On Thursday, June 29 a galaxy of persons involved in the city’s civic life met at the Community Economic Development Center (CEDC) on Acushnet Avenue with New Bedford TDI fellow Adelsa Mendes and team members to discuss the Wednesday, July 26 unveiling of Love Locks, the new sculpture by Keith Francis that was to be placed in the Nye Street Pocket Park on The Ave. But the meeting was also about a far more ambitious plan. For the celebration to introduce Love Locks to the public would only be the first in a series of community events in the park.
By the time the meeting had ended over an hour later, the scope of the project came into view. Introducing Love Locks would only be the start of five evenings in total of special community events in the park on Acushnet Avenue over many weeks. And, the project had a name: Love The Ave Wednesdays were born.
While everyone involved was certain the first event would draw a crowd, as it was introducing the very first site-specific piece of contemporary public art in the north end of New Bedford by an acclaimed artist (read more here), no one could be certain the energy and enthusiasm could be sustained for another four weeks. Nor was it certain that the daunting task of programming all those evenings could be accomplished in so short an amount of time.
As it turned out, there was nothing to fear but fear itself.
Love The Ave Wednesdays were embraced immediately by neighborhood residents and people throughout the City of New Bedford. Indeed, the different themed evenings became a destination event in the north end. Over the course of the subsequent four Love The Ave Wednesdays, the evenings grew in popularity.
The final event in the series on August 23 saw Love The Ave Wednesday spill over its boundaries from the Nye Street Pocket Park into the adjacent Bullard Street Municipal Parking Lot. This allowed for space for a Taste of The Ave, as over half a dozen Acushnet Avenue eateries set up temporary shop under an array of tents ringed around special music and dance performances.
It was far more than a grand finale, however. It was in fact a new beginning. For even though the successful Love The Ave Wednesdays have ended for the season, the feeling of community unity and purpose the evenings inspired and revealed is an asset to be mobilized throughout the New Bedford TDI District around Acushnet Avenue.
A successful TDI District is built upon partnerships – and in this respect the New Bedford TDI District is a wealthy one. Over the course of five Wednesdays in the summer of 2023, it’s been our honor and pleasure to work not only with the CEDC, the City of New Bedford Planning Department and New Bedford Creative, but new friends like 3rd EyE Unlimited, PACE, Inc., PAACA, Groundwork Southcoast, and others – along with a new galaxy of individual supporters and creative folks who enriched each and every evening in the Nye Street Pocket Park.
At the last Love The Ave Wednesday, the team from OverUnder introduced new branding concepts for the Love The Ave campaign, and our immediate goal now is to finalize and implement this new campaign.
We know we’ll have lots of love from our friends, colleagues and supporters as we together continue to break new ground here in the north end of New Bedford. Because over five weeks of Love The Ave Wednesdays we all discovered that we’re in this adventure together.
In the slideshow below, by photographer Justin Botelho, take a look at the fun we had and the future we have to look forward to.
With warmest regards,
The Acushnet Avenue TDI District Team
3rd EyE Youth Empowerment engages, unites, and activates the community through hip hop culture and mentorship to become transformative leaders. For five #LoveTheAve Wednesdays this summer, we were fortunate to have 3rd EyE as partners in our Nye Street Pocket Park programming. Kids flocked to their table and enjoyed hands-on activities with relish. 3rd EyE has been active in New Bedford for 25 years – and with a new project to build a permanent home on Union Street in the city on the drawing table, it’s obvious they plan to be around for at least 25 more. And we’re all – regardless of age – better for that. Find out more about them here.
Love The Ave & North End New Bedford Special Events
Thursday, September 7: the City of New Bedford Community Preservation Committee (CPC) will launch its FY24 Community Preservation Act grant funding cycle at an Application Technical Workshop on Thursday, September 7th at 6:00 p.m. at the New Bedford Free Public Library, 613 Pleasant Street 3rd floor meeting room.
Saturday, September 9: Join Club Madeirense S. S. Sacramento Inc at Madeira Field for its 3rd Annual Craft Beer and Food Truck Festa. This is a limited ticket event and General Admission price is $ 10 per person. Proceeds for this event assist Club Madeirense with its scholarship foundation along with Thanksgivings and Christmas food baskets for the needy. There will be live entertainment throughout the day. Tickets can be purchased via Eventbrite here.
Thursday, September 14: The City of New Bedford’s Southeastern Regional Transportation Authority, SRTA is asking for comments and feedback on proposed changes to several routes in New Bedford. Public comments can be submitted during the public comment period which will conclude with a public hearing on September 14, 2023. The hearing is being held at the New Bedford Public Library Main Branch in the Third Floor meeting room. In the north end, changes are being proposed to the Route 204 – Ashley Blvd. Visit: www.srtabus.com/publichearings/ For more information about the changes and how to submit comments
- The Acushnet Avenue New Bedford TDI District is focused on the revitalization of the Acushnet Avenue corridor in New Bedford. The goal of the MassDevelopment program is to stimulate economic growth, encourage community development, improve infrastructure, enhance public spaces, and attract private investment to the area. The program involves working closely with local stakeholders, businesses, and residents to identify priorities and implement initiatives that address the unique needs of the neighborhood. Adelsa Mendes is the TDI fellow for the New Bedford TDI District. You can reach her at [email protected]