DATMA Presents “SHELTER 2022–23”

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DATMA Presents “SHELTER 2022–23”

Art non-profit to launch free public art exhibitions, programs, and educational workshops


NEW BEDFORD, MA March 22, 2022Massachusetts 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.


This season, the artists and designers invited by DATMA to present works of ‘shelter’ are 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 will also present “Safe Station”, the story of New Bedford’s unique history in opposition to slavery through the lens of local artists including Fitzcarmel LaMarre from New Bedford and Alison Wells from Trinidad & Tobago now based in New Bedford. In addition, DATMA will present rare historic photos documenting the critical New Bedford Hurricane Protection Barrier landmark sheltering the city from natural disasters. New opportunities for educational workshops and dialogues between artists and students in New Bedford public schools will be launched, honoring the vision from DATMA co-founder, Roger Mandle (1941–2020).


Exhibition 1SHELTER: Flexible Fibers + Sustainable Solutions

This exhibition presents modern approaches to the concept of ‘shelter’ from Seoul, South Korea; Los Angeles, California; and Jordan. Each work explores the fabrication of dwellings through the making of and engagement with unique materials that have resulted in striking architectural productions, community-based collaborations, and developments in new structural fabrics and spatial design. The exhibition features Do Ho Suh’s ‘fabric architecture’ sculpture exploring identity, migration, and memory; one of the largest bio-plastic 3D-printed structures to date from Rael San Fratello; and Abeer Seikaly’s photography of her structural fabrics system inspired by traditional Bedouin textiles. These works, and the creative processes behind them, demonstrate how new technologies weave unique materials and innovations to advance the viewers vision of home while reacting to the housing crisis in a humanitarian way. Featured artworks include:

Do Ho Suh, Hub-1, Entrance, 260-7, Sungbook-Dong, Sungboo-Ku

Abeer Seikaly, A series of photo renderings from her structure design: Weaving a Home 2020

Rael San Fratello, Star Lounge


SHELTER: Flexible Fibers + Sustainable Solutions will be on view free and open to the public at UMass Dartmouth CVPA Star Store Swain Gallery at 715 Purchase Street in New Bedford daily from June 16 to September 12, outdoors throughout the day and evening and indoors daily from 10am to 6pm.


Exhibition 2 – Safe Station: New Bedford’s Underground Railroad

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.


Exhibition 3Safe Harbor: Building the New Bedford Hurricane Protection Barrier

Completed in 1966, New Bedford’s Hurricane Protection Barrier began as a creative solution and a huge monumental task to shelter and protect the city and its harbor by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Seen also from space, the structure was designed with and against the ‘force of nature’ along the East Coast of New Bedford, where the raging sea had routinely caused destruction and devastation to the successful textile mills and fishing port. With the current issue of climate change, rising sea-levels, and fierce storms, DATMA will work in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to showcase rare historic photos documenting this ambitious, critical, and successful project while posing questions on how to protect the city from future climate-related events.


“We’re thrilled to provide support to this art exhibit and help educate the public about the importance of the New Bedford Hurricane Protection Barrier,” said Col. John Atilano II, Commander and District Engineer of the New England District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “This barrier is one of many tools we use as part of our flood risk management mission to reduce the threat to life and property from flooding and coastal storms.”


Safe Harbor: Building the New Bedford Hurricane Barrier will be shown free and open to the public in downtown New Bedford outdoors along the harborfront walkways on Macarthur Boulevard from June 16 to September 12.


“DATMA’s ‘SHELTER 2022–23’ will be spread over two years to present an array of public art from world-renowned artists and interactive programs as well as engage students in the area. Our Founding Chair Roger Mandle would be proud of the boundaries we are pushing and how far we have come in only our fourth season,” shared Nicholas Sullivan, Board Chair of DATMA.


