New Bedford students create mural for State Pier

By Jonathan Carvalho
August 15, 2014 12:00 AM

Photo Credits: John Sladewski/The Standard-Times
Photo Credits: John Sladewski/The Standard-Times

Six weeks and 1,500 pounds of clay later, student artists unveiled a ceramic mural that’s a cross-section of the city’s harbor.
The latest in a series of public art pieces in New Bedford was officially unveiled Thursday at the ferry terminal on State Pier.
Students were part of Mayor Jon Mitchell’s Learn and Serve program, and combined some scientific study at the Ocean Explorium with the major art project at the New Bedford Art Museum/ArtWorks!
“We started with a sketch,” said student Israel Rosa, 16, of New Bedford. “Piece by piece, we each were assigned a layer.”
The many ceramic pieces fit together like a well-planned puzzle, and show various layers of the ocean, from a city skyline to the deepest trenches of the sea.
Several of the artists surveyed their work with pride.
“I can’t believe we actually did this,” said Drew Fraga, 16, of New Bedford.
“I couldn’t imagine it would come out like this,” Rosa said.
“There was so much to do,” said Enrique Torres, 16, of New Bedford.
The mayor said public art is important to the city.
New Bedford has been ranked as one of the most artistic cities in the country in some urban planning publications.
“It’s important to the life of the community,” he said. “It offers an avenue, for kids especially, to tap into their talent.”
Besides that, “to me it’s quite eye-catching and there’s nothing quite like it,” Mitchell said.
Kim Barry, the students’ adviser, said the design pays homage to New Bedford — not just the Whaling City, but the Fishing City too, she said.
Noelle Foye, executive director of the New Bedford Art Museum/ArtWorks!, said public art “adds great excitement and vitality to the cityscape.”
She noted the city’s emphasis has paid off in terms of beautification.
“There’s a lot of public art in New Bedford, compared to other cities,” Foye said. “It’s very important in creating a vital downtown, and throughout the city.”
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