AHA! Is a monthly FREE celebration of arts & culture in downtown New Bedford.

AHA! Is a monthly FREE celebration of arts & culture in downtown New Bedford. -

AHA New Bedford

AHA New Bedford Play Ball – A Giveaway Event to Celebrate 20 Years Of AHA!
AHA New BedfordWe’re launching into the 20 Years Of AHA! celebration with the Bay Sox and Domino’s Pizza. 20 baseballs will been given out to 20 downtown shops, eateries, galleries, and cultural institutions. Visit any of the 20 locations for a chance to win a souvenir Bay Sox baseball, a family pack of Bay Sox tickets and a Domino’s pizza
Look for the list of participating locations on the monthly event schedule. Available for pick-up throughout downtown on AHA! Night.


Welcome our newest AHA! partners:
- Moby Dick Brewing (16 South Water Street) serves up freshly brewed ales and lagers paired with distinctive pub fare. More info at www.mobydickbrewing.com. Stop by for the LAUNCH of a Blueberry Saison beer, 1/2 price apps (excluding scallops and mussels), an exhibit of BCC student art and live music (6-9pm).
- Painting with a Splash (772 Purchase St) offers step-by-step instruction to create your very own masterpiece painting in an entertaining, relaxing, and fun atmosphere. More info at www.paintingatsplash.com. Stop by for a free family friendly open paint session from 5:30-7:30pm. Drop in at any time and make a splash with your creativity by painting an assortment of canvas, rocks and more.

When Will She Launch: An Update on the Launch of the Ernestina-Morrissey 
Join Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association  for a presentation in the theater of New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park (33 William Street). Celebrate New Bedford’s important connections to the Ernestina-Morrissey with information and photos about the progress toward her launch.  

Suspended Sentence: a site-specific distributed poem with video and audio component created by Bill Seaman and inspired by architectural details, heating and lighting systems, and emergency signs of the Star Store Campus.
Check out the installation at UMD College of Visual and Performing Arts Star Store Gallery (715 Purchase Street).

Abolition Row Launch Plans with the New Bedford Historical Society at the Rotch-Jones-Duff House & Garden Museum (396 County Street). The New Bedford Historical Society has broken ground for Abolition Row Park being built in the local historic district that will be established on Seventh Street. Join President of the NB Historical Society, Lee Blake, for a talk and slideshow presentation that will inform the community about the astounding accomplishment of what has been created and how the history has significantly impacted our lives. 5:30–6:30pm 

The Seamen’s Bethel (15 Johnny Cake Hill) hosts the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park
- "Every Kid in a Park" activities  
- Launching a new life: Wedding prep with the 1850s Ladies. Ruth and Abby will be decorating and preparing Seamen's Bethel for a wedding. Stop by to see, hear and taste what such a celebration was like in the 1850s. 6-8m

TL6 The Gallery (100 William Street) welcomes new artist Jeri Castimore and her abstract bowl paintings in acrylic and oils. Try the latest flavor jelly by Sprig while you're there.

Come to a celebration of women building a better life for themselves and their families. Join the Women's Fund Lifework Graduation Party, 5-7pm at the New Bedford Whaling Museum (18 Johnny Cake Hill).

The summer tradition returns! It’s the season launch of Centre Street Sessions presented by Whaling City Sound. This year focuses on the Faces of Bass, kicking off with John Lockwood, acoustic bass, Tucker Antell, tenor sax,  and Karen Kocheryan, drums. Outdoors in the Fiber Optic Center parking lot (23 Centre Street) with sets at 5:30 & 7:15pm. Rain location: BayCoast Bank (23 Elm Street).

Blue Collars book launch party at Gallery X (169 William Street).
Spinner Publications celebrates its new book, Blue Collars, a novel written by local author, Catherine McLaughlin. Blue Collars is a compelling story about growing up during the late 1950s and 1960s in New Bedford and details the triumphs and tragedies of the close-knit working-class Kilroy family. Told through the eyes of young Fiona “Finn” Kilroy, her story unfolds in the city’s South End, a neighborhood where Portuguese, Irish, French, and Cape Verdean immigrant families lived side-by-side in mostly three-decker tenement houses typical of many New England cities. Finn’s father worked long hours as a loomfixer at the Berkshire Hathaway textile mill along the city’s waterfront and her mother struggled to keep the children healthy, well fed and well dressed.
Plus new show, Something Fishy. 

