It is official, New Bedford, Massachusetts is a Wicked Cool Place, as evidenced by a new grant program that rewards creative placemaking.

Last week, the city celebrated #ArtsMatterDay in Massachusetts by announcing by announcing Wicked Cool Places grants totaling $82,000 for local arts and culture projects. In all, 13 projects will receive funding to enhance the city’s appeal as an arts destination and help fulfill the dreams of individual artists.

Placemaking is defined by the National Endowment for the Arts as a process in which “partners from public, private, non-profit, and community sectors strategically shape the physical and social character of a neighborhood, town, city, or region around arts and cultural activities.”

Within 12 months, New Bedford Creative has awarded $132,000 to 25 projects impacting communities and neighborhoods throughout the city. This investment has leveraged an additional $460,000 for the city.

Wicked Cool Places is an outgrowth of New Bedford’s new Arts and Culture Plan, adopted in 2018. The plan seeks to encourage community development, arts entrepreneurship, and ongoing investment in the rich arts and culture of the city.

The program is funded by the city of New Bedford’s Arts, Culture and Tourism Fund, with additional support from Bristol County Savings Bank, MassDevelopment, Mass Cultural Council, and the in-kind support of the New Bedford Economic Development Council.

New Bedford was recently recognized as one the most creative small cities in the nation by The Atlantic Monthly.

According to, “We believe that there are a lot of Wicked Cool Places in New Bedford, and they are animated by elements that encourage human interaction, from temporary activities such as festivals or outdoor sculpture, to more permanent installations such as murals or lighting design.”

For information about visiting New Bedford, go to Destination New Bedford.

About New Bedford Creative:
New Bedford Creative is a consortium of leaders whose purpose is to oversee the execution of the citywide strategic Arts and Culture Plan entitled New Bedford Creative: our art, our culture, our future. Published in December 2018, the Arts and Culture Plan is a huge step forward in building a thriving creative ecosystem in our city, and these are the people dedicated to implementing it. This volunteer group is facilitated by the Creative Strategist, meets quarterly, holds one- to three-year terms, and are divided into three teams: Public Art, Community, and Fundraising.