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Superflat New Bedford Launches Commonwealth Places Campaign for Mural Project

$50,000 goal to win matching grant through MassDevelopment’s Commonwealth Places
April 01, 2019


Kelsey Schiller, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2011 & 617-694-9695 (cell)

Jonathan Berk, Patronicity, 617-750-6008

Dena Haden, The Co-Creative Center, 774-425-4398

MassDevelopment and the civic crowdfunding platform Patronicity have launched a new Commonwealth Places campaign with Superflat New Bedford, a neighborhood-driven, artist-led organization that aims to beautify sections of downtown New Bedford while eliminating, or “flattening,” existing barriers to the arts. The organization will use campaign funds to install 10 large-scale murals around the city’s downtown, North End, and South End, employing world-renowned artists who will work in partnership with the local arts community to develop designs that reflect New Bedford’s rich artistic and cultural heritage.

“In recent years, we’ve seen cities and towns across Massachusetts use public art as a tool to draw people in, activate neighborhoods, and enrich local arts and cultural communities,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss. “MassDevelopment looks forward to helping Superflat New Bedford achieve these goals through Commonwealth Places.”

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $50,000 by May 30 at midnight, the project will win a matching grant with funds from MassDevelopment’s Commonwealth Places. Learn more and donate to SuperFlat New Bedford at

"This project is a labor of love,” said Jeremiah Hernandez, Co-Founder of Superflat New Bedford. “We found there was a barrier for the people of our neighborhood to come to a gallery or art museum. Superflat New Bedford wants to flatten that barrier by bringing public art to the people, neighborhoods, and community of New Bedford in a way that's accessible."

Commonwealth Places is a collaborative initiative from MassDevelopment and Patronicity that leverages public support for placemaking projects through crowdfunding and a matching grant from MassDevelopment. The program engages residents in the development of strategic projects in their towns and cities. In November 2018, MassDevelopment announced $500,000 in funding for the third year of the program, which has supported successful campaigns across the Commonwealth, from Northampton to Hyannis. Communities, nonprofits, and other entities can learn more about these successful projects, donate to ongoing campaigns, and apply at

The Superflat New Bedford mural project will take place within New Bedford’s Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) District. TDI is a separate MassDevelopment program designed to accelerate economic growth within focused districts in Gateway Cities. The program works with cross-sector partnerships to engage community members in actionable planning, implement local economic development initiatives, and spur further public and private investment. MassDevelopment invests in the TDI Districts through a set of tools, including technical economic development assistance, real estate investments, small pilot grant programs, and fellows who work directly in the individual districts.

Since TDI was launched in New Bedford in 2016, community stakeholders identified public art and, in particular, a mural program, as a priority in nearly every project undertaken – from specific site planning studies to more general partnership meetings. TDI Fellow Jim McKeag, along with the New Bedford TDI Partnership, supported this local priority, acting as a convener and facilitator for community leaders and artists, coordinating with funders, and supporting grant applications, which—in addition to local public and private contributions—were used to fund seven large-scale public art projects in 2018.

MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2018, MassDevelopment financed or managed 384 projects generating investment of more than $4.1 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are estimated to create or support 10,994 jobs and build or rehabilitate 830 housing units.