Call for Art: DATMA Seeks to Commission Public Art for New Bedford, MA


Art Non-Profit Welcomes Proposals on the Theme of “Shelter”  

NEW BEDFORD, MA September 08, 2022 – Massachusetts Design Art and Technology Institute (DATMA), the non-collecting contemporary art institute, and its partners kicked-off a city-wide, collaborative venture called “SHELTER 2022–23”. As part of this project, DATMA is issuing a National Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for a public, outdoor installation on the theme of “shelter” where New Bedford, MA will serve as a canvas for art exploring the role of shelter within the histories, communities, and cultures of the SouthCoast region and beyond.

DATMA welcomes artists to consider subjects including but not limited to housing, the Underground Railroad, and/or immigration. Three finalist submissions will be awarded a $1,000 stipend to develop detailed proposals. The final selected work will be awarded $25,000 to cover all artists’ fees, material, travel, and installation whereas DATMA will cover all costs associated with insurance, engineering, permitting, install equipment, marketing, and PR, as well as overall support for the selected project. Accepted mediums include mixed media, sculpture, installation, new genres, digital media, film and video, music composition, and photography.

Applications will be accepted beginning now through November 1, 2022 online HERE. The public, outdoor installation will be scheduled for viewing from June 16 until October 10, 2023 at a designated area by the corner of Union Street and Route 18 in New Bedford. The juror panel will consist of Jasmyn Baird, New Bedford Economic Development Council Senior Creative Fellow & Seaport Artwalk Manager; Creative Director & Founder of Poetic Kinetics, Patrick Shearn; and Pat Coomey Thornton, DATMA’s Program Committee Chair.

“New Bedford’s arts and culture scene is the pulse of its community. In working with the city, we are adding a new sculptural installation in the heart of downtown by the waterfront which will beautify one of the main pedestrian and vehicle entry points here,” said Lindsay Mis, Executive Director of DATMA. “This RFQ is an excellent opportunity for any artist to have their work seen by thousands and become part of New Bedford’s rich artistic community.”

This past season, DATMA presented three individual exhibitions, robust programmatic outreach, and educational workshops which examined the history, economy, and culture of the SouthCoast region rooted in the value of shelter with 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. Artist works of shelter already presented included Do Ho Suh from Seoul, South Korea; Rael San Fratello from Los Angeles, California; and Abeer Seikaly from Jordan. In partnership with the New Bedford Historical Society, DATMA also presented “Safe Station”, the story of New Bedford’s unique history in opposition to slavery through the lens of local artists including local artists Fitzcarmel LaMarre, Alison Wells, and students from Our Sisters’ School. In addition, DATMA showcased rare historic photos documenting the critical New Bedford Hurricane Protection Barrier landmark sheltering the city from natural disasters.


About the Juror Panel:


Juror: Jasmyn Baird, New Bedford Economic Development Council Senior Creative Fellow & Seaport Artwalk Manager

Jasmyn will be instrumental in the implementation of both project exhibits, involved as both a NB Creative partner and as manager of the Seaport Art Walk Committee. She is a graduate of The New School Master of Media Management program and received her Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from UMD. As a NB native, she has been involved with creating an impactful digital footprint for nonprofits in the local area, most recently with Youth Opportunities Unlimited. Since joining the NB Creative team in February 2020, Jasmyn has supported the Creative Strategist in the implementation of several projects to fulfill the city’s Arts and Culture Plan strategies. Currently, she is the Project Manager for the Arts Midwest Creating Connection place-based pilot initiative where she coordinates the curriculum and is the main point of contact for the 8-organization cohort. She is also the lead for Peer-to-Peer Sessions and one of the components of MassDevelopment/TDI’s Creative Cities.


Juror: Patrick Shearn, Creative Director & Founder of Poetic Kinetics

Shearn is an LA-based artist specializing in larger-than-life, immersive public art installations. The artist’s signature kinetic sculptures, called Skynets, earned him international renown after the debut of “Liquid Shard” enamored the city of Los Angeles. The installation transformed an underused public square in the heart of downtown into a bustling destination overnight. Shearn has since brought Skynet installations to various locations in the U.S. and abroad where viewers are invariably compelled to slow down and take time to follow the undulating movement of the artworks, which appear to hang in thin air.


Shearn’s expertise in animatronics, robotics and visual effects–gleaned from a 30-year tenure in the film industry as a creature maker and visual effects supervisor–has lent traction to a prolific career as creative director for his studio Poetic Kinetics. Under his guiding vision, Poetic Kinetics has designed, fabricated, and implemented a wide range of projects that encourage audience participation–from interactive projection mapping and pyrotechnics to enormous mobile sculptures. Notably, Poetic Kinetics’ projects both engage the immediate public through interactivity and reach viral notoriety on social media.


Patrick Shearn was DATMA’s first commissioned artist and helped the organization launch its unforgettable inaugural program season, SUMMER WINDS 2019.


Juror: Pat Coomey Thornton, DATMA’s Program Committee Chair

Pat Coomey Thornton heads DATMA’s Program Committee where she chairs an experienced group of artists, designers, writers, and educators, including; Iva Brito, Tobey Eugenio, Harvey Goldman, Jocelin Hamblett, Sadia Quraeshi Shepard, Gayle Mandle, and Nicholas Sullivan. Before her roles as Associate Director of Continuing Education, followed by Special Assistant to the President at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Pat taught painting and drawing to college students at the School of the Worcester Art Museum. She is a practicing artist who has shown in galleries and museums in MA, has served on the New Bedford Cultural Council and was a member of the Steering Committee for the New Bedford Art Museum. She is a New Bedford resident and also serves on the Board of the Waterfront Historic Architecture League (WHALE) in New Bedford.


Partners for “SHELTER 2022–23”:

DATMA has collaborated with the City of New Bedford, and local nonprofits, schools, universities, and businesses to bring “SHELTER 2022–23” to New Bedford. These partners have coordinated tours and student field trips; led design, art, and technology workshops; hosted talks; and presented digital exhibitions and documentaries. Partners include: New Bedford Creative/ Seaport Art Walk; 3rd Eye Unlimited; Arts, History, Architecture (AHA!); New Bedford High School; Northern Pelagic Group, LLC (NORPEL); New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park; The Drawing Room; Olmsted Now; Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical School (GNBVT); Our Sisters’ School; New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center; South Coast Almanac; New Bedford Historical Society; New Bedford Science Café; Renaissance Community Innovation School; New Bedford Park Department; New Bedford Homeless Service Providers Network; Waterfront Historic Area LeaguE (WHALE); New Bedford Food Tours; The New Bedford Free Public Library; New Bedford Art Museum/ ArtWorks!, New Bedford Symphony Orchestra; Seaglass Theater; and UMass Dartmouth’s College for Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA).


Press contact:

Edwina A. Kluender

KLÜNDER Communications

617.888.5859 / [email protected]