New Bedford Art Museum/ArtWorks! is seeking to undertake a multi-year project to renovate the second floor of the Anthony S. Catojo Jr. Building to create gallery space for the permanent exhibition of the City’s Art Collection.


In partnership with the Mayor’s Office, the Board of the New Bedford Art  Museum/Artworks! is undertaking a multi-year project to renovate the Anthony S. Catojo Jr. Building to double gallery space, enhance security, and
environmental controls to meet museum-quality standards.

Renovations include a new elevator capable of transporting art and visitors, new bathrooms, moving offices from the basement to the first floor, creating new space for the museum shop, and re-designing the lobby. Upgrades to the HVAC system will include HEPA filters to reduce transmission of COVID-19.

The expanded space will provide a venue for the display of the City’s art collection, currently housed at the New Bedford Free Public Library, exhibitions of regional artists, and for national and international visiting exhibitions that cannot currently be shown due to space constraints and insufficient security and environmental controls in the present building.

By creating access to the City’s art collection and enhancing the downtown cultural hub, this project will contribute to the cultural, educational, and economic life of the community in several respects.

  • By making the City’s collection more accessible to residents and visitors
  • Creating a museum that will enhance New Bedford as a destination for cultural institutions and activities
  • Growing the City collection by providing a venue that encourages donations of art relevant to the City and its history
  • Enhancing the stature and viability of NBAM
  • Expanding the Museum’s child and adult educational programming by using the City Collection to illustrate and explore the City’s cultural and economic history
  • Located across from the New Bedford Free Public Library and diagonally across from City Hall, this renovation will create a City Campus within the Cultural District as well as within the TDI District

With the City’s Arts & Culture Plan now launched – this project is a perfect fit with the plan’s goals because it enhances access to the arts for tourists and residents, including youth.

The envelope of the building has been under remedial care for years and this project would address the structural integrity of the building.  This project expands the scope of a long-term, collaborative relationship between the City and Museum. This expansion would solidify the building’s use for future generations and contribute to the conservation and preservation of the City’s Art Collection.

Click here to read the NBAM’s FY19 Community Preservation Act application.
Click here to read The Standard-Times article about FY19 CPA funded projects.
Click here to read about the 2020 Mass Cultural Facilities Fund awards.
Click here to read about the 2019 Mass Cultural Facilities Fund awards.
Click here to watch Museum Executive Director Ashley Occhino speak about the project (35:15 mark).