Begun under the leadership of Bedford’s first business development director Alyssa Sandoval and planning director Tony Fields, local artists and art enthusiasts have worked toward the establishment of Bedford’s Cultural District since February 11, 2015. The district was accepted by the Massachusetts Cultural Council in May 2021 and was picked up by Jeffrey King when he became Housing and Economic Director earlier this year.
Now it’s time to celebrate.
A district-wide Cultural District launch celebration will take place from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 11.
Bedford’s Cultural District extends from Depot Park, along the Narrow Gauge Rail Trail, then it follows The Great Road through the Historic District, to the Bedford Free Public Library and the town’s central campus along Mudge Way to its western boundary at Willson Park.
In addition to morning and afternoon ribbon-cutting ceremonies, local groups have planned a full program of activities.
Throughout the District
A Scavenger Hunt hosted by the Cultural District Partnership invites residents to search out and visit all the cultural and historical assets that make our Cultural District so special. The Scavenger Hunt highlights 16 of the town’s cultural assets. How many can you find as you walk through the District?
Pick up a Scavenger Hunt card at the Cultural District tent on Bedford Common or at one of the open house sites, and get a sticker at each site you visit. Collect eight stickers on your card and get a prize when you return the card to the Cultural District tent on Bedford Common before 2 p.m.
On or near Bedford Common
Among the many local arts organizations which have tents on Bedford Common to share their interests (and items for sale):
Bedford Center for the Arts Photo Group is all about appreciation and improvement in photography, both technically and artistically. Members are 100% non-competitive and hold twice-monthly virtual meetings featuring top-notch presentations on diverse aspects of photography and also constructive critiques of member-submitted images by professional photo educators. Several members will be on hand to talk about the group, about photography in general, and some will exhibit/sell their work.
The Bedford Arts and Crafts Society (BACS) is Bedford’s longest-running arts organization. The BACS tent and tables on the Bedford Common will share information about the organization, feature samples of members’ vibrant craftwork, and provide the opportunity to purchase original 4“ x 4” mini-paintings and art cards by talented BACS artists. There will also be a demonstration of gel press printing. Try your hand at this easy art and bring home a masterpiece of your own!
The Gallery@First Parish features the work of Brogan Joe Murphy. An impressionist, Murphy brings a special set of skills to his work.
Crescendo Suzuki Violin Studio of Bedford will perform “Spring” and “Summer” from Antonio Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” at 10 a.m. in the sanctuary of First Parish to help celebrate Bedford’s Cultural District opening. The performance will be accompanied by a slideshow of students’ artwork that illustrates the poetry associated with the music.
Bedford Historical Society recently moved to its new headquarters on the ground floor of Old Town Hall. Town Historian Sharon McDonald will answer questions about Bedford History, and guests are invited to visit the research and gift shop areas, peek into the Corey Archives Room, and enjoy the exhibits: Revolutionary War items, Rocks of Bedford, vintage kitchen utensils, and the 19th-century Sweetwater Hotel at Fawn Lake. Find your house on an 1875 map of Bedford, and then take a copy of the map home.
At Town Center (the Yellow Building)
BACS Art Gallery is located in the Flint Room on the second floor of the Town Center Building. Original artwork by members is available for purchase.
The Council on Aging (COA) will host a wood creation art show and original cards from the Jacob Wren Throckmorton Art Show will be available for purchase.
In the Depot Area at the end of the Minuteman Rail Trail
The Budd Rail Diesel Car (RDC) 6211, Bedford’s own railroad car, was built by the Budd Company in 1955 as a passenger car for the Boston & Maine Railroad. It is one of the self-propelled cars that operated on Bedford’s branch line to Boston. The RDC was acquired in 1998 and restored to be a focal point at Depot Park, which is a National Register Historic Landmark. The Budd Car is also known as a Buddliner. Historic photos and artifacts are displayed in its baggage area (and it’s available for rent as a function space!)
The Glass Cooperative, a stained glass studio on the second floor at 80 Loomis Street is a community of seven artists who have a passion for working with stained glass. Each of the artists has their own unique perspective incorporating a variety of textures and colors and even natural elements into one-of-a-kind works of art. The Glass Cooperative artwork covers a broad creative range, from representational to abstract pieces, from the natural world to whimsical images, from geometric to organic shapes, from 2–D to 3-D, and from large to small. Along with a tour of the working stained glass studio, there will be small and large items for sale.
Scott’s Stone Carving. Also on the second floor of 80 Loomis Street, you’ll find stone Carving classes. A truly unique creative experience that has spanned thousands of years and is still practiced today! It promotes mindfulness, patience, inspiration, and is a stress-buster! Many stone sculptures are on view. Scott will be displaying his recently completed over-sized marble sculpture ‘Garuda Spiral.’ Visitors are encouraged to look around the whole studio and ask any questions they might have!
The Narrow Gauge Rail Trail
The Kindness Rocks Project will have a table of pre-painted rocks and markers ready for your messages near Veterans Memorial Park. Passersby can write a word or message to help spread kindness for the community. The Kindness Rocks Bedford is part of The Kindness Rocks Project (TKRP) which was started by Megan Murphy. The project’s goal is to connect, inspire, and empower others to join in creating a kinder world!
Chalk Art Along the Trail: Artist Caryn Johnson’s work explores the intersection of art, mathematics, and playfulness. In participatory chalk creations on the Narrow Gauge Trail, she cheerfully invites the public to play along. Walkers strolling down the trail will encounter locations and they are invited to add friendly images, contribute welcoming words in many languages, or find just the right position to make perspective illusions resolve into whimsical vignettes. The art displays Johnson’s background in both engineering and art, and her years working in a discipline called Design Science (a term coined by Buckminster Fuller, where art and math intersect in the study of symmetry).
Bedford Free Public Library’s Art Gallery: Grounded, the current exhibit features works by Tracy Spadora, Carol Krauss, and Sarah Springer. In addition, there is a Community Art Wall opposite the Children’s Room with works by students or emerging artists. Be sure to visit the Children’s Room and see the beloved turtle Murphy – be sure to say hello to him. He loves visitors. And you can make a bookmark while in the room.
The BFPL is well known as the home of the Bedford Flag. Stop at the Circulation Desk for information on viewing the Flag and pick up a bookmark to take home with you.
Street Art: Bedford high school art student Elise Harfield’s design has been selected for Bedford’s first Street art mural in honor of the opening of Bedford’s cultural district. Elise and a team of her fellow students are planning to paint the mural near the library. Street art has become very popular in cities and towns all across the country, and the world! Studies have shown that not only does the art bring vitality to communities, it actually reduces accidents with a traffic calming effect.