“Following our past successes, we wanted to continue offering art that is thought-provoking, relevant, and urgent,” said Lindsay Mis, Executive Director of DATMA. “I am inspired and thankful for the collaborative efforts of the City and our many program partners. The last three years of exhibitions have demonstrated that presenting art in public spaces makes a positive impact in the community. Best of all, our entire programming season is spread throughout downtown, within walking distance from each other, free and accessible to people of all ages and interests.”

Additional programming from DATMA and partner collaborators during “SHELTER 2022–23” will include:

  • Exhibition: Sheltered at the Crapo Gallery at UMass Dartmouth CVPA at 715 Purchase Street in New Bedford

This exhibition will feature work by women artists of color with diverse cultural backgrounds and unique perspectives. This contemporary exploration combines historical and present day narratives that deal with the concept of safety, protection, and home. Curated by artist Alison Wells with support from gallery director Viera Levitt, Sheltered will be on view from May 21 through September 8 with an exhibition opening on AHA! Night on June 9 from 6-8pm.


  • Exhibition: Beauty and Resilience Within at UMass Dartmouth CVPA at 715 Purchase Street in New Bedford

Basic shelter is a key necessity; how this is defined varies as comforts within the built environment enhance daily life. Consideration for the diversity of building occupants and the importance of creating resilient spaces are emphasized here. Light, furniture, color, and art all help to enliven the spaces in which are occupied. This exhibition features groupings of tactile and digital student work from the undergraduate Interior Architecture + Design curriculum coordinated by lecturers Rose Mary Botti-Salitsky and Stephanie McGoldrick. Beauty and Resilience Within will be on view from May 21 through September 8 with an exhibition opening on AHA! Night on June 9 from 6-8pm.


  • Exhibition: Historic Homes of New Bedford at the New Bedford Free Public Library on 613 Pleasant Street in New Bedford

A collection of historic photographs of New Bedford homes from the 19th and early 20th century will be presented. The exhibit will include photos from historic downtown, as well as the West and South ends and will focus on working class homes, many of which no longer exist. Some of the images in the exhibit are only available through the library as all other photographic evidence of these homes have been lost to time. The exhibit will be available in person at the Main Library and accompanied by an extended online experience and walking tour in collaboration with DATMA from May 12 through September 30.


  • Exhibition: Fish Boats at Fishing Heritage Center on 38 Bethel Street in New Bedford

Fish Boats is an exhibit and public program series exploring fishing vessels as depicted by members of the fishing community in drawings, paintings, photographs, models, songs, poems, and stories. For those who make their living from the sea, fishing vessels are like family members, however, most people do not associate the industry’s workforce with the creation of art. This project will offer audiences a new lens through which to view fishing boats and its community from September 8 through December 31.


  • Walking Book Tour: A Wind to Shake the World

Walk along the hurricane barrier discussing the award-winning novel, written by the late Standard-Times writer Everett Allen, which features the 1938 hurricane from a local perspective. Allen had gathered first-hand accounts of survivors where the hurricane hit hardest with top winds at 186 mph and waves at 40 feet. Tour guides from South Coast Almanac and Spinner Publications will give participants an understanding of how this hurricane was an urgent catalyst for the massive barrier designed and constructed by the US Army Corps of Engineers. The tour will be held on July 20 at 2pm (rain date July 21). Space is limited.


  • Concert: Shelter Me presented by the Seaglass Theatre Company, location TBD

The Seaglass Theater will present a concert performance about what truly makes a home. Featuring four professional singers and a three-piece band, Shelter Me will feature songs from Broadway, the Great American Songbook, and beyond on August 25 at 7pm.


  • Family Design Days: Fortissimo! at Custom House Square at 21 Barkers Lane in New Bedford

In collaboration with the New Bedford Free Public Library, DATMA will present free, public celebration of design, play, and fort-building for all ages. The days will be filled with outdoor fort-building workshops, along with public curatorial tours and hands-on, creative engagement activities at UMass Dartmouth’s College for Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA). To be held on May 12 and July 14 from 3-6pm (additional dates and locations TBD).


