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.

On October 13th we invite you to take a Walkabout of Downtown. Explore New Bedford’s rich history and outstanding architecture. Local experts lead tours through the west end, on the waterfront and perhaps some lesser known byways. Stroll the William & Purchase Street corridors for plenty of arting, eating & shopping.

The New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center hosts a Dockwalk from 5:30-6:15pm.
Learn about fishing in New Bedford while enjoying harbor views of our fishing fleet, the hurricane barrier, the Palmer Island Lighthouse and our neighbors in Fairhaven.
Start location TBD

Learn to identify and appreciate New Bedford’s architectural landscape!
The Rotch-Jones-Duff House and Garden Museum presents a Walking Tour of New Bedford’s Historic West End with historian Bruce Barnes. Depart from the RJD (396 County Street), at 5:30pm, for an architectural stroll through beautiful neighborhoods west of County Street. These homes are representative of the enormous wealth generated at the height of the whaling and textile eras with styles that include Greek Revival, Queen Anne, Italianate, Gothic Revival and more.

#FrederickDouglassSleptHere The New Bedford Historical Society (21 Seventh Street) invites you to tour the Nathan & Polly Johnson House, 5:30-6:30pm. 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.

BCC New Bedford leads a digital photography walkabout  through downtown. Learn how to best shoot the architecture and street scenes of our beautiful city by the sea.  More info to follow.

Take a candlelit walkabout of the Labyrinth and historic grounds of the First Unitarian Church New Bedford (County & Union Street). 5-7pm


New Bedford Beautiful presents a photography exhibit in the gallery of the First Unitarian Church New Bedford (County & Union Street). A select group of local photographers were asked to submit one photo that they felt  best represents the beautiful image of our city. The “New Bedford Beautiful” Awards (given to groups and individuals who have contributed volunteer efforts to make our City a better place to live) will be handed out at the closing of AHA!  

New Show!
Reception at the UMD CVPA Star Store Gallery (715 Purchase Street) for John Havens Thornton: Vertical / Horizontal / Diagonal, 5-8pm. The show features abstract geometric paintings by the New Bedford artist. John Havens Thornton (b. 1933) has exhibited since the early 1960s, notably at the ICA, Boston (1967), the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1970), the Whitney Museum of American Art (1967), the Rose Art Museum, Waltham, MA (1979), the De Cordova Museum, Lincoln, MA (1987), and the New Bedford Art Museum, MA (2004).
Swing by the South End! Judith Klein Art Studio (127 Rodney French Blvd. Door #31) hosts a reception for the John Thornton and Laurie Carlson Steger Exhibit. The show features never before exhibited watercolors by John Thornton and fiber art by Laurie Steger. Steger will demonstrate hand weaving throughout the night.
Stop by the Alison Wells Gallery (106 William Street) for a 2nd Anniversary Show and a steel band on the streets.

New Show at Gallery 65 (65 William Street). Opening Reception for Fall Migration: bird paintings by Christy Gunnels and Brenda Wrigley-Scott. 10% of the sales will support the Mass Audubon Bird Conservation on the Southcoast.  Plus 2 Trunk Shows featuring: 5-9pm
- Silk screened and hand printed home decor and wearable textiles by Gabrielle Ferreira
- Illustrated enamel jewelry by Cait Marchetti
Howe Allen Realty (185 Union Street) is a boutique agency that delivers proven results through personalized attention and service. The downtown office will be showing local artists during AHA! Nights. This month H.A.R. is featuring photographer John Maciel.  
5 New Shows at NBAM/Artworks! (608 Pleasant Street):
- Opening Reception for Tone of Significance: paintings by Cara Gonier, 6-8pm. Featuring over a dozen new works exploring the subtle duality of light and dark thru the suggestion of landscape.
- GLOBAL VOICES FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE: ART AS ACTIVISM presented with the New Bedford Historical Society
In commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the New Bedford Historical Society, Global Voices for Social Justice: Art as Activism presents a selection of posters and memorabilia produced between the 1960s and the 1980s.
- The Page Collective: Tell Us A Story  
“In our most recent work, Tell Us A Story, we are facilitating the assembly of a physical library from stories told by community members and then compiling them into an online archive…Through our artwork and outreach projects, we are interested in building archives to draw attention to contemporary stories that are unheard, and the relationships that can be forged through the intimate and personal activity of sharing a story from one’s life, ” – The Page Collective.
- 3 SISTERS Series: Video and Sculpture by Lani Asuncion
3 SISTERS is a three-part video series that references Native American stories and Aboriginal Dreaming.  The work focuses on the importance of oral tradition and storytelling in contemporary society. Stemming from a complex relationship with her own six sisters, Asuncion was drawn to three separate indigenous folk tales of three sisters in Oregon, North Carolina, and Australia. Each part of the series mines the location’s histories, combining symbols from local texts with found materials from each site. This intertwining of elements constructs a visual story that unites powerful feminist protagonists with indigenous and personal mythologies to craft a sense of place that is unbound by specific location or language but rather, flourishes in Asuncion’s ever-expanding, imaginative landscapes.
- Reception for Art In Words in conjunction with the New Bedford Free Public Library, 5-8pm.