3 New Shows at New Bedford Art Museum/Artworks! (608 Pleasant Street): 
- Multitudes: A Sound Installation by Don Burton 
Don is a filmmaker and digital media artist whose work explores issues of place, community, and identity. In 2011 Don established an award-winning studio in New Bedford, Massachusetts. His independent films have screened at festivals in the Czech Republic, South Korea, and Portugal. 
- Unusual Growth Patterns: Mixed-media works by Alison Wells 
“Providing space and opportunities for storytellers to communicate the human experience through visual art is a crucial part of my curatorial practice. Selecting local artists from the vast pool of New Bedford talent is the most challenging part of the job. That being said, showcasing Alison Wells’ bright, multilayered, and robust artworks was an obvious choice.  Wells has been a working artist in New Bedford for over a decade; she has made work about the city’s abolitionist and architectural history. Wells is also an active member of the local art community operating out of her downtown gallery. This summer she will be unveiling a new body of work that touches on the female experience as well as her Trinidadian roots. Wells is not an artist who is still searching for her voice, rather her powerful marks and hardy use of color exude profound confidence, and it’s our privilege to have her first solo museum exhibition at New Bedford Art Museum/ArtWorks!.” – Jamie Uretsky, Curator
- Audubon Exhibit & Activities
The New Bedford community is fortunate to be one of the 107 public venues worldwide to have the full collection of 435 original hand-colored Audubon engravings. In 1866, whaling merchant James Arnold donated four volumes of John James Audubon’s first edition double-elephant folio of The Birds of America to the New Bedford Free Public Library.
Sixty of these engravings, many of which have not been seen in more than 30 years, will be on display in an exhibition entitled Birds of the First Light and Longhouses. The curator of the exhibit is Louis Doherty, a founder of the New Bedford Art Museum, and acknowledged Audubon expert, with extensive experience in Audubon’s work.


Youth Leadership Academy MakerSpace Party at New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park (33 William Street), 5-8pm. YLA celebrates three months of leadership building, community service, and experiential learning. Enjoy refreshments, live music, and engaging presentations by Meg Stowe, CEO of Girls Leadership Collaborative, Police Chief Joseph Cordeiro, and detective Scott Carol. 

Stop by the Buzzards Bay Coalition’s Wheeler Bay Learning Center (114 Front Street) to learn where and how you can get outside this summer through free, outdoor adventures. You’ll also meet some live, salty critters from Buzzards Bay. 5-8pm

What’s up at the New Bedford Whaling Museum (18 Johnny Cake Hill): 
- Hands-on crafts and story time with Little People’s College in the Casa dos Botes Discovery Center (enter from North Water Street).
- Alma del Mar Injustice Tri-Fold Presentations in the Jacobs Family Gallery, 5:30-6:30pm. 

Craft Time at the New Bedford Public Library (613 Pleasant Street), 5-7pm.

Open House at Dream Out Loud (1 Johnny Cake Hill), 6-8pm. Stop by for the launch of their youth greeting card line and CD. Enjoy free face painting, karaoke, open mic performances and other fun activities inside the building and outside in the courtyard. See what the youth have created all year long in their "Invest-in-Kids" Creative Careers and elementary "Create It" Program.


The New Bedford Preservation Society presents a walking tour of Old Bedford Village. Step off from Friends Meeting House (83 Spring Street) at 6pm for an architectural walking tour led by Bruce Barnes. Mr. Barnes retired after a 37 year career as a librarian. He had positions at the New Bedford Public Library, The State Library of Massachusetts and for 30 years at the UMass Dartmouth Claire T. Carney Library.

#FrederickDouglassSleptHere The New Bedford Historical Society hosts tours of the Nathan and Polly Johnson House (21 Seventh Street), 6-7:30pm. Nathan and Polly Johnson, prominent African American abolitionists in New Bedford, sheltered escaped slaves in this Underground Railroad ‘station.’ It was here, in September 1838, that Frederick (Augustus Washington Bailey) Douglass found freedom, a new name, and with his wife Anna, his first home in freedom. The Nathan and Mary (Polly) Johnson Properties at 21 Seventh Street and 17-19 Seventh Street have been designated a National Historic Landmark by the United States Department of the Interior because of the owners’ role in ante-bellum efforts to eradicate American slavery and assisting escaped slaves, and, in particular, their connection with famed abolitionist and orator Frederick Douglass.

The Local History Guild Lecture series continues at the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center (38 Bethel Street). Enjoy a stimulating conversation with Center Director Laura Orleans and Millicent Library archivist Deb Charpentier discussing their work focused on the history of the commercial fishing industry.  In conjunction with the New Bedford Whaling Museum, 6-7pm.


