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

From our galleries and museums to our artisans, artists, musicians and students, join us in celebrating the culture and creativity of NB.


The Annual New Bedford Public Schools District-Wide Arts Show takes place at the Rodrigues Administration Building (455 County Street), 5-7:30pm. Highlights:
- showcasing grades K-12 from 26 schools
- over 3,000 pieces of student artwork on display
- awards of excellence for students in grades 6-12
- live entertainment with NBPS musicians
- recognition ceremony at 6pm with keynote speaker

Opening Reception for Through the Lens: Our Fishing Heritage , a juried photography show organized by Whaling City Camera Club. 6:30-8pm at New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center (38 Bethel Street).

New Show at Gallery X (169 William Street)
South Coast Artists Invitational, artwork from the members of South Coast Artists, Inc. SCA is a nonprofit organization of over 100 artists that hosts the popular Open Studio Tour each summer in the towns of Westport and Dartmouth, MA, and Tiverton and Little Compton, RI.

The Boys & Girls Club of Greater New Bedford presents their Spring Art Exhibition & Fundraiser at the New Bedford Whaling Museum (Casa Dos Botes Discovery Center, use North Water Street entrance). Awards ceremony and student presentations begin at 5pm followed by a reception with refreshments, live music, and collaborative art making activities with the Earth Artists.

Let’s Get Creative

HipHistoryNB Performance Showcase, part of the Annual New Bedford Public Schools District-Wide Arts Show at the Rodrigues Administration Building (455 County Street). The HHNB afterschool group met once a week for 10 weeks, and was introduced to local scholars and institutions which support the cultural collection of materials and interpretation in New Bedford. They will be showcasing what they learned via spoken word, lyrics and poetry.
Funded by MassHumanities and the New Bedford Education Foundation.

Part of The Oath, professional dancers from the Festival Ballet of Providence, will perform original works inspired and read aloud by New Bedford High School students. In Custom House Park at 6:30pm. Hosted by the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park. Funding for this project provided by the Whaling History Alliance.

Pilgrim UCC (635 Purchase Street) hosts a Poetry Reading with New Bedford Poet Laureate, Pat Gomes, Val Basset, executive director of the Women’s Fund and The Collective NB, 6:30pm.

Join Doodles Creative Session, 3rd EyE Youth Empowerment and Camp Vegetable for some vegetable painting at Destination Soups (149 Union Street).

Make & Take activities at the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park (33 William Street):
- Did you know whaling log books were full of art?  Join 1850s Lady, Abby, to look at this whaling era art and make a stamp to "illustrate" your own log book. 5-7:30pm
- ​​MakerSpace​ Artist-In-Residence, Andy Tedesco, offers a hands-on monotype activity. Create your own unique image using plexiglass and water-based ink to take home with you​. 5-7pm​

Stop by the Buzzards Bay Coalition’s Wheeler Bay Learning Center (114 Front Street) to learn about some of nature's most interesting and important animals, pollinators! Through hands-on activities and a craft, you’ll discover how these creatures use our environment's prettiest colors to keep our landscapes healthy and thriving. 5-8pm

Play reading with Your Theatre at the Rotch-Jones-Duff House & Garden Museum (396 County Street), 6-7pm. Ever wonder how the story goes when a couple is on their way to the New Bedford Hospital from Fairhaven and they encounter the bridge, which is open, or closed, depending on your point of view? Come learn the outcome of this short play with Your Theatre's "A Bridge Too Old" by Director Ray Veary.

Celebrate Preservation Month

The New Bedford Preservation Society presents a West of County Street guided walking tour. Gather at the front porch of the Wamsutta Club (427 County 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. Funded by the New Bedford Local Cultural Council.

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.

Local History Guild Lecture at the New Bedford Whaling Museum (18 Johnny Cake Hill). Join the conversation on historical architecture with New Bedford Preservation Society Board President Mark Fuller and Beth Luey, 6pm.

Live Music In DNB

2018 New Bedford JazzFest Preview: time, location, and musicians TBA
The 7th Annual New Bedford JazzFest is happening Saturday, June 9th on Pier 3 in downtown NB. The vision for NBJF is to create an upscale, high profile, annual event that will grow over the long term. The goal is to showcase what is best about the Southcoast and regional jazz scene, while highlighting downtown New Bedford and providing exposure and funding for Your Theatre, New Bedford’s 65-year-old community theatre.

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

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. 

More AHA! Night Fun

The Cummings Big Yard Sale
The Cummings Building (96 William Street, floor 2) will host a two-day indoor "yard" sale during AHA! Night (5-9pm), and on Saturday, May 12 (9am-2pm). Bring your friends, some eco-friendly bags, and a pocket full of cash for some HUGE savings on art, art supplies, music equipment / instruments, small pieces of furniture, misc. household items, and more.

Take a tour of the sanctuary and garden labyrinth at the First Unitarian Church NB (Union & County Street). 5-7pm

Magician Austin Jandrucko performs the art of illusion on AHA! night. 2 Shows: 5:30-6:30 and 7-8pm in the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park (33 William Street) theater.

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


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.