Empowering Students & Enriching Community: DATMA’s Partnership with GNBVT’s Metal Fabrication Department

Behind the scenes at DATMA something special is happening — a mash-up of art, education, and community impact. For 4+ years now, DATMA and Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School’s (GNBVT) Metal Fabrication Department have joined forces to bring new forms of creativity into the classroom. This collaboration has been instrumental in fostering real-world applications and instilling the values of collaboration and STEAM education. Understanding the value of hands-on experience in education, DATMA sought to engage students in the creation of an outdoor exhibition display in 2021 — an installation that has now graced the sidewalks of downtown New Bedford for three consecutive summers. In 2024, the students will take on their biggest challenge with DATMA yet.

Crafting Art through Metal Fabrication

Under the expert advisement of Welding Tech. Teacher, Mr. Steve Flowers, students have delved further into the world of metal fabrication for art’s sake. Armed with design and engineering drawings for DATMA’s free-standing “kiosk” exhibition displays, the students brought these visions to life through precise cutting and welding techniques. This exploration and work not only provides students with invaluable technical skills but also instills a sense of ownership in contributing to the city’s art scene.

Real-World Application in Action

One of the standout aspects of this collaboration is the emphasis on real-world application. When working with DATMA, students are not confined to the theoretical realm of classrooms; instead, they are thrust into a real-world scenario where their craftsmanship is viewed in the public spaces of New Bedford. The practical skills gained during the fabrication process extended beyond the workshop, proving to be a foundation for future professional pursuits.

At the core of this partnership is a shared commitment to community enrichment. The outdoor exhibition displays, crafted by GNBVT students, have become integral components of New Bedford’s vibrant art scene. The public spaces are transformed into open-air galleries, allowing residents and visitors alike to engage with art in unexpected and accessible locations.

Installation Assistance: Bridging the Gap Between Classroom and Community

The partnership between DATMA and GNBVT goes beyond the creation phase. Each year, students actively participate in the installation of the outdoor exhibition displays. This hands-on involvement in the set-up process gives them a unique opportunity to witness the tangible impact of their work on the community.

Looking Ahead —2024 Collaborations:

STAY TUNED: GNBVT students will participate in an immersive art workshop where they will learn about and help fabricate a new upcycled art sculpture in New Bedford. Metal Fabrication and Welding students at GNBVT will join artist Bordalo II in the creation of a new site-specific sculpture in downtown New Bedford. Working under the guidance of the artist and his team, students will create the interior framework of the sculpture. Through this, they will learn new fabrication processes, engineering techniques and design skills, client relations, and gain hands-on experience in creating community-centered public art.

Metal Fabrication students gather at GNBVT to learn about DATMA’s next art project for 2024

As the partnership between DATMA and GNBVT continues to grow, the potential for future educational collaborations is endless. The impact on students, the community, and the field of public art is evident, serving as an inspiration for DATMA to continue developing similar initiatives.

Interested in partnering with DATMA on a hands-on educational program? Contact [email protected]