Live music and book browsing at Subtext Bookshop (209 Union Street).

Pilgrim UCC (635 Purchase Street) hosts the James B. Congdon School Chorus with Director Diane LIttlehale. 6pm 

Open Mic at the Castle on Union Street The First Unitarian Church NB (Union and County Street) hosts their monthly open mic event. Doors open and signup starts at 6:30pm. All ages. Bands welcome. Plus! Take a tour of the sanctuary and garden labyrinth, 5-7pm. 

After 9 Tunes at Cork, Rose Alley & Pour Farm Tavern.


Stop by the Mass Escape (13 North 6th Street) Open House and enjoy:
- a brief explainer about escape rooms
- an intro into each of the rooms
- treats from Wild Honey Cafe

Exquisite Corpse drawing session at Hippo (741 Purchase Street), 7-9pm.
Exquisite Corpse (Cadavre Exquis) is a surrealist game, creating collaborate collage.
No experience necessary.

The Immigrant's Journey: A Panel Discussion
This season, The Z leveraged the performing arts to highlight and celebrate New Bedford's rich cultural history. To deepen the community's experience, The Z offers a panel discussion to illuminate the stories of four individuals, focusing on their road to America, their experience upon arrival and their lives today. In the Penler Space At The Z (Corner of Purchase and Spring Street), 6:30pm.

New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park (33 William Street) celebrates LGBTQ+ Pride Month with an exploration of the life of Dr. Marie Equi. She was a labor activist, and open lesbian in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Her journey from New Bedford mill-worker to wartime humanitarian to pardoned convict can serve as a point of pride for all New Bedford residents and visitors. Exhibit from 5-8pm in the visitor center.

Live painting demo with artist Vanessa Irzyk and closing reception for her solo exhibition "Side Angle" at the Co-Creative Center (137 Union Street).

Day of Portugal Celebration! Flag raising ceremony on the steps of New Bedford City Hall (133 William Street) starting at 6pm followed by a reception.

City of New Bedford Downtown and Waterfront Parking Study open house and presentation at Greasy Luck (791 Purchase Street). Open House 4-7pm, presentation at 6:15pm. Key findings from the City's
comprehensive parking study. Help refine ideas for strategies into a Parking Management Plan.

Learn about Fall Programs at BCC New Bedford (800 Purchase Street).

Swing by the South End!
Art Scapes: Maker Space & Gallery (665 Orchard Street) presents
- Fire and Smoke: a dramatic night time raki firing.
Ceramic pieces are heated in an outdoor gas kiln. When the glaze has melted pieces are removed with tongs and placed in a bed of newspaper and pine needles in a metal trash can. The lid is then closed. Once cooled the ceramics are unearthed revealing wonderful metallic affects. 7-10pm
- Opening Reception for Women in Ceramic: works by  South Coast Women ceramic artists.



February 8, 2018 Please Be Seated
March 8, 2018 I Am New Bedford: Herstory, History, Ourstory
April 12, 2018 Sustainable SouthCoast
May 10, 2018 We Art NB
June 14, 2018 Launch
July 12, 2018 Kids Rule
August 9, 2018 Jammin’ In The Streets
September 13, 2018 #FrederickDouglassLivedHere
October 11, 2018 Scapes: Tables & Tours
November 8, 2018 Made in NB
December 13, 2018 City Sidewalks

All activities are FREE and open to the public.Year-round programming is funded in part by the Mass Cultural Council's John and Abigail Adams Arts Program, The Island Foundation, The City of New Bedford, the AHA! partners, individual supporters and in-kind marketing support from the Standard-Times and WBSM. For more information call 508-996-8253 x205

First time visitors
may want to start AHA! Night at the National Park Visitor Center (33 William Street). Complete program flyers with maps are also available at all AHA! venues starting the Tuesday prior to each event.

Directions: From I-195 E or W. Take Exit 15 (Rte. 18). Follow Rte 18 to 2nd traffic signal; take a right onto Union St. At the first traffic signal take a right onto Second Street and take your first left for parking in Custom House Square or continue on two blocks to the Elm Street garage. On-street parking also available for free after 6 pm. 

Our AHA! Partners have something for everybody on your list. 
- boutique shops 
- museum memberships
- galleries galore
- tickets to a show
- gift cards to eclectic eateries 

Click here for AHA! Partner info.

AHA! Is a monthly FREE celebration of arts & culture in downtown New Bedford.