Hyperallergic: “On Its Fifth Anniversary, DATMA Considers Community in SHELTER 2023”

On Its Fifth Anniversary, DATMA Considers Community in SHELTER 2023

Massachusetts Design Art & Technology Institute presents free public art exhibitions and numerous programs in New Bedford that are rooted in the value of shelter.

June 20, 2023


Read original article HERE on the Hyperallergic platform, one of our favorite art news information resources.


DATMA, the non-collecting contemporary art institute in New Bedford, Massachusetts, kicks off its fifth year with another city-wide venture to include topics of equality, narrative of those who sought refuge, and feature people living and working in this diverse economy.

Threshold” by sculptor Mark Reigelman (NYC) is a 17-foot-tall artwork celebrating the principles of equality and community-building that have been integral to the city’s history. Inspired by the Quakers, the community’s diverse history, influential New England quilting patterns, and unique doorway architecture from the oldest building in New Bedford’s Abolition Row Historic District, Reigelman beckons viewers toward a partially opened door. The sculpture is on view at Custom House Square.

Activist and multidisciplinary artist Maxwell Emcays (Chicago), winner of DATMA’s first national Request for Qualifications, presents “Our Woven Story”, inspired by the visual forms of the African Baobab tree and Wampanoag Wetu structures. Using locally upcycled clothing, pieces of textile are intended to embody the identity and social fabric of the community, while the illuminated work serves as a representation of the city’s culture, fostering creativity, conversation, and connection among people. “Our Woven Story” is on display at the intersection of Route 18 and Union Street.

Community Tides” by artist Silvia López Chavez (Boston) is a semi-permanent mural measuring 223 feet by 17 feet that portrays the local fishing industry, diverse economy, and life at the intersection of land and water. To create her signature colorful patterns, López Chavez collaborated with New Bedford High School students, pulling from their local landscapes and everyday lives. In partnership with Northern Pelagic Group (NORPEL), the mural is the first piece of contemporary art on Fish Island.

DATMA also highlights the important role of artists in shaping their local community with Open Studios on the Sidewalk. The works of South Coast artists are showcased in an outdoor print exhibition along the city’s working waterfront.

SHELTER 2023 is on view in New Bedford from June 22 through October 23.

To learn more, visit datma.org.