New Bedford’s AHA! Night

by Lauren Medeiros, A&E Editor

AHA! Night, which stands for arts, history, and architecture, will be held once again next week in Downtown New Bedford.

On the second Thursday of every month, Downtown New Bedford is closed off to traffic for the evening in order to decorate the streets and host a cultural fest for the town.

Each month’s event features a different theme and typically draws thousands of visitors from not only New Bedford but areas like Providence and Cape Cod as well.

As part of the collective experience of AHA! Night, over 60 different museums, merchants, art organizations, and galleries participate, as well as the New Bedford Whaling Museum and the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park.

The festival is a celebration of the culture and vibrant nature of New Bedford, showcasing the work of locals and students alike, enticing visitors with food and live shows in addition to the beautiful historical views of New Bedford.

Artists of all kinds make their performances here, ranging from paintings to sculptures. Live music is present as well, with many bands turning up for the show, and informative lecturers offer information on the history of New Bedford while visitors walk up and down the street.

Local resident and thespian Lionel Lafleur says he usually goes to Café Arpeggio to listen to music. “You would see talent of all ages,” he says.

However, Café Arpeggio doesn’t just participate in AHA! Night. They also host Open Mic with Art Tebbetts every Thursday from 7-10 p.m.

Senior Psychology major Annie Vallier says that going to one of their shows was a great experience. She states, “The talent varied from an older folk-esque couple to a 14-year-old who played his acoustic guitar in a way no one could ever be taught. Each performer brought a different aspect of originality to the Café.”

AHA! in Downtown New Bedford is described as a cultural renaissance for the city where people can meet and engage themselves in the community’s rich history and artistic culture.

When asked if students should be interested in AHA! Night, Senior History/Art History dual major Stephanie Cramer replies, “Absolutely, if you like art and free stuff. You can get a map of all the places that are doing things for it that night when you go [and] most galleries are open for free. It’s pretty different every time.”

She also says that “when it’s warm, the [Zeiterion Performing Arts Center] sometimes has outdoor performances.”  Diagonal to the Star Store, the Zeiterion is an easy walk down the street.

First started in July of 1999, AHA! Nights have been conducted annually since its start. The main purpose of AHA! Night is to provide a venue for New Bedford’s cultural and artistic scene.

This event bolsters interest within the downtown area and creates a unified space for the local artists and musicians who regularly showcase their work and perform in the area.

AHA! makes for a night of fun for the residents of New Bedford, and it creates an event for people to talk about and look forward to.

New events are scheduled every month to increase attendance, helping to bring people out and to experience more of New Bedford.

If you’re interested in attending this month’s AHA! Night on Thursday, October 13, UMass Dartmouth offers shuttle transportation to and from the event. The Star Store Shuttle will drop you off in Downtown New Bedford, and from there you can join in and enjoy the night’s festivities.

Bring a friend, take the shuttle, see what’s Downtown, and enjoy a night of art, music, and food!

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