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Fall into New Bedford Culture


The temps and dew points have dropped – but the heat generated by New Bedford, the region’s cultural hub, remains on “high” this Fall. Here’s a month’s worth of special events that are sure to keep the city’s momentum going…

A Brush with Death

SATURDAY, OCT. 7 – The New Bedford Preservation Society leads a New Bedford Artists and Artisans Tour – through Rural Cemetery! It’s a look back at the bygone bones of those who came before the term “Creative Economy” was ever uttered. Yours truly will be one of the guides. From 1:00-4:00pm, also expect historic portrayals in period costume at several of the grave sites of New Bedford’s internationally famous artists and artisans including but not limited to: painters William Allen Wall, Robert Swain, Frances Gifford, Albert Cook Church and female painter Minna Grumbt Webb, early African American photographer James Reed as well as glass artisans Gundersen brothers Hjalmar and Robert. Tickets are $20 and may be purchased by cash or check at the Grape Street Rural Cemetery gate on the day of tour. A $2 discount will be given to New Bedford Preservation Society members. (Rain date is Sunday October 8th from 1pm to 4pm.)

Tour The Ropeworks

SATURDAY, OCT. 14 & SUNDAY, OCT. 15 – The Ropeworks condo building at 123 Sawyer Street boasts an amazing roster of artists and was and is a cool example of urban adaptive reuse. The former rope factory was transformed into the creative Mecca it is today thanks to the vision of the Buck family – Norman, Adam and Irene, the last a cultural leader in the city for years as the director of ArtWorks! The public is invited to tour this awesome building in the city’s north end from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sat. Oct. 14 and Sun. Oct. 15. See art in the studios where it is created at this free, open to the public weekend event. A few years back, renowned glass artist and resident Tracy Barbosa asked this writer to volunteer to work the door during a previous tour. In a bit of supreme serendipity, Groundwork! co-founder Dena Haden walked in that day – and a great friend and colleague was found and made. Ropeworks is that kind of place…more tour details here.

Thou Shalt Knot

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 21 – Only in New Bedford at the world-famous Whaling Museum would you find something like this – a day-long symposium on the art of tying knots! Thou Shalt Knot: A Symposium on Knotting Matters will tie you up from 9:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. – but it will as much fun as you’ll ever have with rope – without a brass bed in the room. Join experts from the New Bedford Whaling Museum, the International Guild of Knot Tyers (IGKT), and the Melville Society Cultural Project (MSCP) for “Thou Shalt Knot: A Symposium on Knotting Matters.” The symposium at the Whaling Museum coincides with the Museum’s exhibition “Thou Shalt Knot: Clifford W. Ashley” and explores the practical, cultural and literary aspects of knots. Cost to attend the “Thou Shalt Knot” symposium is $25 for Whaling Museum members and $35 for non-members. To register call 508-997-0046 ext.100 or visit

Oktoberfest at Groundwork!

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 25 – Now here’s a different kind of Oktoberfest for a new age in New Bedford: Oktoberfest at Groundwork! Join us at this free, open house event all day on Wednesday, Oct. 25 from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. and experience the following: Free coworking; Workshops; Networking; Chair massages; Mindfulness session; Office yoga; Seasonal beer & cider; Ping pong, games & music; and Membership promotions and deals. Groundwork! is New Bedford’s only coworking space – and we offer flexible work stations, meeting rooms, events, community, and more (in case you don’t know by now!)

Children’s New Bedford Bookfest

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 28 & SUNDAY, OCTOBER 29 – Our own popular bookfest returns with a twist: a weekend of Children’s book authors and illustrators in a celebration of the genre. This free, open to the public weekend will feature local and regional authors and artists with their books and work available for purchase and signing. New Bedford students will read from their work during an ongoing open mic and Destination Soups will be bringing soup as well as grilled cheese sandwiches into the Groundwork! kitchen. Come hang out again at 1213 Purchase Street – and discover just how talented our region is and just how much New Bedford brings it all home! Authors interested in attending can get more info here.

Steven Froias