Providence, and Cape Cod
- Home to a growing number of artists who are moving into new live/work spaces throughout the city
- Host to a variety of world class performances, the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra, Festival Theatre, and diverse children’s programing
- Open Studio events featuring more than 100 artists, working and exhibiting in 10 historic buildings
- A vibrant and walkable downtown, lined with cobblestone streets walked by Frederick Douglass and Herman Melville, that is home to:
- New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park and the New Bedford Whaling Museum—the largest museum in the world devoted to the global history of the whaling industry
- The Zeiterion Performing Arts Center—presents the highest caliber national and international performing artists and programs that speak to the diversity of cultures and interests in the region
- The historic Rotch-Jones-Duff House and Garden Musuem—a national landmark whaling era mansion on its original grounds
- Nearly 600 establishments, with over 6,500 employees, and $500 million in annual business sales
- More than 50 new or expanded businesses since 2007
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