The New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park presents:
- "Call Me Ishmael," a performance piece by Festival Ballet Providence and New Bedford High School, sponsored by the National Park Service and the Whaling History Alliance. Happening in Custom House Park at 5:30pm.
- Herbs for Health and Beauty with Ruth and Abby.
Learn about the healing properties of herbs with the 1850s Ladies. Plus make your own beauty poultice.
6-8pm in the National Park Visitor Center (33 William Street).

Pilgrim United Church (634 Purchase Street) hosts pumpkin decorating and crafts.
6-7:30pm or until they run out of pumpkins!
WHALE and the Co-Creative Center invite you to  check out the future home of the Maker Space and Gallery, see the plans, and learn about how to support the Center through an innovative social media platform.  Project team on hand to answer your questions and take your input on this arts development! Doors open at 5pm.
New Bedford Parks, Recreation and Beaches presents mini-golf in Custom House Park. 5-7pm or until it gets too dark.

Last 2016 AHA! Farmer’s Market – get it while it’s local!
Mass In Motion New Bedford presents the Downtown New Bedford Farmers Market! Happening every Thursday on Barkers Lane (south side of Custom House Park) from 2-6pm (later on AHA! Night) the Market will feature local produce, eggs, meats, fish, jams, baked goods, flowers, and more.  

The Culture of Tea Series continues, presented by Gatlin's Framing & Photography (209 Union Street). Stop by to sample teas from Kenya while enjoying live music by local musician and fan favorite Gregg Harper. Music provided by Subtext Bookshop, 6:30-8:30pm.

Enjoy at fall themed craft at the New Bedford Free Public Library (613 Pleasant Street).

The Monteirobots bring live jazz to the Cork Dining Room (90 Front Street), 8pm to midnight.

Join the Buzzards Bay Coalition (114 Front Street) for seashell decorating. Get in the spirit of the season by making a pumpkin, ghost or witch. While you're visiting, take a walkabout the learning center and complete a scavenger hunt! 5-8pm

Café Arpeggio’s (800 Purchase Street) Featured Performers for October are The Dancing Eyebrows. Featured Performer from 6-7pm and Weekly Open Mic from 7-10pm, hosted by Art Tebbetts & Denn Santoro. This delightful duo of Helen Granger and Denn Santoro share a repertoire of familiar, and obscure songs, as well as cleverly written originals.  Regulars at the Open Mic, Denn has been the soundman since the open mic started over 12 years ago.  Helen joined a few years later and shortly later, began singing with Denn. Toss in "News of the Week", and you have an evening with Dancing Eyebrows.


February 11, 2016 Fire & Ice
March 10, 2016 All sewn up
April 14, 2016 Sustainable SouthCoast
May 12, 2016 We Art NB
June 9, 2016 placemaking now & then
July 14, 2016 Kids Rule
August 11, 2016 #findyourpark
September 8, 2016 Festa, Fiesta, Fete: Celebrate NB Cultures
October 13, 2016 walkabouts
November 10, 2016 Made in NB: celebrating arts month
December 8, 2016 city sidewalks
December 31, 2016 City Celebrates! New Year’s Eve

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.