FABRIC Arts Festival is a celebration of art, music, community, and the city of Fall River, Massachusetts. It aims to be a unique platform for artistic creation and promotion of artistic excellence through a multidisciplinary contemporary program that seeks to create a new experience of cultural impact and community participation. The second edition takes place on October 16 and 17 of 2020. The festival—organized by Casa dos Açores da Nova Inglaterra with curatorship by Jesse James, Sofia Carolina Botelho, and António Pedro Lopes – features public art, music, walks, talks and workshops.
What is the urgency and pertinence right now of a festival that bridges the Portuguese and the American culture and that takes the city of Fall River as a stage for a synergistic dialogue with its territory and local communities? And how does a festival that proposes encounters, conversations, and the inhabiting and reimagining of the city's public space can happen with all the sanitary limitations?
Fabric Arts Festival 2020 is an exercise of constant imagination: it promotes collaboration between local cultural agents and the Festival’s artists; it aims to show and map and build from the narratives of the city, its spaces, and traditions, in order to celebrate its communities and diversity; it opens a giant bridge to Portugal and the Azores to present its tradition rooted songbook, presenting forms that defy and challenge fado and the identitary iconography of the country; it reinterprets Fall River as a city to walk whilst valuing its urban and natural fabric; it creates a tangible legacy of contemporary art that will transform the city’s physical and cultural spaces with permanent and ephemeral points of interest and gives hints and directions of a possible, yet unknown future.
Fabric presents artists working in music, performance, and visual arts. They’re shown in new and experimental ways of presentation, ways that will manifest themselves in city spaces inside and in the outdoors, in walls and in mills, but also online and virtually.
Fabric happens in different locations in downtown Fall River. All locations and activities will be announced soon.
Casa dos Açores de Nova Inglaterra (C.A.N.I.) is the local lead organizing entity of FABRIC Arts Festival. C.A.N.I. was created in June, 1982. It promotes educational, cultural and social opportunities as well as cultural and tourist exchange between the Azorean immigrant community in southwest New England and the Azores. It does so by promoting events, encounters and cultural manifestations that keep an active link between the local community and the islands, preserving traditions and creating new opportunities.
Jesse James and Sofia Carolina Botelho co-curate Fabric Arts Festival. Together they are also artistic directors of Walk&Talk- Arts Festival that takes place on the island of São Miguel. Walk&Talk stimulates creation in the specific cultural and geographic context of the Azores. From visual to performing arts, architecture, design, music or video, more than a festival, Walk&Talk is a platform that encourages artistic creation in permanent dialogue with the territory, culture and the Azorean community. The festival has had 9 editions in the Island of São Miguel, 3 editions in the island of Terceira and organized several editions of “Periférica”, an international conference based on best practices of cultural management in peripherical contexts.
Antonio Pedro Lopes co-curates Fabric Arts Festival. He is co- artistic director, with Yuzin and Lovers & Lollypops, of Tremor Festival that takes place in the island of São Miguel for the past 6 years. In São Miguel, Tremor Festival takes over the island as a unique stage for music, with an interdisciplinary program that includes surprise concerts in unexpected places of the island, interactions in the landscape, workshops, art and artistic residencies. António is a performance artist, communicator and curator who’s worked all over the world in projects connected to music and the performing arts, taking cities as stages and working with diverse communities as actors. He’s worked with several choreographers and theater directors and curated artistic programs for institutions in Portugal and Europe, such as Culturgest, Teatro Nacional São João, Maus Hábitos, Théâtre de Vanves, Arquipélago - Centro de Artes Contemporâneas, among many others.
Once known as Spindle City, Fall River is an industrial city located an hour away from Boston, 30 minutes from Providence, Rhode Island, and 20 minutes from New Bedford. With a population of 90,000 and a large Portuguese community originating mostly from the Azores, Fall River is also home to diverse cultures such as the Irish, Cape Verdean, English, French Canadian, Puerto-Rican, Polish, Lebanese, Cambodian, Italian amongst others, communities that chose the city as its home in the 19th and 20th centuries, driven by its booming industry.
This diversity manifests itself in how the city is organized and in the richness of the many cultural activities that have become synonymous with Fall River: a city of many bands, of large pagan-religious celebrations; a city for the Portuguese but also for the whole world.
Easily accessible by Interstate 195 – which is said to have destroyed a waterfall that gave name to the city - and the scenic Braga Bridge, the city of a million spindles is abundant in mills, mostly textile, some of which are active, while others are being restored and reused as housing units or co-working studios.
The city’s downtown increasingly displays potential to reestablish itself as a culture and arts district. There are several music venues such as The Eagle, The Narrows Arts Center, as well as new restaurants, barbershops, bars, and an event and urban art community-driven gallery known as Gnome Create. Just around the corner, Portugalia Marketplace has become an important venue for community meetings and a true haven for the celebration of Portuguese culture. Nearby, Merrow Manufacturing is reinforcing its own heritage of producing sewing machines and investing in strengthening their textile production. Throughout the area, Vanson Leathers produces unique leather jackets and accessories for Hollywood productions and brands like Suzuki and fashion-leading Comme des Garçons. Matouk’s Factory produces high-end linens, towels, and sheets for various celebrities. Additionally, a diverse group of artists, designers, and furniture makers are finding a place here to develop their own work.
WHERE TO STAY
Taylor's Pharmacy Guesthouse
203 Linden St, Fall River, MA 02720
The Paquachuck Inn
2056 Main Rd, Westport Point, MA 02791
Phone: (508) 636-4398 The Whalehouse
100 Madison Street, New Bedford, MA 02740
Phone: 339-832-3123New Bedford Harbor Hotel
222 Union St, New Bedford, MA 02740
Phone: (508) 999-1292Hampton Inn Fall River/Westport
53 Old Bedford Rd, Westport, MA 02790
Phone: (508) 675-8500Residence Inn by Marriott New Bedford Dartmouth
181 Faunce Corner Rd, North Dartmouth, MA 02747
Phone: (508) 984-5858The Dean Hotel
122 Fountain St, Providence, RI 02903
Phone: (401) 455-3326Hotel Providence
139 Mathewson St, Providence, RI 02903
Phone: (401) 861-8000 Graduate Providence
11 Dorrance St, Providence, RI 02903
Phone: (401) 421-070
Check also: Creative Arts Network, Borden Flats Lighthouse