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.

Join us on AHA! Night when Art, History & Architecture come alive in New Bedford! On September 8th we celebrate the rich diversity of NB Cultures through the art, food, stories and spaces of the many groups who help create the fabric of New Bedford and make it the authentic city that it is.


The Culture of Culture in New Bedford
Thinking about submitting a grant request to the New Bedford Cultural Council? Interested to see what programs and projects the NBCC funds in your community? Stop by the New Bedford Cultural Council Slide Slam for some informative fun. 5:30pm at the New Bedford Whaling Museum (18 Johnny Cake Hill).

Dance Culture
The Zeiterion (684 Purchase Street) presents Teeny Tiny Dances. Nine choreographers, one little stage. See 10 mini-performances by 9 groundbreaking New England choreographers, all on a 4x4 stage. 5:30 & 7pm

Fishing Culture
Stop by the Seafood Throwdown, 5pm in Custom House Park. Presented by the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center, in collaboration with the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance, Mass in Motion New Bedford, and the New Bedford Farmer’s Market. Chefs Henry Bousquet (Culinary Arts Instructor at NB Voc-Tech) and Chris Cronin (Executive Chef at Farm & Coast Market, Padanaram) will compete to create a winning dish using a surprise seafood ingredient (usually an abundant, underutilized species of seafood) and local produce. Judging their creations will be Heather Atwood, author of In Cod We Trust, Maria Lawton, author Azorean Cooking: From My Family’s Table to Yours, and Andy Tomolonis, author of Organic Hobby Farming: A Practical Guide to Earth-Friendly Farming in Any Space. Seafood Throwdowns provide a unique opportunity to learn more about our local seafood, local fishing fleet and fisheries related issues affecting our ocean, fishing economies and coastal food systems.  Chefs Bousquet and Cronin will educate and entertain you with their skills as they demonstrate how to work with whole, fresh, and very local seafood. The chefs can bring three of their favorite ingredients and once they discover the secret seafood they will be using, they are given $25 and 15 minutes to shop the Custom House Square Farmers’ Market for ingredients.  After their shopping spree, they have one hour to cook and present their entry for the judge’s consideration.

Culture of Community
The 1850's Ladies will share the Handcrafts of their friends and neighbors in 19th century New Bedford. 5-8pm at the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park visitor center (33 William Street).  

Farming Culture
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 the tea of the month, 100 Monkeys, an elegant White China.
Back To School Special at Subtext Bookshop (209 Union Street), free children’s books while supplies last.

Fall Festivities in the Sanctuary and Garden at the First Unitarian Church in New Bedford (County & Union Street), 5-7pm.

Join the Buzzards Bay Coalition (114 Front Street) to meet some Buzzard Bay Residents and learn about some of the creatures living in the bay by exploring large size soft models of the animals. 5-8pm

Celebrate American culture with a hot dog and a Coke at BCC New Bedford.
5-7pm (while supplies last) on the sidewalk in front of 800 Purchase Street.    


Last Show of the Season!
Centre Street Sessions presented by Whaling City Sound and Fiber Optic Center, Inc. This month's performers are the Donna McElroy Group: Donna McElvoy, vocals; George Schuller, piano; John Lockwood, bass; Yaron Israel, drums.  In the Kaller Beef Building parking lot on Centre Street. Sets at 5:30 & 7:15pm. Rain location: BayCoast Bank (corner of William & Purchase Street).

Café Arpeggio (800 Purchase Street) celebrates their Open Mic 12th Anniversary with an Evening of ‘Regulars’ and some surprises too! 6-10pm, hosted by Art Tebbetts & Denn Santoro.

The Global Learning Charter Public School Jazz Combo performs at the Rotch-Jones-Duff House and Garden Museum (396 County Street), 5:30-7pm. This ensemble of eleven talented musicians in grades 7–11 will present an assortment of Jazz, Funk, Blues and more. They recently placed first at the Heritage Festival in Williamsburg Virginia.


New Bedford Art Museum/Artworks! (608 Pleasant Street) hosts a Last Look at the Bierstadts, one last celebration with partners, friends and the community before it closes Sept. 18th. Light refreshments, special thank you's and some fun activities for everyone to take part in. Shows include:
- BIERSTADT: Nature & National Identity  Curator: Janice Hodson, New Bedford Free Public Library Painter Albert Bierstadt’s rich, monumental landscapes offered a 19th century vision of the stunning national treasures of the American western wilderness – natural resources that were unseen by most.  For so many people, the majestic beauty of the West as pictured on his canvases and those of his contemporaries was a revelation…and inspiration.  Images of these beautiful wild places proved influential in shaping public opinion about these natural wonders, helped inspire popular movements to preserve them for all to enjoy, and culminated in the creation of our national park system.
- More Than Scenery: Yellowstone, an American Love Story, photos by Janet Pritchard.
- The Bierstadts in New Bedford
- Artist in the World: Photography in the Vault by Dutch artist Andre Smits, curated by Joan Backes.

New Shows! Opening Celebration for Ship Shape: The Art of Boats and Boatbuilding at Gallery X (169 William Street), 5-8pm. Plus! - Recycle + History = Art: work created with recycled items from the Schooner Ernestina/Effie M. Morrissey. - The Gallery X invitational Series presents The Works of David Paulson and Donald Beal in the Frederick Douglass Gallery.
New Show at Gallery 65 (65 William Street). Opening Reception for Fundamental Forces in Print, new work by Kim Gatesman. Plus a Trunk Show featuring Woven Textiles by Marjorie Durko Puryear. 5-9pm

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 3 photographers: David Lima, Clarissa Budd and John Maciel.  

2 floors of new art at New Bedford City Hall (133 William Street):
- Pictorial History of the Mayors of New Bedford
- A Thousand Mornings In New Bedford featuring art by Marissa Bolton, Jacob Ginga, Gregg Harper, Heather Hobler, Dudley Moor, and Ruth Rego.  A Thousand Mornings in New Bedford takes it’s tonal cue from Cape Cod poet Mary Oliver’s poem, “I Go Down To The Shore”:
 I go down to the shore in the morning
and depending on the hour the waves
are rolling in or moving out,
and I say, oh, I am miserable,
what shall—
what should I do? And the sea says
in its lovely voice:
Excuse me, I have work to do.”
― Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings
A Thousand Mornings in New Bedford draws on the humility of nature and the importance of work. These themes, highlighted in Oliver’s poem, are the conceptual thread that binds the works of these local artists. Each artist works with their hands to collage, photograph, paint and sculpt scenes related to the ocean. Like the city of New Bedford, its history and its relationship to the sea, the work on display at City Hall demonstrates that beauty, be it natural or crafted by an artist, is not fixed or tranquil but rather an active and integral part of the human experience.

Continuing show at UMD CVPA Star Store Gallery (715 Purchase Street): Dennis Hlynsky: Murmurations is a video exhibition showing the magic of multiple formations of starlings, filmed by Rhode Island School of Design professor, Dennis Hlynsky, in seven screens running simultaneously.


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.