May 6, 2022

Even from the highway, you get a sense of the proliferating art scene in Fall River. A colorful Viva Fall River mural on the side of Rt 195 is one of many recent public art installations across the city. If you have plans next weekend, cancel them and head over to Fabric 2022 – May 12-14. Casa dos Açores da Nova Inglaterra has organized the event and presents artists working in music, performance, and visual arts, curated by Jesse James & Sofia Carolina Botelho. The project promotes collaboration between local cultural agents and the festival’s artists and aims to show, map, and build from the narratives of the city, its spaces, and traditions, in order to celebrate its communities and diversity.

What’s helping to drive this new creative energy? In part, the Fall River Arts and Culture Coalition (FRACC), which boasts over 100 members from all corners of Fall River who are committed to improving the lives of the people that live and work in the region. The goal? Making Fall River the best place to live, work, invest, play, and visit.

In late 2021, FRACC launched the City’s first Arts & Culture Plan, which was sponsored in part by your Community Foundation. This multi-year plan fosters a vibrant, inclusive, and sustainable creative economy in the city. Executive Director, Ashley Occhino, whose name may be familiar from her time as Director for the New Bedford Art Museum, is shepherding the implementation of the multi-year plan, playing a pivotal role in FRACC moving toward its goals.

Before leading FRACC and the museum, Occhino led efforts to enhance interactive, educational, and outreach-based programs like Brockton’s Art in the Windows, Worcester Art Museum’s Arts Alternative, and the Art Museum’s Creative Courts. She enjoys spending time with her partner and dog on road trips seeking out the best museums and local cuisines, especially donuts.

FRACC, sponsored by the One SouthCoast Chamber, is another example of city-wide initiatives, like New Bedford Creative, that are activating creative artists and arts organizations to serve as social and economic drivers. Your Community Foundation supports these efforts through the Creative SouthCoast Initiative, which strengthens our region through the arts.


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