  • Family Design Days: Star Lounge at the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park lawn at 33 William Street in New Bedford

Star Lounge by artist Rael San Fratello allows participants to explore inside one of the largest Poly Lactic Acid (PLA) based 3D printed structures built to date and explore it in a whole new light. Videos about the creation of 3D-printed shelters will be presented at this hands-on STEAM activity for all ages. To be held on June 9, August 11, and September 8 from 5-8pm.


  • Student Workshops:

In collaboration with Our Sisters’ School in New Bedford and New Bedford National Whaling Historical Park, DATMA will lead a hands-on workshop educating students about the design of the New Bedford Hurricane Barrier, along with examining the long-term ecological and environmental outlook for the harbor. Students will be paired with artist Dan Borelli, from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, to explore this topic and create a STEAM-based installation addressing climate change in New Bedford. In addition, in collaboration with Renaissance Community Innovation School in New Bedford (K-5 NBPS with STEAM focus), DATMA will hold multi-day workshops for students focused on STEAM-centered approaches for designing and building forts.


Full details and additional programs are available on www.DATMA.org.


Looking ahead to 2023 and DATMA’s 5th anniversary, the team will take on an action-oriented approach to “SHELTER 2022–23” working directly with Brooklyn-based artist, Mark Reigelman, to envision and create a new interactive landmark in downtown New Bedford. In addition, under the guidance of DATMA’s artist in residence, Boston-based visual artist Silvia Lopez Chavez, New Bedford High School students will collaborate to create a public art mural with 3D elements that will be prominently installed on the exterior wall viewable along the New Bedford-Fairhaven Bridge. Plus, DATMA will put out a national call for works based on the themes of shelter, housing, the Underground Railroad, place-making, and/or racial equity to be created for an outdoor public installation in New Bedford. Full details to be announced on www.DATMA.org.

Partners for “SHELTER 2022–23”:

DATMA will collaborate with the commissioned artists, the City of New Bedford, and local nonprofits, schools, universities, and businesses to bring “SHELTER 2022–23” to New Bedford. These partners will coordinate tours and student field trips, lead design, art, and technology workshops, host talks, and present digital exhibitions and documentaries. Partners include: 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).



About the Massachusetts Design Art and Technology Institute (DATMA)

The Massachusetts Design Art and Technology Institute (DATMA) was founded to enhance the evolving dynamic cultural and economic life of Southcoast Massachusetts. DATMA is committed to bringing world-renowned art, design, and technology exhibitions, programs, and initiatives to the visitors and citizens of New Bedford and the region, identified as one of the Commonwealth’s most creative economies by the Massachusetts Cultural Council. As an exhibitor of public art, DATMA collaborates with the business and education sectors of the region to expand public awareness, bringing new cultural assets into the mix.


Last year, DATMA brought “WATER 2021”, examining the role of water within the histories, economies, and cultures of several countries as well as SouthCoast Massachusetts. It included an outdoor exhibition showcasing photographic portraits by three photographers – Hyung S. Kim, Phil Mello, and Craig Easton – which celebrated the women of the fishing industry around the globe and a majestic installation sculpture by Swiss sound-installation artist, Zimoun. In 2020, DATMA presented “LIGHT 2020” which was inspired by the 19th century whaling industry in New Bedford, focusing on programs united by the theme of light. Three large-scale digital projections with unique musical accompaniment called “Vessels” by Boston’s MASARY Studios and artist Soo Sunny Park’s “Photo-Kinetic Grid” exhibition was showcased. Previously in 2019, DATMA kicked off “SUMMER WINDS” including a large-scale, site specific architectural art installation called “Silver Current” created by internationally celebrated and Los Angeles, CA based artist Patrick Shearn and his Poetic Kinetics team—hanging over Custom House Square in New Bedford.


