‘Love Locks’ Rises on New Bedford’s Acushnet Avenue
July 30, 2023 : 1420 WBSM, Jim Phillips
More public art is emerging in New Bedford, this time along Acushnet Avenue in New Bedford's North End Business District. "Love Locks" is part of the "Love the Ave" promotion created by local merchants and other organizations.
Artist Keith Francis and Adelsa Mendes of MassDevelopment joined Townsquare Sunday this week to discuss the latest example of public art in New Bedford, and the work being done to boost business along the Avenue.
"Love Locks" is located at the Nye Street Pocket Park, across the street from St. Anthony's Church. The immense sculpture weighs about 3,000 pounds and is 12 feet high and 10 feet wide.
Francis explained the piece celebrates his love for the neighborhood and New Bedford in general. His mother was born in a three-decker on Nye Street and his parents and grandparents were both married at St. Anthony's Church.
"'Love Locks' is going to be transformative, because people are going to interact with it," he said. "It's going to be powerful."
Mendes said her agency has been busy in New Bedford, first helping to transform downtown by forming a Transformative Development Initiative, or TDI, District. The strategy is now being put to work in the North End.
"The goal of TDI is to encourage merchants and others on the Avenue to take ownership, and be proud of the rich cultural and diverse neighborhood that the area represents," Mendes said.
MassDevelopment hopes TDI will stimulate economic growth within focused districts, providing personnel and other resources, to build a local culture of co-investment.