DATMA Hosts Large 3D Printed Shelter and Other Art Exhibits in New Bedford

NEW BEDFORD – 3D printing has come a long way since the eye wash cup was first printed in 1983.

At the Star Store, the Massachusetts Design Art and Technology Institute (DATMA) invites visitors to step inside a colorful 3D-printed structure that asks viewers to reinterpret how homes should be built.

“It’s kind of about pushing the boundaries of what we can do with 3D printing,” said Program Manager Amanda Hawkins. “The exhibits feature interesting pieces that are art, technology, architecture, all kinds of fusions.”

On June 16, the institute of contemporary art will launch a citywide collaborative venture in New Bedford called “SHELTER 2022-23.”

All three exhibits will examine the value of “refuge” and cover topics such as the housing crisis, the Underground Railroad, the New Bedford Hurricane Barrier and more.

“We always try to present works of art made with non-traditional tools and materials, so that everything can be considered art material and anyone can be an artist,” said Lindsay Miś , Executive Director.

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“It’s about the creative confidence to solve problems, finding different ways to think about art, and just being more open-minded about finding solutions.”

Last year, DATMA brought “WATER”. examining the role of water in the histories, economies and cultures of several countries as well as the South Coast, and in 2020 presented “LIGHT”, inspired by the 19th century whaling industry in New Bedford.

Co-curator Viera Levitt smells the linen sheets hanging from the wall on which a video is projected.  This piece by Corinne Spencer is one of many pieces in the Sheltered exhibit featured in the gallery at UMass Dartmouth CVPA.

“Star Lounge” by artist Rael San Fratello is one of the largest 3D-printed structures built to date, made up of 2,073 hexagonal blocks of various translucent colors.

“I can’t wait to see the youngsters crawl into it,” Miś said. “I see it as playful and fun, but it makes me question whether I can move away from the square rectangular house and look more at the dome structure.”

Additional exhibitions to discover

The other two exhibits are “Safe Station: New Bedford’s Underground Railroad”, which highlights New Bedford’s history of opposition to slavery through the lens of local artists, and “Safe Harbor: Building the New Bedford Hurricane Protection Barrier”, which features an artistic timeline from 1966.

DATMA will partner with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to feature rare historical photos documenting this ambitious, critical, and successful project while asking questions about how to protect the city from future climate-related events, according to its press release.

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On June 10, New Bedford Creative announced the recipients of the “Art is Everywhere” grant for arts and culture projects, $70,000 administered on behalf of MassDevelopment and the Barr Foundation, and $6,000 was awarded to DATMA for their “Safe Station” exhibition.

Lindsay Mis, director of DATMA, puts the finishing touches on the fragile doors of Do Ho Suh's “fabric architecture” work.  This piece and many more are now on display at the UMass Dartmouth CVPA Gallery in downtown New Bedford.

“Public art in particular is important, especially when it’s outdoors, because it’s unusual and people don’t expect it. So it’s kind of incidental when they come across it.” said Nicholas Sullivan, chairman of the board, who helped install the dome.

“And it also brings people to the streets and to shops etc. So there is an economic impact as well.”

Invite people in

“Star Lounge” made an appearance on June 9 on the lawn of the Whale National Historical Park Visitor Center, allowing people to relax inside the structure.

“It was different,” said Beverly Baccelli of Mattapoisett, who walked inside with his wife. “Glad we did…an experience for sure.”

'Star Lounge' makes an appearance on the lawn at Whaling National Historical Park in New Bedford.

Sullivan believes that some art forms are in transition to embrace the technological world, and having an exhibit like the “Star Lounge” encourages young people to see the possibility of what can result from the combination of art and technology. .

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“It’s about seeing what they can do with it, and maybe even trying to make a career out of it, based on what they see,” he added.

DATMA’s “SHELTER 2022” opening event will take place on June 16, from 5 to 7 p.m., at the Swain Gallery of the UMass Dartmouth CVPA Star Store at 715 Purchase St. It is free and open to the public.

Standard-Times writer Seth Chitwood can be reached at shitwood@st.com. Follow him on Twitter: @ChitwoodReports. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Standard-Times today.

William E. Bennett