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Gallery 65 on William Reflects on New Bedford's Past and Present

By S. Mathur

New Bedford, MA is a post-industrial town in the southeastern corner of Massachusetts, and many may have thought its best days are behind it. Now, however, urban revival is transforming industrial buildings and warehouses into lofts and mixed use spaces to work and live in, attracting its share of artists and visionaries, and proving New Bedford's doubters wrong. Among these making the city a hub for culture are the owners of Gallery 65 on William, a jewel-box space located on the corner of William Street in the heart of Downtown New Bedford's Historic District.

Originally conceived as an artists' cooperative, Gallery 65 on William has evolved into a place to showcase the work of local artists and bring together the local community through art. Nicole St. Pierre, Founding Member of the Gallery and a respected textile artist, says, "Coming to our events and buying from our local small business is a good way for the community to be involved in the production and promotion of local arts and crafts. We really appreciate returning customers who remember our store when they need to buy an original gift for themselves or a loved one!"

St. Pierre and her husband Marc, an art professor at UMass Dartmouth, a printmaker, painter and photographer make up a formidable husband and wife team, and have long held the goal of creating a space to display the work of local artists. Residents and visitors have a chance to see and buy ceramics, textiles, wood, handmade soaps and lotions, glass, jewelry, paintings, photography, sculpture, children's books cards, and much more.

Gallery 65 on William joins in many events in downtown New Bedford, St. Pierre says, such as "...AHA! Night, the Holiday Stroll, Trick or Treat for Halloween, the Folk Festival and more... staying open late and providing many opportunities for local artists to present their creations to the public....My favorite event is AHA! Night. Every second Thursday of the month, Downtown New Bedford comes alive with a bounty of activities for all ages!" AHA! Night celebrates the art, history, and architecture of New Bedford, and promotes community as well as economic development.

Gallery 65 also features monthly shows of original artwork by local artists. Each show opens with a special reception. Trunk shows by artists and book signings are also opportunities for the public to meet artists and writers. The gallery also hosts special workshops and lectures on the area's art, history, and culture. Members include professional artists from Boston, Cape Cod and the South Coast of Massachusetts. The artwork and crafts which they create often reflect the area's seafaring history, with themes both nautical and global.

Artwork explores the past and present of the area, the natural environment, migrating birds, and the still impressive monuments of industrial activity. There are paintings and woodcuts that serve as meditations on beaches and seascapes, and photographs of New Bedford Harbor with massive ships in vividly contrasting shades of blue and rust. Woodwork, ceramics, jewelry, textiles, and handcrafted soaps merge the New England tradition of craftsmanship with the artists' vision to create unique designs and objects that will be valued by users for a long time.

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