DATMA celebrates five years with ‘Fall Ball’ fundraiser. Here’s what to know.

NEW BEDFORD – The Massachusetts Design, Art and Technology Institute (DATMA) is celebrating its milestone fifth year with its first Fall Ball at the James Arnold Mansion.

On Oct. 20, guests are invited from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. to celebrate the work of co-founders, Gayle and Roger Mandle, reflect on the organization’s 13 commissioned artworks, its dozens of collaborative partnerships and growing educational outreach over the past five years.

“This is our first major fundraiser and we are excited to kick off our fundraising efforts with this event,” said Lindsay Mis, executive director.

Threshold by Mark Reigelman, a DATMA art piece located in Custom House Square.

“We have now completed five years of programming and have a story to share about the positive impact of public art. We are ready to take a bigger step and continue to do what we do, but on a larger scale and with longer-term projects.” 

More:‘Mural Slam’ artists to unveil work on Oct. 14. Here’s what to know before you go.

Mis said her vision for future art projects in the city of New Bedford is for more semi-permanent installations, such as the mural across the New Bedford-Fairhaven bridge, that will make art a part of people’s daily lives and give the city some iconic art pieces. 

“The impact of public art is truly remarkable. It has the power to bring people together and create a sense of community,” she said.

“New Bedford is a special place. The support and enthusiasm from the community is what makes our work thrive.”

What to expect at DATMA’s ‘Fall Ball’

Offering tickets for tables of eight, individual tickets and discounted tickets for nonprofit employees, artists and teachers – the night will feature creative visuals and sounds, specialty cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, as DATMA unveil what they have in store for the next five years. 

Mark Reigelman from NYC will be guest speaker, with a performance by Annie Cubberly’s Magical Beings. Awards will also be given out for the most glam, most creative, most techy, and most “like your favorite DATMA” artwork.

Community Tides by Silvia Lopez Chavez, a DATMA art piece located on the New Bedford-Fairhaven bridge.

“The event is a celebration of public art and the people in New Bedford who have helped make it happen,” Mis said, adding that it’s located at 427 County Road with plenty of parking in the lot and on Orchard Street.

Honoring Gayle and Roger Mandle

The night will also honor co-founder Gayle and Roger Mandle, for their contributions to the arts. Roger Mandle, who passed away in 2020, was a strong advocate for integrating art into education. 

“It’s important that we acknowledge the risk and imagination that Gayle and Roger shared together to create this thing that just celebrates art in New Bedford and make this really a platform for everybody,” Mis added.

More:New Bedford artist to be honored with prestigious international award

“Roger really was an incredible person, and he could have done anything, and he just, instead chose to stop building museums in Qatar in the Middle East, and then come back to New Bedford…  all just to give back and make a community stronger with art.” 

Gayle Mandle is also an accomplished artist and designer, continuing her husband’s legacy.

Roger and Gayle Mandle at RISD in 1997 when Gayle Mandle received her master's of fine arts degree.

“I’ve never met a group of people like this and I’ve been working in nonprofits my whole life. They see art as an investment,” Mis added.

Preparing to make bigger and bolder steps the next five years

With Fall Ball being DATMA’s first major fundraiser, Mis said their budget is expanding to accommodate the maintenance and outreach of ongoing projects and involving youth. She also mentioned that they now have a story to tell and that public art is making a difference. 

“Our budget is expanding as our projects continue to make an impact and we are seeking to increase our outreach and involvement with youth and schools,” she said. 

Our Woven Story by Maxwell Emcays, a DATMA art piece located on the corner of Union at Rt. 18 in New Bedford.

“Even the smallest contributions from members of the community can make a big difference. I am constantly amazed by the generosity of others.”

Mis also said after five years of programming, they are ready to take a bigger step in their goals of creating impactful and long-term art as well as making sure DATMA becomes a bigger name and brand in not only the SouthCoast but in Massachusetts. 

More:Street Art book featuring 20 New Bedford artists is on sale. Here’s how to buy one.

“The more projects that we leave around the city, I hope people will start to feel differently about what DATMA has to offer,” she said. 

“We want to ensure that our mission of promoting art remains at the forefront of all of our efforts, even as we expand and grow.”

Standard-Times staff writer Seth Chitwood can be reached at schitwood@s-t.com. Follow him on Twitter: @ChitwoodReportsSupport local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Standard-Times today.

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