Fabric Arts Festival is a celebration of art, music, community, and the city of Fall River, Massachusetts. It aims to be a platform for artistic creation through a multidisciplinary program that seeks to create a cultural and communal experience. Fabric understands the city of Fall River as a territory of arrivals and intersections where different geographies converge, creating a space of diversity and opportunity for an evolving dialogue. It seeks to showcase the city and the region as it has always been: a place of creation and production – a city of makers in the expanded fields of art and design.

The Festival aims to show, map and build on the narratives of the city - its spaces and traditions - in order to celebrate its communities and diversity. Each edition focuses on new dynamics that morph into artistic projects, exploring visual arts, music, performance and commensality, produced in the region, in relation to Portugal and its diasporas and attuned to global conversations and relationships. Fabric’s first edition took place in 2019, and its second in two moments between 2020 and 2021, reconfigured in the physical and online spheres by the limitations of the pandemic. The third edition occurred in May 2022, assuming the Festival as a generator of meeting spaces throughout the city. In 2023, Fabric returned to its Fall schedule and proposed a regional program that moved between Fall River, New Bedford, and Providence.

Organized by Casa dos Açores in New England, the project is mentored and directed by Portuguese-American entrepreneur Michael Benevides, with artistic direction by Jesse James, and curated and organized by and with multiple entities and partners.

OCT 10 - 13

Fall River & Providence

In 2024, Fabric proposes a program with contemporary artists, presenting projects in visual arts, music, dinners and conversations, developed by contemporary artists working from multiple geographies and diasporas. The program extends across the city and occupies multiple spaces, including factories, schools, and artists’ ateliers, all with an offering of new visions and perspectives on ways to occupy them.

In the expanse of the festival’s reach, Fabric will continue its regional approach, aiming to strengthen and grow Fall River’s artistic audience and community. This edition, the program will take place between Fall River and Providence, with a first incursion in the Copicut Woods.

The festival is a process of mapping the territory and its recognized and forgotten history, heritage and future placement. This is a joint exercise to celebrate what is already in Fall River and how that relates to Portugal and its diasporas, the Azores, and the world. The Festival is preceded by a period of work (between February and September) for the conceptual development of projects, research and production. These processes will be accompanied by a knowledge program that articulates with schools and local entities, including conversations, masterclasses and workshops.
FABRIC Arts Festival is a project organized by Casa dos Açores de Nova Inglaterra (CANI), a not-for-profit organization in Fall River, MA, established in 1982. CANI 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.

The project was co-founded in 2019 by local business owner Michael Benevides in collaboration with Jesse James, Sofia Carolina Botelho, and António Pedro Lopes, Portuguese curators and cultural mediators.

Currently, FABRIC gathers a multidisciplinary team working from both sides of the Atlantic, with the support of a network of collaborators, partners, and friends.

Executive Direction
Michael Benevides

Artist Direction and Programming
Jesse James

Project Management
Alexandria Machado

Marin Griffith

Production and Curatorial Assistance
Gonçalo Preto

Manel Cabral
Linsey Wallace

Patti Rego

Once known as the Spindle City for its prominence in textile manufacturing, Fall River is an industrial mill city located in Southeastern Massachusetts; its an hour south of Boston, 30 minutes west of Providence, Rhode Island, and 20 minutes east of New Bedford. Fall River’s population of 90,000 is rooted in a large Portuguese community originating mostly from the Azores, but it is also home to diverse cultures such as the Irish, Cape Verdean, English, French Canadian, Puerto-Rican, Polish, Lebanese, Cambodian, and Italian, among others. The influx of these communities not only helped to fuel the booming cotton textile industry that made the City thrive; they also added to the rich cultural fabric of the City, bringing their traditions, their music, and their food to their new home.

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 displaced and all but eradicated 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. Though modest in comparison to the once gargantuan industrial output, Fall River is still an important center in the luxury soft goods industry. For example, the city is home to Vanson Leathers, which produces unique leather jackets and accessories for Hollywood productions and brands like Suzuki and fashion-leading Comme des Garçons, and Matouk Linens, which produces high-quality linens, towels, and sheets for discerning consumers and celebrities; Additionally, a diverse group of artists, designers, and furniture makers are finding a place here to develop their own work, like Smokestack Studios, a collective studio of artists housed in Fall River's historic Metacomet Mill.

The creation of the interstate also split the city’s downtown in two, with a new, Brutalist-style government center replacing the historic Old City Hall; as such, Fall River is the only city in the United States to have its city hall located over an interstate highway. Bisected or not, Fall River’s downtown increasingly displays potential to reestablish itself as a culture and arts district. There are several music venues such as The Eagle Event Center and the Narrows Center for the Arts, and as well as diverse restaurants, speciality shops, salons, and an artist collective/workshop, Craftyish. Just around the corner, Portugalia Marketplace has become an important venue for community meetings and a true haven for the celebration of Portuguese culture, both old and new.

Fall River is experiencing a renaissance of sorts, and the Fabric Arts Festival is an integral part of helping Fall River reshape a narrative that celebrates the city’s vibrant and diverse community of creatives, makers, entrepreneurs, artists, and residents. Come celebrate with us!
Viva Fall River will give you all the insights and local tips on where to stay, eat and shop in Fall River. The platform is community-based commerce, culture, and creative economy initiative that draws on the City’s unique and diverse assets to foster economic revitalization, support active community engagement, inspire a vibrant arts scene, and elevate the profile of the City as a premiere South Coast destination.

To get you started we've organized a list of places to stay in and around Fall River. 


TownePlace Suites by Marriott Westport
41 Old Bedford Rd, Westport, MA
(774) 520-1700

Borden Flats "Lighthome"
North end of Mt. Hope Bay, between Somerset and Fall River, MA
Online for info and reservations*
* 2022 is Sold Out; 2023 reservations not available until Jan 1, 2022

Taylor's Pharmacy Guesthouse
203 Linden St, Fall River, MA 02720
Contact: borges_debora@hotmail.com

Lizzie Borden House (A Bed and Breakfast & Museum)
230 2nd St, Fall River, MA 02721

Holiday Inn Express Fall River North
360 Airport Road, Fall River
(508) 672-0011

Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Somerset
602 GAR Highway, Somerset, MA
(774) 322-2370

Riverview Inn & Suites Somerset
1878 Wilbur Ave, Somerset, MA
(508) 678-4545230 2nd St. Fall River, MA
(508) 675-7333

Bally’s Tiverton @ Twin River Tiverton
777 Tiverton Casino Blvd Tiverton, RI
(401) 816-6000

Best Western Dartmouth-New Bedford
737 State Rd North, Dartmouth, MA 02747
(508) 717-0424

The Paquachuck Inn
2056 Main Rd, Westport Point, MA 02791
Phone: (508) 636-4398

The Whalehouse
100 Madison Street, New Bedford, MA 02740
Phone: 339-832-3123

New Bedford Harbor Hotel
222 Union St, New Bedford, MA 02740
Phone: (508) 999-1292

Hampton Inn Fall River/Westport
53 Old Bedford Rd, Westport, MA 02790
Phone: (508) 675-8500

Residence Inn by Marriott New Bedford Dartmouth
181 Faunce Corner Rd, North Dartmouth, MA 02747
Phone: (508) 984-5858

The Dean Hotel
122 Fountain St, Providence, RI 02903
Phone: (401) 455-3326

Hotel Providence
139 Mathewson St, Providence, RI 02903
Phone: (401) 861-8000

Graduate Providence
11 Dorrance St, Providence, RI 02903
Phone: (401) 421-070
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