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New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center to Highlight Women’s Work

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Mary Serreze | February 5, 2021

Women have always played a big role in the world of commercial fishing, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts will help the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center highlight their work at sea and on shore.

Women’s Work: At Sea, On Shore, At Home, In the Community will use photography, film, music, poetry, and storytelling to highlight the often-untold stories of women in commercial fishing communities.

The $15,000 NEA grant, which requires a local match, is among 1,073 grants awarded to local arts projects across the country, representing nearly $25 million in federal funding.

From March through December 2021 in New Bedford, gallery exhibits and programs will explore the lives, skills, and experiences of women who work in the fishing industry, as well as the work of those who are connected through family.

The fishing heritage center is excited to highlight contributions women make to the industry, “thus dispelling the common misperception that the commercial fishing industry is exclusively a man’s world,” said executive director Laura Orleans.

Orleans said that local businesses are invited to help the center raise matching funds. The center can be reached at or at (508) 993-8894.

The center will partner with Our Sisters School, Greater New Bedford Vocational Technical High School, Global Learning Charter Public High School, and the YWCA to engage young people in the project.

The center is dedicated to preserving and presenting the story of the commercial fishing industry past, present, and future through exhibits, programs, and archives. It’s located at 38 Bethel Street in downtown New Bedford.

The New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center is among select organizations nationwide that have demonstrated “creativity, excellence, and resilience during this very challenging year,” said Arts Endowment Acting Chairman Ann Eilers.

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