The Mission of the New Bedford Art Museum is "to engage the public in experiencing, understanding and appreciating art."
Museum exhibits are built around the vision of a curator who identifies him/herself to us in the form of an application. The presence of an over-riding theme or issue is an expected ingredient in such a proposal. This application should include images of the work to be shown and a carefully developed argument to support such an exhibition.
A secondary aim of the New Bedford Art Museum, expressed in its by-laws, is to focus upon the work of artists and the art history of the greater New Bedford area. This demands that proposals for exhibitions dealing with art of the region be given close attention. Often we will seek to explore the artistic heritage of specific segments of our local population in order to focus attention on the cultural heritage of a self-identified cultural group. By this, we hope to exhibit a diverse cross-section of our community.
We depend upon the good offices, sympathy, and patronage of the local arts community and to that end, seek counsel with them about exhibition policy, ideas for exhibitions, and curatorship opportunities. As a result of these contacts, such opportunities may result in exhibitions that reflect specific concerns of a nationally diverse professional audience, but which we determine to have resonance in the local community.
Curators are discouraged from including themselves among the artists shown in their proposed show.
Applications (in any form the potential curator may find appropriate, but including images of work to be shown and any supporting materials) will be first directed to the Executive Director, Ms. Karie Vincent (hypertext to her email, please). The application must explain the didactic reasoning behind the exhibition, i.e. what the exhibition has to teach us.
Budgetary considerations, or an idea of how much this will cost, must be a part of any application. The more refined this item, the better.
A Curator must be approved by the Exhibition Committee before final approval of any show. Each exhibition will have an in-house curator, usually an Exhibition Committee Member assigned to each Guest Curator. The in-house Curator will act as liaison between the Curator and museum staff in the case of any question which might arise stemming from any agreement.
Decisions about the number of works in a show, where the show is to be installed, which galleries are to be used, the appropriateness of images, and many other procedural issues will be the responsibility of the Curator. The Curator will consult on all such decisions with the In-house Curator.
Once an exhibit is approved, the Curator will work with the Guest Curator and Museum Staff to arrange schedule, budget, advertising and publicity design, mailings, delivery and storage, installation and labeling, opening reception, artist talks and related events, grant applications (if any), etc.
The Museum is in a restored and rehabilitated 1920s Neo-Georgian bank building known locally as The Vault Building, now named the Anthony Catujo Building, and is located at 608 Pleasant Street, New Bedford, MA 02740. The museum occupies the ground floor and level below grade. The one upper floor houses New Bedford municipal offices. The interior lower levels were redesigned specifically as museum space by Anna Surma of the New Bedford architectural firm of Wise Surma Jones. It opened in April 1996.
Note that the individual spaces located throughout the museum lend themselves particularly well to installation art. Curators are encouraged to submit proposals for such exhibits.
The total exhibition space in the museum is 4,659 sq. ft.; 3622 sq. ft. on the ground floor and the remainder on the lower level.
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Below stairs is an open floor space of 749 sq. ft. (The Community Gallery) with another 9'x20' vault space of 162 sq. ft. adjacent (The Lower Vault Gallery).
The total running feet of exhibition wall is estimated at 473' with the additional option of four moveable wall units each offering two sides of 6' each.
Main galleries are cooled in summer by air conditioning systems. The Lower Vault, lower level storage vault (for artwork), and the upper exhibition area separated from the other galleries by glass doors (the Heritage Gallery) are further monitored for cooling and humidity controls suitable to museum standards.
Lighting consists of track lighting equipped with a dimmer system for low-light monitoring. Levels for oil paintings can be adjusted for below 150 LUX, for drawings, watercolors and prints at below 50 LUX. Light and ultra -violet prohibitive adjustable blinds shade all windows, while ultra-violet levels produced by the skylight in the Skylight gallery are not controlled. All lighting levels except the Skylight Gallery can be adjusted for requirements.
Access to the museum is available only through one entrance controlled by keypad entry which is monitored during open hours by museum employees. Electronic key and motion detectors control entry from the outside into the building foyer during hours in which the building itself is closed. Fire emergency access leading from the upper level to a ground level exit and from the lower to the outside are controlled through alarmed doorways. Motion detectors also monitor these two stairwells during hours the museum is closed.
Access to the building is through the street level foyer/front entrance to the building and by elevator and stairs to the lower (and upper) floor(s). This elevator "rests" at the ground floor, which only gives access to the foyer. Key controls further limit access to lower levels, guaranteeing isolation of museum facilities even when offices on the upper levels are open and the museum is without staff. The elevator is a small passenger elevator measuring 91" on the diagonal.
608 Pleasant Street