title graphic A City for the Arts Masterworks

Exhibition Dates: October 30, 2020 – May 2021
Wattles Family Gallery

A City for the Arts: Masterworks of Greater New Bedford celebrates our region’s tremendous impact through the centuries on American Fine Art, that continues to resonate, reverberate, and inspire. From William Bradford to Albert Bierstadt to Clement Nye Swift, our region has been home to some of our country’s most revered master artists.


{MASTERWORK: A piece of quality, indicative of having been made by a master; a masterpiece.}


Today, Greater New Bedford is still the hub for an exceptional creative community. Showcasing the region’s continued artistic heritage and the vibrancy of the local arts community, the exhibition couples a selection of masterworks with contemporary pieces by local artists.

This multi-layered exhibition shares contemporary artists’ reflections on the master artists of the past, responses to the masterworks within the exhibition, and commentary on how they see their role in the region’s current artistic landscape. A City for the Arts aims to celebrate and support local artists – the voices that interpret, explore, and represent the soul of our city and their place within it in perpetuity.

Now more than ever, and when we need it most, the arts bring this city together.


book cover of A City for the Arts

A City for the Arts is indebted to the extraordinary scholarship of Mary Jean Blasdale, whose monumental publication, Artists of New Bedford: A Biographical Dictionary, celebrates its 30-year anniversary in 2020.


This exhibition honors the memory of Gurdon B. Wattles (1935-2020), longtime Trustee and friend.
Gurdon’s lifelong love of sailing is commemorated by the paintings hanging to your left. The New Bedford Whaling Museum is deeply and eternally grateful for his generosity, kindness, and extraordinary vision.