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Timothy Ellis Cole: Helping to sustain New Bedford

Timothy Ellis Cole in front of his work-in-progress mural on New Bedford’s State Pier. The completed work debuts on Saturday, June 3, 2017 during the Seaport Art Walk opening.

You’ll have to forgive us here at Groundwork! for taking an inordinate amount of pride in artist Timothy Ellis Cole. It’s because his roots go deep into the place and into who we are. That’s why we always get excited when Tim is up to his tricks somewhere in New Bedford.

Cole has just completed a mural on the State Pier as part of this year’s Seaport Art Walk. Of course, he brought his usual commitment, talent and energy to the project, spending days and maybe even a few nights painting on a concrete wall that runs about a hundred feet long below the terminal. The result is another triumph of vision that you can really appreciate this Saturday, June 3 when the Seaport Art Walk officially opens from 2:00-5:00pm with a special event that is free and open to the public.

We’re excited to see ALL the artists involved in this, the third Seaport Art Walk, once again curated by the fabulous Jessica Bregoli. New this year, the artists will be paired with scholars during the opening on Saturday to discuss the topics that inspired their work.

Tim at Groundwork!

Timothy Ellis Cole has always inspired us – and we’re happy to see the in-demand artist back in New Bedford. Indeed, along with prolific, local outdoor artists like Ryan McFee and Tracy Barbosa, he is helping to establish a New Bedford aesthetic that distinguishes our city.

Tim was the first artist to be featured in the Groundwork! Gallery in January 2016. His opening was a smash event and did a lot to set the tone for future after-co-working-hours art shows here at 1213 Purchase Street. Part of that tone was set when he christened the Groundwork! Hammock, becoming the first person (after co-founders Sarah Athanas and Dena Haden) to pull an all-nighter in the space!

The artist brought that same sense of total commitment to the mural he painted on our own wall (pictured above). It’s become a well-known feature of the space figuring in all sorts of photos and videos on the social media landscape.

Seaport Art Walk’s Sustainable Oceans

The theme of this year’s Seaport Art Walk is Sustainable Oceans, and Tim’s mural certainly illustrates that. He explains that it depicts the work of the Coonamessett Farm Foundation in applying a field rotation concept to scalloping zones “that saved a decimated industry, turning it into a sustainable fishery that became one of the most profitable in the world.” (You can find out more and even watch the documentary, “Sustaining Sea Scallops,” at this link.)

Like Tim’s link to Groundwork!, there is a personal connection to Coonamessett for him, too. “I used to be the chef on the farm that houses the foundation, so it’s really cool to make artwork about their work after grilling scallops at farm dinners years ago,” he says.

Timothy Ellis Cole probably doesn’t get a lot of time to grill scallops these days, except for precious hours with his wife and two awesome kids. His Partner Projects Studios, operating out of Monument Breach, is busy with projects from Hyannis to the Levitate Music Festival to New Bedford’s Seaport Art Walk and lots of places in-between.

We dig that this artist is binding New Bedford into that bundle of projects and, we have no doubt, beyond into the future as his career continues to grow with all the mad-talent and energy he brings to it – and to our city.

(Visit Partner Projects Studio here and learn more about this year’s Seaport Art Walk here.)

Steven Froias