Founded in 2016, DATMA has a diverse, highly motivated Board of Trustees including prominent members of the regional and global business, civic, philanthropic, arts, design, and technology sectors. Roger Mandle, Co-Founder and former Board Chair of DATMA, passed away in November, 2020. He had 40 years of experience in building museums around the world and was a major contributor of the STEM to STEAM education initiative, championed by the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), which he had served as President. www.DATMA.org


About Do Ho Suh

Do Ho Suh (b. 1962, Seoul, Korea) works across various media, creating drawings, film, and sculptural works that confront questions of home, physical space, displacement, memory, individuality, and collectivity. Suh is best known for his fabric sculptures that reconstruct to scale his former homes in Korea, Rhode Island, Berlin, London, and New York. He is particularly interested in domestic space and the way the concept of home can be articulated through architecture that has a specific location, form, and history. Suh received a B.F.A. in painting from Rhode Island School of Design in 1994 and an M.F.A. in sculpture from Yale University in 1997. Suh’s work is in numerous international public and private collections, and solo exhibitions of his work have recently been organized including at Bloomberg SPACE, London, United Kingdom (2021); Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA (2019); Victoria & Albert Museum, London, United Kingdom (2019).



Rael San Fratello

Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello formed their socially driven design studio to explore and teach new methods of creative architecture. Their team works with both recycled and natural materials to create 3D-printed large scale structures, ‘earth architecture’, interactive installations, and more. Rael San Fratello’s collaborative workshops challenge architects, artists, designers, and engineers to address the untapped potential of materials in the 3D-printing realm. In 2020 Rael San Fratello received an Art + Technology Award from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). In 2020, the Pink Borderwall Teeter Totters installed on the border between the USA and Mexico, designed by Rael and San Fratello, was awarded the Beasley Design of the Year Award. Their work is widely published and included in the permanent collections of institutions such as The Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, and The London Design Museum. www.rael-sanfratello.com


About Abeer Seikaly

Abeer Seikaly is a Jordanian Palestinian interdisciplinary creative thinker and maker working across architecture, design, fine art, and cultural production. Through her work, she shares information about ancient cultures we would not have known or is commonly understood by archeologists. Taking woven structures to create tent forms that are foldable, her works are meant to help solve houselessness for her community. After receiving her BArch and BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2002, Seikaly won The Rug Company’s 2012 Middle East Wallhanging Design Competition, and was awarded the international Lexus Design Award for a performative structural system, “Weaving a Home.” In 2015, she co-founded and co-directed Amman Design Week. In addition to numerous features, her works have been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, the Museum of Applied Arts (MAK) in Vienna, and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. As the Fall 2021, Seikaly is the Louis I. Kahn Visiting Assistant Professor at the Yale School of Architecture. www.abeerseikaly.com


About Alison Wells

Originally from Trinidad & Tobago, Alison Wells relocated to the Southcoast in 2004 to pursue a Master’s Degree in Fine Art Painting at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (UMD). As the owner of “Alison Wells Fine Art Gallery” in historic downtown New Bedford, Wells teaches private and group art classes, on-line workshops, and in her gallery to everyone of all ages. Alison’s paintings have been exhibited in galleries and museums internationally as well as in private, public and corporate collections. Her most recent local public commissions were for the Boston Children’s Hospital in Boston, MA, the Boston Children’s Hospital in Dartmouth, MA, and St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford, MA. www.alisonwells.com

About Fitzcarmel LaMarre

Based in New Bedford, Fitzcarmel LaMarre is a creative educational developer and program director, a homeschool workshop educator, muralist, portrait artist, graphic designer and a former public school art teacher. He is currently working on his historic fiction graphic novel NEW DEADFORD – a community inclusive project including creative workshops for at-risk, underserved youth at the New Bedford Housing Authority’s Blue Meadow Property and Our Sisters’ School. LaMarre has created free youth programming throughout the City including at the Greater New Bedford Boys and Girls Club, The New Bedford Art Museum, the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, New Bedford Parks, and Southcoast Health’s R.A.A.A.P. Program through his Creative Oasis Mobile Art Services Workshops. He believes that by educating, challenging and engaging our most valuable resource (our youth) that a brighter future of opportunities will be developed. @iamtheartguy